|Rafting the rapids.|
By boat or bike, paddling or pachyderm, the Island of the Gods is heaven for the adventurer.
more to Bali than the nightclubs and Kuta’s beaches: get on your
elephant, cycle among green paddy fields or take to the water to explore
its underwater life.
into Bali’s Hindu culture with a cruise through the jungle atop an
Asian elephant. Don’t worry about the logistics of steering a four-tonne
animal, the elephants are guided by their mahouts (handlers) through
Elephant Safari Park, a world-recognised sanctuary in Taro, 20 minutes
north of Ubud. It started when Australian Nigel Mason rescued 10
endangered elephants from Sumatra and now includes a luxe lodge,
restaurant, night safaris, botanical gardens and white-water rafting and
has earned the thumbs-up from animal luminaries such as Steve Irwin.
Elephant safari tours from $US73/$US49 ($70/$47), include hotel
transfers, lunch and admission to the park. Bali Adventure Tours, +62
361 721 480, baliadventuretours.com.
Rafting the rapids
through Bali’s lush green scenery, from rice terraces to rainforests,
on the rushing Ayung or Telaga Waja rivers, which provide the perfect
vehicle for white-water rafting. Run by long-time outdoors experts
Sobek, the Ayung River run is best for families, with grade 2-3 rafting
that has a few quiet stops to catch your breath, while the Telaga Waja
river route sends you down shallow rapids on a grade-3 ride in a
two-hour adventure. From $US79/adult, $US52/child (7-15 years), includes
towels, showers, lunch and insurance, Sobek Bali Utama, balisobek.com.
|Not-very-hard Bali trekking, Creative Holidays|
in the quiet of the early morning, you can appreciate Bali’s nickname,
the Island of the Gods. The most popular walking trails are around
Bali’s highest and holiest mountain, Mount Agung, at 3142 metres, and
Mount Batur, 1717 metres, in the north-east. Hiking the crater rim of
Mount Batur is best done in the dry season: head up pre-dawn for a
spectacular sunrise. From 450,000 rupiah ($47), includes torches, hiking
sticks, wet-weather gear, hotel transfers, breakfast and guide, baliecocycling.com.
For a more genteel amble, take a 2½-hour hike through rice paddies,
jungles and the village of Taro, with lunch at the Elephant Safari Park,
Creative Holidays, $63/adult, $45/child, 1300 747 400, creativeholidays.com or through travel agents.
On your bike
Roberts did it and you too can feel the tropical wind in your hair as
you pedal through the paddies. Staying off the scary main roads, with
their death-wish bemos (buses), seeing Bali by bike lets you listen to
the peaceful soundtrack of village life. From $47, includes transfers
and lunch, viator.com.
Intrepid Travel’s “Beautiful Bali” tour includes one day cycling from
Ubud up into the hills, from $672/nine days, 1300 018 871, intrepidtravel.com.
National Park in north-western Bali is considered one of the island’s
premier diving spots, with the coral reefs of Pulau Menjangan (Deer
Island) the star attraction. Guides are essential when diving in the
national park: you’ll find them at the jetty at Labuhan Lalang, the
island’s jumping-off point. To organise from down south, combine luxury
and diving with Anantara resort’s two-day certification courses in Barat
National Park, $344, anantara.com.
Sleepy Sanur, near Denpasar, is itself a divers’ nursery and also the
starting point for the southern hotspot of Nusa Penida island. From
$US131/four days, +62 361 288 829, enadive.co.id.
Catch a break
remote point breaks from your base at the secluded eastern Balinese
resort Alila Manggis, with Tropic Surf owner and guru Jack Chisholm.
Using the full moon, he’ll lead you on a moonlit surfing safari around
the little-known eastern coastline, $US661/night, four nights includes
accommodation, spa treatments, some meals and daily surf guiding, Alila
Manggis +62 363 41011, alilahotels.com.
Private surf guiding is also available, discovering the iconic, the
infamous and the unknown, from $US500/half-day (extra surfers $US100
each), which can include coaching, surfboard factory tours, transport
and access to the top events on the islands, (07) 5455 4129, tropicsurf.net.