As a treasure trove of spectacular sights and adventures, Bali offers plenty to tempt you to visit. Few travel to this unique destination with their soul in mind, but there is a less hedonistic aspect to this island. Just check out these five charming things to do in Bali if you need convincing.
Five charming things to do in Bali
Let’s dive into the magical bliss of true Bali, and explore some of its most appealing features. These are bound to turn your stay into a font of healing and relaxation, way beyond a typical tourist visit.
Stay with locals
One of the best ways to ensure a unique, intimate glimpse into the real life of Balinese people is to spend a few nights with a local family. You can consult your beloved Airbnb to find the right match for your pocket and needs, and create the perfect itinerary for your stay.
Unlike overcrowded villas or hotels, you will probably be the only guest of the family, and will be welcomed and treated like one, as Balinese people are well-known for their hospitality. In addition to no strict check-in or check-out times, you will have numerous chances to witness their family traditions, local festivities and unique religious rituals.
Dine with locals
The island’s menu will be an unusual one for the average traveller’s palate. You can expect a variety of spices, mixed with fresh vegetables, and cooked rice is almost always a part of any dish. Pork, fish, other seafood, and poultry, are also widely used, but beef-lovers will usually have to settle for other types of meat.
Make sure to try Betutu, a traditional Balinese poultry dish, immersed in a spicy sauce that combines coconut oil, chilli peppers, and raw onions. It’s considered a luxury, as it takes at least 24 hours of preparation. Babi guling, or a roasted pig, is a traditional dish of many Eastern cultures, and Balinese people love it for festivities and larger events.
Anne: wow, I cannot believe this. I’ve been to Bali three times and never even heard of these dishes! Time to go back maybe?
From hypnotizing, emerald rice fields, to hidden waterfalls in untamed tropical forest, volcanos and enchanting beaches, Bali is a blend of natural wonders that will mesmerize any traveller. If you’re travelling on a budget, you can seek help from locals who will share their tips for the best paths and hiking trails not to miss.
However, the mainland is not the only aspect of the island worth visiting. Don’t forget to dive into the pristine waters of the ocean and explore the marine life that is playful and colourful. Even if you’re not an experienced diver, there are walking tours that will give you an personal glimpse into the coral world and sea life.
Anne: I can definitely agree with this. Some of the dives I did off Lembongan were amazing drifts in colourful, pristine waters.
Bali is also the ideal place for self-exploration, reflection and contemplation, that will undoubtedly lead to exciting discoveries, as well as moments of incredible serenity. For those who want to rest from the tiring noise of the concrete jungle, yoga is available for novice students, practitioners of all levels, and those who wish to become teachers.
With an equal emphasis on spirituality and increasing your physical abilities, this is a perfect way for your soul and body to rest, heal and grow. No other place offers the same tranquillity and profound wisdom that leads to life-changing experiences like this exotic, timeless island.
Anne: I definitely recommend a visit to possibly my favourite yoga studio in the world. Check out the Yogabarn in Ubud. It offers tons of daily classes including fast flowing Vinyasa and more sedentary Iyengar and Yoga Nidra options. It’s truly divine and you get to meet this chap (above).
If you are staying with a local family, you will likely be invited to some of their religious festivities and rituals, and you will be able to experience some of the indigenous customs and traditions. Uluwatu Temple boasts unique scenery, vivid wildlife including monkeys, and a view of the Indian ocean, while the cleansing spring pools of Tirta Empul Temple welcomes many visitors.
Another must-see is the temple known as the Elephant cave, or Goa Gajah Temple, which will dazzle you with its intricate carvings, water fountains and numerous streams taking you to the Petanu River, as well as lush rice fields.
Don’t forget to visit the northern portion of the island, enjoy its many beaches, stargaze for hours, take part in cleansing ceremonies, and bargain like there’s no tomorrow!
When seen through the eyes of a native, Bali is a source of time-stopping and life-altering experiences. Embrace them, and your life journey will be all the richer for it.