I have a deep love for Bali. With it’s beautiful coral reefs, fantastic marine life, the BEST cuisine in THA world, their “own” religion and fantastic beaches it pretty much does it for me. We visited Bali twice before we decided to live and work here in the dive industry for a few months.
Before I indulge in Bali goodyness’ let me give you a short history lesson on Bali. Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. Balinese Hinduism, is the form of Hinduism practiced by the majority of the population of Bali. This religion comes with offerings, temples, rituals and many gods.
In 1597 the first dutch fleet arrived and set foot on the island and settled in Padang Bai ( nowadays this is close to the best dive spots and the ferry to the Gili’s). The island has had the French, Brits and Japanese ( world war II) take over the island. In 1946 the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly proclaimed State of East Indonesia. Even to this day you will still see Dutch influences in Bali such as signs or even words in the language.
Where was I? Oh yeah, why I LOVE Bali. Ok you ready? GO!
To be very honest it is not just the Balinese Cuisine that gets my tummy rumbling, it is the Indonesian cuisine in general. As you might now the Dutch have a history with Bali and therefore the Balinese but also Indonesian cuisine is actually very commonly found in the Dutch kitchen. Luckily my mother was a big fan too so when growing up we frequently had “rijst tafels”, “spekkoek”, “Nasi goreng” or “Bami”. Also Sambal is an ingredient I cannot live without ( seriously try it! ). The Balinese kitchen demonstrates indigenous traditions, as well as influences from other Indonesian regional cuisine, Chinese and Indian. They are really generous on their spices and love their rice. Dishes such as Sate Lilit (made from minced beef, chicken, fish, pork, which is then mixed with coconut, coconut milk, and a rich blend of vegetables and spices. Wrapped rather than skewered around bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass sticks then grilled NOM NOM you guys!!), Nasi Goreng, Bebek Betutu ( seriously FOOD HEAVEN. This slow cooked duck is like no other duck you have tried before), Gado Gado and Beef Rendang make my heart beat so much faster.
try taking cooking lessons when visiting Bali it is a real experience and the best part is you get to eat it afterwards 🙂
Or Sawah Padi as they are called in Bali. Rice fields are always Gorgeous but what makes the Balinese so special? Balinese rice fields go back 2000 years when hard-working farmers with primitive hand tools began carving the stepped terraces out of steep hill sides. What makes them extra special is the Subak, a water irrigation system developed in the 9th century and authority of the priests in water temples, who practice Tri Hita Karana Philosophy, a self-described relationship between humans the earth and the gods. See I told you they are special!
Rice is very important in Bali. Balinese Hinduism revered Dewi Sri as an important rice goddess. Her and other deities colorful effigies made from colorful sticky rice are often made during religious ceremonies.
Best times to visit the Rice fields are early in the day, when the dew is still drying up and the sun is only barely touching the fields. I promise, you will go camera crazy.
Temples of Bali
Bali is also called ” the land of a thousand temples”. A Pura is a Balinese Hindu temple, and the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Puras are built in accordance to rules, style, guidance and rituals found in Balinese architecture. As tourists ( yes even after living on the island I am still a tourist) you can enter the temples but please do consider the clothing rules ( coverage from the waist down for both men and women). Most temples offer Sarongs for both men and women you can borrow or rent. I must admit that I never left the house without my own as not all temples have them on loan. Each temple in Bali is unique from Mother Temple of Besakih (known as the largest and holiest of all temples in Bali) to sea temples and water temples. They are all truly mesmerizing.
walk around, appreciate your surroundings and have a serious eat, pray, love moment. No jokes!
Scuba Diving in Bali is fantastic
No surprises here! We worked in the dive industry when living on Bali so I had to put in in here. With good reason as well. Bali is in my top diving spots of the world ( read here). For those not familiar with the underwater world, not all fish live in all oceans ( just like kangaroos can not be found in Africa). The Ocean Sunfish is such a fish. This humongous fish ( it’s span can be as big as 3m) and guess what. You can find it in Bali! Bali is also known for its colder pacific waters ( brrr thermoclines from 10 degrees difference), manta ray cleaning stations, the napoleon wrasse, stronger currents and their little critters ( frogfish, pygmy seahorse, nudibranches in all sorts of shapes, colors and sizes). Most of their reef are wall dives however they also have some great muck dives ( shallow water sandy bottoms full of surprises) and shipwrecks ( the tulamben ship wreck is a must see!)
Probably one of my best dives have been made around Bali – from a manta rays to serious currents and flying past the colorful reefs
Not sure why but monkeys always give me this warm and fuzzy feeling. Possibly, way back when, because I was once a monkey-ish myself. There is something about monkeys! and buy there are enough monkeys in Bali. They even have a monkey forest in Ubud where the monkey rules. Like seriously do not even try to convince them that they are not. But not only here can you see them in abundance you will find them near temples, on the side of the road or even near your hotel. And these little buggers can be very cheeky as well so don’t think they are not interested in your sunnies or that delicious banana!
I mean there is so much more to Bali that makes me love this island so much. It has fantastic beaches& great accommodation without paying a ridiculous amount of money. The people are very kind, the religion and the offerings, the waves and so much more. Really I could write a book about it.
Soon I will write more about the different areas and the sightseeing you can do. For now I am off to daydreaming about Bali…..
Pamit Nggih my loves.