If I had to choose a destination that has a special place in my travel heart, I'd have to say it's Bali. I grew up in Indonesia and we used to spend a lot of our holidays in Bali. As an adult I have gone back a few times and to be hotest I could go back and back and back. Here's a list of my favourite things to do in Bali and maybe you will see why I can't get Bali out of my head:
This was our main reason for flying to Bali during every school break. There are beaches all around the island, some being nicer than others. Avoid the Kuta/Seminyak area and head south to the peninsula south of Kuta where hidden bays and secluded cove beaches await you. I personally love the Lovina beach in the north; not so much for its beauty, cuz it's not. But for the schools of dolphins that can be spotted from there.
Its Hindu culture and temples
Beaches are everywhere in Asia and also in Indonesia, but the thing that makes Bali different from the other islands in the country is its Hindu culture. There are temples in every shape and size, in every family home garden, public gardens, office buildings, hotels etc. There are many famous public temples dotted around the island and if you're lucky you'll get to witness a traditional ceremony while you're visiting.
I was lucky to spend some time a few years ago teaching English in a Balinese highschool and living with a Balinese family for a month. It was an unforgettable experience to learn about the Balinese family customs and daily on-goings and made me realise me how important family is to them.
I love Indonesian food from everywhere in the country for its spices and typical flavours. In Bali you can find some dishes that are typically Balinese. There is betutu which is stuffed duck, Balinese satay or sate lilit, which is spiced mince skwered onto lemon grass sticks, and the lawar which is pork or chicken with chopped coconut and garlic. And bubuh injin, a black rice pudding dessert. You might have to make a bit of an effort to food these dishes as most Balinese hotels tend to offer the more usual nasi goreng and gado gado dishes.
|Photo by Adi Setiwan off Flickr|
If you venture out of the Kuta/Seminyak area (and you should) the scenery turns into an emerald green blanket of rice paddies that cascade down against the rolling hills. Offering views you don't get anywhere else in the world.