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BALI, THE ISLAND OF SMILES

As Indonesia’s last bastion of Hinduism, Bali welcomes visitors with serenity to its little paradise of picture-postcard landscapes and preserved traditions.

This trip will leave you with an impression of gentleness, refinement and the art of living, thanks to the kindness of its inhabitants who are quick to share. Despite the tourist success of the south coast, overloaded with resorts and attracting night owls from Kuta to Seminyak, you’ll find pleasure in walking along the endless beach and enjoying a freshly cut pineapple. It’s easy to escape the frenetic scooter traffic to reach the temples.

 Built in the 16th century on a wave-beaten rock, Tanah Lot is adorned with mysticism at dusk, while at Uluwatu, the Kecak, combining song, theatre and dance, tells the story of Prince Rāma. Near this sanctuary of the gods of the sea, sunsets over water churned up by impressive waves – a delight for experienced surfers on this cliff-trimmed coastline – will leave an indelible impression. 

After an astonishing chocolate-covered avocado juice tasted in a warung – a modest family-running catering business – departure for Ubub, the cultural and artistic heart of the island. Following the curves of the rice paddies, you’ll take time to taste the tasty bebek betutu – a speciality of stuffed duck stewed in a banana leaf – and stop off at Tampaksiring to purify yourself at the sacred springs of Tirta Empul, before reaching Lake Batur. The lake takes its name from the volcano that dominates it, surpassed by Agung, the home of the Balinese gods at over 3,000m. 

From their summit, you can dream of other discoveries: the outrigger prahus of Amed’s fishermen resting on the black sand, the lush valley of Sidemen, or the multicoloured seabed. The latter are a good pretext for ending your stay on the wilder islands of Nusa Penida and its little sister Nusa Lembongan, just a stone’s throw away, where you can meet manta rays and the equally imposing mola mola sunfish…

Sophie Reyssat

Bali Nusa Tenggara – Indonesia Travel

Bali Government Tourism Office (baliprov.go.id)

Photos : copyright Sophie Reyssat