5 Ways to Experience the Culture of Bali

Last year Bali was voted the best destination in the world, and for good reason. It has all the culture, history, and beaches you could possibly want, not to mention the friendly people and the sunny weather. Countless tourists flock to this beautiful island every year, but if you want an authentic experience of Bali’s culture that doesn’t always stick to tried-and-tested tourist spots, here are five things you can do.

1. Attend a cultural evening

The perfect introduction to Balinese culture, this event is ideal for any newcomers to the island. Live performances and a delicious dinner will give you the chance to get a taste of the dance, music, art and food Bali has to offer.

Some of these performances will tell traditional stories, accompanied by a gamelan (a Balinese orchestra mostly featuring percussion instruments). For example, Barong dance depicts a fight between good and evil. Other types of dance, such as Kecak, which is performed by chanting male dancers and often accompanied by flames, are solely about the movement.

Want to know more? UNESCO have a useful guide to dance in Bali.

(Photo by Pahala Basuki on Unsplash)

2. Explore Ubud

Start your day by hiking along the Campuhan ridge. The route overlooks the rice fields and is particularly beautiful in the early morning light (plus it gets too hot at lunchtime to really enjoy it properly). You can even hire a motorbike or go on a bike tour to explore the countryside, although make sure anything active is covered on your travel insurance policy — 1Cover have a guide to adventure activities if you need help.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, stroll through the rice fields or the central market on Jalan Raya, where you can bag yourself a bargain — but only if you haggle.

3. Pay your respects at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu

This clifftop temple overlooks the beach and often hosts dance performances at sunset. It’s worth the trip to see the Balinese architecture, intricate statues and carvings, and to learn about the temple’s history, but the real attraction is the beautiful view.

Remember: You need to be wearing a sarong and sash before you enter a Balinese temple.

Bali 2

(Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash)

4. Take a safari trip

Whether you want to see mountains, lakes, waterfalls, jungles, or a bit of everything, a safari trip will fit the bill. The itinerary can be personalised to take your interests into account and English-speaking guides will share their local knowledge and history as you make your way across the island.

5. Learn how to cook Balinese food

There’s no better way to learn about Balinese food than in the kitchen of a local, where you can get a taste of proper home-cooked food. Bali’s most famous dish is juicy roasted pork called babi guling and they often use a spice blend called basa gede, which is made of garlic, red chilli peppers, shallots, nutmeg, ginger, tumeric, palm sugar, cumin, shrimp paste, and Indonesian bay leaves, which are known as salam leaves. (Check out Culture Trip’s list of Balinese dishes you need to try for more.)

Your guide will help you pick up your ingredients (and practise your language skills) at the nearby market, then teach you how to prepare some signature dishes. You’ll learn about how food plays a part in local life and — of course — you get to enjoy eating your creations at the end.

Written by: Maggie Smithson

Omani explores the ‘stairway to heaven’ of Batad, Philippines; Oman Observer

Philippines – Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

When Mustafa visited the Philippines, he was not expecting to be impressed by the beauty of a small village called Batad.

Very different from what he was accustomed to in Oman, Batad is located at a very remote place about 16 hours away from Manila, the country’s capital, surrounded by lush forest with the village only accessible by almost an hour of trekking. The village’s population is around 1500.

Here, for centuries, many of the traditional ways of living are still practiced but if there is something the people of Batad are very proud of, it’s their UNESCO World Heritage Site Rice Terraces.

From a small house that served as his home, Mustafa gets to see what the Filipinos would call their ‘Stairway to Heaven’ as the rice paddies were carved out from the mountains and formed stairs that seemingly lead towards the sky.

“I have visited over 35 countries, but I have not seen a village like Batad,” Mustafa said on a video he shared on Youtube in his account Mstafa_om.

Source: Omani explores the ‘stairway to heaven’ of Batad, Philippines – Oman Observer


27 majestic forests for nature lovers to explore; MSN

Germany – Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

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World Heritage City open for trek through ages; Times of India

India – Historic City of Ahmadabad

The beauty of the living museum — the Walled City of Ahmedabad — and many of its six century old ASI protected monuments is breathtaking, but the significance of old Ahmedabad recognized by Unesco as India’s first World Heritage Site — lies beyond the physical beauty of its architectural heritage. It lies in its historical symbolism of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

On Saturday, when Gujarat governor O P Kohli launches the Times Passion Trail from Lal Darwaza, the 47 participants who will be part of this trail from all walks of life will engage in a visual dialogue with Ahmedabad’s history. Chief secretary J N Singh, principal secretary, S J Haider, MD Gujarat tourism Jenu Devan, principal secretary industries and mines, Manoj Das, will be among dignitaries who will be present to launch the Times Passion Trail.

It is here, within these walls that Mahatma Gandhi conducted his experiments of Satyagraha and non-violence.

Source: World Heritage City open for trek through ages – Times of India


30 Trips to Book a Year in Advance; Bridget Hallinan; Conde Nast Traveler

Viet Nam – Ha Long Bay


If ten days on safari sounds like your ideal vacation, head for Botswana to camp near the wildlife (the best time to visit is from May to September). Don’t miss the Central Kalahari Game Reserve—offering “some of the best summer wildlife viewing in Africa”—and be sure, too, to visit the Makgadikgadi Pass, where some 30,000 wildebeest and zebras pass through during the Great Migration. Spend time with a “colony of habituated meerkats” while you’re there, and, upon your arrival at the Okavango Delta, make the most of the diverse environment, which you can explore via game drive, bush walk and canoe.


Croatia’s undeniably beautiful coast and rich history makes for idyllic vacations. Stop by the capital, Zagreb, where you’ll see baroque architecture and the fortified old city before moving on to Plitvice Lakes National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage site home to 16 lakes and waterfall after waterfall. Then, head to Split, an ancient port city, for gorgeous views of the Adriatic.

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Top 12 Things to do in Krakow, Poland; Hannah Lukaszewicz; Getting Stamped

Poland – Historic Centre of Kraków

On the banks of the Vistula River, the longest river in Poland is the country’s second-largest city, Krakow. Dating back to the 7th century, Krakow is brimming with history. A history of kings, churches, and openness with Christians living peacefully alongside Jews. Plus a darker, more recent history, makes Krakow an interesting, yet emotional rollercoaster of a city – and you can’t say that about many ancient cities! It’s a beautiful city to walk around packed full of sights to see, but here are just some of the things to do in Krakow on your next trip.


The Main Square, or Rynek Główny, in Krakow is the center of the city’s Old Town. And pretty old it is: the square dates back to the 13th century and at almost 5 acres is one of the largest town squares in Europe! It is big that’s for sure.

Source: Top 12 Things to do in Krakow, Poland


21 Life-Changing Experiences You Can Only Have in Malaysia; Wei Li Ng; The Culture Trip

Malaysia – Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

Malaysia is a gem of biodiversity, history, and culture. Sitting near the equatorial line has given the country a warm, tropical climate, fostering the perfect environment for plenty of exotic flora and fauna. And while it’s a relatively young country, it is a storied one. To ensure that you experience that uniqueness on your next trip to Malaysia, here is a list of things you can try.

Pick up several languages at the same time

The average Malaysian speaks three languages and whenever possible would combine all three in a single conversation or sentence. And they would be more than happy to teach bits of it to anyone who wants to know. Engage enough with Malaysians and you may come out knowing a mixed bag of Cantonese, Malay, Hindi and/or a dialect or two. It would not make much sense anywhere else, but it would allow you to order food like a local in Malaysia.

Play with elephants in the river

The elephant sanctuary in Kuala Gandah, Pahang invites guests to bathe and feed the elephants.

Source: 21 Life-Changing Experiences You Can Only Have in Malaysia


Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem; Gary; Everything Everywhere

Palestine – Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem


Bethlehem lies 10 kilometers south of the city of Jerusalem, in the fertile limestone hill country of the Holy Land. Since at least the 2nd century AD people have believed that the place where the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, now stands is where Jesus was born. One particular cave, over which the first Church was built, is traditionally believed to be the Birthplace itself. In locating the Nativity, the place both marks the beginnings of Christianity and is one of the holiest spots in Christendom. The original basilica church of 339 AD (St Helena), parts of which survive below ground, was arranged so that its octagonal eastern end surrounded, and provided a view of, the cave. This church is overlaid by the present Church of the Nativity, essentially of the mid-6th century AD (Justinian), though with later alterations. It is the oldest Christian church in daily use. Since early medieval times, the Church has been increasingly incorporated into a complex of other ecclesiastical buildings, mainly monastic.

Source: Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem


Turkish Airlines launches flights to Samarkand; Anadolu

Uzbekistan – Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures

Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines started flights from Istanbul to the historic Central Asian city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan on March 16, according to a company announcement.

“Samarkand, part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list, has been added to the flight network as the 302nd destination of Turkish Airlines,” the flag carrier said.

“Samarkand, founded on the Silk Road and for centuries one of international trade’s most important transportation hubs, has become Turkish Airlines’ second destination in Uzbekistan after the capital city Tashkent,” it said.

In a speech at the opening ceremony held at Samarkand Airport, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi hailed the new destination as “one of the most important cities in our civilization.”

“This pearl of a city — featuring madrasahs, mosques, museums, tombs, and architectural masterpieces — will quickly make progress in tourism,” he said. “Also we are glad to serve this city, the eternal resting place for so many historical figures and scholars.”

“We are proud to strengthen ties between our two sister countries by operating our flights since 1992,” he added, mentioning that there were flights to Tashkent seven times a week.

Source: Turkish Airlines launches flights to Samarkand


Going Beyond the Vermillion Walls: China’s Forbidden City; Sara Naumann; Trip Savvy

China – Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang

Named one of China’s UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1987, the Forbidden City is probably ​China’s most well-known museum. Its famous red walls housed Ming and Qing emperors for nearly 500 years. Now the halls, gardens, pavilions and nearly one million treasures are visited and viewed by millions of tourists each year.

What You’ll See

Don’t be misguided by the word “museum” in the official name.

You will not be visiting anything like a standard museum where treasures are housed within glass boxes and visitors file along from room to room.

A Visit to the Palace Museum is more like a very long walk from enormous plaza to enormous plaza broken up by peeks into different official and residential buildings where the court and their minions ruled and lived.

The Forbidden City is located in the heart of Beijing, directly north of ​Tiananmen Square.


The third Ming emperor, Yongle, constructed the Forbidden City from 1406 to 1420, as he moved his capital from Nanjing to Beijing.

Source: Going Beyond the Vermillion Walls: China’s Forbidden City