Bali’s colorful and deeply spiritual culture often leaves visitors more enamored of the island that does its stunning tropical scenery, pristine beaches and gorgeous natural resources. One of 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is part of the country of Indonesia and is located between Java and Lombok in Southeast Asia. Eighty percent of travelers who go to Indonesia go to Bali and Bali alone. Unlike the rest of the country which is largely Muslim, this “Island of the Gods” follows Balinese Hinduism, a mix of Hinduism and traditional animistic practices which holds that every rock, every leaf, every animal and every person is infused with a divine spirit. The graceful and decorous behavior of the Balinese people reflects this respect for the environment and for the sacred nature of all things; even basic actions are performed with beauty and elegance to please the gods who are all around.
Travelers fly into the big city of Denpasar located towards the south of the island, then make their way to one of the bigger tourist centers like Kuta (beach resort), Singaraja (old colonial capital), Ubud (Bali’s cultural and spiritual center) or more isolated spots further out. The busiest seasons are July through August and the Christmas/New Years holidays, when hotels tend to fill up and the bigger beaches are more crowded. The tourist industry is focused in the south of the island, though recently adventure tours have begun to take visitors trekking around the island’s jungles, volcanoes, and terraced rice fields. Bali has a very highly developed arts culture as creativity permeates their spiritual existence, and everywhere you travel you will see the amazing handiwork of the Balinese including sculptures, leather, metalworking, textiles and more.
Things to do in
Beach culture is alive and well in Bali and the island is largely ringed with black and white sand beaches, with a few interruptions for mangroves clusters and breathtaking cliff drops. Coral reefs surround the island and scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, sunning and swimming are all popular activities.
Shopping is also great fun in Bali thanks to the island’s rich creative heritage. Batik and ikat cloth, wind chimes, stone carvings, silverware, puppets, paintings and much more reflect the artistic mastery of the Balinese, who believe that every human is an artist. Bali has a very diverse performing arts culture and the many types of theatre, dance and singing shows will not only entertain you, but will teach you about the unique culture of the island as well.
All the mountains of Bali are active volcanoes. The highest one point on the island is Mount Agung, and its sister Mount Batum is on permanent smolder status. You can hike to the top of Mount Batum in two hours, making it one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world. Bali is also dotted with hot springs, waterfalls and archaeological ruins. Countless stacked Hindu temples decorate the landscape, as every village must have three of them, as per the Gods. From the lush green hills to warm tropical waters to the beautiful spirit of the people, Bali is nothing short of magical.
Ellie’s: budget hotel, simple rooms but very comfortable, friendly and comfortable staff
Tropical Bali Hotel: budget hotel w/beautiful grounds, big rooms and friendly energy
Zen Resort Bali
: stunning views, lots of greenery, outdoor bathrooms, fresh flowers
The Kayana Bali
: breathtaking villas, delicious restaurant, efficient service, free shuttle