The island of Bali in Indonesia is arguably one of the most visited islands in Indonesia. It’s a popular place for beach play, snorkeling, surfing. But it’s also a wonderful place for Bali cultural experiences.
Each year, over 5 million tourists come to Bali. They come from around the world, particularly Australia, and also throughout Indonesia. Many tourists come to the beaches. But more and more tourists are also coming for a chance to experience the unique culture of Bali. And in my opinion, the best way to get to know Bali is to do some Bali cultural experiences!
During our time in Bali, we had a chance to experience the cultural practices that still exist in Bali. It was an interesting day of learning and entertainment for our family. And our kids had a memorable time during their day of cultural immersion.
This post was updated on February 17, 2022.
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Why you should include Bali cultural experiences into your itinerary
As much fun as it is to hang out at the beach or relaxing in your Bali villa, incorporating a few Bali cultural experiences into your vacation allows you to have a more enriching experience in Bali. The Lonely Planet Bali, Lombok, and Nusa Tenggara guide book has several great ideas of where to start on your Bali exploration. Set aside a day or two in your itinerary to do a cultural tour.
In our two months in Bali, we went snorkeling in Amed, visited Lempuyang Temple, took a few classes, and even learned about coral reefs in Sanur. Bali is more than beaches and yoga retreat centers. And the experiences you get from doing Bali excursions helps you understand the many sides of Bali a bit better.
Our kids enjoy doing the activities that come along with the Bali excursions. For a worldschooling family like us, they’re a good way to incorporate learning, without having to do boring lessons or reading out of a book.
Planning on traveling to Indonesia? Take a look at our Bali posts for travel ideas.
What families will gain from doing Bali cultural experiences
When we were in Bali, we participated in a Bali cultural experiences tour, which took us to a village about thirty-five to forty-five minutes away from Ubud. We loved the chance to see a more authentic side of the island. And we loved learning the cultural traditions that are still practiced by the Balinese.
One of the things our family values is sustainable travel and social responsibility. For families who want to practice sustainable and responsible travel, engaging in Bali cultural experiences is a great way to gain a deeper connection to the places you visit.
When we choose the tours we do with our family, we try to do ones that are locally run, or that have a mission to support the local community. If that’s not possible, we look for tours that respectfully showcase the cultural aspects of a destination.
Here are some Bali cultural experiences you can book for your next trip to Bali:
Full Day Kintamani Cultural and Nature Cycling Tour
Bali Full-Day Traditional Village Sightseeing Trip with Lunch
Flavours of Bali Local Cooking Class from Ubud
Must do Bali cultural experiences for your trip
Bali is known for its rich culture and stunning scenery. There is so much that families can experience in Bali, beyond just surfing and snorkeling. If you’re looking to experience the best of what Bali has to offer, make sure to check out these six Bali cultural experiences.
From bringing offerings to a temple to watchin traditional music and dance, these activities are sure to give you a true taste of Balinese culture. Take a read through our favorite Bali cultural experiences.
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1. Carrying offerings to a family temple
During a cultural tour that we took we had a chance to carry offerings to a family temple. Upon arrival at a village called Penarungan, we were greeted by members of the village with offerings and even a small Barong dance. They accompanied us to one of the homes in the village, where we had a chance to learn about the traditional layout of Balinese homes, and some of the customs.
My daughter and I were given the opportunity to carry offerings on our heads. In Bali, women are the ones who carry the offerings to the temple. The ones we carried were about 1-2 kilograms (2-5 lbs.) in weight. But some of the offerings can be upwards of 5-7 kilograms (11-16 lbs.)!
2. Learning about rice cultivation
Rice plays a large part of Balinese culture. Despite the role of tourism on Bali’s economy, locals still cultivate rice. It is a staple in Balinese cuisine, as well as the cuisine of many of the other islands in Indonesia.
During one of our tours, we had a chance to walk through rice paddies and learn about rice cultivation. Our guide remarked on the importance of cooperation among the farmers, especially when it comes to planning when to plant crops as a way to control pests. It was so fascinating!
3. Engaging in Bali cultural experiences by making offerings
In Bali, offerings are a big part of the culture due to their Hindu religion. Everyday, families make small offerings of flowers and pandan leaves, which they place in various places in their homes and on the street. These offerings are to honor the spirits, which the Balinese believe exist in the world around us.
My daughter and I learned what the different colors of flowers represent. And we also learned the proper method to create an offering. It was a fun activity that my daughter really got into. She made offerings for each member of our family.
4. Visit a Balinese village during your Bali cultural experiences
If you have the chance, visiting a Balinese village is a must. You really get to see how families live, and the activities they do in their daily lives.
A highlight from one of the Bali cultural experiences tours we did was getting dirty in the mud and plowing a rice field! As part of the rice cultivation process, farmers need to prepare their fields for transplanting rice seedlings.
During our tour, we had a chance to prepare the fields, and actually transplanting rice seedlings into the field. What a fun cross-cultural experience! Even my daughter was getting in on the action.
5. Watching dance as part of your Bali cultural experiences
Dance is a big part of Balinese culture. Dances are done at temples during ceremonies. And in Bali, many people know how to perform traditional dances.
If you have the chance to watch a Balinese dance performance, go for it! The flickering fingers, quick eye movements, and graceful movements are beautiful to watch. And the dynamic sounds of the Balinese gamelan that accompanies the dancing is also so interesting.
6. Try your hand at cooking a meal
We love food, and one of our favorite ways to get to know a culture is through food. If you’re visiting Bali, one of the Bali cultural experiences that you don’t want to miss is taking a cooking class.
Balinese cuisine is all about flavors. We did a cooking class while we were in Bali and learned how to make dishes like gado-gado (cooked vegetable salad with peanut sauce), Balinese satay (ground meat on a lemon grass skewer), and dadar gulung (a pandan crepe stuffed with coconut and brown sugar).
Packing for your trip? Be sure to include these eco-friendly travel products.
Making your Bali trip memorable with Bali cultural experiences
Looking back on our time in Bali, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was the perfect amount of education and fun for our worldschooling kids. And doing all the Bali cultural experiences really helped us gain some Bali facts and a deeper understanding for the island.
Are you planning a trip to Bali in the near future? Tell me in the comments which Bali cultural experiences you would enjoy the most.
Are you visiting Bali as part of a bigger family travel adventure? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.
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What a fascinating day out – and reassuring to know that the tour company focuses on sustainability and supporting local businesses. I would love to visit Bali again one day.
Yes, it makes me feel happy that there are companies out there that are dedicated to sustainability, especially in a place like Bali, that suffers a lot from overtourism.
I love getting to see a more authentic side of a destination rather that just the touristy parts. What fun to be able to immerse your family into more of Bali’s culture!
Thank you Julie. We love doing this type of travel where ever we go.
I’ve yet to take my kids to Asia or Bali, but this looks like such a must-do adventure. This certainly looks like one of the most beautiful places on earth, and so perfect for a family adventure!
Thanks Erin! It really is a beautiful place to visit.
Your articles on Bali have been so incredibly inspiring! Great job writing and sharing about this beautiful destination!
Thank you! It’s been a much loved destination in our family for years!