Bali. The one destination that has caught the attention of young travellers across India. Yet, we know so little about this beautiful island. Did you know that life in Bali is always related to Tri Hita Karana (a tripartite concept that includes the relationship between man, God, and their environment) or that despite being a country where the majority religion is Islam, just the island of Bali has over 70% Hindus?
Rich in history, Bali holds many stories of historical significance in South East Asia. We are sure that these seven facts will compel you to go to Bali.
1. USAT Liberty Shipwreck
The USAT Liberty, also known as the Liberty Ship Wreck, was a United States Army ship and was built in New Jersey in 1918. The ship that served during World War I & II was torpedoed by Japan in 1942. The wreck originally settled at Tulamben Beach in Bali. However, the volcano eruption at Mt. Agung moved the ship off the beach and into the sea.
This is a popular diving site among experienced as well as amateur divers. With soft and hard coral formations on the wreck, you can easily find over 200 species of fish at this ecosystem. Some of the popular sightings include - Big-Eyed Trevally, Jacks, Gobies, Lizardfish, Barracuda and even Eels & Giant Clams (watch out for these).
Bali has two active volcanoes – Mount Batur and Mount Agung. Mount Agung, the larger of the two volcanoes last erupted in 1963. The volcano is still active with a large and very deep crater which occasionally belches smoke and ash.
Mount Batur is one of the most active volcanoes in Bali and Indonesia. During the past centuries, Batur has had a number of small eruptions every few years. However, the last eruption was in 1968 and this volcano is very popular among travellers for beautiful views of a spectacular sunrise from the summit.
3. Bali Healers
Do you remember Ketut from Eat, Pray, Love? Yes, he is difficult to forget. The warm healer with a tooth(less)y smile was a healer in real life as well. Similar to the portrayal in the film, traditional Balinese traditional healing practices use natural herbs and spices, holistic therapies and ancient wisdom to cure physical and mental illness. These healing therapies are known as Bali Usada. During your visit to this beautiful Island, do try out one of the may haling sessions available across various regions of Bali.
4. Mecca for Warm Water Surfing
The first surfer in Indonesia, Bob Koke, surfed at Kuta in mid-1930s. However, due to World War II he had to leave the country and surfing didn’t catch on until late 1960s. The release of the 1971 classic Aussie surf film ‘Morning of the Earth’ contributed to the drastic spike in interest of surfing in Bali.
Today, you can find surfers from all over the world riding spectacular waves in Bali.
5. Balinese Hinduism
Bali is popularly known as the Island of Gods owing to the 20,000+ temples on the island. Hinduism practised in Bali is rather different from the form as practiced in India because - before Hinduism arrived in Bali - it underwent some radical changes on the island of Java. An important feature of this is the union between Hinduism (or more specific Shivaism) and Buddhism. Travellers can still see some Buddhist religious writings play an important role in Balinese Hinduism and the island has a priesthood which contains both Hindus and Buddhists.
6. Rice Terraces
The Rice Terraces of Bali made famous by the movie Eat, Pray, Love are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Tegallalang rice terraces offers a scenic landscape that stretches down and away to the rice paddies on the slopes across the valley of Ubud.
Bali has three such UNESCO World Heritage sites, which are a key tourist attraction of the island paradise.
7. Kopi Luwak - World's Most Expensive Coffee
For decades, Indonesia has been exporting fine coffee to the rest of the world. Even at your nearest Starbucks, you would find Java & Sumatra Coffee.
Produced only in Bali, Kopi Luwak has become world famous for it's unique method of arriving at the coffee bean. Kopi Luwak is produced from the coffee beans which have been digested by a certain Indonesian cat-like animal called palm civet or civet cat. Kopi Luwak is also called cat poop coffee or civet cat coffee. While the process may put you off, the coffee itself tastes really good. Coffee drinkers who generally prefer coffee with milk can also easily adapt to this form of black coffee. It's light on the taste buds and will definitely leave you asking for more.
As Elizabeth Gilbert rightly said in Eat, Pray, Love “I wondered, "Why have I been chasing happiness my whole life when bliss was here the entire time?”. So let’s cross over and experience the bliss that is Bali..