Morning offerings in the garden of the hotel Sorga. (Kuta, Bali)
Morning offerings in the garden of the hotel Sorga. (Kuta, Bali)

The little things I love in Bali

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

I had not been back in Bali for a few years. And here there are a lot of little details that I have great pleasure to find.

For starters, many houses and hotels look like temples, with their portals slotted and adorned with sculptures. Besides, there are temples everywhere.

And there are altars guarded by mythical creatures of stone, more or less monstrous, even in the gardens of small family hotels, type losmen or guesthouse. It is always very pleasant to sleep surrounded by gods and demons.

Morning offerings in the garden of the hotel Sorga. (Kuta, Bali)
Morning offerings in the garden of the hotel Sorga. (Kuta, Bali)

And then, every morning, fresh offerings are deposited in their small plant basket: flowers, rice, incense stick... All accompanied by a delicate gesture of the hand, to spread a few drops of water, a flower stuck between two fingers.

I love this little morning ritual, it has something reassuring. The gods, the spirits are everywhere, so we seek to conciliate the good and appease the bad. On the doorstep, at the crossroads, the small baskets of offerings strew the ground.

Small basket of offerings in front of the entrance of a warung (restaurant) in Petitenget (Bali).
Small basket of offerings in front of the entrance of a warung (restaurant) in Petitenget (Bali).

Another thing I like about this place: Even the trees wear sarongs. Finally, the trees considered sacred, those that are inhabited by a spirit.

A black and white checkered sarong girdles the trunk of this sacred tree in Bali.
A black and white checkered sarong girdles the trunk of this sacred tree in Bali.

The black and white checkered sarong also encircles the loins of the statues guarding the temple entrances. This black and white chessboard symbolizes what we know best as yin and yang: it is about maintaining the balance between the two forces, positive and negative, that govern the world.

One thing I had forgotten, too, that I observed, yesterday in Kuta, and today on the road to Lovina: kites. On the beach and in the rice fields, children and even grown-ups play kite flying. There are kites of all sizes, some very simple, made out of an ordinary plastic bag, others huge and very sophisticated, with a long tail waving in the wind.

Kite game on Petitenget beach, north of Kuta Beach (Bali).
Kite game on Petitenget beach, north of Kuta Beach (Bali).

Finally, I'm happy to find these various little things that I don't pay much attention to anymore, so much I'm used to them, but I like them a lot in Asia: greeting people with a big smile becomes again the most natural thing in the world, riding up to four or even five passengers on a motorbike too (well, not for me!), the possibility to be able to snack at any time thanks to the small street vendors installed along the roads with their carts of skewers, soup or fruits...

I arrived in the North, in Lovina Beach, today... Here no rollers and no surfers. Less flashy and more relaxed atmosphere. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

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  1. Oh, hello tomorrow for your impressions of Lovina beach and its surroundings ....
    Bali has not changed much since the last time you went there ... I feel that not seen your enthusiasm!
    Your comments give me a good overview of the general atmosphere.I was told that Bali was very different from Thailand ... ..But it is all the same Asia, and thanks to you, I arrive at 'imagine a little there, with you ... ..
    For my part, I am also preparing: 4 different, 2 that I know and love: Milos and Koufounissi, 1 where I know only the stone bench in front of the church of the port, because I had passed there at night for lack of room, but it was charming this little bench, although a little hard ... ..breve, it is Folegandros, and another, unknown, it is the usher of the theater which advised it to us Anafi.
    These 4 islands are not too big, calm, and far from the festive atmosphere of Mykonos. So it will be a relaxing holiday ... Finally, we hope ... .car, the Greeks are far from being thais .... And level organization ... ..they are really bad !!!! Fortunately their islands are beautiful, and that is primarily why I am delighted to be there, as well as for a good tiro pita ... .. (cheese puff pastry)
    I kiss you.
    Helen 8)

  2. No Bali does not give me the impression of having changed so much. In any case not Kuta-Legian-Seminyak which I already knew the extreme frenesie! Out of the usual tourist catches, the charming welcome to the Balinese and this atmosphere where the spirits are everywhere I still like.

    The, in the north-west, I discover corners that I did not know yet. I enjoyed the surroundings of Lovina Beach, as you will read in the new article that I just published, but less the atmosphere of this stretch of beach. To spend two days is enough, for my taste!

    Happy holidays in the Greek islands!

  3. I have a missed date with Bali. I had to go there in 2002, but the attacks made me change my plans. Reading you made me want to go! Who knows? If our plans to transport our penates in Asia within two years materialize, I may spend a few weeks there ...

    Out of curiosity, is the cost of living still so low?

  4. My previous stay in Bali was ... in 2002, two-three months before the attacks. Today, six years later, foreign visitors are back, and that's good for Bali, where much of the economy is based on tourism.

    The island, mostly Hindu, is really different in the Indonesian archipelago, which remains the largest Muslim country in the world, if I am not mistaken. I really like the atmosphere that reigns in Bali, despite the commercial-tourist drifts of certain corners.

    People are, in general, extremely open and tolerant. The welcome is warm, the traditions are fascinating, the variety of landscapes and activities have something to satisfy all types of travelers ...

    The standard of living being much lower than ours, the cost of a stay for a Western visitor remains very low. Although soaring oil prices have, here as elsewhere, pushed up fares. Many Balinese told me that for them, the cost of living has increased considerably. That said, as part of a tourist visit, we can get by for a very low budget, if we adopt a modest lifestyle in the Balinese (simple accommodation with cold water and fan, local food) in the warungs, etc.).

    For example, the time I went to the market to eat with Sana, the young guy who guided me for a day, in the interior of Amed country, we only spent 26,000 Rp, for lunch for lunch: chicken skewers + rice plate + bowl of broth + drink each. That is 13 000 Rp per head of pipe, or even 90 euro cents. In tourist restaurants, it's a bit more expensive, of course.

    If I believe people (working in tourism) that I asked right to left about it, a base salary is in the range of 700,000 to 1 million rupees, or 50 to 70 € per month. An average salary a little more comfortable should reach 100 to 200 € per month, I imagine.

  5. Hi Corinne, more than a comment of the questions. In fact, I have just taken the plunge and booked a diving cruise on the Komodo Archipelago. So, the tour operator reserves me the flight DENPASAR / LABUAN BAJO necessary to be able to embark the boat, but it is up to me to settle it directly. Now, I wondered why, and then I saw that all the companies operating Indonesian domestic flights are in the black list of the EU! What should I expect? Experiences?

    Second question, what would you do if you only had two days in Bali? I'm in a hotel in Sanur for two days before the cruise. Is one day enough for a quick visit of the temples in the area? I was told that the beach is not worth going to! 😯


  6. @ Max / Mm148881: For the avatar, yes, you made a typo in entering your email address the first time, that's why it did not work.

    For Indonesian airlines, you have to do with, when there are no other companies to operate on the destination ... Me too, I had several times had to make res via an intermediary, and then pay the amount once on the spot. I tell two experiences here:
    With Lion Air
    »With Merpati (go down the post, on Tuesday, July 24th)
    The most reliable company remains the national company, Garuda.

    Two days, being based in Sanur, it's good, I think. It makes it easy to radiate around. The beach of Sanur (I do not really know, I just went there to take a ferry to Nusa Lembongan) is not worth that of Kuta-Legian-Seminyak, that's for sure, but we eat fruit terrible sea, it seems.


  7. I had the chance to make several long stays in Bali in the years 2000/2005 ... I love this island and the feeling of arriving "at home" at each landing in Denpasar. I have traveled along, across and across on foot and motorcycle, but unfortunately not diving, which I regret very much elsewhere. I have never managed to master the fact of being immersed ... and yet I have often tried. This will be one of the biggest regrets of my life, especially when I look at the beautiful underwater images that you offer us in your blog. Especially since living most of the time in Madagascar, I rub shoulders with extraordinary diving spots.

    1. @Dom: yes, just like you, I love returning to Bali ... The atmosphere is really special, very nice. People, landscapes, atmosphere: I love. And then, of course, there is the underwater world. If you do not dive, you can still snorkel ...