Say scenic beaches, coral reefs, rock formations, ancient temples, paddy fields punctuated with coconut palms and fruit trees, undulating hills, winding roads with local boutiques and tiny museums of stone carvings! That’s the top layer of what to expect in the breathtakingly beautiful island of Bali in Indonesia. It’s no surprise it attracts over five million tourists annually. It’s also one of the seven countries where Indians can get a free visa on arrival.
Laze around watching surfers ride huge, unpredictable waves. Or move to the calmer side of sand, which has shallow reefs and coral gardens that you can explore on sea walks and other sea-based adventures. This is every bit postcard country. Underwater photography can be rewarding. Bali is home to over 950 species of reef fish like eels, triggerfish and others. And remember, walking on the sea floor is a memorable experience; or, diving to explore a wrecked US Army transport ship that lies at the bottom with sea life flourishing within and around it.
What struck me most was the nonchalant yet deep seated spirituality. You see what real Hinduism is about: no aggression, no belligerence, no hatred for other religions and no one telling you that their religion is better than yours. In 1959, Hinduism was declared one of the official religions of Indonesia. It has thrived in the country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world.
On every street you will find offerings of Frangipani flowers and fruits made to different deities. Huge sculptures depicting Hindu myths and legends are all over the cityscape: 20,000 temples! Only locals can visit most, but if you do get a...