Top experiences in Bali: making the most of paradise

Updated: 1 year ago

Immerse yourself in the colour and sound of a traditional festival, dine on local specialities, snorkel beautiful reefs, watch craftspeople at work, wander through lush rice fields, or just relax and be pampered at a Balinese spa. There's an awful lot to do in paradise and it's not all about the beaches.

Processions and festivals

There you are sipping a coffee at a cafe in, say, Seminyak or Ubud, when there’s a crash of the gamelan and traffic screeches to a halt as a mob of elegantly dressed people comes flying by bearing pyramids of fruit, tasselled parasols and a furred, masked Barong or two. It’s a temple procession disappearing as suddenly as it appeared. Besides these regular temple processions, some of the more important annual Hindu ceremonies on the island include Galungan, which pays homage to gods and ancestors; and Pagerwesi, which commemorates an ancient battle between good and evil. Dates vary for Galungan; in 2018 it will run from 30 May to 9 June, and from 26 December to 5 January (2019). Pagerwesi is 21 March and 17 October in 2018.

A Balinese spa

Whether it’s a total fix for the mind, body and spirit, or simply the desire for a bit of serenity, visitors to Bali spend many happy hours (sometimes days) being massaged, scrubbed, perfumed, pampered, bathed and blissed out. Sometimes all this attention to your well-being happens on the beach or in garden – think Ubud's Taksu Spa – other times it's in stylish, even lavish, surrounds. As the Balinese massage techniques of stretching, long strokes, skin rolling and palm-and-thumb pressure result in an all-over feeling of calm, it’s the perfect holiday prescription. Alternatively, opt for a more unusual treatment such as a 24-carat gold facial (try Goldust Bali), a cappuccino body scrub or bamboo fusion therapy – a massage with bamboo sticks (try Bamboo Spa by L’Occitane).

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