Bali has been named as one of the most picturesque location in the world. Known for a good vacation location for those who are wanting to get off the beaten path, literally. In this blog I will be sharing the top things to do while you are visiting Bali. Get off the paved road and to really enjoy yourself in a physical and spiritual way.
First thing is first!
1) Take a Visit to the Ulun Danu Temple
While you are sitting on the edge of the Baratan Lake, you will feel like you are transcending. This angelic temple was dedicated to the ‘goddess of the lake’ is one of the most peaceful locations you will find on the island. There are numerous shrines surrounding the lake all dedicated to different gods. You could spend a peaceful morning or a relaxing afternoon enjoying the serenity of this mystical lake.
2) Dive the Padang!
Padang Bai is located just to the East of Bali and it one of the most famous dive spots in the world. There are several different dive locations where you can see sharks, turtles and a vast array of coral gardens to view. If you aren’t already a certified diver, have no fear! You can get certified during your visit with one of the many PADI dive shops around Bali. Plus don’t forget about the underwater art gallery you can find here too!
3) World Famous Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalang rice paddies are located just North of Ubud and is one of the more iconic sights to see while visiting Bali. You can wander through the fields throughout the day. I recommend you get an early start if you are wanting to do do a photo shoot though, these fields are busting with life! So plan to sacrifice one early morning on your vacation to visit the rice paddies in the morning – totally worth it!
4) Are You A Yogi?
Bali is scatterd temples with heavy influences of Buddhism, Balinese Hinduism and Hinduism, there is an absolute sense of the search for inner self. Along those same lines, travelers come from all corners of the world to visit the several yoga school and studios. One of the most popular in Bali is the Yoga Barn, a yoga retreat center. Here you can stay to focus on cleansing your mind and your body through the programs the Yoga barn offers.
5) Visions of Paradise
When you think about visiting Bali what is the first thing that pops into your head? Turquoise waters, perfectly green rainforests, and white sand beaches? Well the answer to all of these is YES! We wanted to share with you one of the best and most beautiful beaches in Bali, Diamond Beach. Diamond beach in Nusa Pendia is one of the most perfect and truly iconic beach for white sand glorious and teal blue waters.
6) Separated Marvel
On an island, nature is beaten away by the ocean beats. This is what happened on the coast where the Tanah Lot Temple is located. Bali’s most famous attraction, a Hindu temple, that now sits alone as a majestic structure which has a perfect few of both sunset and sunrise. If you want to visit during sunset, get there several hours before the sun sets…little tip.
7) Taste the Culture
Anytime that I visit a country I always try to find a local cooking class. This way you are able to taste the local cuisine, but you are also able to learn how these plates are cooked in the traditional manner! It always is an eye opening experience and one that will stay with you and your belly for years to come.
Many times the cooking classes or school will email you the recipes you’ve cooked during the class so you are able to go home and make these cultural meals on your own when you get back home too. In Bali you can take a cooking class at Bumbu Bali, a local restaurant that also offers cooking classes in the morning. The class starts by taking a trip to the market to pick out the local Balinese ingredients, then once you return to the restaurant class is in session.
8) Dance of the Balinese
Bali is famous for its Kecak dance, which was developed by the villages in the 1930s. The entire dance and show is set to the sounds of the men chanting acapella, which is the rhythm used to dance too. These shows are set under the stars, I can’t think of a more magical way to spend an evening than soaking up a cultural dance under the stars, can you?
9) Monkeying Around
All you animal lovers listen up! In Bali there is a forest dedicated to the local inhabitants, of monkeys! The Monkey forest is sited in Ubud and has three Hindu temples that were constructed in the early 14th century. You can visit along with the over 500 monkeys that roam around the forest. This is a natural reserve that you can walk through and even take a few selfies with the monkeys. Be aware however, these grabby primates are also known as Bali’s pickpockets. They grab cameras, bottles of water and sunglasses without you noticing what happened before it is too late, so keep an eye on your items when walking through.
10) Scared Bathes
If you’ve ever watched the move “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts you will know where I am talking about. The scared bathes of Tirta Empul is pool filled by fountains from nearly all sides, the architecture of this bathing house is absolutely breathtaking and is worth walking around after you take a dip into the scared waters.
11) Feast on the Sea!
Like any island Bali isn’t just comprised of jungle, rice paddies, temples and tiny villages. There are busy and bustling towns like Kuta that you can visit (which we will touch on in a moment) but then there are seaside villages like Sanur. Sanur is known for its world-renowned beaches, but this town has more to offer than just pretty beaches. Take a chomp into some of the best seafood you might ever taste, caught fresh every morning and grilled over coconut husks you won’t regret taking a side trip to this town even if you just came for dinner.
12) Spend the Day Away
We know you are already going to Bali for a vacation but maybe you want to take a vacation from your vacation. Get out! See a few things that might reach just outside of Bali, like Menjangan Island. This island is just North West of Bali and trust me it might take you bit to get there (by a but I mean longer than an hour) it is worth the time.
Spend the day on Menjangan island walking from one side of the island to another, enjoying the temples, architect, shops, history and then when you are done doing all that – take a DIVE! Visiting Indonesia is one of the great places to go scuba diving in the world and Menjangan is no exception. Here you will see a vast plethora of coral reefs, hundreds of species of fish, turtles, octopus and even rays! Like I said, worth the vacation from your vacation time.
13) Stay with the Locals
This might not be on everyone’s list of things to do but, personally, I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a true local experience. The Indonesians are one of the friendliest people on earth, despite Bali being poor you will never see anything but love and hospitality. This especially goes for the Balinese people, which is why I suggest that if you are willing to try new experience while traveling – stay with a host family. They will take you along with them while they work, cook, shop for food, spend time with their families and all the while teaching you about their history, traditions and culture. This will be an adventure you will never forget and when you leave you won’t be leaving as a guest but family. Now you’ll always have a reason to come back to Bali
14) Hidden Gems of Bali
Bali is known far and wide for its natural beauty, so of course we had the mention it, there are a network of waterfalls all around Bali. Far too many to mention in a single article, but these are a must! Lose yourself in spectacular locations like Sekumpul Waterfalls, where the water is said to be scared but when you’ve been hiking up to get there the cool and refreshing water will feel great to take a dip into. Or visit the waterfalls near Munduk, where you will walk through orchid fields, local markets and then up and through farm lands to get to these beautiful waterfalls.
15) Drink From the Fountain of Youth
If you believe in myths and legends, then you might be interested in visiting the “fountain of youth”. You’ll find this in Goa Gajah, translating to “elephant cave”. The locals believe that if you drink from the water fountains that the water has healing properties and it will help keep you looking young. The locals joke that these waters is their natural skin toner, but as I said before, the Balinese people enjoy a laugh. The cave itself dates back to the 9th century, when you are done drinking to your youth – highly recommend getting a local guide to tour you around to explain to you about the historical and culturally significance of this cave to the Balinese people.
16) Travel to Karangasem
We know that if you did all of the things on our list that you will have seen a lot that Bali has to offer by the end of your trip. But we have one last excursion to recommend. On the Eastern side of Bali lies Karangasem – though that not sound like much, trust us, it is worth it. The drive takes about 90 minutes to drive from Bali’s main airport, but the Eastern side of the island isn’t often explored by tourists. Truly a shame, every side of the island has new types of experiences and cultural difference for you to enjoy and you wouldn’t have had a well-rounded trip if you didn’t at least venture for the day over to Karangasem. Also, since it isn’t often visited that also means that it isn’t overrun by tourists either, food for thought.
17) End the Trip at the Spa
Truly a trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without a trip to at least ONE spa. I recommend more than that but if you only can fit one in, that’s understandable too. Visiting the spa in Bali isn’t just about getting a massage or a seaweed wrap. It is about using centuries old techniques to heal, relax and rejuvenate you. Visiting the spa, as it is believed in Bali, is taking care of yourself not so that you will be beautiful on the outside, but your spirit will be beautiful too.
With such a strong cultural presents of the Hindu and Buddhist religions, the local Balinese believe that your soul and spirit should be healed daily through meditation and visitations to places like the spa. This will both heal your inner spirit while relaxing and rejuvenating your exterior self.
Bali nearly on everyone’s bucket list. All I can say to that is – DO IT! Bali is too beautiful not to visit. There is something for everyone and you can even travel on a budget. The prices in Bali are extremely reasonable for the quality of food, experience and adventures to be had. Also, don’t forget that almost every price is negotiable.
Whether you are comfortable with that or not that is up to you but in the high tourist areas be sure to haggle as much as possible or are comfortable with. The locals there know that tourists are there to spend money so the will jack up the prices six or seven times the amount.
Don’t just take a vacation, take a trip that you will remember for a lifetime. If you are looking for more trips and tips to do while you are traveling to the South Pacific – click here!