Active travel may mean different things to different people. For some, hiking and biking are great ways to see the local sights while for others, higher risk activities such as sky diving and underwater cave explorations are the only way to travel on the edge. However, for most of us, no matter what activity level we enjoy, we all like to try and connect with a place and its customs as much as possible. Today’s guest writer, Ann Shirley, shows us how to really connect with the local lifestyle in beautiful Bali.
Bali may not typically be one of the first places you hear people talk about wanting to travel to, but it is by far one of the most beautiful, unique, fun and exciting places to visit. Located in Indonesia, Bali’s island status allows it to be surrounded by beautiful bodies of water that call for many fun aquatic activities and also give a home to various forms of marine life. In addition, an Indonesian connection gives it a strong sense of culture as the exotic destination is frequently referred to as the “Island of Hinduism”. If you’re interesting in visiting Bali, here are 5 things great activities for active travelers when visiting Bali.
- Visit a Hindu Temple. Bali is known for its large, beautiful Hindu Temples. Pura Besakih is the largest Hindu temple in Bali making it a hot spot for tourists. However, I found on my trip that Pura Tirta Empul had a lot more to offer. This temple gives you a better sense of the Hindu culture and how Hindus worship. Plus, it is breath-takingly beautiful. Its water is said to be holy and to have a special cleansing effect on those who wash in it. After making an offering, visitors can come for a cleansing and to worship and pray at the temple.
- Visit a rice field. Some hotels offer deals such as buffalo riding tours that will give you a glimpse of the rice field, but I recommend going on your own. During my recent trip to Bali my husband and I decided to stay in Negara City. This area isn’t as touristy as some of the other places we visited. We were able to observe some workers in the rice fields as well as see how they live, where they eat, and just generally live like locals for a few days.
- Swim with the Sharks. Most people are completely terrified by the idea of swimming with sharks. I’ll admit I was, too. But this is a one-of-a-kind experience that is completely exhilarating. Guides are always on hand to ensure that you are safe at all times. You can swim alongside them and even feed them. The sharks aren’t nearly as scary as everyone makes them out to be. As long as you don’t bother them they can be nice little aquatic creatures.
- Learn a new local skill or craft. Balinese individuals are known for being artistic in very unique ways. Two of their most famous artistic skills include wood carving and making batik. Batiks are special cloths made from a complex wax-resistance dying technique. The colors, traditionally indigo or brown, are said to represent the Hindu gods, thus making the batik a very important cultural and religious symbol for the Balinese. I recommend enrolling in a batik making workshop so that you can learn how to make it yourself, explore its history and take home a special one-of-a-kind souvenir. You’ll appreciate the item more if you make it yourself instead of just buying one from a gift shop, and you’ll feel more deeply connected to the Balinese culture.
- Eat like a local. I got the idea of eating street food when I was researching ways to eat like a local. Another travel enthusiast wrote about where to find the best Bali “street food” and I knew that I had to find some of my own on my trip to Bali. As a lover of both duck and spicy foods, I really appreciated bebek betutu. This dish is very spicy and made with duck and has quite a history in Balinese culture.
Have any of you visited Bali before? What were your favorite parts of your trip? If not, what things would you most like to do in Bali? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email with your comments or questions.