Things to do in Bali

Things to do in Bali


Our top activities in Bali

Cultural heritage

Rural communities are founded around family and worship with water temples adorning fields, gardens and rice paddies in accordance to Subak – the sustainable and sacred system of irrigation – to make a fascinating addition to a guided walk within the central highlands. Just as integral to Balinese cultural heritage is food and there's no better way to discover the secret spices involved in an authentic Nasi Goring or Nasi Campur than joining a cooking class on the coast in Candidsa.

Dive in

Snorkelling and diving rank as two of Bali’s most unforgettable experiences with a string of sites along the north and east coasts showcasing coral gardens flush with tropical fish, barrel sponges and sea anemones, no distance at all from the shore. The coral-covered WW2 wreck at Tulamben is breathtaking with a ban on fishing enabling an explosion of eels, octopus, squid and barracuda alongside shoals of damsel, butterfly and clown fish. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, just off the southeast coast, promise manta rays via dive boats around Penida whilst at Mangrove Point on Lembongan, currents are much gentler to allow a safe drift over fish-filled coral nurseries. Bali Barat National Park always promises successful snorkelling with Menjangan Island, particularly the shallow reef, coral canyon and subsequent drop off, conjuring up sea turtles, white tipped sharks, eagle and sting rays.
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Rice terraces

Away from Bali’s beaches it’s rice terraces melting over hillsides like clocks in Dali's Persistence of Memory that attract those seeking solace from the heat, with central highland villages like Jatiluwih, overlooked by Mt Batukaru, awash with water-filled paddy fields. For photographers looking for the greenest of green shoots, February, March and April is the best time to visit the rice terraces although visit a couple of months later, June and July, and you’ll find the fields alive with activity as crops are harvested before Sasih Karo storing ceremonies in August. Walking and cycling is certainly the best way to explore in the central highlands with quiet country tarmac lanes leading between rice terraces, fruit orchards, spice plantations and pockets of rural life to be found in and around villages like Munduk, just a two hour drive north of Ubud.

Homestays

The further you get from built up Bali the more local people you'll meet with homestays in villages like Tirta Gangga, near the water palace, a great way to become part of a community where you can join in and help out as much or as little as you’d like. Local guides will introduce you to villagers and explain the etiquette, the work and the activities before leaving you to settle in with a host family, usually over a steaming pan of coffee.
Photo credits: [Cultural heritage: Peter Pham] [Dive in: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten] [Rice terraces: Kai Lehmann] [Homestays: John Y. Can]

Written by: Chris Owen
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