When you think of the island of Bali in Indonesia, it almost seems like the kind of travel destination that’s reserved for special events and occasions. That is to say, it’s not a destination that actually seems like a plausible option unless you have a built-in reason to go.
Until very recently, the most popular context in which you hear about a Bali vacation might be with regard to honeymoons. Not too long ago, one of the premiere sites for all things wedding-related ranked the island as one of the 50 best honeymoon destinations, and specifically singled it out as one of the more romantic possibilities. The article noted Bali’s nickname (“Isle of the Gods”) and described it as a “magnet for romance seekers” due to its stunning scenery and arts scene.
You might also hear about Bali as one of those exotic islands where people win vacations, rather than plan them on their own. Just a couple years ago, a prominent online gaming platform teased players by asking them how much they would love winning themselves a holiday in paradise, promising a lucky winner a trip for two to Bali worth over $6000! This sort of contest, while wonderful, contributes to the almost myth-like quality of the island as a destination. It seems like the kind of place someone sends you to if you’re lucky; not a place you simply pack up and visit.
But—and I think you know where I’m going with this—you totally can pack up and visit, so long as you budget appropriately and plan ahead.
The Obama family recently visited Bali in grand style, so of course Bali seems exclusive because, for most of us, it’s remote; and it seems special because, well, it is. But it’s not set aside solely for honeymooners and prize winners.
It’s a real, spectacular destination that you can enjoy if you plan appropriately. That involves picking the right time to go, saving up a travel budget, and other personal considerations. But we’re going to gloss over all that and instead highlight a few must see attractions and things to do in Bali once you actually get there.
Visit The Temples
Bali is nothing if not a hub for ancient temples, and visiting them is not a dry activity at all. It’s solemn in a way, sure, but these are some of the most impressive attractions you’ll find at any island destination. To that point, one article professing to list the top 10 things to do on the island mentioned three different temples (Tirta Empul, Uluwatu, and Tanah Lot). Make sure to put at least one on your itinerary.
Get Adventurous In The Water
It goes without saying that Bali is home to some stunning beaches and clear, inviting water. But as appealing as it is to simply relax at these beaches, Bali is also a hub for watersports. Surfing in particular is a high point for a lot of tourists who end up taking their first lessons, but with the right conditions you can also try something like windsurfing or kiteboarding.
Tour The Rice Fields
This might not sound like the most thrilling activity at a glance. Then again, it’s also hard to picture what a rice field might look like if you’ve never seen one. The truth is, they’re pretty stunning. They’re almost like the Balinese equivalent of some of the gorgeous grape vineyards you can find in places like Italy, Portugal, or northern California. You can hike through some of these fields, and in some cases even take a bicycle or enjoy a guided tour.
Stay A Night At A Safari Lodge
This one pretty much speaks for itself. There are hotels that are effectively hospitable safari lounges, meaning you can stay in a room within feet of exotic animals like zebras and rhinos. A safari lodge stay is most definitely on my bucket list.
Take A Cooking Class
Bali has some of the most unique cuisine in the world, and you’ll find that the people of the island enjoy sharing it with you. So why not learn how to take it back home with you? Learning Balinese cooking techniques is actually a popular activity for tourists, and there are plenty of opportunities to do so as you enjoy your stay on the island. Plus, you’ll get to eat some really good food in the process.
These are just a few activities that go beyond the pristine beaches and legendary resorts. But they’re well worth keeping in mind if you get your chance to visit. And remember, you don’t need a special occasion to go!
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