An island off the water at sunset

“Travel Diaries: Play, Learn, Serve and Rest Well” is a series about the idea of traveling well in a society that minimizes adventure and exploration to mere Instagram likes. 

When you think of Bali, do you think of sun, sand and smoothie bowls? Are you hoping to namaste your vacation away doing yoga? During your vacation, look beyond what you’ve seen on Instagram of the rice terrace swings, Ubud and Sanur and travel further to see a different side of Bali. 

Traditional Balinese culture is known for the dance, sculpture and cuisine that has made its way throughout the island. The island is full of fragrant daily offerings and the rich cultural rituals entrenched in the families and communities that live there. During your next vacation, here’s how to play, learn, serve and rest well as you explore the Indonesian island of Bali.


There’s no better way to play in Bali than to learn and embrace the beauty of the natural landscape. Take in the sights with a hike up Mount Batur, go to the hot springs nearby or explore the underwater beauty of this region by snorkeling along the Menjangan Island’s coral reef at the Bali Barat National Park.

If you’re looking to play and celebrate a bit during your trip, then Sunday’s Beach Club is where you want to be on any day of the week. With water sports, live music, sunset bonfires and wood-fired pizzas that are half-price during happy hour, there’s plenty to do during your day at the beach even if it means just spending the day lounging in the sun. 


While in Bali, spend some time learning local customs and rituals of the Balinese. The island is full of temples where you can learn about their beliefs and marvel at their intricate carvings. The Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple has one of the most striking views perched atop the rugged coastline or for something different visit the Pura Ulun Danu Beratan in Bedugul on the shores of Lake Bratan.


If you’re looking for a way to travel around Bali while giving back or somewhere to donate to support the local community, then look no further than the Intrepid Foundation. As a global leader in sustainable travel, this foundation works with local organizations in Bali and around the world to help improve the livelihoods of the local people.

On the Beautiful Bali trip, not only will your tour employ a local leader to guide you on a nine-day excursion, but other local guides and cultural interpreters will join your group too. In Lovina, Intrepid has helped a local woman support her family for more than two decades by hosting the tour groups for a beach-front, home-cooked Balinese meal. 


If you’re looking for somewhere to splurge for a little bit of rest on your trip, then look no further than The Mulia, Mulia Resorts & Villas. Set on the pristine Nusa Dua beach, the resort overlooks the Indian Ocean beyond the white beaches and dramatic coastlines. Indulge in the on-site restaurants, which include afternoon tea at Sky Bar or a buffet Cantonese and Szechuan in Table 8. For a truly relaxing experience, book some time at Mulia Spa. In addition to your treatment, spend some time in the wellness area that has hydrotherapy pools, meditative steam rooms and saunas.

Have you ever traveled to Bali? What were your favorite places to play, learn, serve and rest?

Image via Sheri Giblin, Darling Issue No. 12

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