7 Reasons Why
Bali is Paradise On Earth
I have to confess, my mind immediately slips into vacation mode at the mere utterance of the word ‘Bali.’ While that oh-so-famous tripartite mantra of ‘eat, pray, love’ continues to inspire visits, there are so many more reasons to come to the island of the gods. Here are just a few reasons why Bali is our idea of heaven on earth; we have a feeling you won’t need too much convincing.
If the winter blues have your soul aching for a bit of sunshine, a trip to Bali will do the trick: with an average of 12 to 13 hours of sunshine a day, the prescription of sun, sea, and sand will set things right. From island-hopping by private speedboat to snorkelling in crystal-clear waters amongst turtles, coral reefs, and manta rays, to private beachside yoga lessons, a vacation in Bali could be the ultimate cure for what ails you.
Photos to Make your Feed Pop
Utterly Instagram-worthy, you’ll hardly believe your eyes when you experience the intensity of this island. With a profusion of colour, Bali is aglow with the reds, pinks and purples of spectacular sunrises; the intense blue of the sky and sea, the black of volcanic sand beaches and white fluffy clouds floating on the wind. I haven’t even mentioned the explosion of tropical green lushness everywhere: palms, fronds, vines, and among the most photographed sights of all, the beautiful rice terraces you will find on the island, tracing every curve of topography. It’s a photographer’s dream.
A Spiritual Place
There’s something different in the air here in Bali. One of the furthest outposts of Hinduism, and the only island in the whole Indonesian archipelago that isn’t Muslim, the Balinese believe in the constantly opposing forces of good and evil. Here, the general flow of life necessitates daily worship and devotion.
Everywhere you go, you will see piles of canang sari, daily offerings to the gods, little baskets woven of palm or banana leaves, filled with rice, flower petals, and little trinkets within. These are offered as the day begins, and swept away by day’s end. Families (and even your hotel!) will have small shrines and many areas of worship for the gods. The Balinese also holds many festivals in their 210-day calendar; their festive New Year is actually held twice in a calendar year, with processions, feasts, and a day of silence the day after.
Land of 20,000 Temples
No two temples in Bali are alike; there are as many as 20,000 pura on the island, with nearly as many different functions. Whether you’re running the gauntlet of monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest temple, passing through the cave-mouth of a carved deity at Goa Gajah, or witnessing locals bathing in holy temple water at Pura Tirta Empul, witnessing these ancient rites and practices is truly something special to behold, and further underscores the pervasiveness of the spiritual in the everyday pursuits of the Balinese.
While I will leave the tasty nuances of Balinese food to others, it’s worth mentioning the incredible tropical fruits that you can find growing in abundance here. From the dragonfruit to the sweet lychee and longan to the scaly-prickly snake fruit, the notoriously ‘fragrant’ durian, jackfruit, rambutan, and the ‘queen of fruits,’ mangosteen, there are many new flavours to explore that you. Ask a guide or a local to show you some of their favourites.
Art, Culture, and Music
We’ve mentioned many of the most renowned Balinese performing arts, including wayang shadow puppetry and the intricacies of Balinese dance, but have you listened to the fascinating sounds that accompany most of these performances? It’s the gamelan orchestra that is one of my favourite sounds of Indonesia: with polyrhythms and multiple instruments, it uses xylophone-like metallophones and hand drums to keep time. A sound (and rhythm) like no other, gamelan music may be an acquired taste, but it’s something that always brings me back to Bali whenever I hear it.
Wellness and Healing
Body, mind, and soul, this island has a number of ways to steep yourself in wellness and healing, including Balinese massage, which uses Chinese and Indian pressure point techniques to soothe and release muscle tension. Another luxurious treatment is the Javanese lulur, a body treatment that uses yogurt and turmeric as a gentle moisturizer and skin exfoliant, or a deeply moisturizing ‘hair cream’ treatment which many Indonesians swear by for a full head of lustrous and healthy hair. Or, tap into the island’s network of long-revered healers and mystics to take part in age-old rituals and ceremonies that will transform you.