Pictures of the floating world

7 cliche Bali inspo you must participate in

You must not miss those spots when in Bali!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

Bali is a terrific island in Indonesia that everyone calls paradise. If you ask me, it’s not really (yet?already?) it, but there are definitely unique and interesting activities any visitor must consider doing! 

I’ve chosen seven—probably the most cliche ones—because Bali is famous for them. Scroll down to avoid missing any on your visit!

1. Visit Sacred Monkey Forest

First of all, the Monkey Forest is a sacred place – its full name is Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Around 1260 long-tailed macaques live here in the wild, and they are considered sacred animals by the local population.

In the centre of the forest, there are three temples: Pura Dalem, worshipping Shiva (it’s estimated to have been built around the 14th century); Holy Water Temple, worshipping goddess Gangga; and Cremation Temple, worshipping Brahma Prajapati.

The philosophical concept cherished here is Tri Hita Karana, or “Three ways to reach spiritual and physical wellbeing”. It goes without saying that visitors should behave politely because this is not an entertainment park.

We came to the park pretty early (around 9.10-9.15am while the park opens at 9) and were lucky to see the monkey feeding: they are fed 9 times a day and only by the staff. Visitors cannot feed the monkeys both for their own safety and to maintain the monkeys’ wellbeing.

We came here expecting to see angry monkeys greedy for food and stealing people’s iPhones because that’s what you find on the internet. However, I must say that monkeys were all pretty polite and indifferent to most visitors – unless people were really invading their personal space, putting the phones right into the monkeys’ faces or luring animals to climb on their shoulders and heads for selfies. Monkeys are not aggressive unless they feel you provoke them – please check the behaviour guidelines for visitors here.

2. Try Kopi luwak

The story behind this coffee is controversial: kopi luwak is made from beans partially digested by Asian palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). Because of that, some animals are treated poorly or even traded.

On some farms, civets are enclosed in tiny cages and even lose their fur; however, the civets we saw at a farm in Ubud looked pretty well cared for and healthy (however, I still accept that the whole practice of keeping animals for collecting their poop with digested beans is controversial)

At Uma Pakel or Alas Harum Bali, you can see the whole process of Kopi Luwak making, including the fresh poo with fermented coffee cherries inside. And then, we tried the final product as well.  We also were offered a degustation set of hot beverages that included Balinese coffee, avocado coffee, lemongrass tea, mangosteen tea, Rosella tea, spice tea, and ginger tea (all pretty sweet) – the lady told us that everything is prepared with natural ingredients here.

Yes, you’ve got more swings and a view over the rice terrace again! At the end of your tour, you can shop for any coffee or tea you have tried.

3. Fly above rice terraces 

Of course, there is no way you can miss the famous Bali rice terrace around Ubud called Tegalalang Rice Terrace. This is actually an ancient local system of irrigation cared for by temple monks and called subak. It dates back over 10 centuries – and it’s even been enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the most visited sites in Bali, and you can find all the iconic photogenic spots there and do some hiking as well. We were recommended the Uma Ceking spot – as we discovered, actually, all people come here to take photos in flowing dresses. The choice of many swings, nests, etc, is available, and this spot has a restaurant as well. 

You can rent a dress here as well if you like, I didn’t plan to do that, but I couldn’t resist taking the most cliche Bali photo eventually. I went for a red dress, and then a few members of staff tied me with a safety strap to a chosen swing  and took all the footage (my husband helped me with some backstage).

4. Make acquaintance with Denpasar

Denpasar is the capital city of Bali, where the IGusti Ngurah Rai International Airport is located. Its name in Balinese means ‘market’. So there is no way you miss Denpasar if you arrive to Bali by plane!

Come here to find some nice cafes – we loved the Flinders, for instance, a stylish cafe with fruit drinks, bowls and main dishes too.

Moreover, you can explore local historical heritage such as Bajra Sandhi Monument, the monument built in 1987 and dedicated to the struggles the Balene people endured throughout their history – especially during the invasions of the Dutch,

Other sites include Bali Museum and the Governor’s Office, but be aware that Denpasar is not really a walkable city. One of the most well-known places for nightlife in Bali – Kuta – is located nearby, too.

5. Respect local festivities 

Bali has lots of local celebrations, and if you’re lucky, you can see some of them! Even if not, you can spot lots of small shrines, or auras, with daily offerings, anyway.

For instance, we stayed in Bali during the Nyepi, or the Day of Silence. It’s the traditional local celebration with the main purpose of self-reflection, and tomorrow the New local year starts.

On this day guests cannot leave the hotel, the roads are closed,  TV is off, there is no 4G/5G internet, and even the airport is closed. In the past, even the electricity was off for the whole island of Bali! In addition, you can witness the numerous ritual processions with Ogoh-ogoh, local demons, as well just the day before the Silent day.

6. Stay in a luxury villa

Everyone thinks about villas with a pool when visiting Bali, so we were the same, and we chose the St Regis as a site for our refuge.

This is the epitome of a luxury resort you can even think of: well cared for territory, a few restaurants, interior highlighting the Balinese heritage, daily traditional music and frangipani flowers.

We stayed in fantastic private Gardenia Villa, which had a bedroom and a large bathroom, all decorated in Balinese style. Fresh fruit deliveries were a cherry on top (pun intended) and George received a wide arrange of kids gifts from the hotel.

Outside of the villa, we had a small private terrace with a gazebo and a private pool (and we can enter the main pool directly from our villa as well) – you literally can spend days there just doing nothing!

Just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful details of the villa in St Regis: isn’t it just perfect?

Unfortunately, we were visiting in rainy season, which meant that we had showers everyday from late evening till early night (actually, in the forecast there was a non stop rain everyday but in reality it was much much better).

Our villa is just a few minutes away from the beach and the Indian Ocean. Sadly, the hotel doesn’t allow shooting with a drone on there – otherwise, I would have shown more scenery.

7. Do some local shopping

We also visited Bali Collection Nusa Dua, a shopping village with a few tiny puras, temples, cafes, restaurants, and shops. Be aware that this is a very touristy place, but if you’re looking for a spot to eat or buy souvenirs, it might be a good place for you!

Bamboo and wooden goods, all sorts of clothes and jewellery, traditional textiles and colourful paintings, skin care products with Balinese herbs, even a Starbucks cafe – you can find it all here. They also sell Polo bear cloths – identical to Ralph Lauren ones – but these are the local produce.

You might also like my other blogs about Asia.

Hope you liked my new blog,
Anna xxx

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