Why Explore Bali on Foot?

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Bali seaside landscape during dusk

EVERYONE loves to travel or at least fantasizes about it. “You know what, I want to go to Santorini”. People pick exotic locations to travel on the top of their heads.

Some people really want to travel, for the soul, while the others want to travel for the mind.

Travel is an escape, or so everyone says. But is it? When you go from one city to another, you of course experience a different city, but have you ever experienced a city differently?

Now exotic locations which have grown immensely popular over the years, like Santorini in Greece or Bora Bora in French Polynesia might be somewhere you think you should go to experience a city or a place differently.

However, exploring a city differently is not going to these remote or beautiful ‘honeymoon’ destinations. If you really want to explore a city intimately, ditch those wheels, use your feet.

I had recently visited Bali. (I know it is a ‘touristy’ place), but honestly, I always wanted to go there. So I went. Plus Bali has this magical vibe to it. A ‘vibe’ which I didn’t feel immediately, but after a couple of days, it actually gets to you, because when you explore Bali on foot, you get to witness the raw essence of the city.

There is a lot of culture and it shows in the city, its temples and of course in the people.

People sitting in front of Bali's famous temple
Photo courtesy: Aditya Roy

The people of Bali are almost like the city in itself. Breezy, carefree, genuine. But there is another side of the city which comes alive post 9 or 10 in the night. You’ll know why when you get there and even better if you explore Bali on foot.

Why explore Bali on Foot?

I will not ask you to walk through an entire city. It is physically not possible; plus if you are on a tight schedule, it does not make sense.

A guide or a map will list or take you to the popular tourist destinations. But even when you reach those places, walking around might just lead you to find something totally unexpected and most of the times, it is something beautiful. Travel is like that.

Footing it in rice fields

For example, I had visited the famous Tegallalang rice fields in Bali. I had to travel there by scooter as it was very very far from where I was staying. However, I decided to ditch the scooter, parked it and decided to explore the area of rice fields on foot.

As I explored Bali on foot and clicked photographs of this beautiful landscape, a tune reached my ears. It was mesmerizing and I had to go towards it. I reached where the tune took me and what I saw took my breath away. A group of people who work in the field were singing folk songs with their children. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was too engrossed in the music to take photographs.

Rice fields in Bali on a cloudy day
Photo courtesy: Aditya Roy
Finding food on foot

Another instance why walking and exploring comes in handy is when you really want to indulge in the local cuisine in the city. Cheap, homemade and the best. Of course, if you want the more elite restaurants which include local and continental food, exploring Bali on foot will take you to Seminyak. They have an amazing atmosphere.

Interior of Nirvana burger bar in Bali
Photo courtesy: Aditya Roy
Climb up an active volcano

So you might have heard that Bali has a dormant, yet recently active volcano. I reached Mount Agung by scooter. When I did reach, I was told by the locals that I can get closer to the volcano at ground level, if I go, 6 kilometres downhill. Yet again, I parked the scooter and walked down those 6 kilometres. It was a beautiful walk downhill, filled with trees, beautiful flowers and sights that take your breath away.

Meet the locals

I got a chance to speak to so many locals, there is an elderly woman who runs a small hut there. She makes the best traditional noodle soup. I, unfortunately, poured too much red chilli sauce in the soup, but the way she made it, so much love and so personal. However, be careful, the way down is amazing, but the climb back on top is almost like a week’s worth of cardio and ‘leg day’ at the gym. So warm up. You will not get to experience the best if you do not explore Bali on foot.

Black and white photo of Bali landscape
Photo courtesy: Aditya Roy

See, there are countless means of connectivity in a new city. Car, bike, tram, train, bus and so on. But the most innate feeling you’ll ever get in a city, is by walking, even more so when you explore Bali on foot. When you meet the people, witnessing the small yet unexpected sights which truly take your breath away is something why most people travel, even though they do not realise it.

So even if you’re in another unknown city, you explore while you walk, you realise, it’s just like home.  

For offbeat things to do in Bali, click here.

To read about Bali’s artistic centre where you can shop for authentic artefacts and view processes of creating various handicrafts, click here.

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