BALI

Things to do

Things to do in Bali

Bali's Hindu culture and history is both extraordinary and unique. Many visitors get so wrapped up in shopping, partying and beach life to miss the opportunity to understand and absorb at least some of this. You cannot fail to see temples, come across ceremonies and witness daily offerings, and those who take the time and effort to understand what is going on around them will find their visit very rewarding. The Balinese art of shadow puppetry (aka Wayang Kulit) is worth checking out during a visit to the island.

There are several hot springs to be discovered in Bali. One of them, on the north coast of the island near Lovina, is Air Banjar, where stone mouth carvings allow hot water to pass between the pools, which are set in lush gardens. Another good choice is at Toya Bungkah on the shores of Lake Batur, high in the north eastern mountains.

Bali is a paradise for spa lovers, and all sorts of treatments are widely available. The Balinese lulur body scrub with herbs and spices—traditionally performed before a wedding ceremony—is particularly popular.Balinese massage is usually done with oil and involves long, Swedish-style strokes. In steep contrast to exorbitant western massage fees, Balinese massage is incredible value, and visitors should definitely avail themselves of this luxury. In local salons, a one-hour full body massage will cost between Rp 70,000 and 100,000, and the 2 hr mandi lulur, which incorporates a body scrub and hydrating yogurt body mask in addition to the massage, will cost about Rp 150,000. The curiously named creambath is a relaxing scalp and shoulder massage, usually lasting 45 minutes, in which a thick conditioning cream is worked through the hair and into the scalp. A creambath typically costs about Rp 60,000. Note that these same services in an upscale hotel will cost many times more.

Bali is host to some of the finest yoga and well-being centres and retreats in the world. You can find an abundance of amazing yoga classes to suit all levels in most of the tourist areas. Look for the best yoga centres in Ubud and Seminyak. Bali is also now home to a number of renowned yoga teacher training centres. Good local resources for finding the best include "Bali spirit and "SBC Yoga Teacher Trainings"[www] and [www]

Weddings in Bali have become very popular in recent years. Many couples who are already legally married choose Bali as the place to renew their vows. Full wedding-organising services are widely available: ceremony arrangements, photography, videography, flowers, musicians, dancers and caterering. There are several wedding chapels available that are usually attached to luxury hotels, and the number is growing all the time. There are many professional organisers to handle your wedding in Bali, and these are easily found through the Internet. Destination weddings, featuring all types of religious and presentation arrangements, are becoming increasingly popular, with large private villas being one of the island's many offerings for venues.

An excellent way to get to know and understand more of the country is to do some volunteer work. There are organisations that arrange work for international volunteers in Bali and other places in the region.


Water activities

There are many interesting scuba diving sites around Bali. Particularly popular are the wreck of USAT Liberty at Tulamben in the east, the chilled out coral bommies in Padang Bai, the serene reefs around Menjangan Island in the northwest, and dramatic drift diving off Nusa Penida in the south. Bali is a major teaching centre, and there are numerous reputable dive centres around the island affiliated with PADI and SSI. For those who want their diving to make a difference as well, dive voluntourism has gain a foothold in Bali, such as in Sea Communities in Les Village, Tejakula, where divers could help rebuild coral reefs and learn to catch ornamental fish in a sustainable way.

Warm waters, crowds of young backpackers, cheap living and reliable waves keep Bali near the top of world surfing destinations. The southern coast at Kuta, Legian and Canggu, the Bukit Peninsula and Nusa Lembongan are the primary draws. Expert surfers usually head for the big breaks off the Bukit Peninsula, whilst beginners will find the gentler, sandy areas between Kuta and Legian to be ideal for learning. All Bali's surf beaches are described in the "Indo Surf and Lingo" surfing guidebook [www]. There are formal surf schools on Legian beach and Kuta beach. The more adventurous might like to try informal lessons from one of the many local self-styled surf teachers to be found hanging on any beach in South Bali. Regular surf reports are provided by Baliwaves.

There are a number of reputable white-water rafting operators in the Ubud area, and the rafting is of good quality, especially in the wet season. If you want to go in non commercial area and feel more sensations you can also do canyoning.

Sport fishing is an increasingly popular activity with visitors to the island. Trolling, jigging and bottom fishing can all be very rewarding, with large game far from unusual. Charters are available from many coastal areas but the most popular points with a competitive range of options are Benoa Harbour and nearby Serangan close to Kuta, just to the north in Sanur and Padang Bai on the east coast.

Waterbom is a large water park situated in Jl Kartika Plaza in Kuta. It is the second best of waterpark in the world based on Travellers' Choice (defeat Disneyland and Dubai).


Other sports, adventure and family activities

Bali has become a famous destination for golfers and there are 5 Golf Courses: "Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club" in the mountains near Bedugul, the "Bali Golf & Country Club" in Nusa Dua, a 9 hole course at the Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur, the "Nirwana Bali Golf Club" near Tanah Lot, and the New Kuta Golf Course at Pecatu on the Bukit Peninsula.

Visitors can see animals at the Bali Zoo in Singapadu near Ubud, at the Bali Bird Park, at the Taro Elephant Park, and at the Bali Marine and Safari Park located near Gianyar.

Many companies also provide adventure activities such as Paragliding at Nusa Dua, Mountain Cycling in the hills of Ubud or downhill cycling from Bedugul andKintamani, Jungle Trekking, Bungy Jumping on the beach in Seminyak, Horse Riding in Seminyak and Umalas, and Hiking in the rice fields near Ubud and many other places in the hills.

Nature can be observed while trekking in West Bali National Park, at the Butterfly Park (Taman Kupu Kupu) in Wanasari, or at the Bali Botanical Gardens in Bedugul. Inside the Botanical Gardens, visitors can also get a bird's-eye view of nature from the Bali Treetop Adventure Park. Hiking the Bali volcanoes is a popular option with visitors.

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