Bali, Indonesia

The past month has been very busy. The past two weeks were particularly busy. I haven’t written much, but our family took a trip to southeast Asia, so now I have some interesting stuff to share. The main event was the YPO-WPO Global Leadership Summit in Singapore, Singapore. YPO is an organization that I volunteer time to. I do a lot of work with the YPO-WPO Networks infrastructure and also with the YPO-WPO Family Business Network. We preceded our trip to Singapore with a visit to the island of Bali, Indonesia. This was an adventurous trip with two young children, but they are experienced travelers and we are passionate about showing them the world.

We got to experience air travel the way it should be experienced. We flew Singapore Airlines from New York to Frankfurt to Singapore and finally to Denpasar. The customer service level was even higher than I expected. It was a fantastic experience, and made 25+ hours of air travel almost tolerable. Both Bali and Singapore are 13 hours ahead of Connecticut time, so it took some adjusting.

Bali is a wonderful place. The Balinese were so kind, especially to the children. The population is 92% Hindu, so religion plays an important part in their lives. The island thrives on tourism and has mostly recovered from the terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005. It would have been nice to see the chaos of Jakarta on Java, which is a bustling city, but we stuck to Bali. Indonesia is a massive nation and a huge economic engine in Asia that is developing rapidly. Bali has natural beauty. We spent several days in Ubud in the interior and then we spent several days at Jimbaran on the south coast.

Ubud is the cultural center of Bali. It bustles with restaurants, yoga studios, hotels, shops, and lots of temples. Temples dot Bali’s landscape like no other place. there are thousands and thousands of them. The people of Bali make constant offerings at these shrines. The sculptures and other artwork are wonderful. We hiked, walked, and toured various parts of the island. Volcanoes played an important role in shaping both Bali’s geography and culture. In addition to seeing the Mother Temple of Besakih, we toured smaller ones. Bali is also known for its crafts. We met silversmiths, woodworkers, painters, sculptors, and basket weavers. We even visited a traditional family compound.

The rice paddies in central Bali are lush and beautiful. The coast is a bit drier, but still humid and hot. The temperature is perpetually between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees. It was the monsoon season, so it was wet all of the time, and we experienced frequent downpours, but we still got some nice sun, which will scorch you due to the island’s proximity to the equator. It’s summer all of the time in Bali. Bali also has some of the most significant breaks in the world, so it is a surfer’s paradise, especially in the dry season.

Nearly four million people live on Bali, so it is a crowded place, particularly in the more urban areas. The primary mode of transportation is by motorbike or motor scooter, and there are millions of them. There are no enforced driving rules, so the streets are wild and chaotic. The two-wheeled vehicles make it difficult for the cars, trucks, and buses because they swarm on all sides. Driving through rush hour traffic was a feast for the eyes and ears. It was a sight to see.

Bali is an interesting place because they culture has many ancient elements to it, yet it has been a tourist haven for more than 50 years. Modern technology has penetrated in interesting ways. Most people have mobile phones, yet many people still walk around barefoot. It is a place where ritzy resort hotels are contrasted by poor family compounds. Agriculture still plays an important role, though the economy can no longer support itself. Rice production has dropped off as people have fled to the urban areas for work in the tourism industry. Development has also destroyed a lot of native habitat and overrun some of the traditional farms. Most animals are revered, but it is a place where cockfighting is still popular.

We met wonderful people and bring back many great memories. It was a great place for photography. I haven’t been running at all, but I did get to swim in the ocean, which is always a treat. Bali is a dangerous place to ride a bicycle. The roads are narrow, and the aforementioned traffic is brutal. Debbie did a fair amount of running, and she says she saw some really neat things on her village jaunts. The four of us walked and hiked several times. Bali is a great place for vegetarians and vegans. We had many options. It was a great place to experience life and a nice place to kick off our trip.

3 Responses to “Bali, Indonesia”

  1. 1 Abraham Irawan (@bramvera) 5 March 2012 at 4:23 am

    Thanks Scott for writting about Bali, I was there from 1999 to 2006 and Balinese people are truly amazing & unforgetable, their kindness and caring to each other, come visit again someday!

    yes I agree with you, Bali is great place for photography, if you have time check out some of my photos

  1. 1 Singapore, Singapore « Life Adventures Trackback on 4 March 2012 at 11:53 am
  2. 2 5 Day Black & White Challenge | Life Adventures Trackback on 31 January 2015 at 8:20 pm

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