Bali is a touristy place to visit with thousands and thousands of people wandering around taking photographs and selfies. But, most stick to the typical trail and visit the usual list of places in the guidebook. The good news is that Bali has a lot of other fascinating and undiscovered attractions to explore. You may find yourself in a relatively unknown temple or catching breath-taking scenery with no-one else around. After you book your hotel or rent a villa in Bali, getting away from the crowds is easy. The best advice for any traveler is to explore as much of this tropical paradise as you can. This article describes how to get off the beaten track in Bali.
Popular Places to Visit in Bali:
The most popular tourist attractions in Bali are probably a combination of the beaches and temples. You can find beautiful white sand on the southern part of the island but expect black in most of the other places. The famous temples include Uluwatu Temple, Pura Tanah Lot, and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Another typical thing to do is visit the Elephant Safari Park or take a tour to the mountains. All these are great things to do and would be a personal favorite if it wasn’t for all of the tourists! The attractions are busy and you have to wait around dodging the people taking photographs.
Unique Things to Do in Bali:
Now that the popular attractions are out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the more unusual and unique things to do in Bali.
Did you know that you can visit an abandoned theme park called Taman Festival Bali in a remote location near Sanur? Most people don’t and it really is a spooky and surreal experience. The theme park opened in 1997 and quickly closed down when the tourists didn’t come. It was left to the elements and became overgrown with foliage and trees over the last 20 years. Walking around this mini-ghost town is a weird experience and not to be missed if you’re looking for an adventure.
Bali also has two abandoned planes. Yes, you read that correctly and it’s another bizarre thing to see here. According to locals, there’s a rumor that each plane at one point was going to house a restaurant. But, over time the plans fell through and were eventually abandoned and forgotten. The first is about a kilometer from Pandawa Beach in the limestone hills. You can see the other near Benoa Square as you come from the airport along Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai.
Having a Cultural Experience that You’ll Remember:
A trip to Bengkala in Kubutambahan (northern Bali) is a village that gives a very special cultural insight and shows you a different way of life. This is nicknamed the ‘Village of the Deaf’ since around 2%, or 1 in 50 people, are genetically deaf. Because of this, a unique culture and method of communication has evolved. The locals use sign language and have their own traditions that includes things such as performance art. A trip to this village is certainly going to open your eyes and give you that experience you’re craving.
You can also visit the Goa Gong Temple, which is inside a cave near Jimbaran. The entrance is guarded by giant gargoyles statues and inside is a place of worship with various shrines around the cavernous space. Seeing this inside a dark cave is a strange experience and something that’s not to be missed. Just be aware that people can only go inside if the temple’s priest is around to accompany them. Another thing not to miss around here is the Batu Ngongkong people in the nearby village. These are very traditional people and it’s worth walking through the village to see their way of life.
Avoiding the Tourist Traps:
There are a few common tourist traps in Bali to be aware of and to avoid at all costs. The first is Ubud Market, one of the most popular places for tourists to shop for souvenirs and to hang out. However, the items tend to be vastly overpriced and lower quality compared to other parts of Bali. And the vendors are quite pushy that may make some people feel uncomfortable. Feel free to check the place out, but buy your things elsewhere.
The next common trap is falling victim to the tout scam. Middle-aged women wander around the beaches selling massages and other beauty services. The quoted price is very cheap and affordable, but this turns out to be higher than expected when it’s time to pay.
Independent tour guides try to overcharge unsuspecting tourists. They hang around outside temples coming up with a plethora of stories saying that you need a guide to go inside. Of course, the prices are several folds higher than what they should be! If you do decide to use a guide, always check that they’re registered and not just anyone from the street looking to make a bit of extra cash.
Things to Remember:
Bali gets a lot of tourists each year who tend to stick to the same group of attractions. You should take the time to visit these places since they’re some of the best that the island has to offer. But, at the same time, get out and have an adventure where you can see ghost towns, abandoned planes, and temples carved into caves. This gives you a much better adventure and a unique experience in Bali.