Bali is one of the world’s most iconic destinations when it comes to exotic locations. This small tropical island nestled amongst the thousands of other islands that make up the Indonesian archipelago seems to have no end when it comes to unique things to do. From sunrise volcano treks, walks through intricately terraced rice fields, monkey forests, cooking courses, waterfalls, more shopping than you could possibly fit in a lifetime, sacred temples, and miles of coastline that ranges from black and white sand beaches to steep cliffs with breathtaking views. This is of course without acknowledging Bali’s unique Hindu culture, its warm and welcoming people, and the stylish villas and bungalows that can cost little more than the price of a large pizza back home.
Land Excursion Options
Batur Volcano Sunrise Trek
Climbing to Batur Voclanoe’s crater rim is an epic journey that usually starts with a very early wake up around 3 am—depending on where you’re departing from. You’ll be shuttled to the base of the volcano where you’ll begin the trek around 4 am. You’ll have a guide who will lead up up the well-maintained trail to the top. As far as volcano treks go it’s not particularly difficult, though it is a solid hour to one-and-a-half hour trek uphill. Upon arrival at the top, you’ll be handed a boiled egg and a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate just before the sun makes its way over the sprawling horizon. You will quite literally be above the clouds, and as they drift beneath you bathed in colors you’d only ever see in cotton candy they open up incredible views of the sea, lake Batur, more volcanoes, and deep into the crater below you. It’s really a jaw-dropping experience and well worth the early departure.
Rice Field Walk
There are only a few places in the world where you can freely meander through valleys completely terraced with rice paddies, and Bali is one of them. Around the town of Ubud, Bali’s art and cultural hub, you’ll pass many different small rice paddies as make your way through town, but just north of it lies Tegalalang, Bali’s most famous rice field which is carved into the steep tropical valleys offering visitors remarkable views. As you make your way through the terraced landscape you’ll get to see the different stages of growing rice while enjoying friendly chit-chat with the men and women that tend their harvest.
In the heart of Ubud, there’s an amazing section of jungle that follows along a beautiful river running through a deep valley. This jungle has a winding stone pathway complete with a carved stone bridge that spans the lush tropical ravine and runs between massive banyan trees, multiple Balinese temples, stone statues, and as the name suggests—many troops of wild monkeys! Ubud’s Monkey Forest is a fantastic place to not only spend a few hours gawking at the surreal beauty of the jungle and temples but also to watch and giggle as the juvenile monkeys’ race around the grounds while the adults snooze on.
For those of you who are die-hard foodies and want to learn the nuances of Indonesian cuisine, joining a cooking course is an excellent way to spend a day! Most cooking courses will start with a morning stroll through one of the local morning markets with your cooking teacher in search of the fresh spices, herbs, veggies, and meat that you’ll be using to cook your very own meals. From there you’ll gather in the cooking teacher’s kitchen where you’ll begin to learn and prepare your very own Indonesian feast.
Temples are all over the island of Bali and range in size from the small shrines around the grounds of your bungalows or villa to the grandiose temples surrounded by stunning water features and ponds. There are so many Temples in Bali just walking to a nearby restaurant for dinner can feel as if you’re on a mini temple tour! With that in mind, if you are really keen to see some of Bali’s most inspiring Hindu temples there are some great temple tours that start in the morning and make stops at all of the Island’s most iconic temples like Goa Gaja, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu Temple, and Tirta Empul.
Bali has a ton of shopping for people of all purchasing preferences. From “I Love Bali” bottle openers and bags, giant live-edge teak table tops, unique home décor, to all the big international brands like Gucci and Dior—Bali has it all.
Much like the temples or shopping Bali also has no shortage of spas, and there is nothing like a full body massage, facial, and mani-pedi after a sunrise volcano trek or a full day of shopping and temples!