It’s posts like this that makes me feel a little guilty sometimes. What am I doing writing something that someone else has already written about many times in many different ways? Not only that, but I somehow also had an assumption that some of the most obvious things to do in a certain destination might have been the reason why a prospect traveler wanted to go there in the first place– so where’s the novelty in pieces like this, I thought.
It wasn’t until I joined certain travel-focused Facebook groups that I learned that not everyone instantly knows what to do in their destination of choice. Sometimes, people are too busy that even the most popular attractions are unheard of to them. That is why I decided that even the most basic articles like this are important, not to mention very helpful to future travelers. With that said, I’ve listed down 10 things you shouldn’t miss in Bali. Contrary to the generic tips here that most of you may have already read about elsewhere, I’ve included some insider tips including hidden gems and personal recommendations. Because, isn’t that what I’m all about? (READ: Balin’ on a Budget: Tips For Your Bali Honeymoon)
1.) Get in the waters.
No one goes to Bali without visiting its beaches. I must be honest, Bali’s beaches aren’t as impressive as I thought they would be. Although I’m more of a turquoise-water-soft-powdery-sand kind of beach girl, Bali still did not fail to give me the right ocean fix. Bali is also known for its scuba diving so you can indulge in that if you’re an underwater lover.
Bali’s most famous beach, Kuta, which is known for surfing, can get extremely crowded, but if you know where to look, you may just find the paradise you’re looking for. Seminyak has a beautiful sunset that you would not want to miss. If you’re looking for more quiet beaches, you may just find the solace you need in Mengiat beach. And if you’re just like me who would go out of your way to bathe in clear blue waters, then you belong in Dreamland and Pandawa beach.
2.) Get cultured and check out some temples.
My favorite thing about Bali is the fact that it’s such a cultured place. I’ve never been to a place who valued their culture and traditions more than Bali does. Compared to the majority of Indonesia which practices Islam, Bali is a Hindu island. However, their Hinduism has become so unique that it’s almost like it’s a completely different religion of its own. Their temples and architecture itself are unquestionably glorious. Unlike Thailand’s striking and intricately beautiful arts, Balinese art is a bit more on the subtle kind. With its unique rustic and humble style, there’s quite an inexplicable charm that surrounds the entire island.
Don’t miss Bekasih Temple, Bali’s most significant one, and witness people’s practices. Bat Cave temple‘s eerie vibe is also worth the visit. Uluwatu Temple, overlooking the Indian Ocean, is best seen at sunset. Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave Temple is another mysterious one that doesn’t fail to give a magnetic energy. (READ: Where Are The Elephants in Goa Gajah Temple?)
3.) Immerse in its greeneries.
Just like its beaches, you can’t really go to Bali without salivating over its beautiful lush surroundings. Their breathtaking rice terraces and rice fields are the epitome of Bali’s tropical charm. Head down to Ubud to experience the greeneries at its finest. Take a stroll along the rice fields. Most importantly, do not forget to admire the spectacular rice terraces of Tegalalang. (READ: Lushing Out in Tegalalang Rice Terraces)
4.) Try their delicacies.
I love Bali, but I’m not a fan of the food. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t recommend that you try their delicacies though, because what is traveling without getting out of your comfort zone to try new things, am I right? I should also probably add that the best ribs I’ve ever had is in Bali. Their satay, bbq sticks with peanut sauce, however, are definitely not to be missed. Another great delicacy is their Babi Guling— their version of roasted stuffed suckling pork. It’s herbs and spices makes it different from the usual.
Try not to miss their infamous Luwak coffee as well, also known as umm, the poop coffee, or the Civet coffee. I’m not a fan of it, because well, I’m not a fan of coffee either, but it’s the world’s most expensive coffee for a reason. If you’re feeling a little less adventurous though, don’t worry, Bali has amazing seafood that would suffice. (READ: Eat, Play, Love: Silent Day in Bali)
5.) Go white-water rafting in Ayung River.
Ayung River is the perfect spot for beginners. The rapids aren’t completely tame, but it’s manageable enough for first timers. Located in Ubud, the sites at Ayung River are also as lush and pure as you can imagine. So whether you’re into extreme sports or not, it’s something anyone would simply enjoy. Don’t miss the beautiful and mysterious rock carvings along the river. You can also take breaks and shower under a waterfall.
6.) Have some cocktails at the posh day clubs of Seminyak.
There are bunch of day clubs and bars that would make the perfect spot for a lazy day around Seminyak. My favorite, however, happens to be Potatohead Beach Club. There’s nothing like a good cocktail whilst overlooking the ocean in the horizon. Although it’s a bit overpriced, the infinity pool and the view makes the few extra dollars worth it. It’s also family friendly and there’s a nice open area that makes a good spot for a picnic. They play great music which makes the experience even better. It does fill up fast so if you want to catch the sunset and get a perfect spot or a day bed, make sure you arrive early.
7.) Watch a traditional Balinese dance.
Another way to experience the distinctive Balinese culture, the traditional dances is a great window to learn about it. There are different cultural dance shows offered all around the island such as the Kecak dance (or the fire dance) usually performed at the Uluwatu temple at sunset. The Legong dance, which is performed by females in striking traditional Balinese costume, showcases intricate and almost synchronized fingers and eye movements. (READ: A Balinese New Year)
8.) Check out the Turtle Farm in Turtle Island.
Not to be mistaken as a farm to grow turtles for food (which has long been prohibited), this Turtle Farm takes in sea turtles from the wild so they can breed them, and then release them three months later. Many years ago, turtles were a Balinese delicacy, but because of the fast disappearances and almost extinction of these wonderful creatures, the government has prohibited such acts. With that said, the Turtle Farm was formed in order to breed them and to care for the needy ones as well. They have turtles of all sizes and it was nice to be able to see them up close. I’ve never seen turtles in the wild yet so it was a nice alternative for the time being.
9.) Get bullied by the monkeys in Monkey Forest.
Although monkeys are such mean maniacs to me, there’s still something fun about seeing them in their wild nature. Imagine hundreds of them in an open park! It’s a little bit terrifying, I tell you, especially when the alpha males starts to linger around. Despite the fact that we almost got robbed by them on our honeymoon, and that I almost got my earrings snatched from these mean little creatures, the Monkey Forest is still worth the visit. Just watch out for your belongings!
10.) Hike Mount Batur.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do this. I recently just gained a new affinity for hiking so when I went to Bali on my honeymoon, it was the least of my concern. I’ve heard great things about the hike, and seeing this active volcano from afar was enough to guarantee that it will definitely be an unforgettable experience to hike it before sunrise. When I come back, I might just consider this.
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