While there are ample things to do in Bali, not all of them are good for the environment or local community. Why not use your time in the Island of the Gods to do good? You can enjoy the natural attractions, learn about the beautiful culture, and contribute to enriching the local economy all while having the Bali experience everyone raves about!
Besides the beach clubs, unique bars, and endless cute cafes that you’ll no doubt go to, take one or two days out of your holiday to indulge in one of these ethical activities, shop at eco-friendly shops and dine at sustainable restaurants. You’ll find your memories of Bali even fonder, and want to go back for more! Afterall, it is about adding value while visiting – value to the place, and to one’s self!
Yes we know – all the villages in Bali are green with all those rice fields and tropical vegetation, but this one is super special.
The Green Village was designed in 2006 by jewellery designer John Hardy, and later finished by his daughter. The result? A collection of bespoke, luxury bamboo homes all seamlessly integrated into the Ayung Valley nature. Can you imagine a spectacular mansion made from only bamboo? You have to see it to believe it.
Take a tour of the village to learn more about this amazing eco project. Visit the bamboo factory and see bamboo being harvested, treated and crafted into building materials and furniture.
The Green School is where you can turn your hand to model workshops, building and joinery classes, and so much more.
Got green fingers and would love to find out more gardening tips and tricks? Stop by The Kul Kul farm to learn the art of permaculture and sustainable farming.
If you are blown away by what the village has to offer, you can always look at staying in one of the beautiful houses. They are all available to rent for the week, so you can wake up in the village every morning.
Our mothers have always told us to cherish the rice in our bowls, because of the immense effort it takes to plant and harvest them. But have you ever truly understood what goes behind each miniscule grain of rice? Now, you can – by being a rice farmer for a day!
This experience will let you wander through a local farm, wearing a bamboo hat and carrying a basket, harvesting has never been more fun! Wave to cows, smell the fresh fruit, and enjoy the simplicity of finding your own food.
To end your journey, you’ll be able to cook a lovely meal using all the ingredients you harvested and enjoy good conversation with new friends!
Whenever you think of a Balinese spa, there’s no doubt that your first thought will immediately go to how nice and soothing it smells. Well that’s actually thanks to all of Bali’s different herbs and spices that are utilised for both their healing properties on the body, and on the mind when inhaled!
Using an organic coconut oil base that will transform your skin into an incredibly supple one, learn how to make the best smelling soap bars you’ve ever smelled. What’s even better is you’ll be taking home not one, but three bars of soap! This means that you can gift them to some of your friends back home, or keep it and make your at-home spa experience last longer! How’s that for a unique souvenir from Bali?!
Cycling is one of the most efficient and eco-friendly ways to see a city, unfortunately Bali isn’t so equipped with the safety features necessary for roaming around on a bike!
Thankfully, you can still explore using one with the help of this Bali eco cycling tour, where he will take you on an authentic experience through the rural areas where you can see how life is truly like in Bali away from the crowds.
There are several different cycling options out there for you to choose from, but the best would arguably be this one where you roam through the paddy fields of Ubud while the early morning sun rises up across the horizon. Keeping active and being environmentally friendly while seeing the sights? What more could you ask for!
Bali beaches are sacred to both locals and tourists, it does after all have some of the best beaches in the world! Unfortunately a lot of plastic waste and other forms of rubbish have been washing up on the coastline, damaging its appearance and causing harm to wildlife.
Thankfully, several organisations now have regular beach clean ups that you can participate in! Trash Hero is one of the first of those organisations, and they run one weekly (details of the meetup point can be found on their facebook page.)
What better way to spend your day meeting like minded people, making the environment a better place, and then sitting down to rest with a yummy fresh coconut after your hard work!
Cooking is such a valuable skill, and Balinese food is absolutely delicious, combine the two and you have the perfect outing! What better way to remember your fond Bali memories than whipping up a traditional meal in your kitchen back home, you’ll transport yourself back to Bali!
Pick your own vegetables on their organic farm before learning how to make six different tantalising dishes, before you then get to completely devour them under the shade of a wooden hut.
By participating in this workshop, you’ll be gaining valuable knowledge and supporting local farmers earn their livelihood! Such an amazing experience, and definitely something you won’t be quick to forget!
It’s always been a dream of mine to own a vegetable garden at home, I’ve heard many people say that gardening is a great form of me time and stress relief. Unfortunately with lots of commercial gardening comes a lot of pesticides which aren’t great for your health!
At Har’s garden, he welcomes all sorts of critters, everyone and everything are welcome to eat from his garden, and he still manages to produce succulent, fresh, and incredible produce! Willing to share his garden with everyone, he’s also willing to share his knowledge.
Through his gardening workshop, you too can learn how to garden without pesticides so you can save costs at home, be healthier, and eat fresher! You could also choose to stay in one of his gorgeous treehouses to get a more well rounded experience!
I was lucky enough to grow up around batik, and have known how to paint it since I was a child, I’ve come to realise now though that it’s such an incredibly unique form of art and everyone should try it!
From the way you outline your painting with wax to the delicate blending of colours both on the palette and on the fabric make for a really good stress reliever. It’s almost as though your thoughts fade to the background when you’re focusing on getting the colours just right!
This is the perfect souvenir to get someone as not only is it lightweight but also because you took the time and effort to make it for them, it’ll stay in their hearts forever!
I’ve always maintained that learning martial arts is both super cool and super important. While one lesson in traditional Balinese martial arts may not be enough to help you in dangerous situations, it’s an incredibly unique way of getting insight into the culture!
Pencak Silat is graceful, elegant, and can be lethal when done correctly. With the help of Adji and his watchful eye, you’ll learn the proper form and be on your way to mastering it as soon as possible!
Included in the class is a brief history into the artform, meditation, and relaxation, the focus is not only on how hard you can hit, but preparing the body and mind to protect yourself!
Thanks to the depleting ozone layer, and the use of toxic chemical sunscreen, our coral reefs are dying. What once was a beautiful, colourful underwater kingdom is now a drab, bleached, graveyard.
Of course there are still plenty of coral reefs out there that are still gorgeous, but a little extra help couldn’t hurt. Similar to planting trees, you can help plant coral! More specifically it’s called coral rehabilitation, and doesn’t that sound like an amazing thing to be a part of?
In this experience, you’ll be working with the Indonesian Nature Foundation to help build structures that will become the base for new coral! It’s also incredibly educational, and after that you get to snorkel and see the impact you had on Bali’s marine life!
Coconut oil has so many health benefits, and it’s incredibly affordable in Bali. Rather than just picking up a bottle off the shelf though, why not try your hand at making it yourself? In just over two hours you’ll go from holding a hairy brown coconut to feeling the soft oil flowing through your hands!
You learn to utilise each part of the coconut, while you’re waiting for your oil to form you’ll be able to use the leftover husks to scrub your skin so it’s nice and supple! Plus a nice refreshing tropical fruit bowl is ready to be eaten!
Completely suitable for families and children, this is an activity that everyone can enjoy no matter their age! Educational, fun, and you even get to take home your own bottle, what better way to spend a few hours?!
If you’re ever lucky enough to witness a traditional Balinese ceremony, you’ll notice that they’re definitely not shy about using colours, and they absolutely love flowers! An important part of their celebrations, these Gebongans or Canang Saris are made fully from local aromatic plants, which you’ll love being surrounded by!
There are so many different ways of designing it, but the base method is very clear, and what you’ll be learning. You might be wondering why this is a good activity, well it’s an incredible way to get a peek into the local Balinese traditions, plus you can take these skills home and use them at your next party!
Walking around Bali’s famous art markets like the Sukawati Art Market will undoubtedly make you marvel at the sheer talent some of the locals have. Well, now’s your opportunity to learn from some of these artisans and create your very own sculpture from a measly chunk of wood!3
While it may not be as pretty as some of the other perfectly curated, bright red Barong masks you’ll find in the shops, what you’ll make is a much more personalised souvenir, and most importantly, a story to tell people when they spot it on your mantle!
The methods you’ll be taught as a beginner are actually quite simple, and even children can take part for a fun family outing in a gorgeous family home!
Ask any local or long term digital nomad living in Bali, and they’ll say that jamu is magic! Made from various different herbs and spices, this alternative medicine is a magical concoction of flavour! Used for centuries by locals, despite it’s slightly hard to swallow taste, it’s worth it for the health benefits!
The other part of this class involves your sweet tooth! The perfect companion to the bitter taste of Jamu, you’ll be able to make your very own slice of Balinese Sweet cake too! If you plan this class earlier on your trip, you can sip on the Jamu throughout your journey and see for yourself how good it is!
You’ll have just enough time to top up on more from the shops before you go home!
Behind the name Kou are two sister stores in Ubud.
Kou Bali sells natural soaps and bath salts. Everything comes with a creative wrapping. Look at the cute little soaps wrapped like candies!
On the other hand, Kou Cuisine produces natural and delicious handmade jam. Try the favourite – milk caramel or an exotic combination of pineapple and guava.
You can also buy sea salt in the same cute jar.
And of course, you are welcome to taste the jam before deciding to purchase any!
16. Spice up your eyewear: Eco Ego Store
Specialising in all things wood, Eco Ego Store is where your next stop should be if you’re after some adorably sustainable sunnies. Born and bred in Bali, and using only sustainably sourced bamboo/wood, you will look absolutely fabulous wearing them as well as knowing you haven’t contributed to the ever growing plastic problem!
If sunglasses aren’t really your jam, check out some of their other wooden goodies, a personal favourite? Their phone cases! Carved with gorgeous intricate designs, everyone will be dying to know where you got them from!
Located in Canggu, the offbeat area of Bali (filled with hipster cafes, stays and everything quirky), Samadi Sunday Market is pretty much like the entire Etsy community homed under one roof with a main focus to contribute to the local community.
From funky jewellery to homemade essential oils, natural soaps and clothes, there’s a decent number of emerging and established artists and designers here including plenty of new talent, food stalls and great initiatives like Bali Street Mums (which helps street Mums make a living) that you can support too!
Get in early to beat the crowd as this charming artisan organic farmers market is packed to the brim with expats and locals who consider it as the ultimate spot to stock up on zero-chemical fruits and vegetables, organic cheese, crusty bread, and fresh pastries but also a handful of vintage and new clothing, accessories and other bric-a-brac!
Prepare yourself for a zen-like atmosphere as the place is popular among yoga and meditation practitioners who are on a retreat for a healthier lifestyle in magical Bali!
One of Bali’s hotly-anticipated 2018 openings, Ijen at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak is somewhere really rather special. We absolutely love how dedicated it is to ethical sourcing and social responsibility.
From replacing plastic with banana leaves, gas with wood fire, sourcing vegetables from local farmers one mile away to offering only line-caught seafood and using natural recycled materials in their decor, treating yourself with a meal at Ijen means you’re contributing to Indonesia’s very first zero-waste eatery!
You’ll also order from a menu that is printed on sustainably harvested paper and sit in a dining room that is open-air while the on-site chef cooks you a scrumptious meal with an eco-conscious mind and only using sustainable meat and fish. What’s on the grill today depends much on the day’s take. Relying on the daily catch, you might want to come back twice or thrice as the menu is always changing!
This local eatery in Canggu is run by a French-Indonesian couple who helps zero-waste dining make its way to Bali. No, they are not dedicated ecologists but simple human beings who hate throwing away food and want to ban the word ‘waste’ from their kitchen.
Come and take part in their dedicated philosophy – to be a “Zero foodprint restaurant” where less is more; you will find here only a single meal of the day depending on what is fresh (ask for “Plate of the day”), as well as other freshly-made paninis, a perfect mixture of local Indonesian dishes and good-looking French desserts; that way we all contribute to reducing food wastage!
Ubud has a lot to offer you when it comes to green cuisine (after all, it is a hub for yogis and vegans!) but only a handful of eateries here make a conscious effort to source local produce and reduce food miles.
Your guilt-free meals at Juice Ja Cafe are not only nutritious but also sustainable as you are drinking fresh ingredients coming from their backyard and gulping down organic and ethical meals inspired by Bali’s diverse landscape. And if you would like to learn about making earthy dishes for your loved ones, don’t miss signing up for their vegan cooking classes!
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