At the time the plane begins to descend, the horizon adopts the green of the jungle, wild nature. Below, like a gap of unhealed asphalt, a narrow landing runway awaits for us, surrounded on both sides by the waters of the Indian Ocean. Around it also awaits what is without doubt one of the most desired destinations by probably every worldwide traveler: The island of Bali in Indonesia.
Leaving the Airport Ngurah Rai behind, our journey continues along the coast through Kuta Beach, with its waves fully packed with surfers waiting for the best opportunities for fun. At this point we should add that to enter Bali is necessary to pay a visa of $25 (USD), and it is important to mention that there is no ATMs in the arrivals area, so it is better to bring the money in advance.
Continuing our way, somewhat later, along with a darker sand beach, our friend Wirya gives us an official welcome to Indonesia with a grin, showing the friendliness, kindness and closeness of the inhabitants of the island of Bali, a dream destination.
Wirya lives and works in this small paradise and for us to gradually dive into its tropical magic, he invites us to one of his favorite bars in Denpasar, capital of Bali, where we are, the Bali Joe bar. At the invitation, we accept delighted: the best and most unique way to travel to the reality of a place is, for sure, to get mixed with its inhabitants.
Near Denpasar, the city and coastal areas of Kuta, besides surfers we have already seen, offers one of the shopping, leisure and restaurants busiest areas in the province, around the streets Jalan Legian, Jalan Pantai Kuta and Poppies Lane II. North of Kuta, close to some city streets, the Seminyak area has become in recent years one of the most popular for those seeking peace and tranquility in facilities and luxurious accommodations.
Since Bali is an exotic and tropical destination, the coast and its beaches are probably the highlight internationally. However, our eyes sparkle when we heard Wirya talking about the cities of the island. And as he seems to notice, our Balinese friend recommends us two other villages: the colorful, bohemian Ubud, filled with art galleries and performances of traditional dances, and Singapadu, which preserves the real life of Bali, away from tourism.
In line with the above, the identity of the inhabitants of Bali is strongly linked to their culture, and they think it is actually the base their society. Despite the influx of tourists from all over the world, the Balinese struggle to preserve it, something that can be seen in countless traditional dances that take place on the island, always dramatic, as plays. For example, the most popular dance called Kecak, occurs to the sound of a chorus of voices that mimics the sound of monkeys in freedom while beautiful dancers perform their movements. The Barong and Rangda dance, on the other hand, is the favorite for tourists and has a very special meaning for the people of Bali. In it, a kind of big dog called Barong and other fantastic animal with white hair called Rangda, who carried in his teeth the intestines of their victims, represent good and evil in an ancient dance. There are so many types of Balinese dances that it is really impossible to make a list, but maybe the most beautiful is the one called Legong, danced by little girls. As a curiosity of Balinese culture, it is worth knowing that the island still has two calendars: the western that we all know, and the one called Saka calendar, 79 years less than ours, and where a month has 35 days and one year 420.
Leaving aside folk customs, if besides nature lover, the visitor is a real adventurer, the island offers two wild destinations to enjoy its flora and fauna: the Cascades Goa Batu in the center of Bali, and the Twin Falls, impressive for its height and beauty of its surroundings.
With all recommendations of Wirya, our frapuccinos are all empty. And with no coffee, it seems difficult to stay within an indoor local without appreciating the beauty of this stunning tropical island of Indonesia. So with the huge smile of our Balinese friend, we prefer to leave the conversation aside and head to Pandawa Beach, which was previously known as Secret Beach. Will we discover the reason?