There’s nothing wrong with surfing...., sunbathing and scouting out temples while on holiday in Bali. After all, that’s what the island is known for. However, chances are you’ll be sharing those waves, sun loungers and temples with thousands of other tourists who come to Bali to do the exact same thing. If you want to get off the beaten track and do something a bit different, there are a few lesser known unique activities on offer that are sure to be both memorable and mesmerizing.
Canyoneering in Bali’s Interior
If extreme sports are your thing, canyoneering is definitely your bag, as this thrill-seeking activity combines trekking, rock climbing, swimming and rappelling through the jungle, up and down cliffs, alongside waterfalls and over fast gushing rivers. Adventure and Spirit offers adrenaline-pumping canyoneering trips through some of Bali’s most pristine wilderness. There are trips for absolute beginners from eight years old and up, more challenging journeys for those in decent physical condition, and legendary adventures for those with canyoneering experience.
Visit a Forest of Skulls
Deep within Bali’s interior on the edge of a massive volcanic crater lake lies Trunyan, one of the last villages of the island’s original inhabitants, the Bali Aga. The Bali Aga are unique in that they have managed to retain many of their animistic customs and culture. For example, in Trunyan they do not cremate their dead like most Balinese Hindus do, instead they bring the bodies to a forest that can only be reached by boat and lay them down in the open air to decompose. Oddly, the bodies never emit a smell, which the locals have attributed to the unique Taru Menyan trees in the cemetery. Visitors can charter a boat to the cemetery for a small fee, and donations also are expected upon arrival.
Kitesurfing in Sanur
Bali is famous around the world for its amazing surf breaks, and while this notoriety is well earned, it also means that surfers can be waiting in queues of up to 45 minutes to an hour just to catch one swell. However, while surfers are waiting in line, kitesurfers are ripping it up on other pieces of ocean around the island with nary a queue in sight. The best place to learn kitesurfing is on Sanur Beach where the wind is good and the waves not too gnarly. Bali Kitesurfing can hook you up with a two-hour lesson that includes equipment, set-up, tips on launching, landing and self-rescue, plus an hour out on the water.
Make Your Own Chocolate at the Chocolate Factory
For those with a sweet tooth, Pod Chocolate Factory offers a unique day out where you can learn about how chocolate is made and create your own sweet treats. Your tour starts in their cocoa tree farm to see how the cocoa pod begins life and then moves into the boutique factory to see the pod’s journey from roasted beans to finished product. At the end you also get the chance to get hands on and create your own delicious chocolate elephants to eat on the spot or take home.
Feed Tigers on a Night Safari
The Bali Safari and Marine Park is pretty amazing in the daytime with its safari bus tours that take your through a variety of different habitats where animals like zebras, lions, monkeys and elephants roam freely just next to the bus. But nighttime is when many of animals really get active. Their night safari cruise puts you inside a metal cage on the back of a truck, and takes you deep into the park where you can feed zebras and elephants carrots, and then to the tiger enclosure where they entice full-grown tigers to jump on top of the cage and eat fresh meat right out of your hand.