10 THINGS TO DO IN THE BALI RAINY SEASON
If you happen to be travelling Bali in the midst (and mist) of the rainy season (typically running between November and March each year), don't despair. There are actually plenty of things to keep you busy while the droplets fall on the jungles outside. Check them out…
No matter where you are on the Isle of the Gods (except maybe right at the top of one of those smoking volcanos!) or what the weather is, you can rest assured there's always a surf swell about. And while no one would recommend hitting the waves in the middle of a whip-cracking thunder and lightning storm, a little tropical rain never hurt anyone in a pair of board shorts. In fact, there are even a couple of popular surf spots where the tubes are at their finest during the rainy season. Make a beeline for the east coast, where the right-hander rollers of Keramas crash against the shore. Or, go for Nusa Dua – a reef break that hits three meters when the rains come.
Have a massage
When the clouds come over and the raindrops start, there's no reason why you can't head into one of the incense-scented spas that line the streets of Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud and other towns for a spot of traditional massage. Treatments range from soothing full-body massages with Indonesian coconut oil to hot stone massages that aim to re-align the chakras and get you feeling top-notch again. There's also plenty of ancient, more mystical ways to get your relaxation fix in these joints: with a spot of Ayurvedic treatment a la India, perhaps, or a bout of acupuncture – if needles are your sort of thing!
Do a cooking class
Not a kitchen from Kuta to Padangbai closes their doors when the rains begin to pummel the ground in Bali. That's great news if you're looking to reveal the secrets of the Indonesian islander cuisine, which fuses the fresh scents of lemongrass and chili with oodles of coconut oil and ancient cooking methods. Seek out a lesson to learn how to mix up the best peanut satay, or stack the gado gado right for the proper interplay of eastern flavours, salty soy and spice. You'll be cooking like a local in no time!
See a traditional show
While the al fresco fire shows of the Uluwatu Temple (a real favorite on our LBW tours of Bali) might not be such a great idea when the heavens open, there are oodles of other traditional theaters to attend on the Isle of the Gods. There are playhouses in the resorts of Nusa Dua and between the jungles of Ubud that offer classic Devdan shows – folksy productions that reveal the culture of far-flung places like Papua and Kalimantan. Or, you could opt for a traditional Balinese mask performance, where the characters are haunting Hindu demons and demigods.
Make some jewelry in Celuk
Gold glimmers and silver shines from the roadsides of gilded Celuk Village, which sits nestled between the south coast and the wilder reaches of Ubud in the heart of the jungles. Here, countless workshops tick over to the sound of tapping hammers and creaking metal, representing the jewelry kingpin of the island. You'll be able to attend sessions on metalworking and see how the locals produce their famous craft pieces. It's also possible to purchase the trinkets, and even try your hand at forging one of your own!
See some art in Ubud
There are plenty of reasons why Ubud is hailed as the art hub of all Bali. Not only did many a famous local and international artist make their home here in the last century, but there are also oodles of galleries and exhibition spaces to see. Consider the mansion-museum of the Blanco Renaissance, which comes packed with the fascinating artworks of Filipino lithographer and painter Antonio Blanco. Or, head for the huge Agung Rai Museum of Art, with its duo of buildings packed with masterworks by some big-name folk.
Okay, so the open-air markets of Kuta and the bustling al fresco bazaars of Legian might be out of bounds when the clouds start spitting in the rainy season, but those swish new shopping malls certainly aren’t! With their all-new concrete shells, air-conditioning and stylish modern interiors, these are not only great places to come for some retail therapy but also for a taste of back home. From the Kuta Beachwalk to the Discovery Mall, they are typically packed with surf shops and designer brands, not to mention oodles of eateries and restaurants for when the stomach gets a-rumbling.
Yea, we totally agree: yoga is at its best when done in tandem with nature; with views of the rolling Indian Ocean or a with wild tropical jungles as a backdrop (just check out our YogaLife for all that). But we also don’t want to completely stop practicing our downward dogs and python poses when the rainy season of Bali rears its head. That's why there are plenty of indoor yogi centers and wellness retreats that offer covered spaces for stretching the muscles and aligning the chakras in wetter weather, too. Nice.
Hit the museums
We know you'll be pining for the beaches or the wild jungle treks, but hey, everyone likes a little fix of history and culture too, right? Cue Bali's museums, which come in all shapes and sizes. Check out the DMZ Museum in Legian if it's mind-boggling modern art and perspective-smashing wall murals you're after. Go to the Museum Pasifika in Nusa Dua for treasures from across the Polynesian and the Indonesian archipelagos. Or, head to somewhere like the Nyaman Gallery in Seminyak, where independent curators showcase the cream of Balinese and Javanese portraiture of the current day.
If you think the shower's going to be a snappy one before the monsoon clouds clear and you can hit the beaches and the surf swells once again, then perhaps you can dodge the rains with just a short jaunt for lunch. That's where Bali's taste-bud-tingling array of local warung come in. These traditional, bamboo-built huts not only offer shelter from the elements, but also menus of regional treats. Delve into piles of sizzling nasi goreng rice with a chili top, devour skewers of marinated chicken straight from the grill, or make your way through stacks of tempeh with peanut sauce. Mmm.
If you've travelled to the Isle of the Gods during the rainy season and have something extra to add to this list, we'd love to hear about it in the comments below. Or, if you've been tempted by the prospect of rolling left-to-righters and tasty Balinese food, be sure to check out LBW's range of trips to this awesome corner of Asia.