The mystical energy, the lush landscapes, the breathtaking temples and the warm Indian Ocean lapping on beautiful beaches have kept travelers coming to Bali for decades. Just one of the more than 17,000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago, Bali has a special appeal and makes a lasting mark on anyone who experiences it.
Here are a few travel tips:
Rainy season in Bali lasts from October until March and can see intense downpours, though that is the window where you can find better deals on accommodation. For a lower chance of rain, go between April and October.
Balinese food uses a huge array of spices from coriander, cardamom, garlic, ginger and chillies along with coconut, palm sugar, and shrimp paste. The complexity of the flavors in Balinese lend itself well to fusion restaurants, which Alchemy – one of our favorites – is a master at. It’s not totally traditional, but all the flavors are there. It also feels really healthy and a bit lighter than some Indonesian food.
Bali is hot, you’ve just got to accept it. But luckily there are some wonderful drinks that are made specifically to cool you down. Cendol is one of them, and though it’s considered a bit of a dessert drink, it really works. Sometimes it has red beans and tapioca balls or cut up fruit, like jack fruit, inside. It’s a great mix of flavors – one you most likely won’t have tried before – and has that added wonderful benefit of cooling you off from the inside out!
The Hanging Gardens Bali hotel has a beautiful bar and a swimming pool that is regularly voted one of the best in the world. It deserves a visit if you’re not already staying there – go grab a drink at the bar and enjoy a little luxury!
Ask a local to show you how to do a proper Hindu offering. It’s a fun way to learn more about the culture. Participating in the daily activities of the locals is a great way to make memories and connections with the people.
Visit Tirta Empul holy springs. Discovered in AD 962 and believed to have magical powers, the water at Tirta Empul gushes out of waterspouts, move down one by one for the full spiritual cleansing ritual.
Walk through the Monkey Forest in Ubud. The monkeys totally run the place and are hilarious to watch. And be warned: they are not shy and will come after your stuff if they think it’s food! It’s also the most beautiful, lush, green forest and some time spent in there is unmistakably Balinese.
Hike or cycle through Tegalalang Rice Terrace. There are fantastic views over the rice paddies and some great cafes and restaurants to eat at after you’ve worked up an appetite (which you will do!) walking or cycling around. It’s a nice change of pace and volume from the bustling streets.
Don’t miss the Kecak, the monkey chant dance. It’s a traditional Balinese dance and music drama reenacting a battle from Ramayana, the Sanskrit poem. It’s a trance-inducing dance which is completely hypnotic and invigorating to watch.
Visiting Bali Pulinah, the spice and coffee plantation, is a fantastic experience that we recommend you don’t miss. You can walk between all the plants and learn about the way local delicacies are processed and made. The smells are incredible and the coffee and tea tasting being a highlight.
Tanah Lot is very touristy, but is still definitely worth seeing. It’s a temple that sits on an offshore rock. Surrounded by water, it’s a special site and the changing light and water levels throughout the day make it feel like a different place from one moment to another.
Don’t miss a trip (or two) to Ubud Market. From art and souvenirs to clothing and household goods, the colors are overwhelming and you’ll wish you’d brought an empty suitcase to fill.
Photos and suggestions by Marianna Jamadi.