Bali Island is one of the most famous islands in the world. It creates images and dreams of beautiful clear waters, stunning lagoons, endless surf, gushing rivers, palm trees, orchids, monkeys, butterflies and birds of every size shape and color. People think of small villages, vast rice terraces, waterfalls, volcanoes, complex thrilling temples and ceremonies. Why? Because it’s true!
The Balinese people are descendants of the Asian tribes that inhabit the southern part of China and migrated along the Malay Peninsula. Agriculture, trade, education and religion flourished between the Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities since before the time of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages of Europe. The influence of the local Balinese faith, Buddhism and Hinduism combined to form the unique Hindu religion practiced today. There are Muslims and Christians in Bali as well. Bali seems to absorb all forms of religion and culture to produce something truly Balinese. You will see many statues of Buddha, Shiva and Jesus. You find Temples, Mosques and Churches all over Bali.
Bali was ruled by rajahs and priests, Buddhist, then Hindu, until the 16th century when it was made a Dutch colony. Bali was a Dutch colony until be annexed by the Japanese in 1942, reclaimed by the Dutch in 1946, and became an independent Republic in1950.
Located 8 degrees below the equator in the Indonesian archipelago, it is a volcanic island surrounded by the Indian Ocean. It is considered the southern most area of the Asia. It is one of the original Spice Islands and has cinnamon and clove trees, star anise, pepper, chili plants, and many blooming large hardwood trees. The jungles and bamboo forests are lush all year. It features many reefs with protected lagoons. It has an abundance of seafood caught in the lagoons and from fishing vessels which go to sea in the early morning dawn every day.
Bali does not fall into one class, style, or category. Bali has a majority Hindu population in the most populous of all Muslim countries, has century old temples, shrines and customs yet is considered on of the top surfing destinations in the world! There are beautiful Hindu ceremonies, festivals and processions all over Bali throughout the year and discos, world class dining and night clubs that are swinging until the wee hours of the morning. It is a paradise of natural wonders and jet skis and parasailing. There is hiking, bicycling, river rafting and 4 –wheeling, or lying by a natural pool with no one around. There are white sand beaches and black sand beaches. Many guests stay in a stunning beach villa one week and a bungalow in the middle of rice paddy, on the side of a volcano the next. Bali is busy and calm, crowded and quiet, noisy and serene, traditional and modern. There are very few places in the world with so many diverse environments. To see a rice farmer plowing his field with an ox and in the next minute see a vendor in a small market on a cel phone is a good example of Bali.
Most hotels and villas are designed either in traditional style or in a more style with a traditional influence. The roof lines, the open air showers and the colorful gardens and landscapes are everywhere. You will find hand carved statues and shrines in every home, restaurant, shop, hotel and village. There you will see small offerings placed twice daily, showing the never ending influence of the gods in the daily life of the Balinese.
No matter what your preference for lodging, scenery, shopping, touring or activities, you will have the holiday of a lifetime in Bali!