6 Culturally Rich Things to Do in Bali
Follow along with other blog posts from Indonesia! Click city names to explore.
We are back from our trip to Indonesia, with Bali being the finale. I’m finally finding time to sit down at my computer for the first time in what feels like forever! We moved into our new apartment this week, and whew….it kept us plenty busy! We still have boxes to unpack and things to retrieve (aka desks) so I am reporting to you live from the kitchen table.
Before I share with you some of our trip highlights, I wanted to give some credit to our wonderful Bali Auntie, Polyn. She graciously hosted ALL EIGHT OF US in her beautiful home in Denpasar and we are so grateful for her generosity. She recently launched a blog of her own – you can find the link here!
Okay, here’s the scoop on our trip to Bali. It’s our final week in Indonesia. We wanted to end our time relaxing on the beach, exploring waterfalls, and eating lots of food! I’m happy to report that we did all of those things and more. Six of our friends from back home in Seattle flew to Bali to spend the week running around the island with us. Reflecting back on our time, I can’t believe we packed so much activity into just seven days! It was a nonstop week of early wakeup calls and returning to the house in the dead of night, but we wouldn’t have it any other day.
So, here are six of our favorite activities to do in Bali:
1. Take a local boat ride
Our host, Polyn, owns a local boat docked on Sanur Beach. She let us take it out for the day and we took it around the south part of the island. Surprisingly, we were able to pack ELEVEN of us plus one cooler filled with Bintang beers. Along the way we saw windsurfers, parasailers, and practically every other water sport you can think up. The coolest – and totally most dangerous – was this toy and our friends said it was banned in the States. I believe them.
I wish I had more pictures to share of this boat ride, but we were too busy enjoying ourselves!
*Unless you can score a boat from a Bali local, I’ve posted a link here to a similar boat cruise you can do!
2. Visit Hindu Temples with your Friends
You won’t find a shortage of temples on the island because 83% of Bali’s population are Hindus. We were lucky enough to visit when the Balinese were celebrating the new year (Galungan/Kuningan) so there were people of all ages flooding into the temples with colorful offerings and incense. Because of this special event, tourists like us needed to wear something to cover our legs, as well as stay in the back as to not distract the worshippers. We visited two notable temples: Tirtagangga Water Palace and Pura Goa Lawah (at the base of a bat cave!). We even visited a beach on East Bali and were surprised to discover people worshipping on the beach!
Pura Goa Lawah (Bat Cave Temple)
Tirtagangga Water Palace
3. Dive into the icy waters of Git Git Waterfall
Git Git Waterfall is located in North Bali. We actually wanted to go to another waterfall 20 minutes away, but when we arrived, there were Indo gangsters blocking the entrance. They were insisting on an astronomical entry fee (even for tourists), so we said “see ya never” and backtracked over to this one instead. I’m glad we did, because Git Git did not disappoint. We took a 15 minute trail past little tourist shops (where I totally bought a painting for too much) and arrived at this incredible view. BAM. We spent the evening under the waterfall and jumping into the pools nearby. All except for me (Emily) of course, because my body decided it wanted a fever earlier that morning. All in all, it was a very cheap way to have a great day.
4. Eat (a lot) of food at Pasar Malam/The Grove
If we weren’t out exploring the island, you would find us sitting around eating food. During our time, we visited two spots in particular that need some recognition. The first is a night market called “Pasar Malam”, which not surprisingly translates to “Night Market” in Indonesian. It’s located on the southeast side of the island, in the Sanur neighborhood. Here, we tried all sorts of new foods like deep-fried jackfruit/bananas/*everything*, fresh mango smoothies, and classic bakso. Everything is incredibly cheap, but be prepared to pay tourist prices (unless your Berty, of course).
Our other favorite place is an outdoor food court called Sanur Beach Grove. Here, there are tables and benches set up inside a grass-covered lawn, and little food shops line the perimeter of the grove. We were told that these little stands were actually extensions of larger restaurants around Bali. This is awesome because we get to try different kinds of food without running around the whole island! We all favorited a dish called sate babi (barbecued pork) and drank lots of Bintang. This was a great place to end our day, listen to the crashing waves, and look at the twinkling lights as the sun went down.
5. Play in the crashing waves at Virgin Beach
Our Superhost, Polyn, took us to a place on the east side of Bali called Virgin Beach. We spent the entire afternoon playing in the waves, walking up and down the beach, and ordering food from our beach chairs. This place was meant for lazy beach goers like us – unlike the pristine beaches we had all to ourselves in West Timor. But no complaints here! We spent our afternoon on napping, eating food, and playing in the waves.Looking back on our trip, this was probably my favorite day because we got to experience simple Bali paradise.
6. Watch your final sunset at the iconic Tanah Lot
After a full week of activities, we still felt like we didn’t see enough of Bali! Therefore, on our way to the airport to return to Jakarta, we wanted to stop at one final place. Tanah Lot is an iconic view of Hindu temples on the west side of Bali. During sunset, the place is packed like sardines with people just waiting for the sun to touch the horizon. Berty took some time to take portraits and get a great final shot of our favorite Bali family. We couldn’t think of a better way to end our trip!
Want more of Indonesia? Check out other blog posts here!
Thank you again Polyn for playing Superhost and showing us the best! When you come to Seattle, we will all return the favor and treat you to the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer!
We want to hear from you!
What adventure will you take next? With who? Berty and I are planning our Fall for adventures around the PNW so let us know where you think we should go!
Thanks for reading everyone!
Love, The Mandagies
Photos: Berty Mandagie
Click on our Interactive Map to discover more of Indonesia:
Still feeling adventurous? Follow our Adventure Board on Pinterest for more location inspiration!