Our contributing travel editor falls under the spell of this fantasy island.By: Sunshine Flint
Inhale the delicate scent of the frangipani flower, with its five creamy petals and lemon yellow center, and take in the essence of Bali. The island, touched by magic and centuries of Hindu lore, fringed by some of the healthiest coral reefs and best surf breaks in the world, is blessed with green volcanic uplands and white and black sand beaches that attract sunseekers and spiritual seekers in equal measure. Flowers are everywhere: the canang sari, daily offerings made from banana-leaf boxes filled with flowers, rice, incense and candy, are piled in front of shrines and shops. Even David Bowie felt a connection to Bali so deep that he requested his ashes be scattered here. Just like the bestselling book and movie, the two of you will eat, pray and love your way around this mystical island.
With thousands of temples on Bali, you could spend all your time just going from the sea temples along the coast to the striking Pura Ulun Danu Beratan in the central highlands (featured on Bali’s 50,000 rupiah note) to the smaller shrines found in every village and town. At Pura Tirta Empul, or Holy Spring Water Temple, built in 962 A.D., statues of Hindu gods are wrapped in the checkered black-and-white cloth that represents good and evil, yin and yang. Balinese and visitors line up to purify and heal themselves under a dozen spouts of crystal-clear spring water. During holidays, expect long lines, with the faithful standing in hip-deep water for up to an hour.
Photo Credit: Instock
Photo Credit: Stephan Kotas