The cultural delights of Bali are many, but for some truly unique experiences, it pays to get off the beaten track. We turned to the co-founders of cool website The Bali Bible, Simon and Lani te Hennepe, for their expert suggestions. Take the time to immerse yourself in the sacred sights or join a guided tour for a tailor-made travel experience...
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Monkey Forest, Mengzi Temple & Tenah Lot Tour
“Exploring the rural heart of Bali is one fine way to take in the island’s culture. Gulingan Village, in the lush interior, is a great start, with its postcard-perfect terraced rice paddies, coconut palms, coffee, vanilla and cloves plantations. Nearby sights include the royal water temple of Pura Taman Ayun, one of the most attractive temples in Bali, and the sacred Ubud Monkey Forest, where brave souls can meet with the hundreds of mischievous monkeys that inhabit the temple grounds. There's only one place to end the day – at the famous 16th-century sea temple of Tanah Lot. Sunset here is one of Bali’s iconic images – a tangerine sun dripping into the ocean behind the temple, perched 200 metres off shore."
Ubud Rice Field Trekking Tour
“Enter into the emerald green terraces on the outskirts of Ubud to get a close look at day-to-day village life – children pass by you on their way to and from school, farmers plant rice by hand, and colourfully clothed women balance towering temple offerings. Explore the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a sacred stretch between the Wos and Ayung rivers, and take in the magnificent views from the narrow pathway that snakes across the ridge line. Top off a perfect day with a trip to Tegalalang, the most visited rice field in Bali.”
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Private Uluwatu Temple Day Tour
“Start your morning with a secluded swim at Pandawa Beach, chilling out at surfer’s paradise Dreamland (one of the best surfing points in Bali) and the incredible Padang Padang Beach, set under the cliffs near the village of Pecatu. Descend the steep stairs down the cliff face of the latter to access the hidden beach that was made famous in the film Eat Pray Love. After having your fill of salt and sand, finish the day with a different kind of beachside bliss, taking in Uluwatu Temple, home to the famous nightly Kecak Fire Dance. Uluwatu Temple is one of Bali’s most sacred sites – one of six temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars – and is located on the edge of a cliff nearly 70 metres above sea level facing the Indian Ocean. A seafood dinner on the shoreline of nearby Jimbaran Bay will be the perfect end to the evening – toes in the sand and the freshest seafood.”
Private Tour: Bali Cultural Heritage
“To gain a deeper insight into the cultural heritage of Bali, head two hours by road from Denpasar to the north-east of the island, where several villages lie on the rim of the Batur Caldera, known as Kintamani Volcano. The area here is in stark contrast to the rest of the island, black from the lava that still flows from the active volcano to the glistening shores of Lake Batur below. Village life, like that found at Penglipuran, feels untouched by time – the village is home to a community that upholds a deep reverence for traditional customs and beliefs. Traditional arts can also be seen in the village of Blahbatuh, home to Bali’s expert bronze casters and famed for its Balinese musical instruments. A trip here offers a fascinating look at the production of the gamelan – you’ll hear the distinctive ‘glong glong’ of this percussive ensemble playing at ceremonies and shows all over the island.”
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