Bali has long been considered the destination of choice for travelers looking for the chance to relax and unwind.
In fact, Tourism Minster Sanidaga Uno wants to promote the island as a destination for ‘serenity, spirituality and sustainability’ for which tens of thousands of travelers are heading to the island to experience.
A study conducted by Grand View Research Inc shows that ‘the global educational tourism market size is expected to reach USD 947.7 billion by 2030.
For many, the first ideas that come to mind about educational travel are school field trips, university study, or even cultural immersion. While this is undoubtedly the case, Bali offers a wide variety of educational experiences that are fun and not too labor-intensive.
In December 2022, the Deputy for Marketing of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, said that travel trends show that tourists in Bali want to do more than just relax.
She explained, “the age range of [tourism] market consumers in Indonesia is currently dominated by the millennial generation who are hungry for knowledge and information that is interesting, concise, and clear. So, as a means of promotion, it must be catchy, concise, clear, and full of pictures”.
So with so much to learn and so little time, what educational experiences can travelers explore on their next visit to the Island of the Gods?
As the arts capital of the province, many of the most popular and exciting educational and cultural experiences can be found in and around Ubud.
Bahasa Indonesia is considered one of the easiest languages in the world to learn. While most tourists learn ‘terima kasih’ (thank you), ‘apa kabar’ (how are you) or even ‘om suastiastu’ (hello in Bahasa Bali), learning a little more than the absolute basics can dramatically enhance the experience tourists have on the island. Most tourism workers can speak proficient English, but learning the basics of Bahasa Indonesia is not only enjoyable but respectful to the communities tourists visit.
Many people in Bali are incredibly patient when it comes to foreigners mixing their words as they learn, and being able to communicate better helps affirm friendships along the way. Tourists can take free drop-in classes at cafes and yoga studios across the island or enroll in short courses at language schools like Cinta Bahasa.
Cinta Bahasa is one of the island’s most highly regarded schools, located in both Ubud and Sanur. For those wishing to dive deeper, the school offers a range of group and private classes to suit learners’ needs.
Free or by donation language classes are offered weekly in Ubud at The Yoga Barn and Sayuri Healing Foods Cafe, with more tourist venues jumping on board across the island and offering classes weekly.
Silversmithing in Bali is a historic artisanal skill. It may take years to become a master, but tourists can take a half-day class in Sideman and learn to make a piece of silver jewelry of their choosing.
Guided by local artisans, tourists can use traditional equipment to design and create their own silver jewelry. One popular class is offered by Silver Agung. Classes start at IDR 450,000 and include 5g of silver.
Like many small businesses in Bali, Silver Agung does not have a website but can be found on social media @silver.agung
Bali’s spectacular natural wonders are not only found on land. There is a wealth of landscape and life to explore under the water.
Tourists can learn the basics of freediving in just two days with the help of teachers at dive centers like Apnea in Amed.
Learning to free dive is a great way to enhance day trips out to the Gili Islands and Nusa Penida to explore the reefs and, if you’re lucky, encounter a green turtle or, in the Nusa Islands, a manta ray.
Silk painting and wood carving are two of the most famous artistic practices in Bali. Like silversmithing, it can take a lifetime to master, but in the space of a few hours, tourists can learn the basics, and the history behind the practice, even create a design of their own to take away with them.
Hundreds of artisans in Bali are offering silk and batik painting workshops and wood carving lessons. Art centers like Five Arts Studio come highly recommended by all who visit.
Ceramics classes are a fun and sometimes messy way to spend a few hours on vacation. Ceramics studios like Kevala Ceramics in Sanur offer classes for all ages.
They often host themed workshops, such as their Coral Restoration Workshop held earlier in the year. Serayu Pottery in Ubud also offers pottery throw classes and paint-your-own pottery classes for kids and adults.
The educational experiences on offer across Bali give travelers a chance to dip their toes into new skills, hobbies, and cultural practices, as a part of their wider vacation itinerary.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Travelers in Bali can learn everything from surfing to skateboarding, cooking to bamboo construction, permaculture gardening to traditional cultural practices, and so much more.
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