Bali is known for its warm and friendly people, its beautiful, lush scenery and its ability to soothe the stress fed beast in any one of us. Stepping off the plane at the relatively new Ngurah Rai International Airport and descending the stairs, I am immediately enveloped with a sense of calm. I have come to believe it is naturally inherent to this little Indonesian island.
The airport, like others all over the world still has its hustle bustle but the underlying current of serenity is easily detectable. On board the party bus Hamilton, I and several of my fellow passengers make our way into the center of town to the Hamilton hotel. I have found that the party bus is the most accommodating form of transportation. The bus is air-conditioned and to make the short journey to Kuta even more pleasant they serve the best Ice Beerice beer with just the right amount of lime on the island.
I don’t normally spend much time in the tourist areas of the southern part of Bali, but I have been asked to write an article on Bali tourism and this is where so many new visitors start their journey. The entire island has something for any tourist from sightseeing, water sports, cultural and spiritual interest to simply chilling out, so my job here is an easy one.
Once settled into my room at the Hamilton, I’m soon wearing a sarong and sandals and heading out the door. Fall and winter in the northern hemisphere can be the busiest season for visitors to Bali. Aussies also pop over for the months of November through the New Year making Bali a bit crowded in the areas of Kuta, Canggu, Denpasar, Legian, Nusa Dua, Seminyak and the Bukit Peninsula. Finding a sunbathing spot on Kuta Beach at this time of the year can be quite the challenge.
For those who have plenty of cash and prefer the high lifestyle of the rich and famous, Seminyak is filled with luxury hotels and all the amenities. Personally, I love this area for watching the sunsets from the gray sandy beaches that kiss the Indian Ocean from Seminyak’s western coastline. Miles and miles of shoreline allow for the sense of solitude even at the height of the tourist season.
The beautiful beaches and majestic cliffs that make up the shorelines on the eastern side of the island are just a sampling of the natural beauty that awaits the visitor to the island’s interior. Lush green terraced landscapes that reap sustainable harvests of rice carpet Bali’s central zone. Dense jungles that sit at the base of ancient volcanoes are home to some of the world’s most colorful and treasured wildlife.
The influence of Hinduism is intrinsic to all things Balinese. While most of Indonesian is Muslim, Bali has strong roots in the Hindu practice. Even in the busy city areas, the people put out a daily offering of food to honor the Gods. These fresh diurnal, banana leaf plates can be seen on the ground near homes and businesses throughout the island.
Temples dot the entire island and a visit to Bali would not be complete without a trip to the interior to sit in the mother temple of Besakih. This is not the only must-see (and be) of temple visits, but if you only have the chance to see one, it is highly recommended.
Bali’s treasures and offerings are endless. Join me readers in adding your experiences to this ongoing article series on Bali in the comment section below. What has been your favorite part of Bali – or is it still on your dream list?