Not Just For Parties and Palm Trees | The Hidden Gems of Bali

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

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As soon as I announced on my channel that I was heading to Indonesia I had floods of comments telling me how beautiful Bali was and how people had loved their time there or really wanted to go. And I have to admit before this trip Bali was the only part of Indonesia I knew much about (sorry travel fans!). So when we arrived to our final destination on the trip I was expecting days of partying, lazing around on the beach and drinking more coconuts! But I was pleasantly surprised at the culture and beauty Bali had to offer alongside its white sands and cocktails with little umbrellas.

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There is a lot more to Bali than parties and palm trees – these are the two places you absolutely MUST visit if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful part of the world….

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

On our first day in Bali we visited Uluwatu Temple.

The site is really something to behold, on top of a mountain with stone walkways along the cliff face and views over the calm blue sea. We couldn’t enter the temple as it’s only for those who are worshipping so instead we explored the grounds and tried to avoid the cheeky monkeys who even stole one of the other blogger’s phone!

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

 

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

I spent a good hour alone at the temple walking along the paths and sat looking out over the cliffs away from our group. It was incredibly peaceful and a truly wonderful place to be. Before sunset we were gathered in the amphitheatre to watch the traditional Balinese Fire Dance, a spectacle I wasn’t expecting but got completely sucked in by.

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

The Kacek Dance is a traditional story that is told through dance around open flames with an ensemble of voices that provide the beat and music for the dancers. It’s split into four acts and starts beautifully. By nightfall the dancers climb into the stalls and entertain everyone from all nationalities under the stars in a universal act of grace, comedy and pure joy. The costumes are incredible and we had such a wonderful night. It was so much more than what I was expecting when we were told we were watching a traditional Balinese dance and it’s definitely worth buying extra tickets for (an extra 100,000 rupiah – around £6) if you’re at the temple – just make sure you grab your seat around 45 minutes before it starts as the place fills up FAST.

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Rumah Desa

On our last day in Bali we had a choice – watersports at the beach or a Balinese cooking class. As much as I really wanted to try parasailing for the first time I wanted to see a more cultural side to Bali even more so I hopped on the cooking class bus and we drove out to Rumah Desa Bali for one of the most wonderful afternoons.

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

On the way we stopped at the food market where people in the area buy all their fresh ingredients from. It starts at 2am and finishes at 10am so we caught it just as it was winding down but we were able to see a lady making offerings that you’ll find on all the streets in Bali. The Balinese people make two offerings twice a day, one for the devil and one for their god and leave them out. They’re stunning and there’s so much work that goes into them – what a commitment!

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

xameliax in Balinese

 

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

When we arrived at the cooking school we had a chance to look around their temple and the beautiful gardens before we got to work. It was gorgeous and I could have stayed there for so long. Intricate carvings on the walls, blossoming flowers, even a cacao tree, I loved it there, it was beautiful.

While we were there we learnt how to make some traditional Balinese dishes which I tried to keep up with as best as possible! Here are a few of the foods we learnt how to cook:

Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple

Sela Sawi
Mashed Cassava root formed into a ball and fried with banana inside. Once cooked top with old shredded coconut and eat as a desert.
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Satay
Tuna fish and shallots mixed with brown sugar, lime, pepper, salt, and Balinese cooking paste (see below). Pressed onto a skewer and then deep fried.
Balinese Cooking Paste
Onion, garlic, turmeric, chili, ginger and chopped macadamia nuts mixed together
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Sambal Bejek Salad 
Ginger flower, lemon grass and shallot mixed with salt, coconut oil and chili – add shredded chicken to mix it upand serve as a side to the Satay. This was delicious and I’ll definitely be making it at home.
Mixed Vegetables, Balinese style
Cabbage, Long bean, Carrot, Spinach, Fried shallots, Chillies, Bean sprouts and Cooking Paste mixed with grated coconut
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
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While the chefs finished off our dishes we were invited out to the rice paddies to learn how rice is grown and harvested. This was an unexpected part of our trip and turned out to be one of the best! We donned our rice hats and trekked over to the fields which were so serene and like everything in Indonesia, beautiful. We were greeted with two of the farmers, a lovely couple who invited us to actually plow the field on their cows! It was incredibly muddy and something I never thought I’d be doing when I came on this trip but we all went with it, got stuck in and had a real laugh! Luckily no-one fell in!
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
After plowing we planted some rice ourselves and got cleaned up ready for lunch. It was a fantastic experience and one that I’ll remember for a long time! We walked back to the cookery school and were presented with the fruits of our labour – a feast of fantastic Balinese food that was hands down (and I’m not just saying this because we made it!) the best food we experienced on our entire trip. It was delicious and the perfect way to end our adventure to Bali.
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
There is so much more of this island that I haven’t even begun to explore, but from what I’ve seen of Bali I would love to come back for more. The people were so friendly and so incredibly proud of their home it was heartwarming to see. And the Balinese massage I had the morning before my flight, well that alone was good enough to make me book a flight back in a heartbeat!
Rice Fields, Cooking Class in Bali and Uluwatu Temple
So do come to Bali and enjoy the beaches, the cocktails, the wonderful massages, warm sea and luxury hotels, but also take a wander out and see the culture this gorgeous island has to offer, you won’t be disappointed.
xax
 Thank you to the Indonesian Tourist Board for hosting us on this incredible trip – It was truly the most incredible adventure I’ve ever experienced!
Follow @indtravel on Twitter and search the hashtags #WonderfulIndonesia #TripofWonders for more incredible photos from our journey

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