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On the Horizon? Bananas About Bali

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It’s Heaven on Earth! Why holiday anywhere else?
PHOTOS COURTESY OF Pexels

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THE WORD ‘PARADISE’ IS USED A LOT in Bali.

The combination of friendly, hospitable people pursuing a vibrantly spiritual way of life truly engages visitors. Unlike any other island in largely Muslim Indonesia, Bali is a pocket of Hindu religion and culture, and most of its people are animist, believing all things have a soul.

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THE PLACE NAME NUSA DUA is used in two ways – either it refers to the entire eastern side of the Bukit Peninsula at the southern tip of Bali, or it refers to the purposebuilt tourist enclave at the southeast side of this peninsula. The latter is a fantastic family destination, with swanky resorts, amazing kids’ clubs and white-sand beaches that are safe for swimming.

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YOU’LL FIND RICE FIELDS and small villages at the island’s centre, and you’re also well advised to take a trip to Mount Agung, the active volcano in the east. Perched on the side of Mount Agung, the Mother Temple of Besakih, is the largest and holiest temple complex in Bali. It miraculously survived the eruption of 1963, which was one of the most devastating in Bali’s history.

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EVERY ASPECT OF BALINESE LIFE is suffused with animism, but the most visible signs are the tiny offerings (canang sari or sesajen) found in seemingly every Balinese house and workplace. These leaf trays are made daily and can contain an enormous range of items: flowers, glutinous rice, cookies and salt, and even cigarettes and coffee.

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SEMINYAK IS POSSIBLY THE TRENDIEST area in Bali, situated on the west coast just north of long-time tourist destinations Kuta and Legian. Favoured by surfers due to its challenging beach breaks and magical sunsets, Seminyak has become increasingly upmarket with plenty of sophisticated options when it comes to partying, dining, and shopping.

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IF YOU’RE SEEKING SPIRITUAL HEALING, head to Ubud, a charming village set in the cool mountains of southern central Bali. It represents everything that attracts people to the island – from the scenic rice fields and plunging valleys, to the thriving arts-and-crafts and New Age communities. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, be sure to sign up for an Eat Prey Love tour.

BALI IS SURROUNDED BY CORAL REEFS, making it ideal for diving and snorkelling. Menjangan Island in the Bali Barat National Park offers some of the best coral walls and most colourful dive sites in Indonesia. The quiet beaches of Lovina in the north provide a fantastic marine sanctuary.

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