Located in the South East Asia, Bali is one of the most popular island in Indonesia. Since the book ‘Eat, Pray,Love‘ that Bali has became a touristic spots for travelers around the world. The country side is beautiful, the beaches are picture perfect, friendly-locals and world-class dining – and it is everything within the budget. This makes Bali a total package, specially for the young and broke. Maybe that’s why so many people travel there and never want to leave.
I’ve planned my trip to Bali a couple of months before I travel. Honestly, you can find different opinions on this big world of internet and travel blogs. But honestly, just follow what your guts tell you. I didn’t considered travel to Indonesia before until my housemate convinced me to go. Therefore, we planned a kind of road trip through different cities of Bali to meet our different interests.
In summary, I just did a list of my top 10 activities for a perfect Balinese experience!
Explore the Balinese Temples
The Balinese landscape and highlands are home to innumerable ancient temples. Each temple is unique. The combination between the iconic landmarks, magnificent centuries-old architecture and exotic backdrops, make these places an unique experience.
Remember that the temples are sacred, specially for the Balinese. When you visit the temple, remember to respect their culture and believes. Proper conduct and temple attire comprising a waist cloth (sarong) and sash are required. These are available at all sites in change for donation or available for rental.
Must-visit temples in Bali
Pura Tirta Empul (Gianyar, Central Bali)
Tanah Lot Temple (Tabanan, West Bali)
Uluwatu Temple (Uluwatu, Bali)
Goa Gajah (Ubud, Central Bali)
Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Ubud, Central Bali)
Visit the Traditional Ubud
Hosting numerous beautiful temples and historical sites, danging shows and traditional Balinese performances, Ubud is the perfect place to experience the Balinese traditions. Full of places to relax, some of the best food on the all island – specially for vegetarians and vegans, Ubud must be in the bucket list of everyone that visits the island.
Visit the Traditional Markets in Ubud
Rich of handmade wood relics and organic fresh food, the markets in Ubud are a must-visit if you want to fell in love with the truly Indonesian culture. At the markets always bargain. Nothing is ever at face value in Indonesia. The Indonesian are very good at negotiating prices, and don’t be afraid as they deal with it always with a smile. But off course, treat them with a respect and you’ll get a smile back and good deal.
Trek through the rice terraces
Located only half-an-hour drive by car from the centre of Ubud, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are the most famous landscapes in Bali.The Tegallalang alone offers a scenic out look that spreads down before you and away to the rice paddies on the slopes across the valley. While the rice terraces serve as a highlight in the Tegallalang area, souvenir shops abound along the roadsides, full of magnificent carvings and wooden art forms lined up along the small and winding village road.
Swim at the Tegenungan Waterfall
Bali is full of waterfalls, but the Tegenungan Waterfall is definitely a ‘must-do’ around Ubud. You can try to get in there early in the morning or late afternoon as it is less crowdy. Bali is hot all year around, so a morning swim is still rewarding. In contrary of the most remote waterfalls in Bali, this waterfall provides facilities like toilets and cafes due to its popularity. Even that sometime it gets really crowdy, swimming in this waterfall it is really a special experience.
Watch a Balinese Performance
The Balinese performances aim to tell you the stories of the country, culture and beliefs. Full of acrobatics, fire and dance, it is a must-experience while you are in Bali. These performances are mainly available at the temples and in the cultural attractions.
Explore the Gili Islands
Gili Islands are a collection of 3 little islands in Indonesia, most popularly accessed by boat from Bali or Lombok. The Gili Islands are primarily known for 3 things: party, diving and snorkeling. The island that we visited was the Gili Trawangan. The Gili T. – as known by the locals – it is the biggest of the 3 islands, but you can easily walk around the whole island in about 1-2 hours. If you prefer cycling, bikes are available to rent in any spots in the island, as it is the mainly way of transport. You can enjoy this amazing simple island life and discover the great marine life while snorkeling or scuba diving.
Experience Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
One of the best things to do in the Gili Islands it’s snorkeling and scuba diving. At the Gili Trawangan you can find a turtle point, where you can see the turtles right aside of you. If you want to snorkel, you can find the equipment easily to rent at the beach; however, I bought mine and I brought with me. If you want to experience snorkeling – which I recommend if you want to experience something unique – there’s lots of options. The Gili Islands are one of the worldwide popular spots for diving, and definitely deserves a visit for diving lovers.
Another point for scuba diving and snorkeling in Bali is the Nusa Lemboghan. The Nusa Lemboghan is located right off the coast of Bali, which is a little island in a good alternative to the craziness of the centre of Bali. The beaches aren’t great but the diving is great and cheaper. Here, you can snorkel with Mantas – how amazing is that?
Discover a Healthier Lifestyle
Bali is well-known for the healthy lifestyle, from Yoga to healthy diet. Therefore, Bali is a great place to re-energize by pampering yourself and releasing stress and tension. Balinese massage is one of the most relaxing in the world and there are a number of spas around the island. The Balinese spa treatments involve the use of various herbs and spices.
Taste the traditional Balinese Cuisine
Around the most Westernized areas of Bali such as Kuta there is lots of restaurants mainly focused on the Western cuisine. However, if you want to experience the full Balinese cuisine, get yourself in a traditional Balinese restaurant or in the local markets. Go around markets with the locals and discover the different food and fruit. Also, if you want to experience cooking yourself, there is lots of culinary schools that provide one-day experience. The one that we contacted was the Balinese Farm Cooking in Ubud. There we did a trip to the local market and discovered the different ingredients, taught how to choose the best ones. We also collected the vegetables right from the school farm and prepared them ourselves.
Bali was an incredible experience and the most gratified destinations I’ve experienced. As you can see from this post, you can realize that my favorite spot was Ubud. If you are planning a trip to Bali, have a look on the posts below. If you have some tips about it or have any recommendation, leave the comment on the box below!