Discovering the true beauty of Indonesia’s island of Bali.
There’s a phrase you often hear in Bali, “Tri Hita Karana.” It means “the three causes of prosperity” — harmony with nature, harmony among people, and harmony with the divine. It’s a philosophy that guides the island’s way of life, and the more time you get to spend in this tropical paradise, the more it becomes part of your own soul.
Volcanic mountains surrounded by sacred forests, fairy tale temples, coral reefs and shipwrecks teeming with sea life, vibrant villages full of artists and performers sharing their visions and traditions with visitors, the richness of this island is the harmony that connects it all.
Harmony with nature
From five-star resorts to simple retreats, sacred sites to city streets, every part of Bali connects with its natural surroundings. Beaches, lush forests, endless gardens and a rich offering of island delicacies are everywhere.
Nature is incredibly accessible from comfortable hotel cabanas. But for a true appreciation of Bali’s natural beauty, you have to go deeper. Snorkel or dive around stunning reefs, hike through forests, and pluck fresh fruits to eat right off the trees.
Harmony among people
You’ll fall in love with the island’s beauty, but you’ll come back over and over for the culture and the people.
In the villages, watch local artists at work, each with their own speciality. Find traditional painters, sculptors, and musicians in Padangtegal, exquisite silverwork in Celuk, to fine wood carvings in Mas. Start in the village market of Ubud for samples of everything and inspiration for areas to explore further.
Performances of traditional Balinese dance and shadow puppets are easy to find and an absolute must-experience. They embody the island’s spirit, transcending language and cultural differences.
Harmony with the divine
The Balinese people share an ancient and deep spirituality. You’ll feel it in their arts and general attitude toward life and see it in the ancient Hindu temples that dot Bali’s landscape.
While each of the temples is worth seeing, don’t miss Besakih, the Mother Temple, which is over 1000 years old. Tanah Lot is built upon a rock in the ocean and spectacular at sunset. Pura Luhur Uluwatu sits upon the dramatic cliffs at the edge of the island. Pura Tirta Empul’s sacred waters are said to have profound healing ability. And Taman Ayun, the “beautiful garden” temple, truly lives up to its name.
The spiritual centres of Bali are all beautiful natural settings, keeping with the harmonious concept of Tri Hita Karana. People, nature, and spirit all come together in these ancient places, and perhaps nowhere demonstrates this principle as well as the Sacred Monkey Forest outside Ubud. The entire forest is treated with reverence and the long-tailed macaques preside with cheeky authority.
When to stay
All the best resorts are in the south. Some, like the Bulgari in Uluwatu, provide a level of exotic luxury not easily replicated elsewhere in the world. The Legian Hotel on Seminyak Beach brings you closer to the best shopping and nightlife on the island. The St. Regis in Nusa Dua offers private beachfront villas, and their Remède Spa provides one of the most indulgently relaxing experiences on the island. The Chendi Club places you right in the middle of Ubud’s idyllic landscape.
It’s always warm, but October to April is the rainy season, so be prepared to take shelter during afternoon showers.
Only drink bottled water to avoid what’s commonly called “Bali Belly”.
Before you depart from Jakarta airport, visit to the world heritage site of Borobudur temple complex. It’s a full day trip, but it will blow away all the temples you’ve ever seen. But save it for the end of your Bali experience, so you can truly appreciate the island’s smaller temples first
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