Bali, the island of the Gods
An Hindu legend says that the gods, fleeing Java island invaded by the Muslims, had taken refuge in Bali and, finding it an ideal place, decided to settle. The atmosphere that you will find on this island will leave you with the doubt that this might not be just a legend, the gods, worshiped in more than a thousand temples, might still be here.
You will hear hundreds of different opinions on the island, from the most enthusiastic voices to the more nostalgic ones reminiscent of an old Bali, an island still “untouched” by mass tourism. And even if every opinion is relative, neither true nor false, it remains undeniable that this island in recent decades has been transformed dramatically. If since the early ’70 Bali was a destination known only to a few hardcore travelers and surf pioneers, the island today is a world famous touristic attraction.
Change is inevitable, nothing in the world remains motionless, and yet there is a thing that seems to us remains and will remain unchanged: the spirit of the island. The spirit of the island has not been ”evolving” or “westernizing”, it has remained intact, true to itself. The spirit of Bali is in the atmosphere, in the smiles of the local people, in the beauty of the countryside, in the sunsets and all this has remained fatally inviolate in its essence.
The charm of the island remains intact despite the changes, as intact remains the deep adherence to the ancient Hindu traditions, the atmosphere saturated with spirituality and the pacifist, non-discriminatory and open mindset of the local balinese people. In fact there’s not even one place that does not have an offer corner, there’s not even one village that does not have its own temple. But not only its atmosphere, also the beauty of Bali remains the same: from the depths of the sea to the majestic peaks of the volcanoes, passing by the famous rice terraces, lakes, forests (pine, oak trees, coconut palms, bananas) and a lush flora that, there is no doubt, will surprise you.
While the soul of the island and its unspoilt beauty seem to remain unchanged, the upcoming mass tourism has led to a remarkable development of some areas in the past decades. There is no doubt that this rapid change has left behind some contradiction and downside, but at the same time has further extended the offer of experiences aimed at the tourist or traveler. Today Bali offers as many possibilities as the endless shades of green of the rice fields of the island.
Tourists looking for fun, determined to eat-drink-not sleep, will find the ideal destination in Kuta, with its clubs, pubs and many restaurants. It is definitely the most modern and equipped area of the island, an area that trying to imitate the western lifestyle without abandoning the spirit Balinese turns into something special and unique, a chaotic and noisy area where paradoxically is extremely simple to find an oasis of peace and silence. The villas and apartments of this area despite being very central are located in peaceful alleys or streets.
Immediately adjacent to Kuta is Seminyak, which is also an area stocked with venues, trendy shops and spas, but that somehow offers a more health-conscious and quiet side, suitable for families or groups of friends searching for a serviced and comfortable area without giving up being a few steps from the nightlife epicenter. Without a doubt one of the more touristic and valued areas of Bali.
Moving north a few kilometers there is instead in the popular Canggu, a favorite destination for young backpackers, surfers and families with children since it perfectly embodies the spirit of Bali. Its spiritual atmosphere, the famous rice terraces and the waves ideal for both beginners and experienced surfers, not to mention the countless local warung, make this village one of the most visited with its beautiful villas, surrounded by green rice fields or overlooking the ocean. The famous temple of Tanah Lot, a must-see place, is only a few kilometers from Canggu.
Between Seminyak and Canggu there is the Umalas village, characterized by the presence of numerous cafes and local warung. Even in this case the relaxed atmosphere represents perfectly the traditional soul of the island and its beautiful villas absorb all these elements harmoniously.
Moving on the East coast we find Sanur, another famous touristic area, definitely more quiet and relaxed than Kuta but also stocked with bars, restaurants, shops, spas and yoga centers. Lying on the east coast of this beautiful island, this location will offer evocative dawns, over 5 kilometers of beach and a beautiful sea protected by coral reefs, therefore, ideal for snorkeling and relaxing. The delightful villas of Sanur are also almost all located at a short distance from the ocean.
However Bali is not only beautiful beaches and sea, Bali is much more. Moving towards the hinterland of the island we’ll find picturesque villages where one can observe the daily life of this beautiful population. Symbol of these villages is Ubud, now famous and an essential stop for any tourist or traveler and increasingly chosen by those who moved to Bali for long periods. Staying in Ubud, whether for a few days or for long periods, it is in our opinion an experience that will only improve the quality of your life, an experience that will offer you the chance to see the world and its movement through a new and surprising perspective. Ubud is regarded by most as the cultural and artistic capital of the island, a vibrant village characterized by the presence of numerous local handicraft shops, holistic centers, yoga centers and cafes offering exclusively organic products. Staying in one of the villas of this beautiful village, surrounded by tropical forest and beautiful rice terraces, will be an experience you won’t easily forget.
Finally we can not leave out the southernmost part of Bali, the famous Bukit peninsula. This beautiful area is known for its white beaches and its perfect waves, beloved by the greatest pro surfers. Jimbaran, located south of the airport, is the largest village of the area and is known for its long and beautiful bay, the many seafood restaurants and the most famous fish market of the island. The southernmost part of the peninsula is instead called Uluwatu and is best known for its beaches, its waves and its limestone cliffs on which stand most of the villas. There are numerous beaches in this area, some of which were virtually unknown until recently, all wonderful and worth visiting if you love the sea. Among the most famous we can cite Dreamland, Padang-Padang, Green Bowl and Pandawa.
The eastern part of the peninsula is occupied by Nusa Dua, a popular luxury destination and home of the largest five-star resorts of the island. This area was one of the first to be developed, back when Bali was not really known among the travelers, and even today his fame is the same. Characterized by beautiful villas, clean beaches, famous restaurants and golf courses, Nusa Dua is one of the most known and valued place in Bali.
Those listed above are the most popular locations, villages concentrated in the most touristic area of the island, but Bali has much more to offer. The north of the island, for example, is a relatively little-visited area that is growing significantly in terms of services and facilities, an area that boasts beautiful, unspoiled beaches and villas just meters from the ocean. The center of the island instead, where life moves at a different pace, is characterized by majestic volcanoes and mountains, an area suitable for those looking for a more adventurous holiday.
So what to do in Bali? The number of things that you can do in this magical island will amaze you as continues to amaze many travelers that have made of Bali a second home. This island is one of those rare places that despite being deeply spiritual not renounce offering entertainment of all kinds. In Bali you can surf virtually on every beach, explore the magnificent ocean depths, play golf on world-class courses, visit the traditional temples attending picturesque Hindu celebrations, bring your family in one of the several parks hosting the local wildlife, climb volcanoes, go trekking, go rafting, ride dirt bikes and experience other extreme sports, relax with yoga and meditation, walk on the beach enjoying breathtaking sunsets or immersed in the peaceful atmosphere that only the Balinese rice fields can offer. All this and much more.
To conclude this brief and concise guide, certainly not exhaustive, we would like to emphasize that Bali can not be reduced to a simple list of places to visit. Bali is a magical island that offers the best of itself to those who explores it and lives it in a relaxed and sincere way, those who actually comes in contact with the local people.
This island has much to offer to us. We fell in love madly with it. We are sure you will too!