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Bali, the land of the gods: evocative and enchanting
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Bali is a land of wonders, both in its glorious natural environment and its people, whose ready smiles ensure that every day is one of joy and fulfilment. Their absolute contentment with the cycle of life—be they rich or poor, high caste or low—creates an aura of peace and pride in this land whose culture remains unchanged by modern influence. When you wander the streets on your Bali holidays, you never know what sights lie in store. One day you could encounter a traditional show of shadow puppets. Another day you may decide to enjoy a cup of chai while taking in a street scene. You'll see locals of all ages carrying everything from groceries to lumber atop their heads. Their strength and confidence is typical of the proud Balinese.
At less than 6,000 square kilometres, Bali is a small island, though rich in culture. Its features include the cultural centre of Ubud, a chain of six volcanoes, glass-like crater lakes, breathtaking panoramas of terraced rice fields, and endless beaches of soft, powdery sand. Mother nature’s influence allows Bali travel to simply redefine the meaning of luxury holidays as you take in these breathtaking natural scenes by day and return to sumptuous Balinese resorts when the sun is setting.
Balinese culture is a delight to encounter. Its communal nature means that all village members have their roles and see their lives as part of a larger picture. These means that the Balinese are gregarious by nature, viewing independence from others as detrimental to their livelihood, and making friends as the most natural thing in the world. Life in Bali is not about ambition and independence, but rather family, community, and sharing. Balinese Hinduism places a great deal of emphasis on rituals and drama and is incorporated into daily life in every little thing, from the music to the art to the daily routines. Feasts and festivals are frequently conducted to please the gods, complete with dance, music, and much merriment.
English is widely spoken here, but the traditional language of the region is Balinese, a Malay-Polynesian language spoken by fewer than four million people. These Bali residents tend to hail from Chinese, Philippine, Indian, and Javanese stock. Though Bali was once claimed by the Dutch, these resilient islanders achieved independence in 1949, and since then have been actively engaged in reviving cultural traditions such as the theatrical Wayang puppet show, haunting Gamelan music, and sacred Barong Dance.
A visit to Bali is a wonderful treat—the island's people are as friendly and welcoming as a cool ocean breeze. Meanwhile, its exotic landscapes showcase nature at her best.