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The One Thing ... Bali

By ben Groundwater


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.      



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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The One Thing Series From Ben Groundwater


From Spain to Singapore, you can find all of Ben's One Thing Articles right here.

Singapore - The One Thing

Ben Groundwater shares his expert advice about holidaying in amazing Singapore.

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Before biting into the baguette, check out this advice from Ben Groundwater.

China - The One Thing

Ben Groundwater shares his tips on what to do and not do when you next visit China.

NZ - The One Thing

Off to the land of the Kiwis. Check out travel writer Ben Groundwater's helpful hints.

Sri Lanka - The One Thing

Make the most out of your trip to Sri Lanka with Ben Groundwater's helpful tips.

Canada - The One Thing

Check out these great tips from Ben Groundwater before you plan your next trip to Canada.

China - The One Thing

Read up on Ben Groundwater's insider tips before you plan your next trip to Cambodia.

China - The One Thing

Make sure you read Ben Groundwater's tip on how not to shake up your trip to Chile

Spain - The One Thing

Heading to Spain? Be sure to pack these words of wisdom with you when heading off.