Take your minibreak to the next level with some adrenalin-pumping, toe-tingling activities you can find only in Indonesia. Here are five suggestions worth planning your long weekend around.
Get up close and personal with a friendly (we promise) honey bear at Pod Origin, an organic chocolate factory and café at the Bali Elephant Camp in Carang Sari Village. Chocolate lovers should head for the tour that demonstrates the process from bean to bar-or opt for the chocolate-making class to get more hands on. Afterwards you can actually hug-that's right, wrap your arms around-one of the centre's honey bears, or tend to one of the elephants. It's all about the bears though.
If you're a fan of eco lifestyle (that's probably why you're in Bali) then book yourself in to Bambu Indah, a collection of restored Javanese bridal homes just outside of Ubud. Each teak house here is unique, but Udang House is particularly special-it's set above a natural shrimp pond and has a tempered glass floor so you can literally sleep with the fishes every night. Nature is your bedfellow here, with porch chairs set beside a bubbling fountain, a partial open-air shower and authentic shrimp baskets that have been converted into lamps.
Landing a plane on water is always going to give you a thrill, but how about doing it in an open cockpit? At Air Adventures Flying Club's seaplane facility on Bintan Island, you can take a Maxair Drifter 192 up, up and away. Experienced seaplane pilots will spin you along the Bintan coast in the open-air two-seater amphibious aircraft-and then land you back on the water! Plus they can even offer you instruction if you wish to take over the controls.
If you've ever wanted to view life through the eyes of a shark, strap into the Seabreacher in Serangan, Bali. You'll sit in a state-of-the-art cockpit of a submergible ‘shark’ or ‘dolphin’ vehicle and then watch through F-16 fighter grade glass as you're taken on an immense water ride: diving 5ft below the water, where you travel at speeds of up to 55kmph, soar 18ft in the air, and perform crazy 360-degree barrel rolls. This takes water sports to another level.
The ram fight is an age-old cultural tradition that is specific to West Java, with Garut being one of the main host towns. This family-friendly community spectacle draws villagers from far and wide every Sunday to watch proud farmers pitch their preened rams against each other in three-minute rounds. Two strong male rams will take turns to lock horns in a battle of wills, to a soundtrack of Kendang Pencak music.
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