Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a provincial island in the country of Indonesia. The island is largely an untouched, naturalist paradise. Indonesia’s industry takes place on other adjacent islands. Nearly all manufactured goods on the island are shipped in from other parts of the country. Communication shouldn’t an issue. Nearly everybody in Bali speaks English in addition to Balinese and Indonesian. It’s mandated in schools.

There is also an interesting mix of international tourists in Bali. A lot of Australians followed by Americans and then some Asians and Europeans as well. You may also notice there are a fair number of Indonesians. Bali is also a big destination for Indonesians. For this reason, westerners may be approached by Indonesians looking to take a picture or selfie with a westerner as proof that they made it to Bali for vacation. 

Bali has beautiful black sand beaches, but relatively few opportunities for swimming. It’s more surf than swim. In fact, this is something of a surfer’s paradise. The beaches closer to Denpasar can be quite crowded especially during the peak summer season. Go further out to place like Seseh to find a more remote and quaint beach town. And don’t stick just to the coast. There are also some amazing inland towns, like Ubud, with stunning rice terraces, hillside landscapes with waterfalls, and some of the best temples. Just don’t plan to drive there yourself. Bali’s narrow congested roads create a vastly different set of unwritten rules that are likely to throw westerners for a loop.

In general, the Balinese people are a very spiritual people. There are sizable contingents of Islam and Buddhism with a few small Christian enclaves, but the dominant religion is Hinduism. There is a daily blessing and other major blessing rituals. The religion is centered on gratitude and positive emotion covering an enormous pantheon of divinities. A more universal philosophy across religions in Bali is the idea that people should seek to be in harmony with three things: harmony with other people, harmony with nature, and harmony with God.

This is consistently rated as one of the top travel destinations in the world, and it doesn’t fail to live up to the hype.