Colour in Bali

A last-minute trip to Bali for a friend’s birthday was worth the effort of the long-haul to get there. Our small room at Wayan Homestay in Sanur was away from the main road, with all mod cons, air conditioning, fridge and a little shaded verandah perfect for cooling off from the tropical heat. It was a short distance to the end of the road and Karang Beach. Shaded walkways with upmarket hotels and restaurants were dotted along the seafront. Market stalls were set out with people trying their hardest to sell their wares. Speed boats and ferries go to nearby islands and motorbikes are the main form of transport with some people wearing helmets but others just in flip flops or bare feet. The majority of people identify as Hindu and the Dharma religion of Bali has animistic rites and rules, interspersed with Buddhist elements. Daily Offerings are left in order to appease the demons and evil spirits.

Bob Marley songs play everywhere and Balinese singers perform old classic pop songs or do Elvis impersonations in tourist bars. A friend recommended a visit to Ubud so with a knowledgeable tour guide and his 13-year-old son we set off. Our first stop was Batubulan to see The Barong and Kris Dance performance with musicians, dancers in traditional costumes and a spectacular drama. The play represents an eternal fight between good and evil spirits. Barong (a mythological animal) – represents a good spirit and Rangda (a mythological monster) represents an evil one.  Then on to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary at Padangtegal, a forest conservation project with the Pura Dalem Agung temple. Next stop was the Bali Coffee Plantation where local Balinese farmers have planted a variety of coffees next to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. We then drove up winding roads to the Kintamani Volcano with a panoramic view of Batur Mount and Lake in the valley and a popular selfie spot with tourists. Our final stop was the Tirta Empul temple complex and holy mountain spring, a national cultural heritage site in the village of Manukaya where people undergo a ritual bathing in clear spring water.

The following day we took a speedboat trip to the island of Nusa Penida and tour to Klingking beach and Broken beach before ending with a swim at Crystal Bay, popular with visitors.

Memories from Bali are the Shrines, colourful art, wood carvings, batik, motorbikes, children playing on the beach  and ‘people watching’ in the shade. Sundays are a day off for workers and local people head with their families to the beach. Balinese hospitality, beautiful landscapes with friendly, gentle people was  a real treat.