There’s nowhere else quite like Bali. At time chaotic and infuriating, it can also be serene and it’s this unique mix of crass commercialism, intense beauty, (both natural and man-made) and deeply entrenched spirituality that makes it such a magical place.
From five-stars luxury pool-villa retreats and sybaritic pampering to cheap-as chips bargains on the beach, there’s Bali that’s suits everyone. Here are the 16 special Balinese moments that make Bali such a special place.
1. Being rubbed and pounded into a state of bliss from the head to toe.
Spa treatments are ridiculously affordable in Bali, so there is no excuse not to have one every second day. Get your nails done, your hair conditioned, your feet nibbled by fish, your energy realigned, your body scrubbed and your muscle massage- you might walk in, but you’ll float out.
2. Stumbling across a ruined temple in the middle of the jungle.
There’s a temple almost at every corner in Bali, it seems. Some are crowded, over-commercialized tourist attraction; others are peaceful pockets of tranquility amid the swirling chaos, but the most interesting one are those you come across when you least expect to, smothered by jungle growth or crumbling away in the middle of rice paddy.
3. Admiring the beauty of Balinese architecture.
From grand palace to tiny temples, it’s the little touches that make Balinese architecture entrancing. A red hibiscus tucked behind the ear of a stone statue, an elaborately carved gate, a tiny courtyard pond covered in floating flowers, an elegantly curbed roof line. In Bali God is really is in the details.
4. Eating fresh sea food on the beach.
Watching the setting sun paint the sky red and gold through a haze of garlic-laden smoke wafting from grills loaded with hundreds of just-caught fish while the waves lap at table leg on Jimbaran and Kedonganan beach is one of those special in Bali moments to cherish.
5. Catching the perfect waves
6. Being picketed by monkey.
They might hang on sacred forests and holy temples, but the mischievous monkeys of Bali are no angle when it comes to pinching food and any other unsecured items from your pocket or person. Just be aware of the surrounding, and try not to use the expensive sun glasses and earing.
7. Soaking in a view so green it hurts your eyes.
Farming rice is more than just a way to make a living in Bali, it is and art form, and the terraced hillsides are sight to behold.
8. Drinking an ice cold Bintang beer on the hot day.
The beer tastes better in Bali. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the beach, but nothing is finer than nursing a cold Bintang beer at the end of Bali day.
9. Being mesmerized by a fire and trance dance.
There is no music, and if it is raining you will get wet, but watching a Kecak dance performance in the darkened courtyard of the temple is an experience you are unlikely to forget as the men rhythmically chant themselves into trance and dance with the bare feet on hot coals.
10. Being held up by a religious procession.
There is no denying that the endless traffic jams are one of the most infuriating aspect of travelling in around Bali, but it doesn’t seem to matter when you realize the hold-up is a parade of beautifully attired worshippers on their way to the temple or shrine carrying elegantly stacked fruits on their heads and roasted pigs hanging from bamboo poles balance across theirs shoulder.
11. Soaking away your cares in a natural hot spring.
Standing under a demon-head fountain that gushes a stream of thermally heated water onto your neck and shoulder is a sure-fire way to dissolve any tension.