When people think of Bali, they think of a tropical paradise, they think of swathes of sandy beaches and they think of cocktails served from coconuts. While these may be true, Bali has another side that often gets overlooked. Bali is an adventure seekers’ playground with world class cliff jumping, paragliding, canyoning and hiking.
Cliff jumping is one of the most accessible extreme sports in Bali. Requiring nothing more than a pair of bathers and some running shoes (the rock here is extremely sharp) you can leap from the 13m high Blue Lagoon cliff on Nusa Cenengan, feeling your heart race and stomach drop as you fall into the crystal clear water below. If 13m is too high, there is a 7m spot just below, but be careful as there is no safety rail here. Other spots are the Jimbaran cliffs located near Tegal Wangi beach and Mahana Point on Nusa Cenengan.
With 3 volcanoes over 2,000m and the highest point being over 3,000m, Bali has some fine hiking on offer. The best hike on the entire island is Gunung Agung. Towering 3,133m above sea level, it can be seen from the tourist hotspots of the south on a clear day. To climb Agung you will need a guide as local law requires it. The guides fees are around $50 USD for an all-inclusive package, which includes pickup and drop off at your hotel. The climb itself will begin around midnight and take 5-6 hours to reach the summit in time for the sunrise. Other hikes include the less popular Gunung Batukaru (which can be hiked without a guide) and Gunung Batur.
Soaring above Bali’s rugged southern coastline, you’ll get to experience firsthand what it’s like to fly like a bird. You’ll soar hundreds of metres over surfers catching waves and fly above fancy 5 star villas with infinity pools, taking in the best views on the island. Paragliding tandem flights operate from Timbis site just above the world famous Pandawa Beach. A 20-minute flight will set you back around $110 USD.
Camping in Bali is both highly accepted and a huge part of the Indonesian culture. You can camp pretty much anywhere, but there are a few designated spots that are set aside solely for camping and all of them are totally free of charge. Lake Buyan is great for stargazing and often you’ll have the place to yourself. Bukit Asah, located just north of Candi Dasa, is another camping spot, and one that offers spectacular views over the island.
Surfers chasing waves at Uluwatu have been maximising their time in Bali by surfing when the swell is good and taking to the rock wall at Pecatu in between. The 8m high wall is located at the entrance to the famous surf beach Padang Padang and works for climbers of all abilities. For those experienced or looking to push their limits, Songan is the place for you. Located in the crater of Gunung Batur, Songan village has 50m high cliffs that are bolted so you won’t need to bring any traditional climbing anchors. Just show up in the village and say “panjat tebing” (rock climbing) and the locals will be more than happy to show you around.
Bali receives over 2m of rain per year making it a wonderland of hidden canyons, secret swimming holes and towering waterfalls. While everyone is at the beach, you can head inland and have amazingly clear, fresh water lagoons all to yourself. The best on the island are the Aling Aling chain of waterfalls. The deep canyons run for 5km and there are a bunch of companies offering canyoning, where you can take a rope and harness and rappel the bigger waterfalls and drop offs. There are also a few places to jump from the top of the waterfall and land in the fresh water pool some 10m below. It’s an experience you definitely won’t want to miss out on and something only a small percentage of visitors to Bali will ever do.
Fly Boarding is a type of hoverboard that is attached to a person’s feet and uses a propulsion device to launch them into the air. Usually attached to a jet ski with a long hose, the jet ski driver then pulls back on the throttle, propelling the person into the air and often causing them to dive head first into the water from some pretty crazy heights. It’s the latest craze in Bali and you can get some serious airtime once you learn to ride the board properly. Not for the fainthearted, fly boarding will beat you up so just take small steps at the start. The place to find it is in Benoa Harbour right near Nusa Dua and prices start from $75 USD for a 20-minute session.
Base jumping in Bali never existed until 2 years ago when a Russian guy decided that he would jump from the highest bridge on the island. Being a highly technical jump, it’s certainly not for beginners and you’ll need to watch out for the strong winds that can come through the canyon. The landing pad is super small and there is a high chance that you’ll end up in a tree. If you want to see it out first hand check out this crazy video.