Of the many islands in the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is one that stands out among the rest. Stepping onto the province, one can immediately understand why.
There are many facets of the Balinese culture and landscape that many adventurers find alluring, attracting millions of people a year. So much so, in fact, that tourism is estimated to account for roughly 80% of the island’s economic intake. So why have so many travellers fallen in love with it?
One aspect that is a great insight into the isle’s character is food. Babi Guling, for instance, is tied to Bali due to the prominent and Hindu population. Whilst the rest of the island chain is largely Muslim, Bali is more than 80% Hindu, which has allowed this pork-based dish to develop. It involves spit-roasting a pig after coating it in spices and seasonings like coriander, garlic and turmeric. It is usually served with the crackling from the skin, rice and bean stew. It can be a lengthy ceremony but this traditional delicacy is well worth the wait.
For those looking for a taste of the island’s coast, Jimbaran is a town that is worth a visit for its seafood. Whether you want to saunter through an early morning fish market or hit a restaurant to sample a range of fire-grilled delights in the form of crab, squid or lobster, you will really get a flavour of the region.
We previously covered seven of the world’s top beaches in a recent post, and while we missed this particular natural joy, it is an unmissable part of Bali. An aftershock of Mt Agung’s past eruption, the sands is an unusual black colour. Whilst it appears to be an unnatural environment, there is life in these parts by the bucket load. If you’re lucky, a morning trip out into the sea will result in being greeted by dolphins. It really isn’t a place for high-octane activities, but that doesn’t matter if you’re looking to have a relaxing walk on the wet sand.
West Bali National Park
There is something truly unique about Indonesia and its varied landscapes. From alluring beaches to rugged mountain ranges, you wouldn’t think that you could see so much contrast on one island. At an estimated 10th of Bali’s surface area is the West Bali National Park, which is perfect for anyone in the mood for trekking. With the help of a guide, you can move from rainforest into a dryer stretch of a savannah environ.
One will have to tread softly if they don’t want to disturb the numerous endangered species of this area. The beautiful Bali Starling, for instance, is a rarity in these parts and indigenous only to this island, so you would be a very fortunate moment if you were to glimpse one. There are also many mammals to see, such as cattle, deer and wild cats. It is said that the Bali tiger is extinct, but some locals claim that a few still roam the park.
Gitgit and Sekumpul Waterfalls
There is something deeply captivating about a good waterfall. Bali has two areas that are famed for its remarkable scenery. Gitgit is the more popular of the two, with its dramatic cascading waters, surrounded by lush jungle vegetation. But in the Sekumpul area, you will also find a cluster of waterfalls that are less visited but arguably more dramatic in their beauty. There is a more ambient feel to these surroundings as they are often quieter. You may have to drive into seclusion to find this North Bali area, but it is thoroughly worthy of the trip.
What’s your favourite Indonesian island? Let us know in the comments.