At A Glance: Bali

Also known as: The largest province of Indonesia.

Population: 4 million and climbing (fast). Bali is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority (most of Indonesia’s population is Muslim).

Government: Bali is a province of Indonesia and therefore ruled by the Indonesian government. Indonesia won independence from the Dutch in 1939 and is now considered an ‘independent republic’; it has sovereignty over itself and a military dictator. Most people in Bali still adhere to the old caste system used while Bali was under Dutch control; much like the Indian caste system, it is based on socio-ethnic standings.

Median household income: A census has not been taken on the median household income for Bali. Bali is considered a third world country. The exchange rate for their currency is 13,000 Indonesian rupiah to every 1 US dollar. Needless to say a majority of the population live well below the American poverty line.

Weather: Bali is considered a tropical climate with a dry season that lasts April-September and a rainy season from October-March.

Our favorite places:

-Gili Air: a tiny island off the coast of Lombok, this island is BEAUTIFUL, full of activities such as diving and snorkeling and home to some wonderfully nice people.

-Sidemon, a small village in mountains outside of Ubud, this village deals in natural weaving textiles and has the backdrop of some epically serene rice paddies.

-Raditya Massage, the most AMAZING massage place in Ubud (down an alleyway and in a small family home), this is where the real restorative healing happens.

-Ganesha Seafood Restaurant in Jimbaran Bay. Pick out your live red snapper, king prawns or barracuda and be prepared for the most delicious grilled seafood of your life!

-NOT KUTA, DO NOT EVER GO TO KUTA (see previous post).

Fun facts:

-You can get a $7 dollar traditional Balinese massage or reflexology almost anywhere on the island.

-If you buy something at a market the owner of that stall will take your money and wave it over the rest of their goods for good luck.

-Gili Air is home to a festival called Burning Island (that we happened to attend) that brings some of the worlds best DJs to their beaches for three days of non-stop dance party.

-A not so fun fact: like murder, drug trafficking is a crime that receives capital punishment in Bali.  The government recently executed 7 foreigners for smuggling heroin into the country on their way to Australia; they are awaiting appeals for two more Australians currently in custody.