Even though Bali is only a small provincial island in the country of Indonesia, the so called "Island of The Gods" can be easily separated from the rest of the universe. First and foremost it attracts travellers by its spirit, hospitable and easy going people with stunningly exotic culture. Furthermore, the Balinese nature tends to perfectly reflect the inner beauty of the locals offering tourists its remarkable beaches, waterfalls, lush greenery, wildlife, savannahs, and volcanic landscapes.
Eco-traveller should be aware that the industrial south can get slightly overcrowded during summer and Christmas/New Year seasons. Therefore, my advice would be to get out of the mainstream and head north towards the rural parts that characterize much of Balinese spirit.
An ideal place to stop would be Ubud as it is one of Bali's major arts and culture centres. Ubud tourism focuses primarily on Balinese culture, holistic therapies, and nature. In comparison to the hectic industrial south, Ubud is surrounded by forests, rivers, rice paddies, marvellous eco-resorts and a peaceful atmosphere like no other. Some say that in order to heal the world, one must cure himself first. Therefore, Ubud is a perfect place for self-healing and meditation.
Where to stay.
Bali offers a good variety of sustainable eco-friendly resorts, villages, villas, homestays and retreats. Balinese natives respect their culture, natural environment and the divine spirits, therefore, many local tourism entrepreneurs are interested in building socially and environmentally sound businesses. For example Bali-eco-village was created using only natural minerals and aided by the local community. Their ecological initiative and engagement are admirable and worthy of any green-travellers attention.
Bloolagoon is another highly respected eco-village following the principle of "doing more with less". The resort uses minimal electricity, recycles the water and grows its own food for the restaurant.
With a more rural touch is Kali Manik eco resort which is constructed from natural and social resources. Up-to-date environmental practices such as waste water gardens, solar heaters, organic fruit and vegetable gardens, garbage recycling, vetiver plantings etc. are in the core of the Kali Manik resort concept.
The list is far from being over. There are many other environmentally sound lodges located across Bali ready to accommodate a sustainably conscious traveller.
What to do.
No eco-friendly travel would be complete without an educative process. Bali Budaya Tours offers a first-hand experience of the Balinese culture through its educational cycling tours, volcano & jungle treks, island tours, and snorkelling activities. According to their beliefs, in order to see "The Real Bali" the traveller must get separated from the main tourist areas, and through the hands of locals be given a real experience of typical Balinese daily life.
Also check out the list of Bali Eco and Cultural Tour providers for more insight!
Throughout the year Bali offers a large variety of unique festivals, events and other cultural activities that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Check out the Bali Events Calendar for 2012/2013 for more details when planning your trip.
For those who seek holistic healing and wellness therapies, Bali is the destination for you. The list of treatments is truly endless. And if you've seen "Eat, Pray, Love" and thought that it was magical, i assure you, there are more wonders than you could ever imagine just waiting to be experienced.
What to eat.
There are plenty of exquisite "Warungs" all over the island offering a diverse selection of meals for both vegetarians and meat lovers. However, locals do prefer lighter meats like fish and chicken rather than highly energy consumptive beef and pork.
There is also one place that everyone loves! And it is Bali Buddhaa highly sophisticated health food shop & caf? that should certainly be visited. So far they have 2 caf?-shops that can be found in Ubud, Kerobakan and one shop in Bukit. So don't even think about leaving "The Island of the Gods" without trying some of its finest, greenest and divine eco-foods!
Photo credit Daniel Bali-Passion