Top 10 Unusual Things to Do in Bali
Traditional cooking class in Bali | © Henrik Palm / Flickr
Bali is a relatively small island in Indonesia. And yet, you can never seem to have enough time to experience all the fun it offers, no matter how much time you spend there. For decades, people keep coming back for more of this island—a place that is anything but boring. If you want to go beyond the main tourist attractions or activities, be sure to try some of these crazy, unusual things to do.
Sign up for laughing yoga
In Bali, where spirituality is as prominent as culture and breath-taking scenery, yoga sessions are one of the most indulged activities. Zen-searchers can find many yoga studios with different concepts all over the island. But perhaps the most interesting (and entertaining) yoga session is the laughing yoga. Laughing yoga at the Ambar Ashram is exactly what it sounds. Participants will do yoga and laugh—two of the most healing and relaxing things. Join locals and foreigners as they giggle on their yoga mat and go home more refreshed than ever.
Ambar Ashram, Nyuh Bojong No. 5, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Participate in traditional games of mud wrestling
The abundance of rice fields throughout the island doesn’t only offer a lovely view of vast greenery. It also provides the battleground for fun traditional games in the mud. Mepantigan is a unique art of traditional wrestling that is known to have helped practitioners gain physical fitness, release stress, and develop character. Nowadays, the martial art is adapted into fun games like frog-catching, tug of war, dancing, and more. Tourists can choose whether to learn the martial art, or simply watch performers express themselves in the mud.
Mepantingan Bali, Pasekan Pondok Batu Alam No.30, Sukawati, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Make your own perfume
Not so many people know that they can make their own personalized perfume in Bali. Both kids and adults will enjoy this fun and rewarding activity at L’Atelier Parfums et Créations. You will start by collecting your own basic ingredients, then learn how to develop an aromatic scent and process the ingredients, to eventually go home with a bottle of your own personal fragrance. And if you really like the perfume you’ve made, you can always order another bottle conveniently when back at home. What makes it even more special is that some ingredients may not be available in any other countries, making the perfume truly one-of-a-kind.
L’Atelier Parfums et Créations, Benoa, South Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Enjoy a silent performance
The charm and fortitude of this Bengkala village lies in its villagers. More than two percent of its population are deaf, giving Bengkala the title, “village of the deaf.” The deaf population have developed their own performing arts, rituals and a distinctive sign language. Tourists can visit the village, watch ceremonies or performances, learn a little sign language, and even make a donation to sponsor a deaf child’s education.
Bengkala Village, Kubutambahan, Buleleng Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Make your own jewelry
Bali is not only the land of Gods or amazing beaches; it’s also a land of creatives. Make sure to engage in some cultural activities in between your beach safari and wave-chasing. Celuk village is built upon a community of traditional silversmiths who hold certain secret techniques of jewelry-making, which have been passed down through generations. Although its not easy to craft your own jewelry, with the help of the experienced crafters at Prapen, anyone will be able to make their own precious accessories.
Prapen Jewelry & Artifacts, Jaga Raga No. 66, Celuk, Sukawati, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Since the colonial era, Indonesian spices and herbs have been a much-wanted commodity. Learn how to use Bali’s special ingredients to cook various traditional dishes. Tourists can learn traditional recipes, enjoy the cooking experience, eat together, and impress guests back home with their new culinary skills. Some recipes to try include the spicy sambal matah, satay, Balinese soup, and the famous smoked duck. In most cooking courses in the Ubud area, participants can learn the authentic recipes while overlooking the gorgeous rice terrace view. A couple to try are Casa Luna Cooking School and Paon Bali Cooking Class.
Casa Luna Cooking School, Bisma No. 5, Ubud, Gianyar Residence, Bali, Indonesia
Paon Bali Cooking Class, Raya Laplapan Road, Petulu, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Be a farmer for a day
Ever wondered how the delicious Balinese rice and vegetables end up on your plate? As well as offering visitors the opportunity to sample the food, The Organic Farm also gives tourists the opportunity to have a go cultivating produce. Starting in the muddy rice field, tourists can live the life of a farmer for a day. Farming is not just labor but is part of a culture and tradition, and understanding it will give tourists a better understanding of life on this beautiful island.
The Organic Farm Bali, Munduk Lumbang, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Learn to make batik
Batik is Indonesia’s original cloth-decorating technique which produces sophisticated patterns of dots, lines, and other objects. Different locals have different ways to batik, therefore creating varying results and patterns. It has a long history and has been a part of Indonesia’s culture for centuries. Batik has even made its way onto international fashion runways. Luckily for visitors, Bali has many batik courses to join, where tourists can learn the history, techniques and philosophy behind the textile style. One to try is Widya’s Batik Studio.
Widya’s Batik Studio, Sriwedari No. 61, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Adopt a pet
If you want to bring home something more than a tan, consider adopting a cute pet from one of the animal shelters on the island, BAWA Shop Sanur is a good option for this. Some of the animals were rescued from the streets, others were on the verge of being slaughtered for food. Most shelters have an elaborate recovery program for stray dogs or cats, so adopters just need to prepare their warm welcoming hearts and homes. If adopting sounds like too much commitment, tourists can always visit and make a one-time donation.
BAWA Shop Sanur, Danau Tamblingan No. 4, Sanur, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Visit a traditional healer
Balinese traditional healers may only have gained popularity among tourists after the late Ketut Liyer’s appearance in the movie Eat, Pray, Love, but locals have been counting on traditional healers for centuries. The Ubud area in Bali is home to many experienced traditional healers known as Balians. Although Liyer passed away in 2016, Wayan Nuriasih—also portrayed in the movie—is still an active healer in Ubud. Most Balians offer both physical and spiritual health consultations, on to try is Balinese Traditional Healing.
Balinese Traditional Healing, Jembawan No. 5, Ubud, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia