In order to experience the full potential of these beautiful, peaceful islands, here’s how you can explore and enjoy a Bali holiday like a local:
Bali is a well-known tropical paradise beloved by tourists seeking relaxation, beach enjoyment and plenty of romance. However, what many people forget is that Bali is a real place where real people live—it’s not all tourists, resorts and sandy beaches.
Rent a motorcycle
Strangely enough, a Bali holiday begins with the rental of a motorbike. Motorbikes are quite affordable in Bali and much more suitable for navigating narrow roads and often chaotic traffic and a motorbike is the locals’ favourite way to go from point A to point B. So when you arrive, make sure to rent out a bike of your own (as low as $5 a day). You don’t need a local license to drive your two-wheeler—the international permit is enough. If you’re confident on two wheels, your motorcycle will give you access to a whole new world of possibilities in Bali.
Visit Nusa Penida
Before hoards of tourists started frequenting the islands of Nusa Lembongan and the Gili Islands, these used to be two oases of peace. These spots still look very tropical and heavenly, but they are quite busy, especially during the high season. If you want to enjoy more peace, you should look into Nusa Penida island and experience a more authentic Balinese life. This is a well-known chill-out spot in Bali and home to a large, local population with markets, local restaurants, bars and best saved for the last of your Bali holiday.
Enjoy some yogi relaxation
The practice of yoga has a long history in Bali, so make sure to engage in at least a touch of this practice. If you’re interested in learning from the best masters and yoga therapists, you can even book your stay in a yoga retreat in Bali and rekindle the connection with your higher self. Your retreat will provide you with yoga classes, as well as meditation and mindfulness. And don’t think this sort of vacation is too serious for you—there’s also surfing, spa, fitness as well as hanging out with like-minded travellers.
Discover northern seaside spots
Bali is famous for its sandy beaches and tropical paradise vibes on its southern coast. However, if you want to explore the island and get off the beaten track, you must visit at least one northern seaside spot. For instance, Amed is a wonderful volcanic beach with scenic views—a perfect spot if you want to enjoy the untouched beauties of Bali. Surrounding the beach are cute local fishing villages you must experience, especially if you’re aiming to invest in a holiday villa on the island. Also, if you’re into scuba diving, this spot offers access to the underwater shipwreck of the USS Liberty.
While white sands, blue waters and endless sun causes the visitors to flock to Bali’s beaches, this island has so much more to offer than sunbathing and surfing. The interior of the island is covered with tea plantations, rice paddies and villages made and surrounded by bamboo. These spots are stuck in time and a perfect opportunity to experience a different sort of life. Visit inland to experience authentic Balinese culture, spend time with locals and see many unusual things for us westerners. You can even stay in a homestay retreat and get a real taste of rural Bali life.
Eat local foods
Enjoying different foods is one of the best things about travelling, so make sure to expand your culinary horizons and try many Balinese local dishes. If you find the right spots, you can get a hearty meal for very little money. Like many Southeast Asian destinations, Bali also has a busy street food scene, so make sure to try plenty of dishes from family-run warungs that line the streets of Bali. To get an authentic plate of Nasi Goreng (fried rice and veggies) you don’t have to go far. There are many authentic yet accessible spots like Kuta, Ubud and Seminyak. And to get the most authentic Balinese food experience, follow the locals. When you see a long line of local people in front of a warung, you can be sure you’re getting the right thing.
Are you ready for your Bali tropical adventure? Use these tips to experience the most authentic Balinese trip filled with beautiful nature, tasty food and tons of relaxation.
Peter is an LGBT travel and lifestyle writer at Queer Voices magazine, living between Australia and Europe. Besides writing, he also worked as a freelance fashion stylist for many magazines. A true craft beer and soy latte aficionado, he loves spending his days at the beach and visiting second-hand stores on a daily basis. Follow Peter on Twitter below for more tips.