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From what I’ve seen, Bali, Indonesia may very well be the most beautiful place on this earth. It doesn’t take much to have an “unforgettable experience” there. Just sit outside as the sun goes down and you’ll have one.
But aside from the beauty of the Indian Ocean and the 7 color sunsets, there’s so much to love about Bali. There are a million things you could add to your Bali bucket list, but if you only have a week here are some ideas:
1. Take a Sunrise Hike to the top of Mt. Batur
Don’t be turned off by the fact that you’ll have to wake up around 1am for this. Then drive about 2 hours to the base of the mountain (from Jimbaran Bay). Then hike straight up another 2 hours. In pitch darkness with only a flashlight… Over hardened lava rock…
Anyone still here? You might have some serious bags under your eyes, but I promise it will be worth it. Did I mention that Mt. Batur is an active volcano? If this sounds thrilling instead of exhausting—you want to do this.
The fact that you can’t see a thing while you hike is part of the magic. We got to the top just in time to lay out a blanket and have breakfast while the sun came up—with a view of Mt. Agung (the highest peak in Bali).
Once we had some daylight, we hiked around to the open crater of Mt. Batur. You can literally see the steam coming out of the hole, and in some places even feel the heat.
The hike back down isn’t boring in the least, since you didn’t see anything on the way up! To end the trip, you’ll wind down the mountain and through a small village. The people are friendly and all smiles. No better way to start the day!
2. Experience a Kecak Dance
What is a Kecak Dance? In a nutshell, it’s a traditional form of Balinese dance where the chants you’ll hear resemble the name. And if you go see one, bring your camera. Because you probably won’t ever see anything like it anywhere else.
They are hosted by a variety of locations, and we had one that was held right at our resort. Don’t be afraid to seek them out though. They’re performances—so they’re for a crowd.
The chants will signal the beginning of the Kecak Dance (you’ll hear a bunch of “kakakakakak” which creates the “music” for the performance). After a little while, the performers will come out—you’ll know them when you see them. Don’t forget to look up the story behind the Kecak Dance before you go!
3. Visit Rock Bar @ Ayana Resort
Normally, I don’t recommend hotel bars or restaurants when you’re in a new place. They can be nice, but if you really want to experience the area you’re in, they don’t contribute much of anything new or unique.
BUT. This is one HUGE exception. If you’re already starting to write this one off, stop what you’re doing and Google “Rock Bar Ayana Resort”. Or check out Ayana Resort here. My pictures can’t ever do this place justice. It’s an open air bar set out on a huge slab of rock that juts out into the Indian Ocean. And you have to take a private tram down to the entrance—the views from that alone are enough to make you pass out.
If you don’t stay at the resort, come WAY early (like 4pm). It’s not surprising to see a long line for outside guests.
4. Taste Coffee made from Luwak Poop
I know what you’re thinking, and it doesn’t actually taste like that. It tastes like the most expensive cup of coffee in the world—because that’s what it is. It sells for up to $50 A CUP. It’s dark and rich, and if you’re a coffee addict like me you’ll want to buy some to take home. Regardless, this should definitely be on your Bali bucket list just for the novelty factor. Where else in the world can you find this?
If you don’t have a thing for coffee, Indonesia has a huge variety of teas that are amazing too. I highly recommend touring a coffee plantation (we toured one that was just few shacks literally out in the jungle). They’ll let you sample the coffee and all of their teas for a small price. I’m not a huge tea person, but every single one of them was so good.
5. Do Sunrise Yoga overlooking the Indian Ocean
If you can’t tell, we’re huge fans of getting up early and taking advantage of the day. When I found out that they offered sunrise yoga at Ayana Resort—I wasn’t about to turn down the chance. Even though it was January in Bali, by the end of our one-hour session the sun was out and it was hot. But really who can complain with these views?
Obviously the bucket list part of this experience isn’t the yoga. It’s the view. Go find a place where you can look off the cliffs and out at the deep blue sea!
6. Visit Private Kubu Beach
Kubu Beach is one of my favorite beaches in the world. Stunning panoramic views from the cliffs above. Beautiful rocks spotting the clear turquoise waters. Wild monkeys popping out of the forests behind you. Private cabanas with whole watermelon & coconut drinks. I mean it really has no downsides. Maybe the stairs back to the top when you’re sun-drained?
You can only gain access if you stay at Ayana Resort or Rimba Jimbaran (and hands down, you totally should), but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
7. Ride an Elephant in Ubud
If this isn’t on your Bali bucket list, it should at least be on your Asia bucket list. Elephants are just fascinating animals, and its not every day you get to be up close and personal with one.
Ubud is known for being the area with all the elephant treks in Bali, so we took the long car ride there—and spent maybe an hour and a half total at the park (including lunch). The ride itself is pretty short, but you’ll go into the water with them and also get to feed them afterwards. As far as we could tell, the animals seemed to be treated pretty well. Funds (at least in part) go towards providing food and land to make sure the Sumatran elephants remain protected.
8. Have Dinner at Rimba Jimbaran in the Rainforest
Or any other restaurant that sits high up in the treetops. Rimba was easy access for us, but really the experience can be had at plenty of places in Bali. While the ocean views are incredible, there’s also something to be said for being completely surrounded by the vastness of the Indonesian jungle. Good food is a plus, but looking out above the treeline as you eat is great on its own.
Hope this was helpful + you guys enjoyed! Let me know what’s at the top of your Bali bucket list 🙂