Visitors to the small island of Bali in Indonesia are now in their millions. By 2020, 10 million visitors annually are expected to arrive from all over the world, as well as domestically. With its mysterious volcanos, majestic forests, iconic rice paddies and famous beaches and coral reefs, it is little surprise that the world wants a small piece of this island paradise.
You’re probably familiar with the beachside cities of Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua and their lively bars and impressive resorts. You may have strolled along the fantastic shopping strip in Seminyak with its boutique shops and handmade arts and crafts. And who doesn’t know about the famed Monkey Forest in Ubud? So let us tell you about some other little treasures in Bali, or activities that the Balinese are into, that you may not be aware of yet.
Bali is rich in hidden gems such as Karma Beach located in Karma Kandara in Ungasan. It’s an ocean-side cliff dotted with upscale resorts, surrounded by pristine white sands and clear, bottle green water. What may not be common knowledge, is that you don’t have to stay at one of the resorts to enjoy Karma Beach. The beach itself can be accessed via Karma Kandara Resort’s funicular which descends 85 metres down a sheer cliff face. It sounds daunting but you won’t have time to be scared as you take in stunning 360 degree views of Bali’s coastline.
Once you reach the beach, you can relax in the resort’s bamboo-shaded lounge area on daybeds, or just lay out a towel on the soft sand and unfurl into your favourite sun-tanning position. Spend the morning snorkelling and kayaking in the crystal clear water, then while your afternoon away sipping fresh juice or savouring cold beers. Here is the epitome of a slice of paradise that everyone goes to Bali to find.
At Made’s Warung, you get a taste of both the local cuisine and a bit of history. What started off as a humble roadside warung (food stall) in 1969 is now a lively restaurant franchise in Seminyak. Here you’ll find locals, expats and tourists congregating at communal tables to indulge in a mixed menu of traditional Indonesian, European and Japanese, as well as Thai dishes. The menu also features specific Balinese specialties.
There’s so much on offer so be sure to try a bit of everything. The lumpia (spring rolls) are excellent and offer the taste that we all expect – with an abundance of filling to please your palate. The Nasi Campur is very satisfying soul food; it’s a dish that comes with steamed rice in the centre of the plate which is surrounded by a variety of ‘side’ dishes such as egg, fried shrimp, vegetables, peanuts, meats and some other items.
If you’re lucky, and if it’s something you fancy, they may have babi guling (suckling pig), which is somewhat of a delicacy throughout Bali. Bali is a Hindu region – the rest of the country is predominantly Muslim – so Bali is just about the only part of Indonesia where you’ll find pork on the menu. The babi guling practically melts in your mouth, it’s so soft and tender.
There are many warungs throughout Bali, but Made’s welcoming, open-air set-up in Seminyak is one where you’ll feel at right home, right away.
Balinese love to dance – and not just any dance, they love Latin Dancing! From Salsa to Tango to the more abstract forms of Latin Dance like Kizomba and Zouk, it’s all enjoyed and celebrated on this small island.
Many establishments hold Latin Dancing nights usually accompanied by live bands and hosted by Latin Dance experts. Anyone and everyone can get up and have a go, or you can just watch and tap your feet to the infectious beat. At Made’s Warung for example, you can find the Buena Tierra Band playing all the Salsa favourites on Friday nights. Café Havana, a Cuban-Caribbean hotspot in Ubud, offers free introductory classes while the master classes are taught by world-famous Cuban artistic director and choreographer, Rafael Navarro.
Sanur, Kuta, Ungasan and even the Monkey Temple area will find Latin-dancing Balinese mixing it up with tourists and expats in a fun night of hip-swinging music. It’s a past-time that the locals have enjoyed for many years and one that’s so good for the soul and a fantastic way to meet everyone from all over the world from all walks of life – especially the beautiful locals who make this island delight what it is – paradise!
Bali on Business
Bali truly is one of those magical places where you’re always going to discover something different with each visit. Why not start your island getaway in luxury and fly in First or Business Class? Many leading airlines fly to Denpasar with just one stop, including Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Etihad. The long flight will have you appreciating the fully-flat beds and outstanding service so you can arrive rested and ready to hit the ground running for the perfect balance of work and pleasure on the beautiful island of Bali.