Over the past few years, Bali has attracted all kinds of travellers – those who seek relaxation, those who seek a culinary adventure, and those who seek to learn about a culture completely different from their own.
Bali is the home to one large UNESCO World Heritage site which is comprised of five rice terraces and their corresponding temples. Beyond these sites, there are opportunities to learn about the Balinese culture first hand through dance and cooking lessons, holistic healing, and religious ceremonies.
It’s no wonder Aussies are rushing to find Bali travel deals in 2017.
Keep reading to learn more about cultural experiences in Bali!
When you visit Bali, you cannot leave without seeing a performance of the centuries-old Balinese dancing. Those who are trained to dance in this ancient art form wear elaborate costumes emblazoned with jewels, gold, and traditional makeup.
The dancers tell stories using different parts of their bodies which is mesmerizing to watch. Some of the dances they perform are dance-dramas rooted in Indonesian and Hindi myths, legends, and religious rites.
For a more interactive experience, you can take Balinese dance lessons from the Mekar Bhuana Conservatory, Bali Culture Centre, or Balinese Cultural Creation.
Bali’s temples are one of the most enriching ways to experience Balinese culture. There are temples littered across the island that have been standing since the 9th century.
In Mengwi, you’ll find Pura Taman Ayun, or the Royal Water Temple. The temple was built around 1634 and features traditional Balinese architecture, plus expansive gardens, lotus ponds, and fish ponds.
In Ubud, stop by Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave. It was built in the 9th century as a meditation site and sanctuary. You’ll hike up to the site through courtyards full of relics, full rock-wall carvings, fountains, and bathing pools.
Many people flock to Bali for their many options in holistic healing. You can find retreats for yoga, fitness, meditation, and traditional spa therapies.
If you’re looking for a traditional detox, the boreh treatment involves having a paste of cloves and cinnamon onto your skin. You can also try visiting a traditional Balinese healer, who might paint your body and lead you through a meditation session.
One of the more popular options is getting a traditional Balinese massage, which involves many movement techniques similar to a Swedish massage. The Balinese massage technique comes from the blending of many culture’s takes on massage, including Chinese, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.
Sample the Food
Indonesian and Balinese cuisine have been heavily influenced over the years by other cultures moving into the archipelago. When you sample Balinese cuisine, you’ll notice flavours from the Middle East, India, the Asian continent, and even some from Europe.
Most of the island’s dishes will feature a main protein served with rice. You’ll also notice spices like turmeric, ginger, chili, garlic, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.
If you’re looking for the token dishes to try, go for bantal (sweet sticky rice), babi guling (roasted suckling pig), and rending (meat cooked in coconut milk).