COVID-19 has shifted tourism in a way we couldn’t have imagined. When the pandemic hit, family holidays were one of the things that halted. Instead of spending the year-end on a beach at your favourite island with the family, you were binge-watching Tiger King on Netflix instead. But with the world slowly reaching herd immunity, travel is resuming. While it may not be as easy as booking a ticket and hopping on a plane, it’s undoubtedly possible compared to a year ago.
If you’re anything like my family, a year-end holiday usually starts on Boxing Day, and it’s a bee-line to a beach destination like Phuket, the Maldives, and Bali. Bali is always a favourite choice being pretty close to home (KL), and each visit is always better than the last. There is something about this island and its people that keeps us coming back for more. While Indonesia is currently closed to Malaysians, planning when their borders are open to more tourists doesn’t hurt. Here are some ideas on what you can do in Bali if you’re lucky enough to have it be your Christmas destination.
Shop for family and friends
If you’re visiting Bali during the Christmas season and before Christmas day itself, it is the perfect place to shop for gifts. With the epicentre of handcrafted goods, you can scour authentic Balinese handbags, shawls, and more from around the island. If you’re visiting post-Christmas day, shop for souvenirs like essential oils and wooden carvings for those that couldn’t come with you on the trip.
Feast at one of the hotels
Hotels and resorts like Samanvaya Bali make the spirit of Christmas come alive through their impressive Christmas buffet spread, and what better way to celebrate the holiday spirit abroad than by enjoying gastronomic delights that remind you of home and the people you hold dear to your heart.
Spend a day at Bali Safari
If you’re on holiday with kids (or even without), Bali Safari is a must-visit. Located about an hour’s drive away from Kuta, you can buy a tour package from just about anywhere. Still, we suggest asking your hotel’s concierge. More than just your average zoo, the Bali Safari is a place where all can come to discover and learn about the 120 species living there.
Address: Jl. Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra No.km 19, Serongga, Kec. Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80551, Indonesia
Contact: +62 361 950 000
Chill out under the sun
A holiday in Bali wouldn’t be complete without spending a day at one of the many beach clubs. With so many trendy ones available, you can choose one to suit the company you’re with and the kind of holiday you’re having. Potato Head Bali is pretty versatile in terms of the crowd it receives, so we highly recommend it, and there are daybeds sprawled around the pool.
Treat yourself to a cultural experience
A culture heavily influenced by its religious roots, Bali is abundant with temples and rituals that are age-old. With so many to choose temples to visit, Ubud Palace should be at the top of your list. Each temple tells an intriguing story and will send you on a temple-hopping journey for the day. Make sure to make a pit-stop at Pura Tirta Empul, known for its sacred springs filled with holy water. It is said to have magical and purifying properties.
Pick up a new skill
Bali, like many places strong in cultural values, is synonymous with food. It’s almost impossible to visit Bali without having some sort of gastronomic adventure. Instead of solely treating your tastebuds to Balinese food, why not pick up a new skill and learn how to cook up the mouthwatering fare?
Visit Nusa Penida
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Indonesia, Nusa Penida is an island located on the Southeast side of Bali. While you can make a day trip out of it, we recommend spending a night or two there to take in the sights it offers fully. Hike to Kelingking Beach — probably the most popular spot on the island — or go on a snorkelling trip if you’re up for it! There are next to no ATMs here, so be sure to take enough cash with you.
Spend a day at Waterbom Bali
Probably one of the best in Southeast Asia, Waterbom Bali is definitely for those who love waterparks. Spending a whole day here is highly suggested to make the most out of all the 15 rides and attractions, restaurants, food court, and the swim-up bar (for adults only). To make your visit more seamless, buy your tickets online, and if you’re planning on staying for the day, then hire a gazebo!
Burn some calories at Wanderlust Fitness Village
Founded by Dave Driskell, Wanderlust Fitness Village started as a Crossfit Box with a vision to ‘Build Better Humans’, which happens to be their slogan too. Since its success, Wanderlust has catapulted into a lifestyle brand that aims to educate people to live healthier lifestyles through their workouts, retreats, and cafes. Fitness enthusiasts or even those looking to begin their fitness journey should take advantage of this experience!
Address: Jl. Raya Padonan, Canggu, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Contact: +62 878 6156 8934
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 8 December 2021, and has since been updated to include more information.