BALI & NEIGBORING ISLANDS
Unlocking the true beauty of Bali, Nusa Penida, Lembongang, Lombok and the Gili's
> More than 2 months across these islands to the West of Indonesia's Nusa Tenggara archipelago <
Indonesia, this world’s largest archipelago, is such a vast, varied and distinctive country, and yet, inside the Indonesia archipelago, one island stand out and differ from the rest: Bali! Almost everything differ: religion, language, dress, songs, stories, food, and the calendar are all uniquely Balinese. Out of all the Indonesian islands, Bali has become the most popular destination. Also for this reason, perhaps, a few people seem to think that Bali is an overrun fun-in-the-sun retreat, a cliché of a tropical island capitalizing on the tourist industry. This might be true for the travelers that only spend a few weeks here and don’t venture beyond the standard spots and hotels.
Obviously, Bali has wild volcanic beaches, many ancient monuments and hillside temples, beautiful rice fields and steep paddies, powerful volcanoes, and adjacent islands – of which many are remarkably secluded and off the beaten track. Also, Bali has some really good neighbors: Nusa Penida and Lembongang islands, Lombok and the three Gili Islands, which we - as keen divers and trekkers - found to be excellent playgrounds.
However, the true essence of Bali is its people and culture. We think that the real draw is its rich culture, which plays out at all levels of life, from the otherworldly music and dances to the dramatic funeral processions. Balinese are obsessed about their rich cultural ceremonies, and their spirits, sacred places, ghosts, demons and magic. The culture and spirit of people around the world is not always easily accessible. We have joined Muslim Sufi-ceremonies in Pakistan, Afar rituals in Djibouti, rites in the mountains of Guatemala, weddings in Jordan, celebrations in Kurdistan, and parties in South Africa’s Transkei, yet Bali’s spirit and culture remains one of the most accessible (and enjoyable) on this planet, perhaps only surpassed by India.