ISB Alumni : Travel Tales - The Bali Bible

The Bali Bible

Having heard so much about Bali, I had huge expectations from this popular island. I feared that I may have raised my hopes too high and that it may not be as awesome as expected. My anxiety was put to rest as soon as our flight landed in Denpasar, the capital of Bali. The airport's design is inspired by Balinese architecture and one can see gorgeous looking temple doors at the arrival and departure terminals. From the start to the end of my trip, the whole experience was a fairy tale. This “Paradise Island” offers a magnificent and visible blend of art, culture, spirituality, blue waters, volcanoes and immensely lovable people.

An exquisite aspect of Bali is the uniqueness of its villages with respect to the art forms in which they specialise.  Tegalalang is known for its handicrafts, Ubud and Batuan are known for their paintings (different kinds), Mas for its woodcarvings, Celuk for its silversmiths, and Batubulan for its stone carvings, particularly those of the Hindu Gods Siva, Brahma and Vishnu. So, I would be right in saying that almost every person in Bali is an artist of one kind or another.

In Bali, the culture of making offerings to God is particularly intriguing. Neatly dressed Balinese Hindus make daily offerings called ‘Canang Sari’ to God in temples, outside shops and in home shrines. Balinese Hindus also have one dedicated shrine in their villages where their families can worship.
Because of our heartfelt desire to learn more about Balinese lifestyle and culture and experience the countryside, we decided to stay in Ubud in central Bali, which is one of the six regions in Bali. Staying in Ubud made it easier for us to see east and west Bali. We ruled out staying in South Bali as it is extremely commercialised and not as rich culturally.

Tips and Recommendations

  • We visited Bali in early July which coincided with the Hari Raya break in Indonesia. This attracted a lot of local tourists in addition to the usual foreign tourists. If possible, avoid periods that coincide with the school holiday season (April-June), Indonesian public holidays and New Year week.
  • We booked four nights at Rumah Jepun in Ubud through Airbnb. They assisted us by arranging a local driver and a trek to Mt. Batur that not only helped us save money but also enhanced our overall experience. Unless you want a beach resort like vacation, Airbnb is a pretty good way to save costs and have fun.
  • Whether or not you are an art lover, the villages around Ubud are a must-see. They are extremely fascinating.

Tour schedule
·        Day 1: Batubulan> Celuk> Batuan> Mas> Tabanan (Tanah Lot)
·        Day 2: Mount Batur Trek> Tegenungan waterfall
·        Day 3: Ubud (Monkey Forest)> Tegalalang> Kusamba> Tenganan> Karangasem (Tirta Gangga)

About the author :
Akshat Jain is an alumnus from PGP Co 2014. He is currently working as a Solutions Sales Professional at Microsoft, Singapore. Akshat has been selected as the Youth Ambassador to participate in a 14-day Climate Force: Antarctica Expedition (27 Feb to 12 March 2018) under the leadership of Sir Robert Swan, the first man to walk both the North & South Poles and former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth. 

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