So just the other day, I was watching ‘Eat Pray Love’. Again. The story of why I can relate to movies where protagonists have this rather drastic moment of epiphany that sets off into motion a complete toss around of unfulfilling lives is one that I’ll save for another time. But I will divulge that there was wine involved. An entire glorious bottle of it. Midway during the movie, when Elizabeth Gilbert finds herself on a bicycle between the lush countryside in Bali (right before she meets with the accident with her future husband), I found myself asking, “How have I not made it to Bali yet?” You know, with my undying and insatiable love for Asia with its green villages and tropical climes. Suddenly there I was, right in my TV screen, riding along this narrow track flanked by paddy plantations on a beautiful sunny day, with a not a care in the world. I thought about it again later, albeit sobriety in tow and realized that the only thing that usually comes to mind when I think of Bali is a beach. And there’s always something more to do in popular beach destinations if you look hard enough to venture off the ‘golden-sand’ trail. So after a bit of research, I present to you my Big Bali Bucket-list- things I’d love to do there other than lie on the beach and watch my skin turn a happiness-inducing shade of bronze.
Dance Like No one is Watching
With hotels such as the Hard Rock Hotel Bali there is no dearth of places to celebrate the free-spiritedness that islands as beautiful as Bali can induce. From fun nightlife options to alcohol-free morning dance sessions at yoga studios, there are plenty of opportunities to let loose and shake off your inhibitions.
Hike Through Rice Paddies
With UNESCO status rice paddies such as Jatiluwih, Bali is perfect for nature lovers like me who can spend weeks exploring villages on foot, captivated and inspired by the terraced green and brown fields.
I’m not the slightest bit religious, yet I’ve visited way too many temples in Asia. I love looking at the architecture, design, icons and murals. The feeling of walking through a structure that is often ancient, its walls bearing witness to cultural changes and the evolution of religious faith over the years, is pretty incredible too. Home to over 20,000 temples such as the famous Pura Tanah Lot, Bali offers plenty of opportunities for temple hoppers like me.
Cleanse the Mind and Body
Bali is home to many yoga and relaxation retreats and it’s hard to argue with yourself about sleeping until 10.00am when there’s a beautiful sunrise waiting to be witnessed as you learn how to perfect your Surya Namaskar. The schedules at these retreats are focused on resetting your body in terms of how it feels both inside and outside with yoga, meditation and clean eating habits. Free time is spent hiking up mountains or cycling along jungle trails and this only helps you enjoy the kind of balance nature brings.
Hike Up Mount Batur
If you’re anything like me, there’s only so many times you can say you’ve watched the sunrise from the summit of an active volcano. This makes the long, tiring hike up Mount Batur more than worth it. Oh this and the unbelievable photos you’ll get around sunrise.
Get My Head Underwater
With unique coral reefs, shipwreck sites and rich biodiversity, there really is no reason to not get your head underwater and dive into the tranquility of the underwater world when you snorkel or dive in locations such as Sanur, Amed, Menjangan Island and East Bali.
photo credit: Eastern Jumping Blenny-Lepidoblennius haplodactylus via photopin (license)
This post was presented in partnership with Traveloka.