|| Always Something
Indeed, no visitor to Bali could ever feel bored. In fact,
it would probably take many life times to try everything
the island has to offer. From spectacular dawn climbs
of smouldering volcanoes to legendary world-class surf
breaks, Bali's attractions are raved about and have earned
the island its place as the world's favourite island destination
in Travel & Leisure magazine for several years running.
Offshore or onshore, natural or man-made, cultural or
educational, your options are covered. Being a small island,
the beaches are never far away and the gamut of water
sports offered is staggering. You'll think twice about
lying on a sun-chair when you have the temptation of going
windsurfing, surfing, boogie boarding, paragliding, swimming,
diving, snorkeling, sea walking, sport fishing, wake boarding,
jet skiing, power boating, or kite surfing - you name
it and Bali's water-sport operators have got it!
Inland, trekkers, climbers, natualists and rafters will
delight in the more mountainous regions - the vistas are
astounding and the wildlife always abundant. Here you
can escape from busier
south, perhaps participating in a yoga or meditation course,
marveling at a sacred waterfall, or just losing yourself
in the tropical vibe of the lush rainforests.
For rafters, bungee jumpers, 4-wheel drive enthusiasts,
and hanger gliders, thrills and quasi-adventures abound,
but the exemplary safety record of the major action-sport
operators on the island suggests that most adventures
are decidedly 'soft' and are always operated under the
eyes of well-trained and experienced professionals.
A number of specialist firms organise group activities
and are expert providers of and organisers of group and
team-building activities such as white-water rafting expeditions,
river kayaking, mountain treks, and cycling tours; while
others offer offshore excursions and activities, such
as paintball competitions and high- and low-rope challenges
over spectacular river canyons.
Rafting through tropical rainforest on the Ayung River
outside Ubud is a beguilingly safe activity that suits
all ages. The shallow, winding river spills over rock-falls
and narrows with stops along the shore through an Eden-like
setting. Run by veteran river guides, the rapids provide
enough thrills and spills to get the adrenaline levels
Cycling tours are classified as ‘gentle’ adventures
– essentially peaceful and enjoyable rides through
rainforests, rice fields and rural areas with some strenuous
sections through the hills. Guides provide useful information
on the natural terrain, wildlife and the agrarian life
of the areas. Numbers are flexible, making a cycling trip
suitable for groups of any size.
Trekking options are plentiful with hikes of various lengths
and degrees of difficulty to accommodate walkers at almost
any level of fitness. Offered are easy jaunts through
centuries-old irrigation system to visit forest temples;
more arduous volcano climbs, jungle treks that start before
sunrise; and bird watching expeditions through picturesque
river valleys. Bali’s rich variety of ecosystems
makes all these options, and more, possible.
Why not opt to simply follow the leader and sit back and
enjoy an informative guided tour of Bali? Guides speak
a range of languages and outings usually include transport,
safety gear, lunch and changing facilities. In the interest
of the customer, any tour can be customized to meet the
special interest of any group, which may include team-building
activities, gourmet meals and cultural experiences.
It is said that there are more artisans in Bali than of
any similar space on the planet, meaning that the artistically
inclined visitors will easily find their creative niche.
Balinese culture boasts a seemingly endless array of traditional
art forms for you to try you hand at, and you can even
learn on location with local village artists. Participate
in a gamelan and dance workshop, carve a traditional mask,
mould some pottery, or cook up a ‘spice-storm’
in a Balinese cooking class.
For those on a generous budget, why not charter a helicopter
to see the dreamy island from the air? Or maybe treat
your group to a Harley Davidson motorcycle tour? For a
bit of friendly competition, award-winning golf courses
are dotted across the island and you can choose from a
number of locations, including beachside and mountain-enclave
More sedentary-minded travellers may choose to a stroll
around a butterfly, bird or elephant park, or simply amble
through breezy rice fields in villages off the beaten
track. Never fear boredom on this vibrant, fun-filled
island – there will always be something new just
waiting to be discovered.
Your Corporation Offshore
A large variety of luxurious day and night cruises operate
in the waters in and around Bali.
The menu of marine excursions includes luxury sailing,
reef cruising, and an exhilarating early morning high-speed
cruise along the coastline of Nusa Dua to Uluwatu on the
Bukit Peninsula to view ocean-going dolphins. Depending
on sea conditions, you might even see whales!
Day programmes include island tours and a host of water-related
activities in, around and just off Lembongan Island, which
feature snorkelling, supervised dive programmes, a variety
of water-sports, beachside activities and BBQ lunches.
Popular with small groups and conferences are evening
dinner cruises in the calm confines of Bali’s Benoa
Harbour with entertainment and a splendid buffet meal.
An altogether different experience is offered by several
Bali-based sailing vessels.
There are local cruises, some with an option to scuba-dive
and snorkel, as well as idyllic evening sails –
perfect for those seeking a romantic interlude afloat.
Others offer sailing adventure to the archipelago’s
placid eastern islands. Cruise in wooden pinisi outfitted
with modern navigational gear, specially designed and
modified to make passengers as comfortable and as safe
as possible on journeys around exotic destinations such
as Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores and Sumba.
Surprisingly, the key part of a successful MICE event
may be simply leaving the island to join one of the many
safe, diversified and enjoyable short or long cruises
operating out of Bali.
Those more at ease in smaller bodies of water, never fear
– you can get your thrills and spills at Bali’s
specialised water playgrounds and hotel pools.
|| Surf Mecca
Since the early 1970s, Kuta’s six-kilometre stretch
of shoreline – the longest and the most beautiful
in all of Bali – has to its credit a broad crescent-shaped
swath of grey sand and excellent recreational waves of
up to two metres, fanned and given shape by offshore winds
for at least nine months of the year.
The surfing cognoscenti, however, grab their sunscreen
and catapult themselves far from the madding crowd to
the remote sun-drenched beaches of the Bukit on the island’s
southwest tip. With its endless sunshine, perfect waves
and impressive cliffs facing the menacing Indian Ocean,
this dry and rocky peninsula offers some of the premier
surfing spots on the planet.
The Bukit’s surf breaks, which Bali is famous for,
are at Uluwatu, Bingin and Padang Padang and are ‘on’
when the southeast winds blow offshore during the dry
season. During the wet season (November-March) surfers
prefer the eastern side of the Bukit where the wind will
also be offshore. Surfing is also the big attraction of
the offshore island of Lembongan, the home of one of Indonesia’s
most outstanding surf breaks.
Prized surfing beaches for beginners and intermediates
are Dreamland on the Bukit; Medewi in far-off Jembrana
Regency, 75 kilometres (2.5 hours) west of Denpasar; Balian
at Lalang Linggah 10 kilometres’ west of Antosari;
and Canggu, southeast of the famed Tanah Lot sea temple.
More Adventure Options
Also on four legs, but somewhat closer to the ground,
is a day of horse riding on a spectacular beach north
of Kuta in Kerobokan. Thoroughbred, local and mix-breed
horses are available for rides through rice fields, on
the beach or through local villages.
There are also tandem parachute jumps, paragliding, body-boarding,
wake-boarding, water- and jet-skiing, windsurfing, scuba
diving, deep sea fishing, passages on tall sailing ships,
mountain bike tours, and paint ball competitions. You
name it, Bali’s got it all!
Explore the secret soul of the island on a in a four-wheel
drive vehicle with your own driver-guide. Venture through
the highland villages of Tabanan Regency; observe the
planting of new rice shoots; pay a visit to an ancient
quarry and a typical Balinese farmer’s compound;
and top off your day with a gourmet Indonesian lunch buffet
served in a restaurant deep in the rainforest.
All of Bali’s more remote areas can be visited by
off-road four-wheel drive vehicles which cater for groups
of up to 30. This may include a day trip up to the cool
mountainous terrain of Jatuluwih on the slopes of Mount
Batukaru, worlds away from the crowds of Bali’s
south. For the truly bold, wander Bali’s back roads
on your own in a new self-drive car or motorbike, both
easily arranged by meeting planners.
Diving In Paradise
Diving off Bali and around the archipelago is a wonderful
experience, however it’s advised that divers use
only a professional and reputable marine sports agency,
such as Yos Marine Adventures, which adheres to stringent
international safety standards and can also provide adequate
Yos Amerta, a dynamic German-trained Balinese engineer
and founder-owner of this environmentally friendly dive
company, has been in the business of training divers and
offering out of the ordinary dive packages for more than
Yos Marine Adventures is deeply involved in preserving
Bali’s underwater environment by reclaiming reefs
lost to coral mining, pollution and fishing. Popular with
diving enthusiasts are their very affordable diving packages,
PADI open-water diving course and even an advanced open-water
diving course in which students learn how to use an underwater
compass and embark on a night dive on the sunken Liberty
Using Bali as a base from which to venture deeper into
the archipelago, Yos Marine is also able to arrange chartered
boat and sport fishing adventures.