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All about Amazing Stuff

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Bali Island, Indonesia
Bali Island, Indonesia (Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay)

Bali Island, Indonesia


Bali, the magical Indonesian island of the world, lives up to and beyond its reputation. Just 153 km wide and 112 km long, it is small enough to be driven around within a day. This is Indonesia's Hindu island, though like the other islands, animism exists beneath the surface, where art and beauty reign supreme. Three sacred volcanoes dominate the range straddling the north and east, providing bounteous soil - local people say that if you put a bare stick in the earth, it will take root.

When Java's Islamic empire arose in the 16th century, the vanquished Hindus fled to Bali, reinforcing its culture but making an enemy. Over time Bali has been invaded by Java, Lombok, the Netherlands and Japan. In the 1960s thousands died when Mount Agung erupted, and 100,000 more were killed in retaliation for an unsuccessful communist coup against the government in Java. In 2002 and 2005, terrorist bombs killed and injured hundreds of both tourists and locals, but despite these tragedies Bali always recovers.

Beauty touches every aspect of daily life. The island is bursting with artists, wood carvers, musicians and dancers, with Ubud, in central Bali, the artistic heartland, having been home to many European artists since the 1920s. Tourism took off in the 1970s, but in contained in particular areas, leaving much of the island undisturbed.  Here you can see classic scenes of brilliant green, terraced rice paddies, stone temples intricately carved with fabulous creatures, and gamelan orchestras accompanying gorgeously costumed dancers performing the Ramayana in the moonlight.

You can climb volcanoes, swim with dolphins, walk along near empty beaches, admire exquisite offerings to the gods and watch colorful religious processions.