Bali is not just another tropical paradise. Venture out from the resort and go beyond splashing in or lounging by the pool to kickstart the real fun of your holiday.
Explore the area
Ubud is a haven for relaxation, rejuvenation and reinvention. In the hills and jungle, a sense of serenity overpowers your senses; the endless opportunities to hike and explore the wilderness, rainforests and gardens awaken your spirits instantly.
Or head into a more bustling centre to live like a local. Seminyak is Bali’s trendy hotspot. There, you’ll find boutiques filled with international designers, but you’ll also find a fantastic mix of local artists’ work. Batik and Ikat fabrics, Balinese wood carvings and wayang shadow puppets are some of Bali’s traditional art and handicrafts.
Taste the cuisine
After shopping like a local, eat like a local. Don’t miss the chance to try authentic rice and noodle dishes nasi goreng and mie goreng. Carnivores would be remiss not to try sate, a char-grilled meat skewer served with sauce. Vegetarians would delight in sambal, a paste-like relish made with chilis and spices, a treat with heat, sourness, and umami.
Experience the customs
And for a most immersive experience, visit Bali during one of their holidays or festivals. One to try is Galungan, a religious Balinese holiday that celebrates good over evil, or dharma over adharma. Decorations, most notably adorned bamboo poles, line the streets to help celebrate this beautiful holiday. Over the days when the holiday is celebrated, religious offerings are made and end in a day of fun. As a visitor, you can show respect for the holiday by going for a swim in the ocean on the final day; it’s a symbolic way to cleanse negative energy and spirits.
Or stay for Nyepi, the Balinese New Year celebration that includes a day of silence. On this day, hotels cover their windows, no candles are lit, and the island essentially shuts down. Another part of this celebration is the ogoh-ogoh parade, which fills the streets. As a visitor, watch the spectacle of this parade, as Balinese men and boys tote statues representing malevolent spirits and make music and noise to ‘scare’ the spirits. There is truly no better way to get to know a new culture than to participate in - and show respect for - their celebrations.