I mean, the planet is big enough, right? Why does everyone keep talking about Bali? Bali Bali Bali... It's not that clean, you get harassed by people trying to sell you all kind of things, drugs, visas, anything, it's polluted, the traffic is terrible and it's packed with Ozy surfers. So why, WHY is it aaall about Bali?
We lived in Indonesia for a year, and were lucky to have Bali as our 'weekend destination'. We spent a lot of time on the island of Gods, and we loved it. We hated it. We loved it. We hated it -you see my point. My question is: why the hell does everyone LOVE Bali so much? What about the 17.000 other islands in Indonesia, and what about Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world?
It might be the exotic weather, the down-to-earth lifestyle, the laid-back vibes, or maybe...
Bali sacred atmosphere and the unique smell of the incense
In Bali, every house has its own little temple, often decorated with beautiful handmade offerings. These offering baskets are made of palm leaves, and may contain Frangipani flowers, snacks, sculptures made of leaves and of course, incense sticks. That's the first thing that charmed me -these cute baskets, simply everywhere.
The majestic & challenging volcanoes awaing for some action
Indonesia is a bless for volcanoes lovers -and so is Bali! Mt Batur, Mt Bratan, Merbuk or Agung -make your choice. We hiked by night, to see the sun rising from the top of Gunung Agung. The most stirring moment of my trip in Bali : 5am, on the summit, sipping our tea together with the locals, cheering, happy... Sensational. Not an easy one, though.
The exotic (and sassy) wildlife on land and underwater
The Monkey Forest in Ubud is pretty fun, literally in city, all these monkeys ready to steal your hat or to jump on your backpack -jungle style! That's just a part of the wildlife, there are also dolphins, scary snakes, colorful birds and butterflies... For the best part, take your snorkeling gear and go underwater.
The beauty of the wide rice terraces
Imagine yourself surrounded with stunning emerald green rice terraces, all around you... Carved out of hillsides for over 2,000 years, they are kept in meticulous shape generation after generation, and offer breathtaking views. Jatiluwih Rice Terraces will stole your heart. The place is huge and magnificent.
Cultural feasts right around the corner
We decided to explore in depth and meet the villagers of Tenganan Pegringsingan village. We had the chance stumble upon a traditional ceremony, a rite of passage for teenagers, when they become adults. Towering colorful fruit offerings, decorated shrines, dances and performances, it's was sublime. Unique.
World-class surfing playground... and the surfers
Bali is known as a surfing heaven, with its consistent surf breaks in wonderful sceneries -a heaven for surfers, but not only. Uluwatu attracts surfers from all over the world. You don't surf? Grab a deck chair, a cocktail, chill out and just wait for the sunset, while watching the surfers... Too early for sunset? Take another cocktail.
The spectacular temples galore
Some will say a temple is a temple -not in Bali. There are temples perched on an island in the sea, temples with stunning gardens, built on the water, with waterfalls, lakes, in caves... They are numerous, and they always come with a beautiful drive of hike through rice paddies and beautiful landscapes.
The peaceful islands with pristine beaches
Bali is not just one island. It hides some gems, scattered in the ocean: Bali's little islands. In Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan, we found the Bali of our dreams. Pristine deserted beaches with turquoise clear water, tiny roads to explore, incredible snorkeling, lodge in the beach, laid-back and serene atmosphere. A beautiful surprise.
The beauty, spirituality and peace of mind
There is something soothing in Bali's beauty. Everything, every single detail is meticulously arranged to be fine. You can find the peaceful and serene island you've dreamed for -you just need to go further than Kuta. Explore, meet the locals, and learn to live in a slower pace. Meditate on a gazebo, do your morning yoga on the beach... Enjoy.
The ritual Bintang-Sunset in Kuta beach
We can criticize Kuta Beach as much as we want, there's nothing like a fresh Bintang, feet on the sand, watching the sunset after a surf session -or an attempt to surf! That's just pure happiness. That said... when you've finished your beer, go explore the rest of the island!
Sure, Bali changed a lot over the years, and not for the best. But it still has its sparkle, this laid-back vibe and legendary beauty. Go off-season, explore off the beaten path, taste the spicy food, meet people, try to surf, climb a volcano, explore the submarine world, get a massage on the beach, and learn to live in a slower pace, you will understand why people love Bali so much...