The One Thing ... Bali

By ben Groundwater

uk

By Ben Groundwater

The One Thing You Should Do
In Bali Is ...

Eat street food

Street food can seem a little intimidating at first. After all, you’ve heard all the Bali Belly horror stories, and you’re not convinced that food safety standards are exactly world class at the little cart down the end of the street. But fear not: despite the odd mishap, Balinese street food really is delicious – in fact it’s as good as Balinese cuisine gets – and you haven’t really visited this idyllic island until you’ve tried it. 

What’s on the menu? How about “babi guling”, a fire-roasted suckling pig that’s served with rice and a stuffing of onions, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, and a whole heap of chilli? Or maybe you’d prefer “nasi campur”, a sumptuous meal of rice with plenty of trimmings: sometimes fried fish, or tofu, or satay, or curried chicken, with a generous dollop of sambal. Some, meanwhile, love the sweetness of “jaja Bali”, an assortment of treats that usually includes black rice pudding with coconut milk, padan pancakes filled with palm sugar, and steamed banana with coconut. 

To source your Balinese street food, simply ask around to see where the nearest “warung”, or street food market, is located. Once you’re there, look for the stalls with the longest queues, where food is being cooked in front of you and the produce is being turning over quickly, and get in there.      

 

uk

The One Thing You Should Not Do
In Bali Is ...

Ride an elephant

Sure, it seems like a fun thing to do. Elephants are beautiful and they’re huge and they really don’t seem like they mind carrying people around the jungle for 30 minutes at a time. And the elephants look like they’re being treated well, too – some have even been rescued from being used for hard labour. That has to be a good thing, right? 

However, all is not what it seems. There are a whole swag of problems with the elephant-riding industry, not just in Bali but around the world, and several international tour companies – for example Intrepid Travel – have cut them out of their itineraries all together.   

See, for a wild animal to be trained to carry humans around on its back, it has to be “broken”. That is, mentally, psychologically taken apart. This is an intense and harrowing experience that takes a wild spirit and bends it to human will. Is that something you really want to be part of? Something you want to support? 

And while yes, some elephants have been rescued from being used essentially as giant work horses, the use of them for tourism helps create an industry, and as long as that industry exists, more elephants will be needed. More elephants will be broken. This thing has to stop, and you have the power to help do that.  

 

 

Find out more insider tips about other destinations: read all the articles in Ben's "One Thing" series here

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