I decided to do another post of our trip to southeast Asia.  On my personal blog, my posts on travel are my most popular posts by far so I figured I would post it on here, too.  Who knows, maybe you’ll get a travel idea!

For the second week of our two-week vacation this past April, the wife and I traveled from Cambodia to Bali, an island in Indonesia.  Let me tell you, I’ve been to a number of countries and Bali is unlike any of them.  It is unique apart from anything I have experienced before.

How do I describe it?

First of all, it is very jungly.  It’s lush and green everywhere but tropical.  While Cambodia was very hot it was not lush and green.  While Singapore was very warm, it was all one big city.  Bali is green, like the island on LOST.

You may be saying to yourself “Meh, so what?  I’ve been to Hawaii.  That’s green and tropical, too.  Just like Bali!”

But it’s not because another distinguishing characteristic is the heavy Hindu influence.  I’ve never been to a place that was primarily Hindu.  The country of Indonesia is almost completely Muslim, but Bali is almost completely Hindu.  And there are Hindu statues everywhere

The roads are not very wide but in many of the streets in the middle of an intersection, there are large stone statues about 15-20 feet high of Hindu gods.  And not just in some intersections in the larger towns, but in lots and lots of intersections in many places, even the smaller towns.

IMG_1555

But the Hindu carvings are not just in the streets.  The streets in Bali, once you get away from the airport, are pretty narrow.  Two cars can barely fit across the roads there and most people drive scooters.  But all along the roads, the people’s properties are all enclosed in walls between 2- 6 feet high, and many of them have Hindu carvings.  Any many of them sell small Hindu statues.

In the picture above, the house on the left is enclosed by a wall.  But the gate would have a Hindu carving on it.  And this was true of nearly every house we passed (not all of them are that nice).  The wealth of the family correlates to how decorated the home is.

While driving around Bali (in our tour guide’s jeep) we got a chance to see how people live and work in Bali.  When people harvest rice, they dry it out on the street.

In the picture above, this lady was raking the rice, drying it out.  She was working in an area designed for rice farming in that it was off the road and in a large “well” – that is, a square, concrete slab.  But other people had tarps out on the road and dried their rice on that.  People walk on it, and cars drive over it.

Make sure that when you cook rice at home, you wash it.  Now you know where it has been.

The rice fields in Bali are everywhere, too.  As we drove around the island, the impression I got was how different from America it was in terms of the neighborhoods.  Whereas we have lots of residential neighborhoods with plenty of side streets, in Bali, there is the main road where people live and bordering it are rice fields, not more houses. 

I took the following picture by stitching together 6 other pictures to form a panorama shot.  I call it “The Staircase.” 

Rice Field Panorama 

The valley here is very steep so the people flatten it out and create a staircase landscape so they can grow rice on it and harvest it.  Without it, the land is much less useable.

It’s really hard to describe what else is that certain x-factor about Bali, but it is so different.  I recommend people go there to check it out because unless you experience it, it’s difficult to describe.