The island of Bali is becoming more and more popular. Luckily many of the locals and visitors are recognizing the need for taking actions and spreading awareness to conserve Bali’s uniqueness. By being an eco-traveler and getting inspired by the 10 following ideas, you can do it too!
We have collected 10 itinerary ideas, that allows you to get to know Bali’s real side while enjoying everything it has to offer sustainably:
1. Getting around the island by bicycle
Some tour operators offer morning or afternoon cycling packages. During the 3,5 hours of travel time, you have the chance to explore Bali’s rural lifestyle, and in the end, you got to see the famous at the Tanah Lot Temple. As you don’t have a possibility to bike everywhere, you can rent a scooter or jump behind a local driver, that are easy to reach through the official apps (Gojek, Grab). Each possibility is more environmentally conscious, not to mention faster than sitting in a car that is still most of the tourist’s number one choice.
2. Hiking and trekking
The following hiking trails will lead you up to volcanoes, through mangrove forests, and into traditional villages. Don’t forget to check the difficulty of the trails before you head out, or if you need a guide, proper arrangements should be made. Always have enough water and proper footwear with you. Unlike the locals, you probably cannot just easily climb up and down in flip flops. (Based on personal experience…)
The most popular trails are leading up to volcanoes Mount Agung, Batur, and Danau Bratan. And while the nearby lakes can be misty, it forms a refreshingly cool climate and view. You can follow the streams of Tirtagangga through rice paddies, which is an especially scenic view in the early mornings. Discovering the Munduk area definitely requires a guide to show you around and not to get lost among the 12 hiking trails. However, it is for sure worth it, as you to see numerous beautiful waterfalls along the way or even the oldest, biggest banyan tree on the island.
3. R.O.L.E. and other projects
With so many people that are passionate about this island, no wonder that more and more projects and organizations aimed to help the environment and communities are popping up. While you are visiting Bali and you have the opportunity and time, make sure to check out one of the following projects. There are possibilities of being a volunteer, or to contribute to the initiatives in other ways.
- The R.O.L.E. Foundation is committed to the sustainable future of Coastal, Island Communities, and Marine Ecosystems. You can participate in different programs, conferences, and projects while you are visiting the island.
- Reef Check Indonesia (RCI) is part of a worldwide nonprofit organization that strives to save oceans and reefs. By providing education to young Balinese kids and monitoring the oceans, working together with hundreds of volunteers, they aim to make a difference. Check out the upcoming events and other possibilities on their website!
- Volunteer Programs Bali is a simple link between someone who wants to help future generations living on the island. By giving a helping hand in various projects, teaching kids to English, and visiting one of the locations where they can learn about skills, like recycling, dance, music, and sports, you can support them. Visit their website for more details!
Check out more projects and nonprofit organizations here!
4. Have an active vacation
The island is popular for its excellent waves. Famous surfing spots are located around Kuta beach and Uluwatu, where locals will offer to teach you if you are a beginner. If you would instead explore what Bali has to offer underwater, you have a chance to catch glimpses of marine life, such as manta rays, turtles, or white tip sharks. By choosing Ecodive Bali Amed Dive center, you can still dive and relax in an underdeveloped, unspoiled corner of paradise. If you would rather stay out of the water, try one of the many relaxing yoga retreats that you can discover on the island.
5. Get some hands-on experience
Experience tourism, such as participating in workshops and classes, is an entertaining way to explore the culture on the island, get to know the locals or other travelers. Courses like woodcarving, dance, yoga retreats, and cooking classes can be found all over the island. Around Ubud, you can find many workshops for beginners. Check out ARMA Museum or Bali Art Classes for a fun family activity. For traditional cooking courses, consider Bamboo Shoots or Paon.
6. Observe the wildlife
Besides the well-known monkey forest near Ubud, there are different chances to meet with the island’s fauna. Just north from there, every day, thousands of white Heron Birds return home before sunset. You can see them land in their nests as the evening comes. During the “Bali Bird Walk“, over 100 species of birds can be observed, as the Java Kingfisher, Cinnamon Bittern, and the Olive-backed Sunbird. The Turtle Conservation & Education Centre in Serangan helps rescued and injured sea turtles get back to the wild once they are fit enough. You can also see eggs hatching there if you are visiting at the right time.
7. Getting to know the culture
Neka Art Museum was founded in 1982 and shows artworks by Balinese and Indonesian artists, and arranged in a way that presents the development of the island over time. Other art museums are Don Antonio Blanco Museum, Puri Lukisan Museum, and the ARMA Museum, as mentioned above, where paintings in different styles are shown. In Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali, which is located in the capital, you can find copies of palaces and numerous artifacts and archeological finds. If you are curious about the secrets of Mount Batur, the Volcanic Museum Batur has some interactive games and movies for you.
Balinese dance and drama are thought from an early age. This art form is essential and has a religious nature. Each dance has a purpose and story to tell, and also, it is crucial in which temple they perform it. If you have a chance, do not miss this colorful cavalcade of dancers and costumes. Every movement has a meaning, from the end of the fingers to the eyes.
8. The Organic Farm
Just 10 minutes away from Jati Luwih, The Organic Farm & Café Bali is also an educational center for the local farmers to learn about western organics. More Balinese people are turning away from farming, as it is possible to earn higher wages in the tourism industry, while the hard-working farmers are not respected or and underpaid. The farm intends to teach local farmers to produce “western organics” like basil, lettuce, rhubarb, so hotels and tourism industry, in general, does not have to import these from Java or abroad. The organic farm also offers packages where you can encounter village life or learn to prepare local, organic specialties. Support them by visiting their farm or just have lunch at the café, choosing from the many home-made and organic dishes.
9. Visit West Bali National Park
The national park is located on the western side of the island, and the forest has high conservation value. This is the only remaining natural habitat of the endemic and endangered Bali starling. Other animals can be found here, like the black macaque, wild pigs, iguana, deer, and many more.
Due to the mountainous area in the park, there are substantial differences in types of vegetation.
You can wander around in the national park for different lengths, strictly with an official guide. 1-2 hours is enough just to get a glimpse, but it is advised to choose the 7-hour long walk if you want to hike through the entire park. It is possible to camp there with your own equipment. Additionally, you can snorkel and dive at the marine conserve, within the borders of the West Bali Natural Park.
10. Support the locals by choosing the right souveniers
Ubud, the cultural and spiritual hub of the island, is located in the central part of it and has plenty of things to offer. You can not only get to know a more authentic side of Bali, but you can see locals showcasing and working on their traditional Balinese art. Everything from paintings, wooden sculptures to linens. This place is somewhat always relentlessly on-trend, with its spirituality and sustainable offerings. You can find local independent businesses that are dedicated to helping reducing carbon footprint by integrating environmentally friendly, natural products, or upcycled materials.
Here is a list of local labels providing eco-friendly styles in the area:
– Amanda Soul: Focusing on ethical production and fair pay, the brand is manufacturing its stunning, boho-styled jewelry by employing underprivileged women from the area.
– Balizen: Tackling the waste and fair-trade problems at the same time on the island, Balizen, with it’s close to 10 locations, is offering everything from kitchenware until bedlinens, using bamboo, organic cotton, recycled fabrics. Perfect for fair trade souvenir shopping.
– Indosole: With its original flagship store in Canggu, since its establishment in 2009, the brand grew itself to be present in the US market as well. By taking Indonesia’s landfill waste tires, that would take thousands of years to decompose, they are now creating footwear on a large scale.
– Check out Threads of Life, SurfYogis, Kou Bali for more ethical brands on the island.
Cover image: picture by Felfin05 Evin, via Unsplash