Featured writer: Brenda Panin
It is difficult to believe there could be so much to do on one island. Bali seems to have it all: sandy beaches, rumbling volcanoes, great food, a unique culture, mystifying temples and colorful coral reefs. With so many options to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to begin. For an exciting and memorable trip to Bali, try one — or better, several — of the exciting activities below.
Visit Tanah Lot temple
Few temples are more mysterious or beautiful than Tanah Lot. The temple perches on a mass of rocks rising from the ocean near the Balinese coast. Steps and caves carved into the rocks make the temple look as if it is more natural than man-made. Legend has it that a giant water snake guards the temple, which dates to the 15th century. Local authorities restored the temple in the 1980’s with the help of donations from the Japanese, but the temple retains an authentic ancient look.
Surf huge waves at Balangan Beach
Massive waves regularly roll into this remote beach in south Bali’s Bukit peninsula. Although many visitors consider this white-sand beach the best on the entire island, it is fairly remote and has fewer tourists than other parts of the island. Balangan’s large waves may overwhelm inexperienced surfers, so the surfing here is recommended for experts only.
Chow down on unique Balinese food
Indonesian food and western food are both available in Bali, but for something truly special, try a few Balinese dishes. Babi guling, a roasted suckling pig, is a delicacy that locals and tourists both enjoy. Urutan is a spicy Balinese sausage made from pork. Though pork is the most popular meat in Bali, other options are available. Consider bebek betutu — a duck smothered in herbs, wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked over charcoal. Also delicious is satay lilit, minced seafood wrapped around a lemon grass twig.
Listen to lively Balinese music
Traditional Balinese music is played by a gamelan, which is essentially the Indonesian version of an orchestra. The gamelan has many different instruments including bamboo flutes, gongs, primitive string instruments and xylophones. Visitors to Bali can hear the rich history of music on the island in the exciting sounds of the gamelan. Balinese play music at festivals, religious events and sometimes just for fun. The locals often dance while the gamelan plays, adding a visual element to this distinctive auditory experience only available in Bali.
Hike up a volcano
There are many mountains throughout the world that offer views of lakes, forests and scenery. Mount Batur is different from those mountains in one very big way: It is a volcano. The top of this impressive volcano is over 5,000 feet above sea level, but most hikers can reach to the summit in only two hours. Smoke and occasionally lava stream from the active volcano, which itself rests inside the caldera of a more ancient volcano. A beautiful caldera lake swimming with fish is nearby. Photo opportunities abound in this uncommonly stunning area.
Dive deep in Tulamben
This village on Bali’s northeast coast offers some of the island’s best diving opportunities. Divers can descend to amazing coral reefs swimming with a variety of large fish including sunfish, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, reef sharks and whale sharks. Hundreds of species of smaller tropical fish, many of them brightly colored, also inhabit the reef. History buffs and divers looking for something different can dive to the wreck of the Liberty, an American ship sunk by the Japanese in World War II. The wreck is encrusted in coral and swimming with many of the same fish found on natural coral reefs.
All you need is to book your flight to Bali and the adventure of your life can begin! Get ready for an amazing trip that will bring you close to nature and rich nightlife of this wonderful island. It will surely give you something to remember!