Preparing for Odalan ceremony of Pura Panti Timbrah, Paksebali village, Klungkung Bali
Credit/Licence Flickr: ^riza^

Bali is a kaleidoscope of culture, colour and vitality. Situated between Java and Lombok on the western end of the Indonesian archipelago, the island of Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia.

Bali's spectacular tropical environment is a major attraction for visitors; enjoying a climate similar to that of Australia’s Tropical North Queensland. A hot, humid wet season dominates from late November to March, followed by a cooler dry season from April to November. The dry season is the most popular time for tourists to visit Bali; however this magic place attracts visitors year round.

From the lush vistas of rice paddy fields and stretches of tropical rainforest to its golden beaches, Bali is a visual delight. Its beaches are especially beautiful, and one of the major draw-cards for tourists from around the world. The island is known both as a premiere surfing and scuba diving destination, a combination few places can lay claim to.

The Balinese are some of the most gentle, hospitable people in the world, and this is reflected everywhere in their culture, from their gentle practice of Hinduism to their humble welcoming of the millions of tourists that visit their shores each year.

Everywhere you look in Bali you will see evidence of the deep spirituality of the Balinese; statues of their beloved Hindu gods Ganesh, Krishna, and Shiva abound, and the exquisite dances performed daily are an expression of Balinese mythological and religious beliefs. These proud displays, and the elaborate Balinese mythology are how Bali has come to be called “The Island of the Gods”.

Tourism is Bali's chief industry and its evident how this has taken its toll on the environment and character of Bali over the years. In major tourist centres such as Kuta and Sanur the delicate Balinese culture is clearly diluted, with an abundance of markets and shops selling designer brand knock-offs and mass-produced 'cultural artefacts', and the seemingly endless tide of 5-star property development.

Outside of the major tourist areas there is still a wealth of culture and beauty to be discovered; ceremonial temples, small village markets with delicious tropical fruits and vegetables, handmade treasures and hand carved statues, and the serenity that comes with being surrounded by beauty and immersed in another culture.

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