10 Things Not To Be Missed While In Bali
Updated: Mar 7, 2022
Bali has been a travellers paradise since a long long time and still continues to attract people from all over the world. This is a perfect tropical beach holiday with lots of other surprises thrown in good measure - lush green rice terraces, temples, lakes, beautiful countryside, and a unique culture with social customs and not to mention the mouthwatering food. So if can cover the length and breadth of the island you get the chance to experience it all. Here is our pick of the 10 things not to be missed in Bali!
Kecak dance at Uluwatu temple
1. Kecak Dance: Kecak dance and has become symbolic of Bali and something of a lifetime experience. Read here for details of our experience of Kecak dance. This is a live performance of a part of Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’ with the key characters and around 30 men who do the chanting. The dance itself has its roots in an old Balinese ritual called the ‘Sanghyang’ which was a way to communicate with God through trance caused by repetitive chanting and performed during sacred ceremonies to ward off epidemics. No musical instruments are used, only the repetitive chanting in different ways - after a while it feels like a background score and you forget that this is ‘chanting’ with no instruments! The performance is about an hour long. Read in details about our blog no Kecak dance here.
Barong dance at Catur Eka Budhi
2. Barong Dance: Barong dance is traditional dances of Bali which depicts the eternal flight between the dragon like Barong (representing order, harmony and health) and his demonic counterpart Rangda (associated with chaos, sickness and harm). It is believed that the magical power of Barong and Rangda is in their masks, therefore these are kept in village temples and given offerings. In real life also they are ‘awakened’ from time to time to restore the spiritual balance in the village. This is done through a battle ritual.
Grilled fish and seafood at Jimbaran fish market
3. Jimbaran fish market: Located near Kedonganan beach, the Jimbaran area is famous for its many sea food restaurants, which come alive in the evening and buzz with tourists. The fish market itself is located at the end of a long stretch of road by the sea beach. The market is open every day from 6am to 3pm with fresh daily catch on display – the fish and seafood are also supplied to the popular restaurants. There are two options to eat- either head to a proper restaurant or wander through the market and buy what you want to eat- then give these to one of the local shops who can grill these for you and serve it with rice and sambal. Read here for the full experience.
Walking path and track around Jatiluwith rice terrace
4. Jatiluwith rice terrace: Located on the central-western part of the island, this vastly spread rice terrace is located on the slopes of Batukaru mountain range. Most tourists only visit Tegallalang rice terrace. Though in our opinion Jatiluwih rice terrace is equally beautiful, but less touristy. The sprawling fields require half or full day trip on different trekking routes, and you can choose what works for your time and energy levels. We opted for an ‘easy’ trekking route as we did not fancy carrying a 3-year-old on our way back! It took us around 2 hours to complete walk around the fields on mostly flat routes.
Coffee Luak tasting session experience
5. Coffee Luak experience: Coffee Luak is considered the most expensive coffee in the world. The beans are collected from the droppings of Indonesian palm civets, which are known to pick and eat the best coffee fruits. The coffee beans come out in the dropping undigested. After a few rounds of rigorous washing and processing the coffee beans are roasted and ready to be grounded. There are many coffee luak farms in the central and eastern part of the island where the process of coffee making is shown followed by tasting season. Weather you chose to go for a tasting session, a trip to luak farm is something you should not miss.
Balinese painting workshop and gallery
6. Visit a painting workshop: Balinese painting has its own unique style. Most common themes are nature- bamboo trees and birds and various dance forms, mythological figures and story-telling. There are many privately owned painting workshops and galleries in Dempasar and Ubud area that you can visit. You can see the artists in these workshops engrossed in their work of art. Some of these workshops are housed in beautiful vintage buildings with backyard ponds teeming with colourful koi fish.
Balinese wood caring - Garuda
7. Visit wood carving workshop: A nice way to see see artisans at work. The shops display everything from miniature figurines to intricately carved furniture sets. If you are serious about buying, do some research before you go so have some clarity on what you want to buy and how much you want to pay. As is always with such places, you need to make some quick decisions to avoid feeling ripped off. A lot of these workshops can also arrange to ship overseas if you are buying a bigger piece.
At the shore of lake Beratan
8. Relax by the lake Beratan near Ulun Danu temple: Lake (danu) Bratan in the northern region of the island is home to the temple complex of Ulun Danu. Though the seemingly ‘floating’ temple circled by Bedugul mountains is the reason you go there, but make sure you factor in some time to soak in the surreal surroundings by sitting by danu Bratan. The fresh air at this altitude and sun (if you are in luck) makes this an extremely relaxing place to take a break and just stare into the horizon.
9. Ubud craft market: Located in the heart of Ubud town – this art market houses hundreds of shops selling wood carvings, paintings, artifacts, clothes, handbags, food etc. It is quite a vibrant place and makes for a nice leisurely walk. If you proficient in haggling, this is your place! If are not- give it a go! Balinese people are usually kind and soft spoken and haggling is common here like most of south east Asia.
Padang Padang beach
10. Padang Padang beach: Tucked away in the southern part this little hidden gem was brought to the limelight by Julia Roberts’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Roughly 5-minute walk from the car park and down some stiff stairs and through a hollow rock entrance- this small beach is popular among surfers as well as families. It’s a nice little place to spend a relaxing afternoon Living up to the true Bali style of unexpected sights- you may get greeted by monkeys or pop up shacks that offer massage!