It is not without a reason that people say that Bali aka ‘Pulau Dewata’ is the island of Deities. There are more temples than houses in the island and some of the gorgeous and lavish houses can easily be mistaken for temples. It is a picture perfect destination that bestows the love of sun, sand, surf, beaches, temples, rice terraces, great food, art, culture, friendly people and more. It is among few touristy places in the world which gives you more than you may be seeking. From the vibrancy of the cultural hub of Ubud to the blissful peacefulness of Sanur to the intoxicating vibes of Kuta, this island is therapeutic like its world famous massages. Without doubt, Bali is beautiful. Its culture is unique. Its temples are picturesque. And, most importantly you can go adventurous in Bali. I would love to share some of my favorite activities because I have been there thrice.
For the first time when I had visited Bali back in 2011, I had indulged in the beauty of its Balinese temples, rice terraces, monkey jungles, surfing beaches, sunrise and sunsets, volcanoes and Hindu culture. After my ten days of cultural immersion and beach time, I had unwillingly returned home with bagful of memories and a suitcase full of Balinese artifacts (Batik, wood and stone carvings). If I had had my wish, I would have loved to stay back. There is so much to do that you could spend a whole month on the island and still not be bored. As my luck would have it, the travel Gods heard my wish and I got a chance to rediscover the island last year again.
Initially there was news of the smoke over the volcano, Mt. Agung, but once I was convinced that everything was under control and the danger level had gone down, I flew to the island fearlessly. Here comes my first advice and that is to buy an International Travel Insurance . It is very important to be ready for unprecedented emergencies and enjoy holidays without any kind of worry. Go adventurous in Bali but be prepared. Interestingly, the flight was packed, the airport was busy with tourists and there was no stress of any kind on anybody’s face. The island welcomed me with it open arms and I was charmed by its kindness yet again. While the world was really worried about the active volcano and feared its eruption, the locals were busy celebrating festivals.
Balinese festivals – Galungan and Kuningan festivals
The journey from the airport to Ubud was long but interesting. Almost all the streets were decorated with bamboo poles decorated with young coconut leaf decorations.
When I asked my driver, he informed me that Bali was celebrating two festivals named Galungan and Kuningan. Galungan is a ten day festival of victory of dharma over adharma (good over evil). At some places, I could also spot locals in their traditional attire attending temples ceremonies along with their families. The last day of the festival is known as Kuningan which was to be celebrated a week later. As the legends go, this festival is about the victory of Lord Indra over Balinese king Mayadenawa who denied Hinduism. These festivals take place two times in a year. Do check for them around February and July.
Indulge in art, culture and nature in Ubud
During my last visit, my focus had been on beaches and party of Sanur and Kuta. This time I wanted to do more of the temples, nature, art and adventures. If I had to recommend a place to stay, I would definitely recommend Ubud for a day or two. Ubud is blessed with surroundings that grows on you. If you are interested in yoga, nature walks, fresh air, this is the place. There are lot of peaceful temples around and even the Monkey Forest. It is also the center of traditional crafts and dance. During one of your dinners, you must see traditional Balinese dance performance. I also like Ubud for its interesting eateries, vibrant cafes, funky shops, and European-style restaurants. For the art lover in you, don’t miss the art galleries, especially Neka Art Museum. You may also attend a workshop. The art scene in Ubud is incredibly vivid and inspiring.
Sign up for Luwak Coffee Tasting
You must visit one of the spice plantations to taste the famous Kopi Luwak, also known as ‘cat-poo’ coffee. Civet coffee, or kopi luwak in Indonesia was discovered by the plantation workers. This is the most interesting coffee that I know of, especially after learning how it is processed. Well, the droppings of the civet cat are collected by locals to be washed, cleaned and dried. Every bean is covered by an outer skin called parchment. The beans have to be pounded to break off the parchment. Once the outer skin is removed, the beans are dry roasted, and there you get the famous and flavorful Kopi Luwak. Yes, it is different but you realize it only when you taste it. The plantation houses walk you around and introduce you to many other spices. Coffee and tea tasting happens at the end and it is a lovely way to end the tour. I drank six types of coffee and eight different types of tea and that’s when I realized that I have a taste for Vanilla tea. Tasting luwak coffee is nothing less than an adventurous activity.
Enjoy Quad Biking in the most adventurous terrain
If you don’t mind getting wet and dirty, this is definitely one of the most rewarding experiences that you will bring from the hills and terraces of Ubud. It does not need you to be a great bike rider but once you have done this, you would want to be one. Once you get the hang of the vehicle, there is no looking back. The thrill of winding through the hillsides and creek beds, riding through the rice terraces, dirt pool, forests and speeding through muddy patches, villages, and patchy roads is irreplaceable. If not for fun, just do this for the adrenaline rush.
Be at Tanah Lot on a rainy day!
Known for its gorgeous sunset and backdrop, Tanah Lot aka ‘Land in the Sea’ is one of the most popular temple on the island. While everyone suggests to go there on a bright and clear day to get some of the most stunning shots, I quite liked it on a rainy day too. The colorful umbrellas added to the beauty of its unique offshore setting.
Go Island Hopping and Explore Nusa Penida
There are two lovely islands just off the coast of Bali- Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. The rugged beauty of the island makes it a treasure. One just needs to book a boat ride from Sanur and the island of Nusa Penida is not far away. Being the largest of three islands off the south eastern coast of Bali, it is one of the best-kept secret of the island because it is untouched and underdeveloped. The pristine coral reefs that fringe the island are a great attraction. Billabong and Crystal Bay are a must do in Nusa Penida.
Snorkel at Crystal Bay
Its time to get adventurous in Bali. Crystal Bay is a small jagged islet off shore and one of the most popular and protected bay between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. It makes for a good spot and an extremely safe snorkel all year round. A day trip on a cruise or a fast boat is the best way to be here and enjoy its sand and clear waters till sunset. Despite being a renowned spot for spotting sea life and diving, there are very few people here. Thus, it is still non-touristy.
Try the Sea food at Seminiyak
With fresh catch every day, Bali is a safe haven for sea food. There are many recommended places for excellent and live displays sea food but one cannot miss Seminiyak or Jimbaran for their good treats every evening. These are also preferred beaches to end the day over a picturesque sunset and enjoy the treats by the beach. The hotels and restaurants spread their dining setup in the open and visitors can chose from grill, steam, barbecue and fried stuff. Some of them also offer open dine-in concept.
Don’t forget to party at Kuta beach
Kuta beach is amazing. No trip to Bali is complete without partying at Kuta beach. It is one of the most vibrant beaches and very popular with surfers. It is a very clean sandy beach with amazing sea waves. If you wish to learn surfing, this is the place for you. Clubbing and partying is also a highlight of this place. I also find it chaotic sometimes. If you like loud music, this can be your place.
Enjoy it all fearlessly with your insurance!
As expected, my trip turned out to be a fabulous one. I enjoyed multitude of adventure options without any worry because I had a Travel Insurance for Bali which covered injuries during these sports. Not many policies do that so you must check which one does it. While selecting insurance plan, one must check the top offerings. You must check if doing adventure courses for single days or more is insured or not. And last but not the least, the claim process must be easy. It is very important that the turn-around time is fastest.
Having an Insurance is a must because it is not very costly and very effective in case of emergencies. Enjoy your trip!