The magical Island of Bali is a popular tourist destination with a wide array of activities to engage in, but the island also holds a hidden side, which affords a window into authentic Balinese life and cultural traditions. To get off the beaten track and experience the more authentic side of Bali, far removed from the crowds and popular resorts, try exploring these lesser known activities and regions.
Horse-riding in Munduk, a mountain village sometimes shrouded in mist and evoking an air of mystique, is an original way to get off the beaten track. Perched at high altitude, the mystical Lake Tamblingan is is one of two twin lakes that formed in a large caldera of the extinct Bedugul volcano.
In this traditional area in Bali’s central highlands, you will discover water temples and wild rainforests by way of horseback. Birds, monkeys, and colourful wildlife await in this untamed, non-touristy side of Bali. You will even enjoy a ride aboard a traditional Balinese boat across a lake known by locals as medicine for the mind.
Enrolling in a cooking class in the countryside is a great way to learn new skills and immerse yourself in realms tourists often miss. A fertile and vibrantly green land of terraced rice paddies and lush jungle surrounded by sheltering mountains, the village of Sideman is an enchanting window into traditional Balinese life.
The kitchen sits in a magical space that feels like a window in time of thatched roofs, brick stoves, burning fires, and the distant sounds of Gamelon in the air.
The entire experience is magic, leaving you enriched with recipes new skills and a deep appreciation of Balinese cultural and spiritual life.
A particularly unique to Bali experience is a journey to the Mystic Carvers. Meet two Balinese Brahmin Brothers belonging to a high caste lineage. For generations they have chiselled mystic figures in bone, working only on auspicious days of the ancient Balinese calendar. You may have your own figure made, and specifically suited to your intentions, be it protection or enhancement of love, career, or creativity.
For a challenging nature adventure, hike the lesser explored Mount Agung. The peak stands at over 3000 meters and affords panoramic views of Bali, and on a clear day, even as far as Mt. Rinjani on Lombok. The atmosphere is sacred and allows for self reflection and meditation in the rising sun’s light.
A delightfully unpredictable way to explore the hidden side of Bali is simply to rent a scooter and go for it! The Balinese are honest and welcoming and you are sure to meet wonderful people, see exquisite landscapes, and even happen upon a ceremony in the street.
Sideman is a charismatic and lush area to explore. Or, for a change of scenery, try Pemuteran, a fishing village on the Northern coast, and full of black sand beaches and dolphin watching opportunities. You might also visit the charming seaside village of Amed, known for its excellent snorkelling and characteristic traditional Balinese fishing boats.
Anywhere your fancy leads you in Bali, you truly can’t go wrong, so follow your intuition, delight in the unexpected, and create memories a more mainstream itinerary could never allow for.
For more information about these, and more activity ideas in Bali, check out eoasia.com.
Images courtesy of eoasia.com