Ahh Bali. An island of Indonesia full of stunning beaches and surf, volcanic mountains and so many rice paddies and temples you won’t know what hit you! With so much beauty to see and so little time it can be overwhelming thinking about everything you want to do and see, but worry no more! Bali is also known for it’s friendly Balinese folk! And what better way to experience the wonders of Bali than with the locals? Am I right or am I right?
At some point in everyones travels you find yourself immersed with locals, whether spontaneously staying and working with a family or intentionally booking private tours and holiday packages. And why wouldn’t you? This is the best way to experience a new magical island, for who better than to trust to show you the ropes than the people who grew up there?
Top To Dos:
1) Sangeh Secret Monkey Forest Sanctuary
If you want to get up close and personal with long-tailed Macaques then this activity is definitely for you! Housing approximately 600 monkeys, this nature reserve is owned and governed by the people of Padangtegal village who maintain its sacred integrity. Although a tourist hotspot, exploring the plush forest and stumbling upon some new playmates is an ideal way to unwind in the evening and escape the intense heat of the day. Fun is definitely a given but be wary, these little rascals have a reputation for thieving! Take care with your belongings and food you may be carrying. For avid animal lovers there are also other animal reserves such as the Bali Barat National Park or Bali Bird Park to check out!
2) Hiking Bali’s many active volcanoes
For breathtaking panoramic views of Bali in all it’s glory, take your pick of which volcano peak you would like to see it from. In the Kintamani region you have one of the most active volcanoes on the island “Ganung Batur” (Mount Batur) where you will be rewarded with stunning landscapes including Lake Batur and the Pura Ulun Danau Batur temple. In East Java you have “Gunung Bromo” (Mount Bromo) an active volcano that stands in a sea of sand. Another extremely popular tourist attraction, you can stay at a nearby mountain village “Cemoro Lawang” and use it as a base for early morning hikes to catch the sunrise!
With so many volcanoes to choose from, a little research may help you to decide what you want to see and hence which volcano you need to be heading for. Then comes the decision of to hike or not to hike? If you’re the adventurous type, then to hike it is! Prepare to wake at 3am and get those walking boots on to see the sunrise in more of an intimate environment. If not so venturesome there are private tours available which involve less walking and a sound knowledge of the best viewing points.
3) Escape to the countryside
If you want to experience Balinese Wildlife in its fullest, head to the north of the island. Welcome to paradise! Full of unique creatures (seriously the frog chorus is not to be missed!) and tropical vegetation, northern Bali is the place for trekking and caving, or even just to laze around and cool off in the waterfalls for the day. Whether you are deciding to trek solo or book a guide, areas such as Sekumpul, Gitgit or Munduck are said to be the most beautiful if a day with waterfalls is what you’re looking for.
Check out: Essential gear for your first aid kit
4) Sand, Sea and Surf
For those of you who don’t know, the surf in Bali is awesome! With so many beaches to choose from, you have your more well known beaches such as Kuta Beach or less known spots such as Echo beach or Berawa Beach, it completely depends on preference or convenience! Whilst Kuta Beach will be much more overcrowded than the others, the surf is just as good!
With such beautiful waters comes many water sports! From boating and kitesurfing to snorkeling and scuba diving, Bali is THE place for water enthusiasts. Diving is particularly very popular, with Ahmed Beach and Menjangan being among the best spots to do so.
5) Discover your inner self
As meditation is a very big part of everyday life in Bali (in fairness the scenery helps) yoga and spa retreats are sprouting up everywhere. Whether you are already ‘as one’ with yourself and equipped to do your own session or want to pop down to your nearest Yoga class, taking part in such an exercise will make you feel energized and ready to take on the world (literally). If you don’t quite feel like taking on the world yet, there will be a spa close by that will detox, massage and pamper you until you feel ready.
6) Take A Helicopter Ride
Ever wanted to ride in a helicopter? Well, there are few better places to give it a go than in Bali. Seeing the Island from the air gives you a nice idea of its geography and its scale and shows the sheer bio-diversity. Above all though, it perhaps only from the vantage point gained from a helicopter ride over Bali that you realize just how damned green it is! It’s like the Garden of Eden but with less nudity!
Other activities/Things to do in Bali
- Attend a cultural performance – daily temple devotion and celebrations are a major part of Bali life. If you’re lucky you may stumble upon an unstaged celebration that is both a sacred and surreal experience.
- Visit the Rice Fields – not only are they a beautiful site, but fields are often run by families who are willing to give you a bed for work on the farm!
- Have a local kickabout – football is a global language and you will often find locals having a friendly match in which the game is open to all!
- Attend Cookery Classes – Food is also a universal language and brings people together even more than football. Learn to make the local specialties to wow you friends and relive those memories when you get home!
So, with an abundance of activities on offer the only thing left to do is decide what you want to do and if you can/want to do it alone, with locals or guides. There is no right way, just the way that’s best for you!