Eight must-do activities in Bali for the full Balinese experience
Planning a visit to the Island of Gods? Make your next trip unforgettable by including these activities in your itinerary!
As the tourism industry slowly reopens after two years, Bali is becoming a dream destination for many.
Known as the “Island of Gods”, many travellers seek to visit the tropical island for its beautiful beaches, venerated temples, calming waterfalls and scenic mountains with lush greenery.
Whether you are a thrill seeker, a culture vulture or a foodie, Bali has got something to offer for everyone. Here are the eight activities to add to your itinerary that will give you the full experience of the Balinese culture!
1. Visit Nusa Penida
Located in the southeast of mainland Bali, Nusa Penida is a relatively undeveloped island tucked away from the hustle and bustle of touristy areas such as Kuta and Seminyak.
Although the island may not house any high-end beach clubs, vegan cafes or trendy restaurants, it is becoming a popular spot frequented by tourists for its precious crystal blue waters and stunning coastal cliffs.
You can easily get to Nusa Penida via a speedboat from Sanur in the morning and return in the evening just before the sun sets.
Several activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving can be enjoyed on the island, so it is recommended that you take a day trip there.
If you’re not interested in participating in water activities, you can still take a half-day trip to the island and visit the scenic Kelingking Beach, Angel Billabong Beach, and Broken Beach with a personal driver.
2. Hike to the top of Mount Batur
Besides the amazing rice terraces, waterfalls, sandy beaches and coastal cliffs, Bali is also known for its two active volcanoes on the island – Mount Batur and Mount Agung.
The Mount Batur hike commonly starts at 4am, so it does require you to wake up at an ungodly hour and be at the peak of the mountain before sunrise. Based on our experience – it was totally worth the climb!
Once you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll be served with a complimentary breakfast set consisting of your choice of hot beverage, a banana sandwich and hard-boiled eggs. It can get quite chilly at the summit, but the locals provide a blanket for which you may have to pay a fee.
3. Experience lunch with a view of the Tegallalang Rice Terrace
What’s a trip to Bali if you haven’t gotten a chance to catch the rice terraces?
Located in the regency of Gianyar, Tegallalang Rice Terrace is an ideal place for travellers seeking a sense of peace and tranquillity. With the abundance of blooming trees and lush greenery, the beauty of this verdant spot can’t be missed.
Contrary to life in Singapore, slow living is commonly practised here on the Island of Gods.
As you explore the rice terrace, you can expect to see local Balinese growing crops and working at a leisure pace. Coupled with the calming wind and the sounds of birds chirping, visiting Tegallalang Rice Terrace will feel like a refreshing retreat.
4. Learn how to surf at Kuta Beach
In need of an adrenaline rush after a series of zen activities in Bali? Hit the beach and enjoy a good surf at one of Bali’s most famous beaches, Kuta Beach.
If you’re an inexperienced surfer or planning to jump on the surfboard for the first time, Kuta Beach should be your first stop as it is the most beginner-friendly beach for surfing in Bali.
Upon entering the beach, you will be welcomed by many friendly local surfers who are more than willing to offer you a surfing lesson. The cost of a one-and-a-half-hour surfing session provided by an experienced local surfer typically runs at about IDR 150,000 (S$14).
5. Witness purification rituals at Tirta Empul Temple
Nestled in the heart of Gianyar, Tirta Empul Temple is one of the largest and busiest temples in Indonesia.
Founded in 926 A.D., the temple welcomes tourists from all around the world to experience the beauty of purification rituals and witness Balinese worshippers purify themselves.
Like many other sacred sites and temples across Bali, Indonesia, it is customary to put on a sarong (wrap skirt) before entering the temple as a sign of respect for their culture. The sarongs are available for free at the temple’s entrance, but other temples may charge a small fee.
6. Make friends with the local Balinese
To make the most out of your travel experiences, developing your social circle and befriending the locals are integral aspects you shouldn’t miss out on!
The Balinese are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet and will greet everyone with a smile on their faces.
While most Balinese are fluent in English due to the influx of tourists, the main language used throughout the island is Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese language.
Wherever you decide to wander on this island, you’re bound to meet locals everywhere – so it’s always good to prepare yourself with common phrases that you can use to interact with the locals.
The following are a few common and useful phrases we’ve put together to help you kickstart conversations with the locals:
Good morning – Selamat pagi
Good afternoon – Selamat sore
Good night – Selamat malam
Thank you – Terima kasih / Suksema
You’re welcome – Sama-sama / Suksema mewali
7. Explore the island on a scooter
While apps like Gojek and Grab allow you to get from one place to another conveniently throughout Bali, renting a scooter is still the best way to explore the island and discover hidden gems like a local.
While most scooter rental shops in Bali allow travellers to rent a scooter without showing a driving licence, police officers may conduct random physical checks on travellers where they are required to show proof of an international driving permit.
8. Sip on Bali’s authentic Kopi Luwak
If you are in need of a caffeine boost, you have to try Kopi Luwak at least once in your life – especially on the island of Bali!
Kopi Luwak, also commonly referred to as Civet Coffee, is the most expensive coffee in the world made from a civet’s faeces. The coffee is made when civet cats consume fresh coffee berries which are digested in their system. These coffee beans are then collected, washed, roasted, brewed, and transformed into aromatic Kopi Luwak.
Upon visiting the coffee plantation, you’ll also be entitled to do a free coffee and tea tasting, with an additional fee of IDR 50,000 (S$4.60) if you’d like to try out a cup of Kopi Luwak – which we highly recommend!
If you ever plan a visit to Bali, don’t miss out on any of the activities on this list! They are guaranteed to give you the best of food, lifestyle and culture on the island.