I was a bit too negative about Bali yesterday. So, I thought I’d write about some of the good things about Bali, and try to get in a health tip.
From the emails I got it looks like I was a bit too negative about Bali yesterday. So, I thought I’d write about some of the good things about Bali. I don’t usually make a post or send out an email unless it has a health message in it, so let’s see if I can get something in here health related.
Ball is a very diverse place. You have city life in the south and more country life on the rest of the island. Parts are very poor, the areas where tourists don’t often go.
The city seems to be mostly for the young. Kuta is where people go to surf though there are other good surfing areas. Plenty of shopping in the area too. And, if you like to party, that is the place.
I’m not much of the party type, so I tend to prefer the more northern areas. Ubud is only an hour or so north of the airport. It’s called a village, but it has grown so much in the last four years or so that it looks like a city to me. However, all you have to do is drive for five minutes and you are in the rice fields and tropical jungle.
Ubud is also the art area of Bali. This is where you would go to get treasures to take back with you. Better still, just a couple of kilometers north of Ubud is where all these treasures are created, and you can get them for ten percent of what you’d pay in Ubud. Just ask to go to Tagalalang.
There seems to be hundreds of rivers on the island. These are some of the most beautiful scenes to me with the deeply cut ravines and the jungle that grows up in them.
There are two very high volcanic mountains where it actually gets cold. One had an eruption about 20 years ago. Sorry, I don’t remember exactly, it could have been more like 30 years ago. Parts still have black lava rock from the flow. This is Kintamani with a crater about 12 kilometers across. It’s a wonderful scene when viewed from the rim. A local friend of mine here thinks it’s the most beautiful place in Bali.
The people are great too, with the exception of the people in Kintamani. I don’t know why, but they are incredibly aggressive about trying to sell you something. The resorts in the area advise their guests to just ignore the locals. And, I’ve heard some stories that are very believable based on my breif experience with them.
In the other areas the people are just fine though. They are very friendly and always asking where you’re from, where you’re going or something that tends to bother most westerners. The thing is, that’s just their way of saying hello. Just answer anything, they don’t really care. Most of them speak at least a little English and often another language as well. That’s in addition to their native Indonesian and Balinese.
They will usually try to sell you something, but not always. That’s their way too, as it is in most of Asia from what I hear. They are very poor, but not resentful of the rich tourists, they just want to make the sale. And, they like the contact and will almost answer eye contact with a big smile.
The primary religion here is Hinduism, their own special brand. Indonesia is Muslim, but Bali is the exception. They were forced out of the rest of the islands several hundred years ago. They have a big celebration that lasts officially for two days, but runs longer really. It’s called Galungan, and it’s to celebrate finding a home and temple. And, it starts tomorrow.
They do puja or a small ceremony everyday. You will see them doing it all during the day though mostly in the morning. They make small offering baskets that they put food and other offerings in. They burn incense and offer water with a flower. Every home, which can have several buildings, has a temple. And, each village has a village temple. Then there are the really big regional temples.
Next week is Nyepi. I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s a day off from everything. No one is allowed to go out, use electricity, or make any noise of any kind. We tourists are allowed a little leeway, but still have to stay within the compound of the place we are staying. At least the internet will still be on.
It is a thrid world country in many ways, but not as intense as something like India. Everyone has a place to live, and they eat mostly rice, so their expenses are small. It has to be, most of the people are really poor. Until just a few years ago they lived off the rice fields, now they are tourist dependent.
It is one of the cheapest places in the world to live too. You can get a room for $5 or less a night though the prices can be higher. A house rents for $300 and up. That’s in the country areas, in the city it can be much, much higher.
Food is cheap too with western style food running $5 or less per entree. It can be more of course, but the more expensive places really aren’t any better. Local food is even cheaper. You could easily eat for $6 a day though that would get pretty boring after awhile. You might want to kick it up to $10.
So, Bali isn’t that bad for a short visit. But, if you were going to stay for some months like I am you might want to bring some detox supplements. Of course, you could just go for a walk, sweating is a great way to detox. Speaking of which, I haven’t exercised yet today.
There’s my health suggestion for this article: regular exercise is essential, and sweating is a great way to get rid of toxins.
With the global crisis you might not want to travel, but if you were to get out in the world Bali isn’t all that bad. Good bargains and plenty to see and do. Be sure to negotiate everything though. It’s actually expected.