One of the most interesting facts about Bali is that it is an island with a Hindu population in a country of Muslims. Despite the fact that their religious customs and their culture are in contrast to the rest of Indonesia, the Balinese have managed to maintain their traditions for thousands of years. That is when Hinduism was first brought to the island from India.
The island is small, roughly half the size of Hawaii Island (aka, the Big Island) and one of more than 17,000 in the Indonesian archipelago. Due to the crowded roads, however, it’s a bit more difficult to traverse than Hawaii Island. That’s OK, because it means you have more time to enjoy the beautiful coastline and terraced rice fields, one of which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
Whether you’re going for its natural beauty or for something more adventurous—such as hiking Mount Batur for the sunrise—you’ll be touched by Balinese hospitality and will likely plan a return trip before you’ve even left the island.
Hut in the rice fields
Huts are found throughout the rice fields and serve as a place for the farmers to take a break from the heat while they are working their crops.
Sunrise at Mount Batur
There are a lot of beautiful things to experience on the island, but one of the best is getting up early for the sunrise at Mount Batur.
Hindu prayers at a temple
If you’re traveling via road around Bali, it’s difficult not to stumble upon a festival, celebration, or prayer service at a temple.
Terraced rice fields
Rice is typically grown three times per year in a given field. It’s therefore likely that you’re going to see rice at various stages of growing while you travel around the island.
Ulun Danu Beratan
Ulun Danu Beratan is a temple located in the waters of Lake Beratan. It is a major pilgrimage site for the locals as they come to pray for sufficient water for the fields.
Offerings, called banten, are placed at least once a day at the entrance of every home, restaurant, hotel, café, and shop. There’s no hard and fast rule, but these typically consist of flowers, incense, and sometimes candies.
There is nothing that can compare to the fragrant smell of frangipani flowers. In addition to being used in the banten, you’ll often find these in essential oils, soaps, and other items.
Beth Whitman finished her tenure as an Expedia Viewfinder blogger at the end of 2015. She is the founder and CEO of Wanderlust and Lipstick and WanderTours. With 25+ years of solo travel, she writes for the women's travel market to encourage women to travel and live out their dream journeys.