Top 15 Things to do in Bali - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Top 15 Things to do in Bali

The exquisite Pura Ulan Danu Batur, Bali

Bali! This name is synonymous with honeymoons and romantic holidays among us Indians. To others, it is a great surfing destination, beach holiday, rejuvenating holiday, backpacking trip and much more. This tropical paradise packs everything from temples to volcanoes, surf to forests, luxury properties to rustic homestays, rich shopping avenues to cultural experiences and last but the least, pristine beaches to relaxing spa and massages. The diversity of Bali is such that irrespective of the type of traveler you are, it packs a serious punch. You could be a solo backpacker, a volunteer, an adventure travel enthusiast, a couple on a honeymoon, a young family with kids or even an elderly couple, Bali is bound to mesmerize you and give you the kind of holiday that will give you full value for your money and that also recharges your batteries. It is one of those ideal easy visa destinations for the budget Indian traveler.

A rainy moment from Pura Tirtha Empul temple, Bali

If you are thinking of or planning a Bali holiday ( it is visa on arrival for us Indians), here are the top 15 things that you must experience and that should somehow find their way into your itinerary. All of these are based on my personal experience of slowly exploring the different parts of this exotic tropical island.

Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Cliff Temple

Uluwatu Temple at Cliff's Edge, Bali, Indonesia

Watching one of Bali’s most iconic art performances on a cliff top amphitheatre at sunset time is definitely one of the top highlights of a holiday in this tropical paradise. This Kecak fire dance, which is a dance-drama (stories primarily taken from the Hindu epic Ramayana) at its core, is an interesting mix of vocals, costumes, fast movements and chorus. The best way to enjoy this sunset cultural program is to visit the Uluwatu cliff temple in the late afternoon, enjoy all the surreal ocean and cliff views when there is light and then with the setting sun, head to the amphitheatre for an hour of Bali cultural magic.

Shopping at Sukowati Market

Paintings shop by the street at Sukowati Market, Bali, Indonesia

From paintings to clothes, masks, jewellery and souvenirs, Ubud’s Sukowati market is the place to go to for that authentic local shopping experience. You might get most of these goods elsewhere in the touristy markets of South Bali or at the Bali international airport, but no place will be able to match the low prices of Sukowati market. From T shirts for a dollar to paintings for 5 dollars, this place will you give you a wholesome shopping experience. And the icing on the cake is that you can a local procession or a temple ceremony while shopping at Sukowati market.

Climb Batur Volcano

Batur Caldera and the Batur Lake at Kintamani, Indonesia

One of the must do experiences in Indonesia is to climb a volcano and Bali is no different. From the active volcanoes of Agung and Batur to the scenic beauty and hot springs of Bratan, you definitely have to experience climbing one of these. Whether you are experiencing the sea of sand, watching hot molten lava flow in the middle of the volcano, cringing from the smoke bellowing from the belly of the volcano or being mesmerized by the panoramic views, a volcano climbing experience in Bali is a total adventure experience. Out of these three volcanoes, my personal favorite is the Batur Volcano as it is easy to climb and offers you the view of the gorgeous Kintamani hill station and the absolutely stunning Pura Ulan Danu Batur temple, which you should experience after your adventurous volcano climb.

Learn Surfing at Kuta

Myriad of Silhouettes and gorgeous sunset rays and colors at Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Surfers absolutely love Indonesia for its gorgeous surf. And the gentle breaks of Bali are considered to be the perfect surfing spots for beginners. So, if you wish to learn how to get on the board and ride a wave, then Bali is the place for you. In my personal experience, Kuta is a fabulous place to learn this sport. You get the gear, there are good trainers around and the waves are consistently gentle and good.

Stay in an Ocean View Villa with Private Pool and Butler

Gorgeous Indian Ocean facing villas of Bali with private butlers and swimming pools

Bali is insanely popular as a honeymoon destination. Hence, one can find all kind of luxury properties managed by more or less all the leading global hospitality chains. Staying in some of these properties is an experience in itself. After all, it is not every day that you have an ocean facing villa with a private swimming pool, private butler and some of the most exotic foods and beverages on offer. Whether you are going on your honeymoon or on a regular romantic holiday, such a stay ought to be an experience in itself.

Stay with Locals

Paddy fields next to Gunung Kawi, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

While Bali has no paucity of luxury hotel properties, the other end of its spectrum, which is humble homestays, packs an equal punch. Not only do you get to interact with the locals in their native surroundings, such stays allow you to become one with the locals through their culture, food, mannerisms, nature, festivals, regular way of life and more. If local rustic holidays is your thing, then I would totally recommend this as its experience is unparalleled.

Take a Holy Bath at the Pura Tirtha Empul Temple

Taking a holy bath at the Pura Tirtha Empul, Bali, Indonesia

Not too far away from Ubud in Central Bali is located a Balinese Hindu temple called Pura Tirtha Empul. This temple built using traditional Balinese architecture is famous for its holy baths where the devotee sit under a temple gargoyle and get cleansed of all their sins. Not only is this experience one of a kind in Bali, this temple and the heavenly nature located around the temple is totally worth otherwise too.

Explore Bali on 2 Wheels

Balinese Men at Ubud, Bali

Usually, many visitors to Bali stay either on the Southern coast or in and around Ubud and visit a few top attractions using four wheelers. I feel Bali is best explored on two wheels. This could be either a bicycle or a motorcycle. The reason I recommend this is because Bali has pristine green nature, beautiful countryside, excellent roads and many off beat attractions that one will only come across during the trip on two wheels. This also allows you to cover more regions of this gorgeous, yet fairly large island. You could start in the South, make your way from Kuta to Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, West Bali National Park, Besakih, Kintamani, Ubud and then back to the South.

Explore Bali’s only National Park

The Indian Ocean View at Bali, Indonesia

One of Bali’s least visited areas, the West Bali National Park, Bali’s only national park is made up of rainforests, lowland forests, mangroves, islands, coral reefs and pristine beaches. This gorgeous diversity has made it home to many amazing flora and fauna. You should go here if you are interested in remote beaches, rich marine life, wildlife and birdwatching. Wildlife sighting, snorkeling and scuba diving are the popular activities here, though one can also choose this place if they are looking for a totally off the radar beach experience.

Watch Devdan Show

Entering the Gunung Kawi temple of Bali, Indonesia

Another highlight of a Bali holiday are its shows. And the best one at that is the Devdan show where the Nusa Dua Theatre brings to life the local traditions and cultures from the islands of Bali, Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua in one high energy dance performance. Nicknamed the treasure of the archipelago, this show is a combination of traditional Indonesian dance forms, modern contemporary dance, world class aerial acrobatic attractions, dazzling costumes and high tech special effects.

Get an Authentic Balinese Massage

A luxury holiday at Tanjung Benoa, Bali

A holiday to Bali is not complete without indulging in its traditional Balinese massage. Whether you take it at a simple massage parlor or at a luxury spa, the exotic oils and the overall massage itself will make you feel rejuvenated. It is the perfect way to recharge your batteries before returning home so that you are all ready to conquer your work and daily life with full force.

Indulge in some paddy field work like the Locals

Rice fields ripe for harvest in Bali, Indonesia

A lesser known activity in Bali is to assist the locals with their farming.  Whether you are doing this as part of a volunteer program or have made friends with a Balinese family, this rustic holiday program will treat you to the best of Bali’s nature, its friendly people and its culture and traditions at the very root level. You could be working in the paddy fields, in the coconut plantations, in the vegetable gardens or you could be even growing herbs. This green experience will be our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to mother earth.

Offer your Prayers at Pura Besakih Temple

Pura Ulan Danu Batur, Kintamani, Bali

One of Bali’s most important and revered temples, the mighty Pura Besakih temple is a sight to behold. Located on the slopes of the active volcano Mount Agung, this 6 tiered temple is believed to be existing from pre-historic times. Offer a prayer here, while you soak in the beauty of its architecture and if you feel pretty adventurous, embark on a climb to Mount Agung.

Enjoy the Cool Mountain Climes of Kintamani

Family photo in front of Pura Ulan Danu Batur, Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia

Most of Bali weather is tropical in nature, which means it is warm and humid during the day with a chance of rain later in the day followed by pleasant evenings. If you wish for cooler climes, then your best bets are either Kintamani or Besakih. Out of these, I prefer Kintamani as it is super quiet and laid back unlike the busy temple town of Besakih. The cooler climate of Kintamani allows you to go on a trek to the Batur caldera, take a walk amidst its various gardens, explore the gorgeous Pura Ulan Danu Batur temple or simply read a book while you sip on a hot cup of coffee.

Indulge in some Photography at Pura Tanah Lot

If you are into photography, then you should definitely not miss out on the opportunity of capturing sunrise or sunset at Pura Tanah Lot, the temple that is located off the Southern coast of Bali in the Indian Ocean. The golden hours ensure that you get many different hues to capture this amazing piece of nature and temple architecture. Even non photographers should visit this temple just to lay your eyes on something spectacular, especially at sunrise.

A door in Tirta Empul Temple, Bali, Indonesia

So, go on, book your flights to Bali, avail the easy visa on arrival and end up having a rejuvenating holiday filled with diversity in Bali.

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