I’m dreaming of an Island where the waves are legendary, the fruit tastes better than candy, and the smiling locals are almost as warming as the satay and curry. Yes, I’m talking about Bali – just a small part of one of the earth’s largest archipelagos which is home to the fourth largest population in the world.
With all of the Eat Pray Love hype, I thought it high time to set the record straight about Bali. While it certainly may be the land of mirthful medicine men and sordid love affairs for some, Bali offers itself up as one of the most interesting and easy-to-love tourist destinations in Indonesia, if not all of Asia, with quite a few more perks than may be evident in a Hollywood adaptation.
The following are my five top reasons to see the real Bali:
Few people in this world, at least that I know of, would pass up a chance to get close to monkeys. Bali is one of those particularly-heavily monkey inhabited places in this world where they will, and often do, fearlessly come very close to people.
Mostly to jack your loot, so hold onto your hats, ladies and gents!
Sometimes the best thing to do in Bali is to just sit back and watch the ‘monkey show’, wherever you (and food) may be. The Sacred Monkey Forest of Ubud can be a good place to do so, particularly because these monkeys just might come up and touch you, jump on you, and even pee on you! A forewarning though: just like a hot prom date circa junior year of high school, you’ll need to let them make the first move so as not to upset them and suffer the consequences (again – getting peed on. Or maybe even bitten – ouch).
Also, when in Bali, I’d say be a monkey yourself – go a little rabid and indiscriminately grab as much mango, pineapple, and passion fruit as you can at every possible opportunity. If you’re like me, you’ll most likely end up with a burning mouth from all the acidity, but you won’t care because it’s just. that. damn. good.
Which brings me to…
Seconds, Thirds, and Fourths Please!
Balinese food (and Indonesian food in general) is some damn good grub. Also? It just makes sense! Typical Balinese just eat when they’re hungry rather than making a huge production of things and insisting on communal meal times. I encourage you to take the same approach, and find many reasons to be hungry.
If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the spice, and the coconut element that is commonly used. Some notable dishes include Opor ayam (chicken cooked in coconut milk), Satay (skewered meat), and Guling Celeng (suckling pig).
Shred Gnar Bro
You don’t need me to tell you that surfing is huge in Bali, I’m sure. However, I’d recommend actually going to an area off of the island itself for some more secluded, lovely beach experiences.
Nusa Lembongan, although more developed than other islands surrounding Bali, is devoid of cars, buses, and all that NOISE.
The water is crystal blue, the sand is white, and it’s a little slice of heaven.
Massages are pretty great. They are. I’d say they’re quite amazing after sitting on a plane in coach for 14 hours in a seat that would probably be deemed inhumane even for death-row inmates.
But I digress.
If a massage done by one person, with only two measly hands feels good, then what about a massage with two people and FOUR hands?! Yes, the Balinese four hand massage truly is an awesome experience – It’s almost poetic, in a way. It feels like a symphony is being played on the body, with four perfectly synced hands. Relaxing and enjoying Bali only gets easier after this experience.
Bask in the Beauty
It comes to pass that every place I visit, I sit there thinking about how I absolutely must come back and bring my family so that they, too, can get a chance to see the beautiful sights.
Pretty much every place.
This one is different, though. Swear! It has a spiritual beauty, if that makes any sense. I was happy to sit and just stare – which is something I just never otherwise get a chance to do. Bali is one of few places that I still managed to feel calm despite seeing bomb sniffing dogs, which always strikes at least a little fear in my heart. That said, It felt good to be there. It was nice not to see any buildings higher than palm trees. Coming from the US, that’s not something I can say I’m very used to. The natural beauty mirrors the smiling faces of the locals – warm, bright, and welcoming.
So much so that I just got cheesy!
There you have my top 5 reasons to see Bali.