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Top 5 Ways to Explore Bali
by Jarrod Hobson

November 1, 2017

As a 6th annual consecutive winner for Travel + Leisure's prestigious A-List awards for his expertise in Indonesia, there is no doubt that Jarrod Hobson knows the ins and outs of Bali, Indonesia. From the most stunning hikes to dining with Balinese Royals, he guides you through his favorite Balinese experiences. Continue reading below for Jarrod's first-hand account of memorable ways to explore Bali. 

Muntigunung Hike

High up in the mountain villages of Muntigunung in North East Bali the people have much less privileged lives than most Balinese. By taking people on a beautiful trek we have found a way to generate income to the local families. 

We have chosen a moderate route which begins at the lakeside village of Songan. From here we trek through wild vegetation to the hamlets located on the hill side. Accompanied by experienced guides and villagers, you will enjoy a part of the island most visitors are not even aware of. Learn about the challenges locals face and how help is provided while enjoying the tranquility of this remote area and stunning views of Lake Batur and the Indian Ocean.

Around lunch-time we will relax near the beach and enjoy a delicious meal before heading back to your resort. 

Village Visit - Bulian Village Experience 

Visit the village of Bulian, which will allow you a very unique cultural experience. The drive to the village is beautiful, taking you past rice terraces and active volcanoes.

Once you arrive at the village, visit with the locals and your guide's personal friends. You might observe the young boys and girls of the village learning the traditional Balinese dances and the traditional art of Balinese music. You'll spend the afternoon as honored guests and joining and learning of age-old traditions and customs.

This evening you will spend time with your guide at his home for dinner and a unique dance performance. He and his family will have dinner prepared and as special guests, enjoy traditional music and dance. 

A Day with Balinese Artist 

Bali; the name alone suggests images of rice paddies and mighty volcanoes. Besides the exotic image the island has built over the years, and it’s natural attractions Bali’s soul and character is defined by its people.

Ubud in the 1930’s became a heaven for artists with the likes of Walter Spies, Miguel Covarrubias and later Antonio Blanco and Arie Smit. The island has been a magnet for the arts and Ubud its epicenter.

One of the most remarkable ways of discovering Bali is through its people and the unique art forms the island is known for the world over. We invite you to join us in a memorable trip to the soul of the island. Meeting local artists at their homes and workshops we open the door to a world that is normally hidden form the sight of travelers. You can buy an art piece in a showroom but how about meeting the masters themselves?

We always dream about a chance to meet interesting local people, we will give you the opportunity to meet talented local maestros and then have a meal with a host family in a real Balinese home.

Balinese Royal Dinner with Malaika 

In a beautifully decorated setting Malaika a member of Balinese Royal Family will welcome you for a unique dinner experience at her home.
It’s a memorable way to spend an evening far from the overcrowded restaurants and noisy bars. An intimate and luxurious experience, all for you with a fabulous host.

Malaika has a flamboyant personality and she is not shy in sharing the secrets of Balinese cuisine and her family history. Prepare to enjoy an evening to remember.

Traditional Balinese feast in a family compound in North Ubud, Bali

Dewa, a gardener at the neighboring resort, lives with his wife, Jero, and their children and extended family in the artist village of Keliki in the elegant terraced foothills 20 minutes north of Ubud. Dewa is a wealth of knowledge about local customs, cuisine and agriculture and loves to share his culture with guests.

This Balinese feast may include dishes such as pepes ikan (grilled tuna in banana leaves), a delicate and deeply satisfying dish, bumbu kuning (chicken in a fresh turmeric and coconut milk sauce), bregedel (corn fritters), and jukut urab (seasonal vegetables with grated coconut and fried shallots). 

In traditional Balinese style, you will not eat your meal with Dewa and his family, although they will be with you throughout the rest of the experience. In keeping with their Balinese family tradition and sense of spirituality their preferred approach is to eat on one's own and focus on personal meditation to achieve a positive state of mind.

This immersive Balinese experience begins by discovering exotic Balinese fruit and herbs near Dewa's home. You will learn how local Balinese spices such as galangal, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, cacao, and nutmeg are grown and learn about their medicinal properties. Then you will walk about 10 minutes to Dewa’s home for a tour of the family compound before you start cooking together. Join his family to cook a range of Balinese dishes using a traditional wood-fired stove. Expect a very hands-on, communal cooking experience during which you will grind spices and chilies on a large stone grinder and try your hand at chopping the ingredients and finally, sampling your own cooking skills!

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