Julia Robert on her bike pedalling on the bright roads of Bali, it’s not cinema, it’s as beautiful as you think it is! The black sand beaches sparkling in the sun, the Manta rays, the Babi-gula or (Babi guling, spit-roasted suckling pig), the shellfish eaten on the go, those multicolored sarongs, it’s here!
In the incredible Indonesian archipelago lies the wonderful island of Bali. This dream destination dominates all the others and to defend its place on the podium it has some great arguments. So yes, Bali is really worth going there and even staying longer than expected.
Bali is a gem: it’s really beautiful
There are countless films, books and reports on this extraordinary island. Silent temples, processions as interminable as they are unexpected, delicate offerings on the pavements, frightening demons and precious handicrafts… The island has a real personality and a rich and lively culture. Bali is not Punta Cana or the concrete beaches of a coconut destination. The sky is bright blue, the mountains smoke in the early morning and the wise temples with multiple roofs stand on the water of a quiet lake. This is undoubtedly to this that Bali owes its success, this perfection of soul and landscape.
Bali is touristic but nothing diminishes its beauty, it still keeps the balance between Islam, Hinduism and tourism
Overrun with luxurious hotels where king size beds await Westerners, this island is both enchanting and disturbing. It’s all about contrast. Pure luxury blends with the sobriety of the hamlets inhabited by the locals. Saris rub shoulders with Australian shorts, local food truck park in front of the posh restaurants. Restraint and discretion compete with Islamic fundamentalism and the casualness of Western visitors.
Here, some visitors pay to make selfies with the captured big bats and the jungle is regularly destroyed to build luxury bungalows. Land too is sold to real estate sharks for the price of a scooter. Let’s hope that the beautiful one will not lose her head nor her heart.
In Bali you can go to the beach, but the Balinese are also to be discovered
Just to meet its inhabitants, Bali is worth the detour. What sweetness! What benevolence! No wonder this country is so popular with tourists and is so conducive to the dream of “real” holidays. There are only few similar places in the world. The Balinese are beautiful. Always clean, draped in immaculate tunics or colourful sarong. They inspire calm and respect. Children don’t cry or scream. Parents are relaxed, stress seems banished from their lives.
Perhaps it is this gentle way of life that made the famous “biking holidays in Bali for 40th womens in burnout” famous. Still, the kindness of the inhabitants is not a myth and as soon as you set foot in Denpasar, the pressure is off.
Balinese cuisine is as exotic and good as any Asian cuisine
On this tiny island, a confetti in the largest archipelago in the world, everything is good to do good starting with food: satay, fruits, black rice with coconut, Nasi and Mie Goreng. No need to run to fancy restaurants, the best things you can eat in Bali can be bought on the street. Wrapped in banana leaves, steamed or grilled in a barbecue, the gastronomy is surprising and tasty.
Do not visit the island of the Gods by running. This island is worth spending time on
It’s definitely worth exploring in depth. See the clove forests, the deep jungle, visit some villages where the locals invite travellers to taste their palm wine which they let ferment in the trees. Drive a few kilometres and stop, look around, talk with a Balinese woman who brings back wood, drink a fruit juice on the roadside, breathe and leave.
So where is the real face of Bali?
Far from Kuta, now overrun with Australian party guys, that’s for sure. Attending the ritual prayers in the sacred pools of Tirta Empul is a good start. It’s so beautiful that it makes you want to convert to the Hinduism that is so particular to Bali. In the villages in the North, on Lembongan or recently, there was no electricity or internet. Nothing but a room made of palm leaves and basta. In the waters teeming with life, multicoloured fish and graceful manta rays were circling the diver by the dozens.
Lake and Mount Batur also offer their weight of serenity at sunrise or sunset.
Bali is an adventurous island if you take the opportunity to discover it far from a luxury hotel
Rent a scooter, a bike, you just have to be prepared for any surprises. The Balinese are so friendly that they can’t let you eat alone. If by chance, the restaurant or bar is empty, the chef will leave his oven to come and keep you company. So in Bali, only the best can happen!