While Bali has seen an influx of tourists in recent years, travelers who are willing to go off the beaten track can still find its hidden charms. Other than Nepal, Bali is the only other Hindu-majority region outside of India, and is home to a fascinating culture which blends a variety of influences. In terms of activities, Bali is a versatile destination; visitors can find a variety of pursuits, including trekking, surfing, diving, and rafting, or cultural pastimes, such as dance, cuisine, music, and textiles.
Among Bali's gems are the Taman Ujung, a palace constructed to dazzle and awe foreign notables, and which features eclectic, diverse design influences; hikes along lush, emerald-green rice terraces; and sampling Bali's polyglot culture, particularly its famous, native dance.
Enjoy a traditional Balinese massage and body scrub, and relax in a bath of lavender flower petals.
Take a helicopter over the large and diverse island of Bali, with its picturesque beaches, sheer cliffs, spectacular volcanoes, emerald rice terraces, steep gorges and exotic wildlife.
Visit a remote village and participate in a private family ceremony or religious ritual, such as a tooth filing (to rid the body of the weaknesses such as lust, greed, anger, drunkenness, confusion and jealousy), a wedding, or a funeral (a joyous celebration where the dead person is released into the afterlife).
Go whitewater rafting on the Telaga Waja River, which starts in east Bali below the great Mt. Agung. Brave class III and IV rapids, discover hidden waterfalls, swim in the pristine water, and feel the might of this river. This is a thrilling way to see Bali's jungles and waterscapes; you will rush past steep banks and ancient hanging trees, whilst rafting straight through cascades of cold, natural spring water.
Visit Klungklung and Kerta Gosa, the "Sistine Chapel of Bali". Part of a larger complex called Taman Gili, Kerta Gosa was once the royal court of justice. Within a bale (pavilion) surrounded by ponds, an elaborately painted ceiling dating from the 17th century depicts terrifying scenes of good versus evil, which no doubt struck fear into the hearts of criminals facing trial.
See the Taman Ujung, or Ujung Water Palace, which was constructed in 1919 under the auspices of the King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik, who reigned from 1909-1945. The palace was built to welcome and serve important guests and royalty from other countries, and reflects a fusion of architectural styles and traditional cultures: western designs were implemented in the gazebo, the arches are Middle Eastern, and the intricate wood carving is Balinese.
Meet with young Balinese students of traditional Indonesian dance and gamelan music. Join them for hands-on lessons in their art followed by a private performance. Learn about the rich, varied tradition of indigenous dance forms in Indonesia, including Balinese and Javanese dance.
Charter a boat and go snorkeling, diving or surfing in crystal clear waters of the Java Sea.
Hike through Bali's verdant rice terraces to a secluded Buddhist temple and meet with the high priest, the most important and well-regarded "man of the cloth" in Bali, for a special blessing for good luck and long life.
Drive on the scenic road to Kintamani near the picturesque Gunung Batur volcano. Gunung Batur is one peak within a larger caldera that also contains a lake formed during a particularly powerful eruption 30,000 years ago. Spend the morning hiking through the beautiful countryside, or charter a helicopter for a bird's-eyeview over this awe-inspiring landscape.
Take a sunset horseback ride along the beach and conclude with a celebratory barbecue by the ocean.
Sample kopi luwak, among the most expensive coffee in the world. Made from coffee beans which were eaten, digested, and excreted by the civet, a small, jungle cat native to Indonesia and southeast Asia, kopi luwak is perhaps the most expensive of its kind in the world, selling at almost $700 for 2 pounds (1 kilogram). While kopi luwak does vary depending on the type of bean used and the health of the civet (which in turn affects its enzymes), on the whole, kopi luwak is a strong, smooth coffee that tends to lack a bitter aftertaste.