- BALI (6)

Bali is an island and province of Indonesia. It is locatedbetween Java and Lombok. Bali is a popular tourist destination, which has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. 83.5% of Bali's population adhered to Balinese Hinduism Bali's central mountains include several peaks over 2,000 metres. The highest is Mount Agung (3,031 m), known as the "mother mountain" which is an active volcano rated as one of the world's most likely sites for a massive eruption within the next 100 years.Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Bali's volcanic nature has contributed to its exceptional fertility and its tall mountain ranges provide the high rainfall that supports the highly productive agriculture sector. South of the mountains is a broad, steadily descending area where most of Bali's large rice crop is grown. The northern side of the mountains slopes more steeply to the sea and is the main coffee producing area of the island, along with rice, vegetables and cattle. The longest river, Ayung River, flows approximately 75 km. The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 500.000. Bali's second-largest city is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, which is located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people. Other important cities include beach resorts, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar's urban area, and Ubud, situated at the north of Denpasar, is the island's cultural centre. Three small islands lie to the immediate south east and all are administratively part of the Klungkung regency of Bali: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These islands are separated from Bali by the Badung Strait.

- CREMATIONS

Ngaben, or Cremation Ceremony, is a funeral ritual performed in Bali to send the deceased to the next life. The body of the deceased will be placed as if sleeping, and the family will continue to treat the deceased as sleeping. No tears are shed, because the deceased is only temporarily absent and will reincarnate or find final rest in Moksha (freeing from the reincarnation and death cycle). The proper day of the ceremony is always a matter of consulting a specialist on ceremony days. On the day of the ceremony, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin. This coffin is placed inside a sarcophagus resembling a buffalo (Lembu) or in a temple structure (Wadah) made of papier-maché and wood. This sarcophagus is then brought to the cremation site in a procession, which is almost never walked in a straight line. This is done to confuse evil spirits and keep them away from the deceased. The climax of a Ngaben is the burning of the sarcophagus containing the body of the deceased. The fire is viewed as necessary to free the spirit from the body and enable reincarnation. Ngaben is not always immediately performed. For members of the elite castes, it is normal to perform the ritual individually for the deceased within three days. People of lower social classes opt for a more economic solution where they first bury the deceased, who is then cremated with the village's other dead in a mass ceremony.

- MARKETS

There are many markets in Bali where you can pick up local arts, crafts, jewelry, cheap fashion and souvenirs. The Balinese are famous for their artistry, so be sure to check out most popular crafts like paintings, stone-carvings, woodcarvings, puppets, weavings, and gold-and silver works. Even if you’re not interested in buying something, local snacks and the atmosphere of Bali’s local and touristic markets for sure offer something different from the modern malls. Bargaining is "a must do" at Bali markets. Just smile and pay what it's worth to you. Remember: they also have mouths to feed. Famous markets are those in Sukawati, Ubud, Kumbasari Denpasar, Bedugul and Tampaksiring.

- PEOPLE

Balinese are warm and friendly people who will do a lot to make you feel comfortable at "their" island of "Demons and Gods".

- PLACES

"Bali is full", that's what some people say and in a way they are right but only if you stay in Kuta or Denpasar. Getting out of these crowded area's you'll find the Bali as it was and still is. Many places still are very interesting to visit despite the amount of visitors. I could make a long list list of those places but you'll find them in every brochure and travel guide. More interesting is to explore the island by yourself. With your own transportation or with a private driver. Take a walk in small village's, visit local markets, try the local food and drinks. Enjoy the views of the ricefields, listen to the sound of the oceans, explore the wildlife and... ok... visit some famous touristic places as well :-)

- RELIGIOUS

The Balinese Hinduism combines the Indian model with elements of native religion. The object of their religious practices is to maintain a balance between good and evil forces. Thus, Balinese make offerings to both gods and demons. They recognize a wide range of supernatural beings, including demons, ancestral spirits, and divinities such as the sun god Surya and the rice goddess Dewi Sri.

- STATUES & OTHERS

On Bali you'll find the most beautiful and detailed statues in the world. From hand sized craftsmanship to meters high stone carved statues