What Bali has to offer may be found in many other territories on the globe, but it is the multifarious experiences on offer that make it a truly unique and divine destination. To say that Bali is a melting pot of experiences, would not be an exaggeration. A land of geographical wonders- Bali is one island where one can relish the beauty of diverse topographies like sea, cliffs, volcanic mountains, caves and waterfalls, rainforests, rivers. Bali promises an unforgettable tropical holiday with year- round balmy temperatures and its motley mix of lifetime experiences.
On my recent trip to Bali, I was amazed when a local Balinese asked me if it was my first time in this island paradise. Though this query left me little perplexed (after all, with 7 continents and over 250 countries on this planet, why would I think of repeating a tourist destination!), but soon I realised why his query was rather well-founded. Bali is one place that will leave you asking for more and hence inadvertently calls for revisits. So, what are you waiting for??
Here are the reasons why Bali makes for an awesome experiential holiday –
1) Experience terrace farming – Terraces are a classic feature on the landscape of Bali. The rice cultivation on varying levels follow the natural contours of the escarpments, which make for great panoramic views. I had heard lots about terrace farming, but had never envisaged that terrace farms could be so spectacular. There are several places to view these fields- I had the chance to visit Tegallalang’s stunning rice terraces in Ubud, which according to my guide, offer the most breathtaking views. Meandering my way through these fields through the mini steplets here and there, I gazed at the fabulous views of the emerald farms, that are bound to leave one awestruck. Remember not to rush and just comb your way lazily through the fields in the afternoon sun, relaxing at some of the vantage points sipping a cool drink at tiny joints out there, watching happy locals busily harvesting their crops.
2) View amazing sunsets- Sunsets may be easy to explain scientifically (thanks to rotation of Earth!), but their beauty is harder to put into words. Their array of colors, silhouettes, and overall vistas can only be felt and admired. Bali is a treasure trove of picturesque places to watch the sun go down. The sun dipping down the horizon at Uluwatu temple and Tanah lot temple have given Bali a firm footing for world’s most spectacular sunsets. The silhouette of temple premises seen against the backdrop of mesmerizing sunsets with waves crashing against the cliffsides is a sight to cherish and behold.
3) Experience Hinduism in abundance- Bali isn’t just known for the beauty of its nature, idyllic beaches, iconic temples and paddy fields. It is steeped in rich culture and religious tradition where interesting festivals are held every year. As one of Indonesia’s major tourism draws, it is also renowned for its culture, including its unique tradition of Hinduism with its heavy emphasis on art and rituals. Okay, I have seen many countries (other than India) with Hindu temples and huge idols of deities, but nowhere close to Bali. Roundabouts with artistically crafted idols of Arjuna, Ghatotkach, etc. left us awestruck as much as baskets of palm leaves full with flowers, sweets (as offerings) can be seen at entrances of homes, shops and even hotels signifying the rich and profound Hinduism culture in Bali.
4) Amazing retail therapy – For female shoppers, Bali is a huge paradise for conventional shopping as cute little boutiques can be seen on main streets of Seminyak and Ubud. The good news is that thrift shops also abound in every district particularly around its temples. These thrift shops ensure great buys at dirt cheap prices, only thing is that you need to flex your bargaining skills!
5) Try yoga and meditation in retreats- Bali is often considered a ‘wellbeing destination’. The yoga gatherings out here attract yogis and spirituality seekers from around the globe for its exotic locations and serene natural settings. It is known as a place to relax and find enlightenment and with that in mind head for the Yoga Barn which is one of the most famous yoga retreats on the island. Situated in quiet and contemplative Ubud, the Yoga Barn has multiple studios and a range of programmes for all levels of ability. You can even book to stay here for a retreat lasting several days and there are cleansing and detox programs that will help you to relax and adjust to a slower pace of life.
6) Get arty in myriad ways- Bali is filled with art. In fact, art lies at the heart of Balinese culture.From the cute handmade art pieces to local wood and stone carvings, mind-boggling bamboo structures– Bali oozes with creativity at every nook and corner. Hence for an artlover, Bali is nothing but a heaven. The Ubud district is widely known as the cultural heartland of Bali where rows of shops celebrate craftsmanship through souvenirs and varieties of art décor and batik paintings. Life- size statues of Buddha crafted in stone and myriad pieces for home decor ideas are enough to bug an art fanatic to go overboard on his shopping spree. The stone carvings in Batubulan village are also worth seeing. So, If you are planning to refurbish your home, a shopping trip to Bali is a perfect idea.
7) Take a leap on a giant swing– Looking for some adrenaline rush, but of a different kind? Tegallalang rice terraces offer you a ride of a life time on its giant swing tied from two huge coconut trees, high atop ahill. Gaze at the amazing terrace views, while you swing on this ride. There are many other places which offer this experience like Zen hideaway on the mighty Agung river. Wherever you decide to go, the experience is worth it!!
8) Try myriad water sports all rolled in one island-The mighty Agung River is the life source of Bali – and for most, getting up close and personal with this spectacular river is truly unforgettable. This river promises some of the most memorable river rafting experience Not only river rafting, Bali is haven for water sports of all kinds. Benoa beach is famous for scuba diving, sea walks, parasailing, wakeboarding, flyboarding, cliff jumping, canyoning, surfing, stand- up paddle boating, etc.
9) Visit world famous bars- Bali is renowned for delightful array of cafes and bars, some of which I hope to explore on my future visits. Rock Bar topped my list and nothing could stop me from exploring it. evening and night time is especially magical at this bar, albeit in a more intimate, sensual way, with twinkling stars above, spot-lit ocean and cooler night air. The bar’s innovative, minimalist design exploits the natural formation and character of the rock on which the bar sits. The unique descent to the bar is via an inclinator that traverses the cliff-face, giving you a bird’s eye view before you officially arrive to take your seat. Your 360-degree vantage point affords nothing between you and the horizon but crashing ocean waves (and the odd traditional fishing boat, adding another touch of magic to postcard-worthy photos). Dining in this affable outdoor venue in the company of shimmering ocean waves or a so-called dazzling ‘aquatic show’ is by itself an experience of a lifetime.
10) Get amazed by the mystical temples- Bali is a potpourri of gorgeous temples carved out of volcanic stones. These ash- coloured structures boast of ornate architecture with spectacular backdrops of mountains, lakes or unmissable sunsets, form some of the most picturesque and photographic sights. Apart from the most -frequented Tanah Lot Temple and the Uluwatu Temple, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Taman Ayun and Goa Gajah temple are some not be missed temple sites.
About the Author:
Bandana Jain has been churning out articles for eminent publications like Gulf News for roughly two decades. Writing and reporting is more of a passion to her than a profession. When not busy with her writing spree, she can be seen happily playing badminton or cycling around Zabeel Park or even chilling out on the greens of a park sipping away masala chai. A speaker of sorts, Bandana loves to speak on public forums and envisions herself as a motivational speaker. She endeavours to make this world a better place through her small yet significant stints of recycling initiatives. Though not anytime soon, she does intend to come up with her autobiography to portray the struggles and challenges of a lay Indian woman.