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By Made Sugita
Visiting Bali isn’t much different. From staying in luxury rooms, perhaps in a traditional Balinese Villa, to hiking along a forgotten path or discovering the nation’s gems, Bali offers more to the tourist than one expects. Here are the top 7 ‘must do’ things to experience when you next visit Bali.
- Stay in a Balinese Villa
A Balinese holiday is the perfect opportunity to experience some luxury. Staying in a Balinese Villa will enrich your experience, be it one you take alone or with the entire family. Pools, landscapes and sunsets are just a part of Villa life. If you opt for Taman Baru you’ll get the sunsets as well as pampering and first class service. Hire their driver service to take full advantage of the sights, including Tanah Lot Temple and local cuisine, or go white water rafting or for a tree top climb. No matter who you are, to get the most out of your trip to Bali, staying in a Balinese Villa is the number one must when visiting this island.
- Visit Tanah Lot Temple
One of the more important temples in Bali, this amazing location is worth braving the crowds for a visit. Even though the site is commercial, the cliff top cafes offer spectacular views of the temple. There’s a little of everything for everyone, cafes, souvenir markets, art and the temple itself, matched with the sweeping views of the sea, Tanah Lot Temple is worth the visit, particularly at sunset or sunrise.
- White Water Rafting the Ayung River
Ayung River’s Grade 2 and Grade 3 rapids aren’t for the faint hearted. Vortexes of foamy water swirl around you as you push through the white-water adventure of a lifetime, experiencing ramps and sudden drops. Over 33 mighty rapids are on offer for your adrenalin rush experience in the Ubud region, where you may also discover hidden waterfalls, pristine waters and scenery never to be forgotten.
- Elephant Safari Park
The stunning Sumatran elephant is sure to capture your heart, your soul, and your attention. These endangered creatures of wonder are to be experienced up close and personal in their lush tropical habitat. As you experience the opportunity to hand-feed the elephants, however, consider that most there were orphaned or rescued due to deforestation. But still, a once in a lifetime experience for those who hold wildlife and the environment close to their hearts.
- Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Old culture, peaceful yet dramatic views and a memory you won’t easily forget. This amazing sight is a must see, and does actually look as good as the images in the photos. Not only does this location give you a true taste of local life, which was rumoured to have been passed down by a holy man in the eighth century, it also gives you ample opportunity to walk through the landscape and enjoy some quiet time. With plenty of photo opportunities, though a well-known spot for tourists, it’s still worth a visit.
- Find a Secret Beach
Yes, Kuta is amazing, but what about the shorelines everywhere else? Bali offers some of the more pristine soft sand beaches through to the volcanic black shorelines and limestone cliffs. Not so secret, but certainly not swamped with tourists – like most of Bali’s popular surf beaches – are the pristine Suluban Beach with looming limestone formations and golden sands; the exotic Green Bowl beaches in Southern Bali; Balangan beach to the north of the New Kuta Golf course; and to the east, Padangbai, comprising of several hidden beaches, small, stunning and isolated.
- Visit Goa Gajah
Built in the 9th century (some say the 11th) this is a location with a difference. Once arrived, you’ll appreciate in dumbstruck awe the carvings in the rock face that extend to the literally cavernous mouth of a demon. If you’re familiar with Hinduism then you will recognize the symbol of Shiva and Shiva’s son, Ganesh, the deity with the head of an elephant. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles in life, so visiting this place may be fitting for some. Remarkably, Goa Gajah, also known as Elephant Cave, was not discovered until 1923. From Goa Gajah, you can also make your way down to the rice paddies and through to Sungai Petanu where you will find more rock carvings of Buddhist nature, in a small cave.