The different faces of Bali

I started off thinking that there were two sides to Bali – beach-and-surf Bali, beloved of Aussie travellers, and green-and-natural Bali, with its rice paddies and mountain forests.

Turns out I was wrong. There are many, many sides to Bali, and the three weeks I spent on the island was just about enough to scratch the surface.

There are parties going on in the resorts, of course, but vibrantly painted fishing boats on quiet beaches reflect a way of life that existed long before the tourists arrived.

Painted boat at Padang Bai

High on the forest-clad volcanic peaks, quiet views unfold over dreamscape lakes, around which wild flowers grow in stunning profusion.View over Lake Bratan

And in every temple and pagoda – there are reckoned to be 10,000 of them across the island – ancient carvings, tombs and cave entrances are wrought from a veneTemple sculpture, Pura Ulun Danurable, lichen-encrusted stone. This is a culture that has aged gracefully with the elements, seen at its best in the cultural heartland of Ubud.

You might find fulfilment in the Balinese dance and cookery classes, yoga and well-being retreats, shadow-puppet displays and reef-snorkelling trips – all the stuff that sells Bali to most visitors.

But let Bali seep into your soul in other ways too, as you sit under the palms of an emerald rice paddy or scatter flower petals at a mountain shrine.

Surf-bars and beaches, you can find anywhere. Islands of almost infinite charm – they’re much harder to discover.

See more images on my 30-second video ‘Postcard from Bali’.

  1. Hi Jules, have just discovered you on Facebook and your julestoldme blog. Lovely to see you review Bali as we head there for hols in 5 weeks. Also think we may have been at school together. I am Pam Kemp nee Zubak and think I remember you in my class at school at Almondbury Comprehensive School and also at Greenhead College, Huddersfield along with a few other like Alison Shaw, Catherine Robson, Jane Sweetnam, Ann Crockford, Andrew Roberts etc etc…….. to name just a few. Can’t believe I have been buying Rough Guides all these years and now realise you may have written many of them !! My hubbie and I have been living in Dubai for the last 2 years as his job brought is out here in 2013. I was a Market Research Manager for many years most recently based in St Neots, near Cambridge, but am now a self-employed professional genealogist, researching and writing up people’s family histories, which is fascinating. I haven’t kept touch with anyone from school sadly but do pass on my regards to anyone you’re still in touch with, know you were always good pals with Catherine and Alison. Nice to have caught up with you after all these years and good luck with your blog. All the best, Pam 😊


    • Hi Pam, amazing that you’ve happened upon me here, glad to meet you again after all this time! I’m still in touch with a few people you mention, and great to hear about your life – sounds fascinating too! My email is on the website if you’d like to be in contact, and welcome to Jules Told Me!


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