A TROPICAL STATE OF MIND
In this day and age, Bali is on the mustvisit list of any discerning traveller around the world. A paradise with so much more to offer than the stunning beaches, Bali has become a mood lifter, an inspiration, and for some, a way of life.
The People of Bali
Looking beyond the sandy beaches, shimmering sunshine, surf waves, and resorts great and small, the essence of Bali lies in its generous and genuinely warm people. The clichéd Balinese smile holds a certain fun, sly sense of humour behind the smiles. Whether influenced by thriving tourism throughout generations or simply through natural upbringing, the people of Bali are culturally hospitable and welcoming, which is one of the main reasons for international tourists to be so attached to this paradise on earth.
From the peculiar rice-and-petals offerings you'll definitely step on more than a few times a day, to the festive celebrations of friendly locals to the wondrous traditional music and mesmerizing dances in the many temples, you'll witness more than your share of fascinating local activities.
Located right next door, Lombok is a largely undiscovered island nearly as big as Bali. From its volcanic centre to untouched scenic beaches such as Mawun, it rewards travellers who want to explore. Many climbers are drawn to Indonesia's second-highest volcano, the mighty Gunung Rinjani. Rivers and waterfalls gush down its fissured slopes, while its summit — complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake — is the ultimate trekker's prize.
On Bali you can lose yourself in the chaos of Kuta or the sybaritic pleasures of Seminyak and Kerobokan, surf wild beaches in the south or just hangout on Nusa Lembongan. You can go
family friendly in Sanur or savour a lavish getaway on the Bukit Peninsula. Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the spirit and culture of the island are most accessible. It shares the island's most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments with east and west Bali.
The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukaru (one of the island's estimated 10,000 temples). North and west Bali are thinly populated but have the kind of diving and surfing that make any journey worthwhile. Bali is abundantly rich in art and culture of various forms and expressions. Traditional kecak dance is an enchanting form of cultural entertainment that's worth watching at least once for any traveller. The gorgeous setting at Pura Luhur Uluwatu in a small amphitheatre in a leafy part of the grounds makes it one of the more evocative on the island.
If you're looking for a touch of modern art, head to Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud, the place where the modern Balinese art movement supposedly started. Are you a fan of the outdoors and looking to experience what the island has to offer? The northern coast offers a series of waterfalls more than 20 metres high, jungle grottos, as well as coffee and vanilla plantations in a hiking and trekking trip that can last from three to seven hours long. And of course, there's nothing wrong with some good old white sandy beach and plenty of sun. There are an infinite number of beach retreats and marine activities to do in Bali. One surfer's paradise would be Balian beach, a rolling area of dunes and knolls overlooking pounding surf where you can wander between beachfront cafes or talk surf over sunset and cocktails. One of the three Gilis over at Lombok also offers pristine beaches and spectacular spots to snorkel, dive or fish.