Unique and offbeat things to do in Bali
Bali seems to be synonymous with Indonesia in the minds of many. It is surprising how so many people can’t confidently name any other island in Indonesia but Bali. This right here is a testimonial to Bali’s ever growing popularity.
The thing about Bali is that it has a little of everything for everyone. We remember selling private pool villas in Ubud around 2010 for such paltry sums, today the same sell for 5 to 10 times more. Today Ubud seems to have spread and engulfed neighboring villages. Kuta and Seminyak cater to those who want to party, shop and eat, with almost a North Goa feel with better beaches.
Nusa Dua and Jimbaran almost give a south Goa feel with the line of branded hotel chains lining their shores. But go beyond these touristy centers and you will see a glimpse of the real Bali. That is not to say that these touristy centers are not worth exploring. They each have their own allure and charm but today they definitely come across as touristy.
The list of things to do on Bali is long and almost inexhaustive so what we have here rather are some unique and offbeat things to do in Bali that few know about.
Stay in a Bamboo hotel or visit a Bamboo village
Bamboo is one of the world’s most sustainable and versatile building materials with tensile strength equivalent to steel. When the bamboo is chosen well, treated properly, designed mindfully, and maintained, a bamboo houses will last a lifetime. Indonesian culture has always embraced bamboo and it was used to make houses, boats, furnishings, furniture etc. With modernization the art of using Bamboo like other traditional handicrafts was in the danger of becoming extinct.
At Bamboo Indah hotel they have not just managed to build a sustainable hotel with Bamboo but also made bamboo houses en vogue! You just have to look at pictures of this hotel and chances are you will be dreaming of living in a Bamboo house!
Well if that is the case fear not, there’s Green village Bali. Perched on the sacred Ayung River and surrounded by the lush Balinese forest, Green Village is a tranquil and peaceful compound that hosts spectacular bamboo houses and villas. Green Village is a community of like-minded people living in this totally sustainable little village. However you can visit to see first-hand how they transform bamboo into a sustainable living experience. There are half and full day tours and you even get a sneak peak into their gorgeous villas! Infact they even have different design courses where you will learn to work with Bamboo, talk about an endeavor to build sustainably and at the same time keep old arts and crafts alive!
Learn about the most expensive Coffee in the world- Kopi Luwak
We specifically say learn and not drink because
a) popularity of this coffee has resulted in some horrid conditions for the animals responsible for this coffee-civets and
b) this coffee is made from their feces!!
These cat like animals actually are wild animals that eat coffee berry, other fruits and meat as well. The excreted beansfound in their feces after the digestion is altered chemically and the coffee made from these beans is said to be much smoother. Earlier this coffee was made from feces of civets that ran in the wild picking only the choicest coffee berries. But the popularity resulted in them being caged and being force-fed only coffee berries. Resulting not only in poor conditions for the civets but also sub-standard coffee as now they did not pick the best berries themselves but were force fed by humans.
Many wrongly call Kopi Luwak ‘cat poo’ coffee, where as it actually comes from civet poop not cat poop. Instead of purchasing this coffee back home where you don’t know if it actually comes from ‘free’ civets you can probably give it one try in Bali at local farms where you can certify it is made without any harm to these adorable creatures.
Wake up to see Zebras, Rhinos and ostrich roaming in your backyard!
Designed in a rustic safari style the Mara River Safari lodge is located inside the Bali Safari & Marine Park. The hotel has rooms overlooking a huge area where Rhinos, zebras etc roam free and you can view them from you open air room balcony. They even leave carrots in the room for you to feed the animal so you can have a closer view.
Generally we donnot like to propose any visits where animals are kept in enclosures but if you are going to visit the park anyway why not consider spending a night or two at the hotel in the park. This is a great choice for families with young children. Accommodation cost includes entry to the park, a meal with lions, elephant ride etc.
Learn to Surf
Bali the ‘Island of Gods’ is also the island of surfers. Bali is known for its fantastic surfing beaches. Lessons and surf spots for beginners abound and for about INR 3000 a couple can get a private surfing lesson! Forget other water sports, surfing will have you giggling and screaming and shouting in no time. If you really enjoy it after your first lesson keep going back everyday and who knows maybe your next holiday to Bali will be to surf?
Enjoy a Wreck Dive or even snorkel!
Wreck dives are generally for advanced scuba divers. Few places in the world offer good wreck dives accessible to basic open water divers. The USAT Liberty shipwreck on Bali’s east coast is shallow enough for beginners and even for those looking to only snorkel. Not only is this wreck covered in corals, but she also hosts large schools of reef fish, plus blacktip reef sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, and barra