Bali: The Island of Art, Ancient Culture and Religion

Finally, among all the tourists’ spots in South East Asia, why would anyone miss going to Bali?

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Bali is a paradise of arts, ancient culture, and religion – not to mention their gorgeous beaches with cotton-candy-like sunsets. No wonder everyone is not just going to Bali – they are moving to Bali –  You have to go here to know why.

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We landed in Bali – and I felt very pleased! In the airport you can feel the people’s spirits – everyone’s happily talking about their itinerary and taking selfies everywhere. The Denpasar International Airport is pretty small, busy and easy. Airline counters can be found in three seconds and the employees are very helpful and they speak good English. If you’re from the Philippines or any other ASEAN countries, we have a 14-day tourist visa arrival.

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Tanah Lot is a historic Hindu temple & iconic pilgrimage site built on a dramatic rock formation in the sea – Tanah Lot means “Land in the Sea”.

We went straight to our hotel in Prama Sanur Beach Resort, 45mins away from the airport. I already felt home by the time we checked in. It’s a wonderful feeling, I say, seeing the comfortable ambiance around and people are just laid back – good laid back though. No stress, no rush, all holidays.

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Our Hotel is a 5-star beach resort bragging its 7-hectare property – and if you’re having a lazy-free day to go outside from your bedroom, everything, literally everything is there. Small market, restaurants, shops for clothes and souvenirs, convenience store and ATM machines.

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 I will have another blog about the things we did in Bali

(Having a baby would entirely change your life – including your travel itinerary! Sshhh)

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In one of the many mother temples

We booked our itinerary directly from our hotel – to avoid the drama of bargaining outsideGustaaf, our tour guide is lecturing us with the history of Bali – though we already had an idea how it was before. However, hearing it from a local made a lot of difference. The Dutch Invaders conquered Indonesia for almost 300 years. The Independence Day was made after Japan has surrendered in WW2. After two days, August 17, 1945, the first President of Indonesia has been proclaimed. As we keep driving, we saw a lot of students, a group of women and men practicing their drill for the competition of all villages that will be held on August 17,  the Independence Day.

This Temple is called Perjuangan Rakyat Bali, it was built to remember the struggles of the Balinese against invaders, the Dutch.

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83.5% of Bali’s population adhered to Balinese Hinduism, followed by 13.4% Muslim, Christianity at 2.5% and Buddhism at 0.5%. It’s just amazing how our tour guide speaks with freedom about the religion. He said that Indonesians (Bali) must have Four Core Values.

1 Choose your God
2 Loyalty to Indonesia
3 Honesty to People
4 Love for the Family

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And according to Him – the four core values are almost 90% are followed by the people.

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People coming out from Balsakih Temple

Since the most population (of religion) in Bali is Hindu, normally, 9 in every 10 houses have their own house temple. You can see the people offering incense every morning, afternoon and evening. One member of the family must do the offering. I asked what is the dragon symbolizing- he explained that the dragon is figuratively the force that protects the turtle, which is the earth.

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Different faces of the dragon are seen everywhere – sometimes it made me wonder why are they worshipping this scary stone carved creature – but respect is a must for every culture and country – so I remembered.

We drove for 8 hours – stopping in some scenes that needed to be captured. I just noticed that restaurants are all co-related with each other. Let’s say the “theme” of Bali is mostly coconuts leaves, woods and cobblestones. So, below is just one of many culture-influenced restaurants.

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I love Bali foods! Mostly composed of rice/noodles, your choice of meat bbq and peanut sauce!

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photo credit to vacations and travel online mag

90% the people in Bali – especially in the city speak English. Their workers are required to converse in English before they can land a job – even massage therapists and manicurists. Being in Bali for twelve days, I can say that most of them are nice and honest people.

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Walking through the streets of Bali,  you can see the handcrafted souvenirs, mostly made by the village people. If you buy a nice top, there’s a label inside that says “Made in Indonesia”.  Cheap buys for sure – depends on how big your heart is! You know that these people are locals and your $5 can feed a whole family. 

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We went to the oldest village in Bali called “Bali Tenganan”. It’s a quiet and reserved area. They welcome tourists and proudly presenting their still-peaceful community with old architecture houses. The Bali Tenganan is here since the 16th century, according to the locals.

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The sun is setting and we decided to see the Balinese traditional dance to complete our day. The dance is very ethnic – the moves came from a story of kings fighting for their kingdoms. They’re telling a story through their dance – and it’s amazing how they can memorize a complete detailed traditional moving of hands, eyes, and hips!

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Our 12-days stay in Bali makes me wanna go for more – I told my partner that I wanted to retire here, seriously. It’s an awesome wonderland yet remains mysterious – and there’s something unexplainable about this place that will make you come back to explore more. Is it the nice people? The most beloved culture? The religion? I am not sure. You have to come here and see for yourself.

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Temple Cleansing tradition – foreigners are seriously welcome

I remembered the book “Eat, Pray, Love” was actually shot here with the famous Julia Roberts.  Because why not? Bali – is a gorgeous, beautiful paradise to see – surrounded by the boasting waves and a setting sun, where on earth would you rather be?

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Have you been to Bali? Tell me your story! Comment below! I would looooove to read it!

Thanks for dropping by!

Love,

Kate

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12 thoughts on “Bali: The Island of Art, Ancient Culture and Religion”

  1. You guys look like you had a seriously amazing holidays! I was in Bali four years ago and absolutely loved it. I wonder how much it’s changed, I’m dying to return. Did you make it to Canggu? That’s the one place I missed!

  2. This sounds like an absolutely amazing experience! I especially loved reading about the history of Bali, Gustaaf must have been an awesome tour guide 🙂 I also loved reading about the core values, very interesting! I’m sure that you had so much fun doing the traditional dancing 🙂 I’ve visited Bali and it was truly incredible!

  3. Bali has somehow still alluded me. Every post I read about it reminds me that I MUST go! Tanah Lot looks lovely and it seems like 12 days is a fantastic amount of time to relax, yet still see the island.

  4. It has been far too long since we visited Bali. We too found that having a local driver guide really helped us to get around. And provided so much information as we travelled. We loved the variety in the Hindu temples around the island. The offerings in the street were fascinating. We loved the colourful and fresh food we found in Bali. With lots of seafood! We unfortunately missed the chance to see a traditional dance. Thanks for the reminder of why we need to go back to Bali!

  5. Wow, Bali looks fantastic! You mentioned that the people are friendly, and I can see it in the photos that you shared 🙂
    I’ve never been there before, but you gave me major wanderlust! Also love the photo of Tanah Lot, I had no idea that temples in the water existed :O

  6. I’ve never been to Bali. It looks absolutely beautiful and I can see why you would like to retire there. The traditional houses are so unique and charming, I’m so glad you spotted one! Fascinating history too, I hadn’t realized that Indonesia had just celebrated an Independence day. What a great time to be there to witness the villages getting ready for the special event. Thanks for putting Bali on my radar, hoping to get there in the very near future.

  7. We are yet to go to Bali. Its overflowing with so much loveliness, such beautiful architecture and yum food! Did you go to Ubud too? Your choice of hotel is great.

  8. Good advice about booking at the hotel. It makes such a difference when you can avoid all the back and forth and haggling.The hotel looks like a great find as well. It’s just the kind of place that I would enjoy staying at.

  9. Bali looks so beautiful – that lush forest and the friendly people. It makes a difference when travelling to have these things around you. I loved the design of the traditional house, and the food looks delicious! Peanut sauce is my very favourite thing, so I’d be in heaven in Bali I think!

  10. I have seen many travel bloggers have moved to Bali. Bali is so popular and I was thinking it might got spoiled, but it seems it is a beautiful place with great vibe. That is so good you felt the vibe right after you landed at the airport. BTW, Prama Sanur Beach Resort looks so appealing.

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