Bali – The Island of Gods
Top 12 Things to do in Bali
Lush green forests, soothing coffee plantations, captivating rice fields, awe-inspiring statues, magnificent temples, thrilling volcanos, the majestic sea and the heart-warming hospitality; all in one place – that’s what Bali is all about. Being a part of the largest island kingdom in the world, it’s a retreat where serenity begins and tranquility never ends. Whether it’s the majestic statues of their traditional Gods or the contemporary roofs of the balinese houses, everything is a remarkable work of fine architecture. No wonder it’s called the Island of Gods demonstrating it’s rich culture & ethnic traditions. If you have ample time to explore Bali, there’s a lot you can do here and never get bored. However, for your small vacations, I’ve listed the top 12 things you can do in Bali.
1. Bali Hai Sunset Cruise
Bali Hai Sunset Cruise is a magical experience. The cruise offers a spectacular sunset view followed by a buffet dinner and cultural performances to pump up your night. As you board the cruise, you are greeted by traditional dancers and an opportunity to click with them. Sail on the glistening sea and admire the beauty of the sunset over a glass of welcome drink. Treat your palate with the buffet of Indonesian and International cuisines. This is followed by live cultural performances that include traditional Balinese dances and cabarets. Delicious food, pleasant music and lively dance – fabulous and quite entertaining.
2. Tanah Lot Temple
The name ‘Tanah Lot’ is derived from ‘Tengah Lod’ which means, ‘in the sea’. The temple perfectly justifies the name as it is situated in the sea amidst the constantly crashing waves. Dated back to the 15th century, this temple is a must visit in Bali. The offshore setting and the sunset backdrops make this temple an important landmark. On a low tide day, you can cross the waves to visit the rock base and take a sip of the amazingly fresh water from the holy water fountain. The legend states that there are guardian sea snakes that reside in the crevices around the holy water fountain. Dive in the beauty of this fascinating place with the thrashing waves and the marvellous sunset in the background.
3. Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Dance
Uluwatu temple is a magnificent cliff temple in Bali overlooking the picturesque Indian Ocean. It is situated on a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above the sea level. The best time to visit this place is just before the sunset. Enjoy the sight of the sun taking a dip in the Indian Ocean. Take a walk around the temple for the sightseeing and explore the history of this place. The breathtaking views and the tranquility of the temple are sure to send you in a trance. Beware of the notorious monkeys as they may snatch your personal belongings including your mobile phones and sunglasses. These monkeys are believed to guard the temple from evil influences. After the sunset, proceed to watch the well-known ‘Kecak Fire Dance’. It is a traditional Balinese dance narrating the tale from the famous Hindu epic, ‘The Ramayana’. The interesting thing about this cultural performance is that there is no instrument used for the music. The music is generated from the combination of sounds made by the dancers. There are some fire acts as well that add to the splendor of this dance. With all its serenity and grandeur, Uluwatu temple is a place not to be missed in Bali.
4. Devdan Show
Devdan show is a kaleidoscope of Indonesia’s rich culture and diversity. This 90-minute show is not only a combination of traditional dances and performances from the group of Indonesian islands, but also a celebration of their unity in diversity. Enjoy the Kecak fire dance, water dance, tribal ceremonies, shadow puppets, aerial acrobats, and many more with theatrical special effects. With its dazzling performances and energetic dancers, the show is quite entertaining. If you want to dive deep into the Indonesian culture, Devdan show is a must watch!
5. Elephant Safari
Elephant Safari is undoubtedly a must-do activity in Bali. It is a unique elephant experience where you explore the cool jungles of Taro (Ubud), while sitting high atop an elephant in a teak wood chair. Your tour starts with a welcome drink at the reception. Visit the information centre adjacent to the reception area. There is a comprehensive museum with a huge collection of elephant relics and the only Mammoth Skeleton in South East Asia. The park gift shop offers a wide variety of elephant-theme products. You can buy souvenirs, jewellery, paintings, carvings, elephant ivory etc. You can then enjoy a 30-minute elephant safari ride to the breathtaking jungles of Taro. Soothe your eyes with the green landscapes and tall trees. Get ready to be drenched with the water splashed by the elephant in the elephant bathing lake. There is a restaurant overlooking this lake where you can dine after the safari tour. Also, hand feed the elephants and click memorable pictures with them. Enter the Park Arena to spot the baby elephants. Elephants can also be seen painting at selected times of the day. The Elephant Safari Park is a sanctuary for this endangered species and it meets International Standards for animal care. All the elephants at the park were rescued from deforestation.
6. Holy Monkey Forest
Monkeys are so greatly revered in Bali and they have dedicated the entire forest to them. The ‘Holy Monkey Forest’ is inhabited by a band of over 600 grey-haired and long-tailed Balinese macaques. It is an ecological reserve as well as a Hindu temple complex. The monkeys are quite friendly and you can interact with them, click pictures with them from a safe distance, and even feed them with bananas and peanuts. However, touching them or playing with them is not allowed as they may get aggressive. Make sure you follow the instructions written on the board to interact with the monkeys of the forest.
7. Coffee Plantations
Indonesians take a lot of pride in their coffee. Bali has several coffee plantations giving you a world class coffee experience. Walk through their coffee and spice gardens. Learn how world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, is made. Meet the hyper-active Luwak, the animal that produces this coffee. Try your hands on traditional coffee roasting and grinding procedures. Get a free coffee and tea tasting experience. The variety includes, Lemon Tea, Ginseng Tea, Mangosteen Tea, Rosela Tea, Lemongrass tea, Ginger Tea, Vanilla Coffee, Coconut Coffee, Cinnamon Coffee and many more. If you wish to taste Kopi Luwak, you need to pay for that, which is approximately $8 for a cup. The tour ends at their shop where you can buy the coffee and tea you liked most. You can also shop for herbal cosmetics and soaps made from the spices grown in their garden. This includes perfumes, message oils, body lotions, essential oils, etc.
8. Rice Terraces
One of the most famous rice terraces in Bali are Tegallalang Rice Terraces (Ubud). With its breathtaking and mesmerizing views, this place is a must visit. The moment you get out of your car, you will see the vast expansion of lush green terraces covering three hillsides and spreading down into the valley below. You can either enjoy the view of these paddy fields from the road, or go for a walk in between the terraces to explore more tranquil sections. It is also a great spot to sit for a bite and admire the splendid views of the fields. The best time to visit this place is early in the morning before it is swarmed with tourists. Make sure to bring your camera for some unforgettable memories, as well as your water bottle to keep you hydrated throughout the trip.
9. Ubud Village
Ubud village is famous for its traditional crafts and dance. It celebrates the beauty of nature and traditional Balinese culture. With its fine art, paintings and handicrafts, Ubud is a perfect tourist destination for art lovers. Enjoy the ‘Trance Dance’ performed by professional Balinese dancers, narrating the fight between good and evil. Visit the Celuk Village that is famous for its incredible gold and silver handicrafts. You can buy them at relatively low prices. Check out the Balinese artwork and traditional paintings at the Batuan village. The paintings are an illustration of religious stories and Balinese life. Step into the Ubud art market for some local shopping. You can buy souvenirs, wooden idols, bags, clothes, paintings and a lot more. Don’t forget to bargain.
10. Kintamani Volcano
Kintamani Volcano or Mount Batur is a major tourist attraction in Bali’s central highlands. Situated at a height of 1000 metres above the sea level, Mount Batur is an active volcano that has erupted around 24 times since the year 1800. The volcano is surrounded by beautiful nature. There are around six villages around the cauldron of Batur Lake. Take a day trip to Kintamani and enjoy the beauty of this majestic place. Dine at a local restaurant with a lake view. Relish the panoramic views of Kintamani along with delectable food. The temperature here is about 15 degrees cooler than down on the coast. As the night falls, this difference increases and there is a further drop in temperature. The best time to visit Kintamani is between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, you can also go for an early morning trek to watch the hypnotic beauty of the sunrise.
11. Sea Adventures
With its calm blue waters, Bali has an extensive list of watersports you can indulge in. Dare to ride on the waves with Jet Ski and feel the fresh breeze brush your hair. Enjoy the thrills of Banana boat ride or go for parasailing for that adrenaline rush. Surf on the playful waves or indulge in Fly Fishing. Try out snorkeling and admire the enchanting coral reefs, ship wreck and rich marine life of the sea. Board an underwater scooter to explore the hidden treasures of the sea. Feed the fishes and discover some ancient statues the sea must have swallowed an era back.
12. Balinese Spa
Last, but not the least on the list is a traditional Balinese Spa. The herbal spa ingredients and Balinese techniques of the spa is a perfect way to unwind and energize you. Enjoy the soothing body massage with fragrant oils in a peaceful setting. This is followed by body mask, flower tub bath and herbal tea of your choice. You can also opt for other services such as hot stone massage, hot and cold Jacuzzi bath, chocolate treatments, detox sauna and many more. There is a wide range of spa services offered by a variety of spa centres in Bali.