Go surfing – Seminyak, Kuta, Uluwatu
For the sporty wave-riders out there Bali truly has a range of beaches to be proud of. Keenly attracting Australian neighbors from just across the pond, the west coast here boasts some of the finest surf on the planet. Kuta and Uluwatu are particularly renowned for their surf culture and have oodles of schools and operators to choose from. So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, make sure you give it a go.
See the rice terraces
A far cry from your usual supermarket rice bags, the plentiful rice terraces situated all over Bali are a must-see when on the island. Different from any other crop field, these rice paddies form a pleasing step-like pattern. The rice plants are submerged in pools of water framed with green banks, the surfaces of which gleam in the sunlight. Take a tour to learn about the different types of rice and how it grows, or simply enjoy the view whilst strolling through the countryside around Ubud and other central towns.
Frolic underneath Tegenungan waterfall
A symbol of Bali’s stunning natural scenery, Tegenungan waterfall is surrounded by beautiful greenery and boasts clear fresh water. Absorb the spectacular view overlooking the waterfall from above before descending the vast number of steps down to the water itself, where it is possible to enjoy a dip in the refreshing pools. The Tegenungan’s rushing strength makes for an exhilarating organic shower as the water plummets over your head. Isolated and picturesque, what better way is there to bathe in Bali’s backcountry?
Visit the Agung Rai Museum of Art
Founded by a local Balinese gentleman, Agung Rai, this museum showcases Bali’s richly artistic culture. The serene atmosphere at the ARMA resort makes for a peaceful and intriguing viewing experience; surrounded by well-manicured gardens and displayed in ornately decorated, traditional Balinese buildings. Mr. Agung Rai supports and aids the development of art and culture by putting on workshops, theater, music and dance performances at the resort.
Drink Balinese coffee
An essential activity for any caffeine addict, you can try Balinese coffee in most restaurants and cafés on the island. If a more immersive coffee experience takes your fancy then head to a plantation. Here you will be able to sample a range of coffees, teas, and chocolate in almost every flavor and shade of mahogany. To steer clear of controversial coffee farming, particularly regarding Luwaks, visit Munduk Moding Coffee Plantation situated in the north of the island, which works with local farmers and sources its beans ethically.
Watch a traditional Balinese dance
A truly unforgettable experience due to its contrast with other contemporary variations of performance art, a Balinese dance is not to be missed. A unique style of singing paired with bold exaggerated costumes (think those iconic Balinese masks) and eye-twitching, head-shaking movements make for a show very different to that of classical ballet for example. The variety in the purpose of the dances makes for an original and entertaining evening, whether the dance is expressing a Hindu ritualistic practice, telling a story or for a social celebration.
See the beautiful Hindu temples
Unlike its Muslim neighbor, Java, Bali is a richly Hindu island. The depth and spiritual nature of the traditional culture can be witnessed everywhere you go. Offerings line the streets, elaborately carved depictions of Hindu gods embellish door frames and there is a mysterious temple around just about every corner you turn. Be sure to check out the likes of Tanah Lot, Goa Gajah and Ulun Danu Beratan Temple.
Trek up Mount Batur and watch the sunrise
If you’re keen for an invigorating hike and a scenic reward at the summit then embarking on the challenging trek that is the ascent up Mount Batur is for you. Tours can be organized in most towns, taking travelers to the soaring heights of Mount Batur. The hard work on the climb up is worth it as the serenity offered at sunrise is inspiring. Be sure to take warm clothing as it is cold at the top before the sun rises and wear a good pair of shoes.
Relax at Potato Head Beach Club
If you’d rather spend your days in a slightly less energetic and fatiguing way than surfing or volcano climbing, head to Seminyak, arguably the chicest town on the island, and relax at the famous Potato Head Beach Club. With beach beds, an infinity pool overlooking the sands, a range of delicious snacks and thirst-quenching cocktails it really is the most relaxing way to soak up the sun. The front of the beach club is positioned perfectly for witnessing the most romantic of sunsets and if you want to satisfy your inner party animal you can dance on into the early hours.
Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud
Warning: this one is not for the faint-hearted or animal haters. Mandala Suci Wenara Wana in Ubud (translated as “Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary”) certainly does have monkeys, all of the long-tailed Macaque variety, and they certainly live up to their cheeky reputation. Protected in the sanctuary environment, the monkeys are free to roam, bask in the sun, swing from trees and climb on tourists. Housing an ancient Hindu temple, the forest’s sacred status is said to represent the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature. Although the monkeys are sweet, watch your valuables and your jewelry.
Ubud Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, +62 361 971304
By Bethan Sweeting