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Written by Junanto Xu
Co-written by Dawn Pillay
Edited by Candice Neo

Versi Bahasa Indonesia: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/id/bali/tempat-wisata-murah-gratis/

For those of you wanting to go on a holiday without busting a hole in your pocket – this one’s for you. Why pay for over-priced tourist experiences when you can get the real deal for free?

Swim in a gorgeous little hole in the sea, or get rejuvenated in a lovely hot spring soak at Tabanan Hot Springs. How about visiting the Village of the Deaf, or watching the ancient dramatic dance known as Gambuh?

Whether you’re interested in gorgeous sights and fun activities, or wish to experience the unique Indonesian arts and culture – these 37 free things to do in Bali are sure to let you find adventure and explore to your heart’s content.

Also read:

32 incredible things to do that prove Bali is the craziest

22 beautiful hidden natural attractions in Bali

Read on and enjoy!

1. Immerse yourself in a sea of golden petals – Desa Temukus

You might not be able to see the ocean near Desa Temukus, but the sea of golden petals will captivate you with its alluring beauty.

Photo Via Liasalikhah

Marigold, or locally known as ‘gemitir’, has been adorning Desa Temukus for years.

As this village is nestled in East Bali and not far from one of the holiest (and unfortunately one of the most touristy) temples in Bali – Besakih Temple – many of these flowers are planted by the locals and used in daily Balinese offerings.

Want to witness this golden flowerbed at its best? Drop by for a visit before their harvest season. (Do check with your local friends before visiting, as the date of the local religious festivals will change every year due to the Balinese saka calendar system.) Remember to seek permission before entering!

Photo Via Devidrudi27

And that’s not all to this floral paradise. Within a few kilometres, you’ll discover yet another magical sight – another garden full of snowy petals, ready to pamper your eyes with its scenic views. These are Kasna flowers, or otherwise called the Edelweiss of Bali.

Photo Via Lolimrc
Photo Via Mdbakta_kardana,Yanii.martini

Desa Temukus

How to get there: Head toward Besakih temple first. Once you’ve reached the temple, ask the local villagers for directions and they will show you the exact location of Desa Temukus, which is located only 2 kilometres from the temple. As the road leading to the village is pretty narrow, we suggest using a motorcycle or a small car. Coordinates here

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2. Sunset from the kingdom above the clouds – Pura Lempuyang Luhur

Proudly presenting, a sunset view like no other in the island of the gods.

Photo Via Jordhammond

To be able to stand on the peak of Mount Lempuyang and be captivated by its majestic view, you must first conquer a hundred steps of stairs before reaching the entrance gate.

Photo Via Curtimapo1981

Upon arriving, a kingdom above the clouds will salute you with its rewarding panorama that stretches toward infinity. On a clear sunny day, you will be able to behold the mountains, Amlapura city and Mount Agung – an unbelievably magnificent view that’s beautiful beyond words.

And when the sun sets, golden rays will paint the sky while white clouds mingle in between, and Mount Agung gloriously serves as the backdrop. This portrait from heaven is beautifully framed by the Gapura Candi Bentar (the temple’s gate).

Pura Lempuyang Luhur

Location: Desa Tista, Kecamatan Abang, Karangasem, Bali
How to get there: This temple can be reached from Candidasa through Amlapura city by driving from Denpasar for 2 hours. An alternative path would be from Selat Karangasem Regency, through Semarapura city.
Coordinates here

Join in the trendiest weekend bazaars

Who says weekends are for chilling? Come on, Bali is so vibrant, you have to get yourselves to these happening weekend bazaars and join in the fun!

In fact, simply soaking in the ambience will excite you enough!


3. Trendiest bazaar in Bali’s hipster district – Love Anchor

Canggu is hipster enough and you know it.

Photo Via Ellbec

If you walk along Jalan Batu Balong after the sun sets, you can’t miss this exciting Instagrammable market made up of a complex of restaurants, bars and shops, decorated with dreamy fairy lights and illuminated with a cheery vibe as the crowd pours in for their after-dinner drinks.

Photo Via Villanatybali

And on Sundays, the area is transformed into the most happening bazaar with pop-up stalls.

Photo Via Outofhersuitcase_-mel_

Here, you can find trendy and whimsical island fashion, accessories, homeware, dreamcatchers, trinkets and even old school artwork. And if you keep an eye out enough, you can even discover some hidden gems for your kids.

Photo Via Severalneeds_-_miss_vs
Photo Via Ediths__closet_-rawganic_bali

Or if you are here for a drink, don’t miss the daily Happy Hour!

One tip from us – although this is one of Canggu’s most photogenic markets, the shopping here may be a little overpriced, but it’s worth a look (and many snaps!) if you haven’t been to Bali’s weekend bazaars before!

Love Anchor

Address: Jalan Batu Bolong, opposite Deus Ex Machina. Coordinates here.
Opening Hours: 9am to 10pm (daily)
Happy Hour: Daily 6pm to 7pm – Buy one get one free for all classic and signature cocktails

4. Weekend Vibes – Old Man’s Market

Did you think shopping at weekend markets are only a thing in Bangkok? Though not as vibrant, Bali’s very own Sunday markets are full of surf, sand and summer styles that will surprise you.

Photo Via Eika_azam,Cherryperry84

Shopping doesn’t always have to be dash-and-run. Take the entire evening to browse through the lively marketplace with up to 150 stalls gathered at Old Man’s in Canggu, and make it as relaxed as you can – the Old Man really knows how to bring the party to the house.

Photo Via Kimokinoid_-viahijau_-oceanbellz

Get your hands on boho chic jewellery, fun beachwear, and (if you are health-conscious) some very sumptuous organic food. It’s a kind of hipster shopping gathering you wouldn’t want to miss!

Photo Via Gratitude.bali_-finelinebykatahati

The market is a once-a-month affair, so check the dates on their Facebook page before you plan to go.

Old Man’s Market

Address: Jalan Batu Bolong, Canggu · Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Opening Hours: Selected Weekends, 8am – 3pm

Website

Discover secret waterfalls

We know all about the gorgeous waterfalls in Bali. But did you know that there are some lesser known (and less touristy) gorgeous falls where entrance fees aren’t charged?

5. Discover a hidden waterfall among the cliffs and rocks at Desa Musi, Gerokgak

Generally known only among locals, Musi Village (otherwise known as Desa Musi) is a refreshing escape for those searching for an authentic experience in a simple Balinese village.

There, you’ll discover its secret – a cliff area where a waterfall crashes powerfully into a natural pool.

Photo Via Handhik_
Photo Via Mangsu_bali

As this waterfall is very hidden, the best way to reach this place is to ask the local villagers for directions when you reach Musi Village. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the locals too!

At sunset, you can take a walk in the village, hunt for the scattered Hindu temples and observe the simple daily life of the villagers.

Desa Musi, Gerokgak

Address: Desa Musi, Gerokgak, Buleleng
Coordinates of waterfall is estimated to be near here. Do check with the locals for directions when you reach Musi Village

6.  A refreshing soak in a beautiful garden – Jembong Waterfall

Jembong Waterfall has often been said to be one of the most organised waterfalls in the whole of Bali.

Photo Via Eppyredana

As you cross the entrance, you will be greeted with a small and well-manicured garden, where there’s even an attention-grabbing selfie pool!

While you find most waterfalls at the bottom of cliffs, this special one is tumbling down against nature’s will in the middle of a hill. So if you want to feel its raw aquatic force, a bit of hiking is a must.

Jembong is a two-storey waterfall with strong currents of flowing turquoise water against irregular rock walls. The water flows into a tempting natural pool, which you surely can’t resist jumping into! After a tiring hike, what can be better than enjoy a peaceful soak in the refreshing water?

Photo Via Md.widhiarta,Mang_ris

Although facilities such as gazebos, toilets and changing rooms are available, you don’t need to pay an entrance fee. All you need to do is fill up the guestbook!

Air Terjun Jembong

Location: Dusun Jembong, Desa Ambengan, Kec. Sukasada, Buleleng, Bali
How to get there: Located 78 kilometres from Denpasar, you will need to embark on a 2-hour- and-17-minute road trip.
Coordinates here

Hills with panoramic views

Bali is not just about white sandy beaches and luxurious ocean views. Have you hiked up the lovely hills and highlands? The panorama from above is equally stunning!

7. Mount Batur’s Volcanic Landscape, viewed from Pinggan village

Mount Batur (1,717m) is the most visited volcano in Bali, but most visitors usually join the tourist hordes at Kintamani village for views of the majestic fire-breather.

For a view of Batur that’s arguably more spectacular, we suggest you head to the more isolated village of Pinggan.

Photo Via Mikevisuals

Here you can experience the fierce splendour of the active volcano in a more solitary, meditative setting.

Photo Via Gilgalandika

Batur is at its most photogenic at sunrise and sunset, and even makes for impressive night photography – with the lights of Pinggan village spread out at the foot of the mountain, and a sky full of stars twinkling above the peak.

Pinggan village

Getting There: Most Mount Batur tours don’t stop at Pinggan village (which is why it makes it so gloriously uncrowded), so you’re best getting there on your own steam. Ubud is the nearest major tourist hub and Pinggan is about 45km, or an hour’s drive away. Coordinate here

8. A beautiful hilly view from a Balinese pavilion: Bukit Putung, Karangasem

Bukit Putung is another good (secret) lookout point if you prefer green to blue – more lush greenery than the crashing waves.

The most iconic part of Bukit Putung is definitely that small Balinese-style pavilion. The cute canopy adorns its surrounding beauty.

Photo Via Madeokta29

With the combination of green hills, a traditional gazebo, and the horizon that meets the ocean some distance away, you’ll surely appreciate the breathtaking moment!

The area was first popularized by an Italian painter several decades ago, whose works depicted the beauty of the village. But sadly, the rise of its popularity was short-lived, and the area was gradually abandoned.

But thanks to social media, many travellers are now rediscovering this hidden gem!

Bukit Putung

Address: Selat Village, Karangasem Regency
Getting There: There are several routes to reach the tourism area. One of the easiest ways is to take Jl Raya Manggis from Padang Bai and Ngurah Rai Bypass. Go northeast, at one junction you will see a monument or statue of mangosteen fruit with an eagle on top of it (check this coordinate). Go left (or north) from there, and go uphill until you arrive at the spot. It’s better to go there by motorcycle or a small car, considering the narrow road.

9. A flowing sea of green: Bukit Belong, Klungkung (Desa Gunaksa)

Standing among the breeze on Bukit Belong is a true relaxing experience by nature’s comfort.

The tall grass on the lush hill clashes perfectly with the clear blue skies above speckled with the fiery streaks of floating white clouds.

Bukit Belong is a hill that greets you with an extravagant expanse of verdant rice terraces as far as the eyes can see, once you get to the top. Of course, getting here requires a little effort as you will have to climb a short 150-metre trek uphill.

Photo Via Yudi_mang

Once there, simply capture the scene with nature as your backdrop and relax like a pro, because you’ve definitely earned it after all that climbing effort!

Bukit Belong

Getting there: Enroute to Karangasem through the Ida Bagus Mantra bypass, you will pass through the hilly ‘Bukit Belong’ areas of Gunaksa and Kusamba Klungkung. The village at Bukit Belong is just right around the corner with a small pathway leading to a short 150 metre uphill climb. Coordinates here

10. Go on the Romantic Campuhan Ridge Walk

The Campuhan Ridge Walk is an unusually romantic short trek that will take you through rice fields, past quaint Indonesian huts and beautifully designed villas.

Photo Via Lesya_razumova

It is best to get a head start early in the morning (preferably before the sun rises) to prevent the scorching sun from ruining this experience.

Butterflies will accompany you on the leisurely 2-3km stroll, and you’ll be able to take a pit stop on your way back at Karsa Kafe. Make sure to stay sufficiently hydrated and drink up before you make your way back out.

Photo Via Agyreeva,Nuizaru

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Getting There: Start the journey at the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa on Jl. Campuhan and head towards the school where parking is available. Upon reaching the Campuhan bridge, take the pathway on the right that leads towards Gunung Lebah Temple and continue till you see a paved road. Follow the paved road, for that’s where your journey begins.
Here’s a great guide on how to get there

Explore exotic hidden beaches

Love the sand and sea, but don’t want to visit popular beaches (such as Kuta beach) where every square metre is filled with noisy tourists?

11. Virgin Sands – Nyang Nyang Beach

Care for a beach all to yourself? That’s Nyang Nyang for you!

The white pristine sands of the beach are lined by a towering green cliff, which keeps it away from prying eyes. If you are quite the explorer and looking for some solitude, this secluded beach in Southern Bali is perfect for a little adventure.

Photo Via Sondamix,Arymia

To get to the beach, you need to follow a dirt track close to Uluwatu Temple and keep a lookout for a sign saying “Nyang Nyang Surfing Beach”.

Next, you cross a field where you will find a drinks stall (the only one in the area as the beach is devoid of all shops and stalls also) before alighting the 500 flights of steps that finally open up to the beach.

So yes, getting there might be an adventure in itself, but we’d say it’s definitely worth the effort.

Photo Via Edededan.com_

Especially with the parts of an abandoned vessel laying around the beach – perfect for a photo-op, or even a quaint little exploration.

Photo Via Whatsthehelen

And if you’re looking for more photo-ops, you definitely have to check out the secret wild garden by the beach – it’s blooming with a plethora of sunshine flowers that’ll provide an amazing backdrop with a cheerful pop of yellow!

Nyang Nyang Beach

Directions: Take a car or bike to Jalan Uluwatu, and look for a sign that reads “Nyang Nyang Surfing Beach”. Park, then make the rest of the journey by foot to the beach!
Address: Nyang Nyang Beach, Jl. Raya Uluwatu, Uluwatu, Bali. Coordinates here

12. The High Cliff at Melasti Beach (Ungasan)

One of the most captivating beaches on Bali’s southern coast is largely ignored by tourists. It’s mostly in-the-know photographers who make it down to Melasti, drawn to its beautiful rock formations and stunning high cliffs.

Photo Via Sherly-Martha
Photo Via Arichrysalis_-fannytjandra_-sokolishko

Take note not to mistaken this Melasti beach (Ungasan) with the one near Tanah Lot, where after the rain, a spectacular waterfall often appears on the clifftop, tumbling down on the sand and washing out into the ocean.

The High Cliff at Melasti Beach

Coordinates here

13. The Real Treasure of Suluban Beach

Everyone knows Suluban Beach to be a surfers’ paradise, but Suluban Cave might just be the real treasure here.

Photo Via Tuulavintage

Looking almost like a movie set from the Pirates of the Caribbean series with its otherworldly glamour, Suluban Cave oozes both mystery and mystic.

Located directly under Uluwatu, the cave actually leads up to the beach near Uluwatu Temple, another incredible sea temple you should definitely visit too!

Photo Via Limmariani

Suluban Beach

Getting There: Located at the Bukit Peninsula, Suluban Beach is connected to Kuta and Denpasar through Jimbaran by the busy Jalan Bypass Nusa Dua and this is the only route in, approximately 34 km from Denpasar. Coordinates here

14. Catch the Sunset with a Difference – Kelan Beach

One of the best places to catch the sunset, Kelan Beach is situated next to the airport.

It’s the perfect spot to capture an incredible photo of a plane flying up against the setting sun. And when you’re done , be sure to instagram this awe-inspiring photo!

Photo Via Rkharyono

Kelan Beach

Getting There: Kelan beach is located next to Ngurah Rai international airport’s runway, at the northernmost section of Jimbaran Bay.
Access Kelan Beach via Jalan Segra Madu (Segara Madu Street), or walk on the beach from Kedongana via the fish market to Kelan Beach. Find your way to a spot at the end of Kelan Beach right next to the runway to increase your chances of catching a plane in your photo.

Experience extraordinary natural phenomena

Have you ever soaked in a natural jacuzzi? Or seen a waterblow in front of your eyes? Bali is full of natural wonders that will give you marvellous experiences you will remember for a long time.

15. Catch the Magnificent Waterblow at Nusa Dua

Envision majestic Indian Ocean waves crashing against rock cliffs – have you ever seen a waterblow in person? Visit the hidden rock cliff in Nusa Dua to witness one of nature’s prettiest sights.

Photo Via Devid-Rudi

This natural phenomenon happens when waves hit the narrow space within the rock cliff where pressure builds, and water then blows up!

Photo Via Hyunsik.lee_

And remember; be careful to keep a distance to avoid getting wet.

Magnificent Waterblow

Address: Nusa Dua Beach, Semenanjung Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali 80517
Getting There: Located near Hotel Grand Hyatt, find the wide grass field, then follow the path to the waterblow entrance.

16. Soak in a ‘Jacuzzi’ on the Tegal Wangi Beach

Another wonder of nature that should not be missed – make your way to Tegal Wangi Beach. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this gorgeous escape.

Ever wanted to soak in your private tub with an amazing view of the ocean? Tegal Wangi Beach gives you exactly that.

Photo Via Putumarlonp

With little holes on the shore filled with seawater fresh from the ocean – you can be sure to have a comfortable soak in your beachy ‘jacuzzi’.

A romantic place to have a lovely date at; make sure to take lots of photos to commemorate the time spent with your loved one.

Photo Via Fidanabila_

Tegal Wangi Beach

Address: Jalan Pura Tegalwangi, Badung, Jimbaran
Getting There: Walk down the hill from Pura Tegalwangi. Coordinates here

17. Feel like Royalty at the Lotus Lagoon

With a sight so grand as the Lotus Lagoon at Candidasa, you’ll be sure to feel like royalty.

One of Candidasa’s major landmarks (and one of the prettiest too!), the Lotus Lagoon boasts of a huge lake filled with pretty pink and fuchsia lotuses – along with a garden island decorated with statues right in the middle.

Photo Via Миклуха-Маклай

It’s a sight you’ll definitely want to see, and when you’re done, feel free to visit the main town temple. It’s supposedly been around since the 11th century), and is conveniently located just opposite the Lotus Lagoon!

Lotus Lagoon

Address: Candidasa, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia 80851
Coordinates here

Discover the charm of Nusa Penida

Looking for a paradise hidden away from the hustle and bustle? In Nusa Penida, 30 minutes away from the main island of Bali by speedboat, you’ll find virgin wildlife and raw wilderness.

18. Visit the Broken Sea – Pasih Uwug

Pasih Uwug, also known as the broken sea, is one unique attraction in Nusa Penida that happens to be a cool geological phenomenon.

Photo Via Anandagotama

Why is it known as the broken sea? On first sight, you’ll see a natural arch created by the rock cliffs. The arch – or the hole in the rock cliff as some would say – actually used to be a cave!

The floor of the cave had collapsed, creating the arch we see today. The hole in the cliff has also allowed ocean waters to flow through – creating a gorgeous natural pool on the other side to marvel at, and even swim in!

Photo Via Mrpalij

Pasih Uwug

Address: Jalan Batu Nunggul, Nusa Penida

19. Nothing like a Secret Getaway at the Angel’s Billabong

The Angel’s Billabong is one of Nusa Penida’s secret getaways in the form of a marvelous natural infinity pool.

Photo Via Brianpughe

With its emerald hues and crystalline waters, the Angel’s Billabong is the epitome of stunning. And apparently, the green floors of this particular infinity pool are so comfortable to walk on (not slippery), it actually feels carpeted.

Photo Via Kamabtara

Imagine that! We sure wish we were lounging around at Angel’s Billabong this very moment.

Angel’s Billabong

Address: Banjar Sumpang, Desa Bunga Mekar, Nusa Penida
Getting There: It’s not too far from Pasih Uwug (the broken sea). A half-kilometre walk from Manta Point to a nearby reef, climb down one of the sides of the edgy coral walls to swim in this surreal pool.

20. Discover the unique bamboo house – Rumah Bambu Pengalon

Trust us, we’re as surprised as you that there’s so many amazing things to be discovered around Candidasa – and Rumah Bambu Pengalon just might be the cherry on top.

Photo Via Ayustinapranata_-ewikurus

Although this project has been cancelled, Rumah Bambu Pengalon is still a unique construction of beautifully architectured bamboo houses worth visiting.

Photo Via Ewikurus

Initially planned as the venue for a music festival, Bali Unite, the views here are surprisingly incredible with a small and beautifully clear lake just around the area.

Another instagram-worthy location, finding Rumah Bambu Pengalon might be a little confusing, but it will definitely be worth your journey.

Rumah Bambu Pengalon

Price Range: Free admission!
Getting There: If you are coming from Denpasar, turn right after the petrol station at Yeh Malet (after Goa Lawah temple) – right next to the Desa Antiga East office. Drive 400 meters further in from the Amlapura – Denpasar highway, follow the unpaved road, you will be able to reach here.
Address: Bali Unite Festival.Br. Pengalon. Desa Antiga

21. No Ninja turtles here! – TCEC

For a family-friendly outing, the turtle centre on Serangan Island will make everyone happy, adults or kids alike.

The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) offers a good deal of activities, from watching baby turtles hatch at the hatchling centre and holding juvenile turtles; to seeing turtles of different sizes in observation pools, and more – a must-visit in Bali if you love animals.

Photo Via Jule_-April-Ferguson_-Amir-Azahari

If you’re lucky enough to come during feeding time, your kids will definitely have fun watching the feeding frenzy.

Before you leave, don’t forget to sign the guestbook and get some souvenirs!

TCEC

Address: Tukad Wisata No. 4, Link. Pojok-Serangan, Denpasar Selatan, Bali 80229
Contact: +62 813 3849 0357
Getting There: To get that experience during turtle breeding season in May, June and July, from Denpasar, head to the east of the city and get to Turtle Education and Conservation Center (TCEC) in the island of Pulau Serangan. This island is interconnected to the main island of Bali by road and still belongs to the municipality of the capital city of Bali, Denpasar. You can take a motorbike, a car or a boat to get there. No public transportation available.

22. Hunt for abandoned planes

You must have heard about a strange sight in Bali – abandoned planes.

Abandoned plane in Pandawa (Photo Via Elvinamarleen)

Up till now, we’ve not just discovered one in Pandawa, but three abandoned planes (and counting)!

One can be found in someone’s backyard in Kuta, while another in the middle of nowhere on barren land in Jembrana. And no, till now, no one knows how they ended up there.

Abandoned plane in Kuta (Photo Via Yv8ne_)
Abandoned plane in Jembrana (Photo Via Nila_indradianti)

Some are said to be on their way to be converted to private property by landowners, while one has turned into a themed restaurant.

Psst – we are sure there’s more, have you found them?

Hunt for abandoned planes

Locations of abandoned planes we know of:
Jembrana: Coordinates here
Kuta: Coordinates here
Pandawa: Coordinates here

23. A Floating House in the Middle of a Lake? – Lake Batur

Lake Batur certainly provides a strangely romantic sight in the form of an abandoned half-submerged house in the middle of a lake.

Probably abandoned after a flood, the house is now home to Lake Batur’s watery residents. Photographers also love journeying down just to snap some intriguing shots of the scene.

Photo Via Agoes-Anantara

And if you didn’t already know, Lake Batur is a crater lake situated on the active volcano Mount Batur. With its clear reflective waters, it is definitely one of the many places you may go to get the best views of Bali.

A Floating House in Lake Batur

Getting There: You can either take a 30-minute drive to Lake Batur (in Kintamani) from Ubud or join one of the many private tours to Lake Batur and Mount Batur. Tourist shuttle buses between southern Bali and Lovina stop off at Kintamani. Coordinates here

24. Of Pretty Colours on the Ocean – Shore of Sanur

Make your way to the shores of Sanur and catch a unique glimpse of the local fishermen sailing in colourful traditional boats.

These boats are known as ‘jukung’ and come in a plethora of colours that would make a rainbow jealous.

The fishermen sail away in the evening and come back before dawn with their catch to sell at the seafood markets.

However, if you’re looking to go surf and snorkel at offshore reefs and islands nearby, the jukung are also available for hire!

Shore of Sanur

Address: Sanur, Denpasar, Bali

25. The Unique Water Palace of Dreams – Ubud Water Palace

By day, the Ubud Water Palace is majestic. And by night, it morphs into something more magic than majestic.

Walk down the bridge through the expansive lotus ponds and make sure to check out the statues and architecture around. Walking through the Ubud Water Palace is almost like walking through an ornate art masterpiece.

Photo Via Gorgor26

You’ll notice how detailed each intricately stone-carved feature is, from the dragon-like gargoyles guarding the bridge, to the stone-carvings adorning the palace.

And if possible, make sure to drop by Café lotus for an indescribably amazing break amidst the lotus ponds.

Ubud Water Palace

Address: Jl. Kajeng No.24, Ubud. Coordinates here

26. Travel to the Village of the Deaf – Desa Bengkala

Bengkala, also known as the Village of the Deaf (or the village with a heart, or so we think), can be a life-changing experience.

This hidden gem, despite its name, only has less than 50 deaf people (known as kolok) in a village of 2,000 people.

However, the entire village makes it a point to make their deaf feel the sense of belonging through language. The deaf villagers are given proper education, and use a unique sign language, the Kata kolok (deaf talk) to communicate.

And Bengkala’s Kata Kolok is distinct from Balinese language and any other sign language in the world.

(If you take a trip to the village, which is currently funded by private charities, and donate or sponsor a deaf child, you will be helping to give them more opportunities to education too.)

Desa Bengkala

Address: Bengkala, Kubutambahan, Buleleng, Bali
Getting there: Travel to the northern region of Bali by bus to the city of Singaraja then proceed to the village of Jagaraga. From there you can walk all the way to Bengkala (10km), you will find the welcome sign. For more convenience, hire a motorbike or a local with transport to bring you directly to Bengkala.

Watch the coastal communities live their lives

We all love the sea, and beyond its majestic beauty, the sea is actually a very integral part of the locals’ everyday lives, especially those living on the shores.

Find out more about what they do!

27. Learn how to Make Salt from Seawater – Amed sea salt farm

At the sea salt farm in the fishing village of Amed, you will get to watch as traditional salt farmers process seawater into salt.

We know, we know, it’s not a skill you’ll need since you can simply purchase salt off the shelves off your local mom-and-pop store.

However, watching the salt farmers at their work can be truly fascinating and educational especially for the kids.

Photo Via Whatisabean,Nomadiceats

First, seawater is sieved and filtered, then poured into hollowed coconut tree trunks and dried under the sun.

Next, when the seawater has evaporated, farmers will harvest the crystallized salt by scraping it out with a pair of bamboo ladles. And the best part? You may even get samples as souvenirs!

Amed sea salt farm

Getting There: Amed sea salt farm can be reached along Jalan Abang, not far from Selang Beach. One of the recommended one to visit is behind Warung Ole. Coordinates here.

28. Seaweed paradise – Geger Beach

Nestled in Nusa Dua, Bali’s luxury villa neighbourhood, Geger Beach has experienced development at one end, while the other remains gorgeously untouched.

In fact, what’s left of this little slice of paradise is a hideout for passionate beach-goers looking for a break from the crowd. The place is popular with local expats rather than tourists, which is no surprise, since they are probably residents in the high-end locality.

Photo Via Kate_burtseva,Graciajuliaf

While you enjoy your quiet afternoon by the sand and sea, don’t forget to visit its seaweed farms, where the plants are harvested to produce cosmetics. You can even spot the farmers at work on the beach.

Photo Via elisaconlavaligia

With calm and crystal clear water, Geger Beach is also perfect for swimmers and snorkellers. Its seaweed farms attract spectacular reef fish into the shallow waters too!

Geger Beach

Coordinates here

Where to stay
Find hotels around Nusa Dua on Agoda  

29. Watch Ancient Balinese Dance Drama – The Gambuh orchestra

On the 1st and 15th of every month at Butuan Temple, the Gambuh Desa Batuan Ensemble (when in Bali) presents a Gambuh performance.

Accordingly, Gambuh is Bali’s oldest surviving performance art with its music, literature, acting and dance originating from Java during the Majapahit era (1292 to 1527).

The Gambuh orchestra utilises drums, gongs, bells and flutes to create dynamic musical structure that underlay nearly all Balinese music.

Several performances include The Stabbing of the Horse, a tale of finding love lost, and healing; Bali Jewels, a performance that interestingly enough, finishes with a warped version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet; and others.

If you’re around on the 1st or 15th of the month, do head down to Batuan Temple for to catch the Gambuh Desa Batuan Ensemble in action. (That’s if they’re in Bali at that time!)

The Gambuh orchestra

Location: Jalan Raya Batuan, Indonesia. Coordinates here. Batuan is located in central Bali about 10 kilometres south of Ubud and about 15 kilometres northeast of Denpasar.
Email: I Wayan Bawa ([email protected])
Phone: +6281936233066
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8:00 am – 11:00 pm

Website

Unearth spooky places that will make you shudder

Bali is an island steeped in myths, legends and folklore. We don’t know how true these stories are, but if you’ve got guts, we dare you to visit these creepy (and sometimes abandoned) attractions!

30. Drive (or no) through a hole in a tree: Bunut Bolong Tree

In the Manggissari village, located in the western part of Bali, stands yet another majestic tree that’s renowned for its supernatural powers.

Photo Via Ellchintya

But unlike the giant banyan tree that supposedly grants wishes, the Bunut Bolong Tree (meaning “tree with a hole in it”) has a far more ominous history.

The tree has roots on either side of a stretch of road, forming an archway that visitors can drive through. Brides and grooms are advised to refrain from passing through this way, though – legend has it that those who do will end up separated.

To protect people from the power of the tree, another road has been constructed next to it for believers to pass through.

But regardless of your belief in the legend, there’s nothing like a bit of risk to pique the adventurer’s interest, isn’t it?

Bunut Bolong Tree

Location: Desa Manggissari, Pekutatan, Bali 82262, 11 kilometres north of the Denpasar-Gilimanuk road. Coordinate here

31. Instagram the Giant Banyan Tree

No, it’s not a hotel we’re talking about, it’s the actual giant Banyan Tree in the village of Gesing, in northern Bali.

Believed to be 700 years old, and at 85-metres tall (!!!), this incredible tree has a maze of roots for you to walk through and explore.

The more adventurous traveller might even want to take it a notch higher (pun unintended), and climb up the twining roots around the trunk of the giant tree.

Some food for thought – the Balinese believe spirits live in banyan trees, and according to legend, locals used to hide in the tree from the Dutch during the occupation.

Lastly, remember to make a wish on this giant Banyan Tree as it’s said to be a wishing tree!

Giant Banyan Tree

Address: Munduk, Banjar, Buleleng, Bali
Getting There: From Munduk proceed to the village of Gessing (5km away). Look for, and follow the signpost that will lead you to the giant Banyan tree.

32. Abandoned amusement park: Taman Festival Bali

Taman Festival is a large amusement park in Sanur that was never completed.

Since the park – and its crocodile pit – was abandoned 14 years ago, it has literally crumbled, a sad reminder of an abandoned potential that was never realised.

Photo Via Leanne_olliffe,Infodenpasar

Now, with shaky buildings threatening to fall at any moment, missing roofs and treacherous steps, locals refer to the old park as a “ghost town”.

Photo Via Artha_sanjaya

But it’s not just about the possible wandering spirits that will leave your hair standing in fear.

Rumour has it that the crocodiles left in the park eventually resorted to cannibalism, so if you ever visit, do take special care to avoid the old crocodile pit and pools filled with polluted, black water.

The reptiles might have been removed many years ago, but it’s better safe than sorry, isn’t it?

Taman Festival Bali

Getting There: Taman Festival is located along the JL. Pantai Padang Galak road in Sanur. It’s just a 7-min drive and 40-min walk up north from Sanur Beach. Coordinate here

Learning traditional Balinese crafts

They say that art flows through the veins of every Balinese. This may explain why there are so many artistic talents on the island! Painting, sculpting, jewellery-making, batik-making, mask-making… You name it – they are able to do it all!

Why not join in some art classes and learn from the experts? Who knows, you might bring a special skill home!

33. The legendary art of painting – Desa Kamasan

If you want to discover and witness the real Balinese art of painting, you must check out Desa Kamasan.

Photo Via Iwayansuprapta,Sri_minarti

This village is the home to authentic Balinese paintings originating from the Gelgel Kingdom (established in the 15th Century). With a unique and distinctive style, the paintings here own a classical touch that showcase the complex traditional wayang legends.

Paintings from Kamasan not only function as exquisite decor, but are sometimes used as ritual items for certain holy ceremonies. With their unusual and sacred value, it is no surprise that paintings from this village have often been sought after by art collectors all over the world.

Photo Via Arriyav,Sukutangan,Iwayansuprapta

Desa Kamasan is also known for their ‘uang kepeng’ (ancient coin) production and bullet-carving artwork. A trip to this artsy village will certainly fill your soul with creativity and inspire you to the fullest.

Desa Kamasan

Location: Kecamatan Klungkung, Klungkung, Bali
How to get there: Desa Kamasan is located 43 kilometres away from Denpasar. With most roads in good condition, the trip there will be easy and enjoyable. Coordinates here

34. Stone-carving, Wood-carving or Mask-making for you?

Other interesting things to see along the village of Batuan are the scores of stone-carving workshops.

As you make your way through Batuan, you’ll pass by these workshops with many completed stone-carved statues on display, along with the stone-carvers working away.

If you’d prefer wood-carving or mask-making, then Mas is the place you want to be.

Located in the main road from Denpasar to Ubud, Mas Village is famous for its distinct style of wood-carving. A particular place you may want to check out is the Mas Carving Centre.

Watch as the artisans work their magic with wood, and masks, and as usual, feel free to purchase one to bring home with you!

Stone-carving

Address: Batuan Sukawati, Gianyar Regency, Bali. Coordinates here

Wood-carving and mask-making

Address: Mas Villages Ubud, Bali. Coordinates here

35. The Famed Jewellery Workshop of Celuk – Desa Celuk

Owned by a Balinese family of silversmiths whose ancestors even created ceremonial items, Prapen is a well-known jewellery workshop and showroom.

Situated in the traditional metal-smithing village of Celuk, Prapen boasts of jewellery created using secret techniques that have been passed through the families over centuries of generations.

In the open workshop full of workers, you may watch as they go about the tedious, yet extremely rewarding process of crafting up these exquisite Balinese baubles.

If you want, you may even learn how to make your own jewellery and bring it home too (for a price, of course)!

Jewellery Workshop at Desa Celuk

Address: Jalan Jagaraga 66, Celuk, Gianyar, Bali
Phone: +62 361 291 333
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8:00 am – 11:00 pm

Website

Experience strange and unique traditional rituals

On an island steeped with ancient traditions and century-old rituals, taking part in them has always been part of traditional culture, especially for local villagers.

These are the most bizarre (and often shocking) rituals that will leave you horrified and squeamish (or maybe both at once!, we promise.

36. The mass spirit-possession ritual – Ngerebong Tradition

Have you ever seen an entire large group of people being possessed by spirits and behaving in a non-human manner at the same time?

Readily accessible from tourist spots such as Kuta, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran and even Ubud (only 45 minutes away by car), Desa Kesiman practises a unique traditional ritual known as Ngerebong, and this is an out-of-the-world experience you wouldn’t want to miss when in Bali.

Photo Via Kesimanculture

Ngerebong is traditionally conducted in the Pengerebongan temple in Kesiman Village in Denpasar once every 210 days. This ritual aims to achieve a balance between the natural and spiritual.

At the beginning of the ceremony, a mass prayer will be held in the early afternoon. The locals will then perform a rousing parade of Barong and Rangda circling a ‘wantilan’ (Balinese traditional pavilion).

And here’s the catch – during the parade, you will notice a very strange phenomenon. The locals involved in the parade would start to behave in a shocking and bizarre manner, as they are said to be possessed by spirits.

Photo Via Ardibebangkan,Sarangmbacot

Some people may start growling, yelling, crying and dancing. But what’s most horrifying is that some of them will perform inhuman stunts, such as stabbing themselves with knives, but miraculously sustain no traces of injuries at all.

Photo Via Hosted-News

Dare to watch this ritual live?

Note: If you’re keen to visit, do dress accordingly as the ritual is held in a temple complex, and bear in mind that women who are menstruating are strictly prohibited from entering.

Ngerebong Tradition

Location: Pura Pengerebongan, Desa Kesiman, Denpasar Timur, Bali. Coordinates here.
Best time to catch the ritual:  Every 210th day, 8 days after the Kuningan festival

37. Hug, pull and kiss – Omed-omedan

Have you heard of the mass hugging and kissing ritual in Bali?

Yes, despite being a relatively conservative country, the Banjar Kaja Sesetan village practises Omed-omedan, a ritual that involves hugging and pulling between two groups of young people. Full of love and joy, it is held annually on the day after Nyepi.

Photo Via Olanesia,Donad__deny

The name of Omed-omedan means pull in Balinese. Legend has it that this tradition has been around since the 17th Century.

During the ritual, all the young people from the village will be divided into two groups, the boys (teruna) and the girls (teruni). After that, two lines will be formed and every boy faces a girl.

The pair of boy and girl in front will have to hug each other with the rest of the group tries to separate them. If the couple can’t be separated, the village council will throw a bucket of water towards them!

Photo Via I_p_k_m,Pointsrunninlo

While the couple hugs, they would be in close contact and their faces may touch each other. Sometimes, their lips may even meet! So this ritual is also widely known as the kissing ritual.

Omed-omedan

Location: Banjar Kaja Sesetan, Denpasar, bali
Best time to catch the ritual: The day after the Nyepi celebration.

37 is not all – let us know in the comment section below what other awesome things you have to do in Bali!

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