Soaking in the lush greenery of the dense forests, experiencing deep rooted culture of the people there, watching the sun paint the sky and passionate surfers catch high waves while you let your routine drown in that Bintang. I believe Bali can truly provide one with an induced sense of serenity and a soul pleasing high that you will experience throughout your entire stay. It’s one place where indulging in the luxuries and feeling rooted to the earth can be achieved at the same time; from seeking blessings of the Hindu gods at peaceful temples on stunning beach guarded cliffs and indulging in some balinese cuisine at one of the many traditional hole in the wall warungs to living the five starred life and partying at Beach clubs.
I will be honest, with Bali being a popular tourist destination of the South East Asia the place gets really crowded around the peak season which over time has risen a fair share of things to do and see there. Blessed with natural beauty of the forests and beaches and amazing locals who go out of their way with their services while sharing a part of their culture to make sure your time there is unforgettable and an escape you deserve. A subtle disclaimer; if you ever visit Bali and fit these 10 things within your itinerary to do, you will crave to be back for the same and more.
Top 10 things to do in BALI
There are way too many things to do and see in Bali catering to every taste and preference. If you want to surf and chill, this is the place. If you want to cleanse your soul, find inner peace and practice yoga, this is the place. If you want to eat your heart out and experience a unique and different culture, this is the place. If you want to party and sail, again, without doubt this is the place to do it. However, if you want to do it all, THIS could be your go to list of things to do and you can check off every activity from this list as you go about exploring or just fit them within your itinerary.
Find peace and cleanse your soul at tranquil Temples
Bali is the hindu state of Indonesia and is home to a number of beautiful temples that are truly capable of helping you obtain that peaceful state of mind and is believed to purify your soul and get rid sins when you bathe in their sacred pools. And, speaking of acquiring tranquility, some of these temples are scenically perched on rugged rocks in the sea, on the edge of sharp cliffs overlooking the Indian ocean with a sunset backdrop and some in the middle of a forest surrounded by chirping birds and notorious monkeys. You will find temples all over Bali, small and big. However, not all of them allow visitors and if you do, one has to wear a traditional sarong or be dressed appropriately in order to seek blessings of the hindu gods. Iconic temples in Bali you must visit are the Tanah Lot, Uluwatu Temple, Goa Gajah, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and Besakhi Temple.
Indulge in delicious Balinese Cuisine
Since the day we booked those flight tickets to Bali, most of our dreams were made up of us gorging on chicken sate lilit with peanut sauce and mie gorengs. The local cuisine is not only incredibly flavourful, deliciously prepared with fresh ingredients like lemongrass, coconut, chilies and garlic and you can find it anywhere for dirt cheap. Get an entire meal to try from a street side warung or a push cart for less than a dollar and you won’t be disappointed. If that’s not up your
alley belly (Get it,? Bali belly? Umm.. never mind.) You can try some authentic Balinese cuisine at restaurants like Bumbu Bali or at any good restaurant from the many serving balinese cuisine off their menu. You should try these few local specialities: Nasi Goreng (Fried rice), Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles), Nasi Campur (Fried rice with an assortment of different proteins), Bebek Betutu (duck stuffed with spices and deep fried), Sate Lilit (Meat pressed on to skewers and served with sauces), Babi Guling (Roasted suckling pig – a speciality here) and end the feast with a desert of warm and sweet black rice pudding.
Go Beach Hopping and end it with a dramatic sunset
Sun, sand and sea are not all that Bali is about. However, Bali boasts of a variety of beaches and if I not wrong, even a week’s time in Bali will not be enough to cover all of them. Some very popular with the tourists, some with the surf bodies and some so secluded that only a local can take you out there. The island itself has variety of beaches to offer; from black volcanic beaches in the north to white sand beaches with turquoise water in the south. With the only seven days in Bali we covered most of the South Bali beaches as we hired a car and a driver to go Beach hopping and ended the tour with a well deserved bintang and dramatic sunset in a quaint cafe on the cliffs of Suluban beach in Uluwatu. So if you are looking to do some of these unique beaches and or just chasing sunsets in the west, check out our post on the Bukit Peninsular Beaches in South Bali, HERE.
Visit a Coffee Plantation and try the poop coffee
This might have been be one of our favourite experiences. Also, for the fact that this particular coffee plantation was in the heart of Ubud forest. There are many coffee plantations to pick from in Bali if you are looking to experience the most expensive coffee in the world made from a cat’s (lupak) faeces and yes, we tried the coffee only after we were convinced about it’s interesting process which was shown to us step by step. Our poop coffee experience took place in the Bali Paulina Coffee Plantation; cozily nestled in the lush forest, surrounded by rice terraces on one side. The hosts bought out six different types of coffee and two types of tea produced in the region, for us to sample. They also have a store where you can buy which ever coffee you liked from the sample. I personally loved their lemon ginger tea and chocolate coffee. However, the sampling and the entire experience is free, except the Lupak poop coffee (not included within the free coffee tasting) which purchased for around 50,000 IDR a cup.
Explore the serene Rice Terraces and visit balinese villages
Here be prepared to walk A LOT and do dress appropriately for the same. A very unique steps cut out on hills for harvesting rice, is a method of farming and these green rice terraces in Tegalalang, Ubud make for a rather photogenic backdrop. A “step-back-in-time” experience and are close to rural balinese villages. The peaceful and serene walk through the terraces is something rather wonderful. Here you can also stumble upon farmers working in the paddy fields and for a small fee you can try your hand at farming with the farmer himself. If you are looking relax and take it all in, then head to one of the many tiny warungs or cafes lined up by the main road overlooking the serene terraces.
Pamper yourself with traditional Balinese Spa and Massages
In Bali the true sense of relax and unwind can be taken to the next level via spas and massages offered at the many popular tourist places. Even better, these services in Bali cost next to nothing. All your luxurious spa and full body massage will no more be a dream, rather out of our seven days in Bali, four of the days we got massages and they were from no hole in the wall parlours, rather well rated and popular ones. It’s always a good idea to look up on the internet for reviews on these parlours before booking a service. It is so popular there that even our resorts were kind enough to provide us with free massage services as well.
Catch waves at Bali’s famous surf beaches
For all the professional surf bodies, wannabe surfers and surf spectators like myself, Bali is the place. Cheap surf lessons and amazing surf waves throughout the year makes Bali a great place for surfers to get their practice on. Bali has surf spots and beaches for both beginners and for the rough waves darers. Some of the great surf beaches in Bali are Uluwatu, Suluban, Padang Padang, Bingin, Balangan, Canggu and Nusa Lembongan. Sign up for surf schools in Bali or join a surf camp right here in Bali.
Live the five stared Resort Life for peanuts
Live life king sized while you are in Bali. Rooms in a beach Resort in Bali especially around the shoulder season can be ridiculously cheap to book and experience their five stared services at the same time. Given, there are so many resorts and hotels competing with one another for guests, not to mention there are other much cheaper form of accommodation like hostels and apartments for as low as $4 a night to a full sized private villa with pool that the resorts with all amenities get way cheaper that the same chain of resorts are anywhere else in the world. Luring resorts in Nusa Dua right on the beach with rooms at attractive rates are a great way to get most out of your dollar.
Ton of Water Activities to choose from
From all the places we have indulged in water activities, Bali had the cheapest packages that included snorkeling, jet skiing, paragliding, para sailing, scuba diving and many others I have no clue about what they are called. Bali waters in Nusa Dua on the Tanjung Benoa is where the majority of the water activity companies operate from. There are activities that one can indulge in the clear waters of Nusa Penida and Lembongan as well, however these places are an hour’s time boat ride away from the mainland Bali. We booked our water sports package from the resort we were staying at and surprisingly they offered packages of the same operators for a much cheaper price.
Party at a Beach Club
There are many places to party at in Kuta Bali, known for clubs and pubs with music blaring right out on to the streets or get to one of the beach bars. However, there’s nothing like taking a dip in a pool by the beach and sipping on delicious concoctions by the pool bar and dance to the music. The only thing you have to do is reserve a lounge in advance. If getting in the pool is not your thing, beach clubs like Potato Head Bali and Ku De Ta have restaurants and bars where you can watch the sunsets along with them sun downers and party the evening away.