people and cultures – inspiring journeys
sharing meaningful discoveries in Asia


Island of Gods

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Bali carries a myth to many that this island lies somewhere in the South Pacific- thanks to a Hollywood musical. But within the Indian Ocean is Bali,
also famously known as the morning of the world–  where Balinese maintain a unique culture of animist traditions which blended into Bali-Hindu Dharma as is practiced today.

The south coast of Bali is known for surfing,
the beach resorts and club scene and has become very congested.  To the Balinese, life is directed inland towards the sacred mountains and volcanoes which are the abode of the gods.

See links below for Ubud
and exploring beyond to the East and up North.

as the center of the arts, is a good place to begin a journey into the cultural heart of Bali. Located approx. one-hour drive north of the airport, Ubud has come a long way since my early days of no phone connections and magical evenings on the verandah with a little gas lamp, watching fireflies over moonlit rice paddies. Now so many visitors sit in chic cafes staring at their laptops or smartphones! But the magic is still here in Ubud- in the devotion to the temple rituals, in art, music and dance. Bali’s vibrant culture continues to defy a total take-over of modernity and the Balinese continues to welcome visitors with their heart in hospitality.


Alam Indah is a wonderful home-base nestled along the Monkey Forest. Meaning Beautiful Nature, Alam Indah offers lovely accommodations where you can feel the essence of Bali. Traditional architecture blending with modern comforts, Alam Indah will feel like a retreat, yet offers easy access to the cultural center of Ubud.

Learn more about the Alam Indah properties created by the family of Café Wayan:

While in Ubud, you can immerse yourself in:
Cultural workshops, Cooking Classes and Wellness treatments.

Learn about the History of Ubud
Ubud Story Walks
led by passionate local guides bringing history to present day- life- a must-do for any visitor to Ubud:

Essence of Bali Heritage Walks and Backroad Cycling:
Join an exclusive guided tour tracing the origins of Bali Hindu Dharma.
Approx 30 minutes drive north of Ubud, visit hidden temples and holy springs along the Pakerisan River valley with the company of young Balinese hosts who love to share their insights and who are dedicated to cultural preservation.  Options also include soft backroad treks introducing  traditional way of life.
More on:

Bali Eco Tours, Backroads Cycling and Mt. Batur Treks

Bali NOW! – an excellent selection of cultural articles with places to  explore:

Art Galleries in and around Ubud:

Neka Museum
exhibits art by Balinese and foreign artists who settled in Bali:

Puri Museum Lukisan-  Ubud’s first art museum:

Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets-  a fabulous private collection:

Yoga Studios and retreats:

Intuitive Flow- long established and intimate-  located on the hill above Campuhan in Penestanan with a view of Mt. Agung

Anand Ashram Center for Wellbeing:

Friends of National Parks Foundation:

Learn more about the Bali Starling Breeding program and Wildlife Rescue Center:

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Threads of Life: supporting traditional weaving arts of Indonesia.
Visit their gallery at Rumah Roda on Jalan Kajeng in Ubud
A new gallery is located just out of town on Jalan Lungsiakan.
Textile appreciation classes and workshops:
More on:

Other areas to explore on Bali:

East Bali:

Sidemen – in the beautiful Tabola valley along the sacred Unda River.
Located north of Klungkung with a large textile market, Sidemen is home to weavers and a base for beautiful walks and visits to The Mother Temple of Besakih.

Accomodations in Sidemen:

Cepik Villa – an intimate 6-room resort with gorgeous views:

Subak Tabola – long time established in Sidemen:

Surya Shanti Villa:

Darmada Eco Resort along the sacred Unda River:

East Coast:

Mendira Beach –  a quiet enclave not far from Candi Dasa

Sea Breeze Bungalows:

Relaxing Luxury along Mendira Beach is  Candi Beach Resort:

A short drive will bring you to the Bali aboriginal village of Tenganan famous for double-ikat weaving known as geringsing and beautiful basket making.

Much of the beach along the East Coast is rocky with volcanic black sand. There is a beautiful  Hidden White Sand (Virgin Beach) further up the East Coast down a bit of a rugged road at Prasi- between Candi Dasa and Tirtagangga. Drivers should know this place. No accomodations but local seafood stalls and lounge chairs to spend a relaxing day.

Central Highlands:

Mt Batukaru:

Bali’s second highest mountain ( 2275m) is surrounded majestic scenery and nature. At the foot of Mt Batukaru is the very peaceful Pura Luhur Batukaru Temple. This area is also home to simple and beautiful Homestays  –  seek out  Pesona Bali Homestay.. ( not far from the temple) with a few rooms set back amidst rice terraces.

Rice Terraces of Jatiluwih-  enroute to Mt Batukaru-  explore the sweeping rice terraces honoring the Subak system of irrigation- recognized by UNESCO in 2012.
Read More on Bali Now!-  the concept of Tri Hita Karana

Munduk in the central highlands- a beautiful, non-commercial area where you can hike around rice terraces, coffee plantations, waterfalls and lakes.

Puri Lumbung Cottages: pioneer accomodations in this area  providing community support hospitality training;

Sanak Retreat  – gorgeous mountain views within rice fields:

Munduk Moding Plantation-  Luxury with exquisite views:

North Coast:

Zen Resort Bali: wellness Center with easy access to see dolphins!

Brahma Vihara Buddhist Meditation Center is located in Banjar close to the north coast- a beautiful place to visit.

Northeast Quiet:   

The remote and more secluded notheastcoast is lined with small retreat places
Rugged, rocky, black sand beaches-  turn off the outside world looking out to the sea.

Bali Mandala Eco Retreat–  one of the first peaceful retreats on this coast-  still like Old Bali Days:

Bali Cottage Sambirenteng  – delightful little quiet paradise-  4 simple garden rooms- one with seaview.
Charming staff prepare wholsome food.
A 2-bedroom unit available on request.   Find on Booking com

from Ubud, driving to the Northeast is an easy drive-   one hour first as far as Mt. Batur and Lake View now filled with trendy coffee and lunch places for a relaxing stop.  Then another hour drive on quiet but windy backroad up through Madenan… you reach, the northeast coast at Sambirenteng.
Along this coast drive is the village of Les where there is a lovely waterfall to hike to.

Northwest Coast:

Pemuteran is an area off Menjangan National Park where the best corals, snorkeling and diving is found off Bali.

Taman Sari
offers a lovely range of accommodations:

Biorock Reef Restoration Project:

Turtle Hatchery Pemuteran:

Menjangan Dynasty:  luxury tents overlooking the bay and sea with a private beach:

Secuded luxury in nature at the edge of West Bali National Park:
The Menjangan:
Plataran Menjangan:

Crossing over to Java:
from Pemuteran, approx 40min. drive brings you to the ferry boat crossing to East Java  where you can explore Ijen Crater and continue onward overland across Java.  Train travel on Java is now very much improved.  Journey to Probolinggo 4.5 hours by train and then a 1 hour drive to Cemoro Lawang – the Mt Bromo viewpoint.
See more on Train Travel- East Java Volcanoes-  Ijen to Bromo–  Click HERE

Ijen Resort and Villas   at the foot of stunning rice terraces:

There is also an airport in Banyuwangi, East Java- check out a short flight from DPS to BWX, or flights to Jakarta.
Enjoy discovering special places- Selamat Jalan!

Copyright 2006 by all rights reserved.