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Retreat Holiday

For anyone who hasn’t been there they may wonder, why do so many people like it as a travel destination and what makes it so special? To be honest I usually prefer to travel to places that aren’t as heavily visited as Bali – 2011 may see a record 2.5 million tourists there.It’s such a unique place in the world that I still really love it despite the fact that it is famous and fashionable, attributes that typically turn off. Here are the at least Top 5 things that keep you coming back for more.
1. Gorgeous Outdoors
Beautiful beaches are a must for any tropical island destination, and Bali delivers with many of them. Even crazy Kuta beach, by far the most visited beach on the island, is a sight to behold with its long, curved stretch of sand and surf that swimmers and surfers alike can enjoy. And the sunsets there are phenomenal. On the interior of the island there are rice field views that are simply breathtaking, and the volcanoes likewise easily make for National Geographic-like photos. The colorful fish in the ocean and the colorful birds in the air help round out the natural eye candy of the island.
2. Delicious Food
Kind of like Thailand, Bali has great soil and plenty of rain to grow lots of quality food, and its culinary history, again like Thailand, has been significantly influenced by outside, seafaring cultures. Because of this you’ll find South Indian, Malaysian and Chinese flavors mixed in with the more traditional Indonesian foods you find in the rest of the country. And because of the growing influence of tourism over the last several decades you can also easily find high quality Indian, Moroccan, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French and fusion cuisines.
3. Unique Culture
Although all of Indonesia is rich in culture, Bali’s is quite unique. At one time the entire country was mostly Hindu and Buddhist, but now only Bali is predominantly Hindu, albeit with animist influences which makes it quite different from Hinduism in India. And pretty much every day you will observe small but artistically designed offerings of items such as rice, flowers, fruits and incense being made to the gods, ancestors, spirits and demons that live on the island. The Balinese are also extremely ritualistic as they have ceremonies for just about every stage in a person’s life, including an extremely elaborate cremation ceremony that is usually the biggest and most spectacular event of all.
4. Wonderful Spas
Massages and body scrubs are a big part of Balinese culture for both men and women, and the Balinese seem to have the perfect disposition to help make your spa experience one of the best you’ve ever had. I’ve never been to a place that has so many spas of all shapes and sizes, and for what you get the prices can be pretty remarkable. Getting a two hour or even a full day set of treatments in a beautiful tropical setting is a must do for just about anyone who visits this Island of the Gods
5. Extremely Kind and Warm People
This last thing may be the most important part of what makes Bali so special. In most places in the world that receive such high numbers of tourists you often meet locals who are quite jaded by the mass influx of outsiders. Oftentimes they are just plain rude to their guests, even though those guests bring in a lot of money to the local economy. Paris anyone? But the Balinese more often than not are some of the most pleasant and cheery people you will meet on the planet. They like to have fun, and you can sense their overall joy even as they perform the more mundane tasks in life. Perhaps it’s their overall ability to live well in the moment that rubs off on their visitors and keeps them coming back by the millions year after year.

JBR: Now I get why you Aussies love Bali so much
22 June 2013, 1:36 TripAdvisor Reviewer

I wasn’t sure why Bali was so popular, especially to so many Aussies in here. When I see pictures, the beaches don’t look that nice, the streets look like you can be overrun by the motorbikes, the fumes, the noise, why Bali? I had to see it for myself and booked an 11 day stay for me, my wife and a kiddo.

Our long journey from NY better be worth it. Yes, Bali is fantastic. Yes, if I lived close to Bali, like many of you Aussies, I will go back every chance I get. We’ve been to many places around the world but there is something about Bali that makes you want to go back. Perhaps:

It’s the more than dozen massages we got that was ridiculously cheap.

It’s the way Balinese treat other people.

It’s the scene of the serene rice fields.

It’s the way the Balinese go about each day. Making offerings and be thankful.

It’s about karma. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of you.

Even with all those motorbikes and cars, it somehow feels very orderly.

It’s the sound of the nature mixed with the sound coming from the temples.

Yes, the hotels we stayed at, Bali Hyatt Sanur and the Chedi Club, were wonderful. How could you not enjoy waking up early, watch the sunrise, chill at the beach/pool, walk to oceanfront restaurants for lunches, chill at the pool, go out and get massages, come back, get drinks poolside, watch the sun disappear. You eat nasi gorengs, mie gorengs, crispy duck, bakso, curry, babi guling, gado gado, satays, drink Bintangs. Life is good. Did I mention the 4 hands massage? Wow!
Yes, we have to buy some stuff for the shop owners for “good luck" but that’s also part of the experience. They have to a make a living you know.
No we have not ventured out to Kuta/Seminyak or other 99% of the island. But Sanur/Ubud gave us a good taste of Bali and it is something that we will forever remember. The people are genuine. People might not make much money but they seem happy. The Hinduism is looks beautiful. The island somehow seems spiritual and I hope we carried good karma back with us.

Travel well!

Last changed: Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 6:33 am

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