In May last year we took a trip to Bali, those 10 days in what I would call paradise could never be enough, I think I’d be happy living there forever! However we did manage to visit some amazing places, here are just a few things you absolutely have to do when you go to Bali…
Yoga in Ubud
Potentially the most chilled out and relaxing place in Bali, Ubud has so much to offer, but nothing could be more relaxing than taking part in a yoga session in one of the many studios in the town.
Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Gili Meno, Lombok, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Cenningan… The list goes on and all of these incredible islands have something unique to offer. Whether it’s mountains to climb, partying, snorkelling with turtles, a private beach, there’s something for everyone. It’s so easy to get around the islands there really is no reason not to get out and explore.
Staying in a bamboo shack is a great way to get back to basics, an even better way is to stay in one with a bamboo shower. Sure to wake you up in the morning but also great for getting a back massage, it’s a must whilst in Bali.
Mt Batur Sunrise Trek
No doubt you’ll climb at least one mountain whilst you’re in Bali, there’s a fair few to choose from, but for the most rewarding and also least hot and sweaty trek, the sunrise walk of Mt Batur is a must. Setting off at around 4am from the base of the mountain, doing this in the dark keeps you a lot cooler than you would be during the day, and once you arrive you’ll be rewarded with the incredible view of the sunrise, SO worth the early morning start.
Particularly on the Gili Islands the snorkelling is absolutely fantastic, the ocean is crystal clear, there are beautiful fish to see and best of all are the turtles that come to visit as well. They’ll swim along with you for hours if you can keep up with them.
As with most Asian countries Bali is full of markets selling the most beautiful clothing, jewellry and trinkets. You can spend hours wandering the stalls especially in the slightly larger towns such as Ubud and Kuta. The best part is how incredibly cheap most of the items are, haggling can help you pay what you think is a reasonable price, but don’t forget the Balinese people are trying to make a living too, so don’t push your luck.
Whilst we’re on the subject of markets, the food markets are also incredible, full meals for just a dollar or two, super tasty and they cater for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Street vendors sell similar food and often some snack like food as well, this all tends to be deep fried so not much chance of anything too healthy, but it’s all so good and something you won’t regret ruining your diet for!
Not booking any accommodation before you arrive in Bali can be the best way to ensure you stay in a traditional home stay whilst you’re there. These family run guesthouses are very cheap and your hosts will be super helpful and friendly. Taking the time to check a few places out when you arrive in a town or village will be so rewarding, the families who run them will check you in, cook your breakfast, tell you the best things to do in the area, organise trips for you to go on and may even be the taxi drive who takes you on these trips. They really are the most wonderful people and provide a great, traditional Balinese experience for you.
“I didn’t visit any temples when I travelled Asia” said no one ever. Temples are often the main attractions in Asian countries and Bali is no different, from small family temples next to your accommodation to the larger, more famous ones such as Uluwatu, Besakih and Tanah Lot, each temple is different and has a different significance to the Balinese people. You will visit a lot of them and they will all be incredibly beautiful!
Bali is well known as one the surfing meccas of the world, some of the best beaches including Kuta and Uluwatu can often be busy and crowded, but if you’re a ‘tick off the bucket list’ kind of person then definitely be sure to hit the waves whilst in Bali.
Kopi Luwak Coffee
Made famous by the film ‘Bucket List’ Kopi Luwak is supposedly the most expensive coffee in the world and with good reason. Even non coffee lovers should try it as it’s taste is on another level to your average store bought coffee! Let your tour guide/taxi driver know you want to stop at a coffee plantation, Bali Pulina is a great one, and take a walk down steep steps and rainforest to find your own little cafe, offering tastings of many different coffees and teas, as well as Kopi Luwak.
The rice industry is huge to the Balinese people, so a visit to a rice terrace, the most famous being Tegallalang, should be high on your list of things to do. Miles and miles of different levels of rice being grown, as far as you can see. The lush green colours provide a beautiful backdrop for a walk through these terraces, locals will often be working in the fields as well and will be happy to see you showing an interest.
Something that cannot be avoided in Bali, specifically on the Gili Islands, is the Bintang beer, incredibly cheap and tasty it will become a staple part of your diet. However for those who don’t drink beer like myself, behold Bintang Lemon. Never feel left out of ‘beers with the gang’ again, the lemon zest makes beer not taste like beer, winner! I’ve never seen Bintang Lemon anywhere else in the world and after thinking about it the whole time whilst writing this article, I think I might have to do some research into where I can find it…