When people think of Bali, they immediately think of stunning beaches, verdant rice paddies, and rich culture. Or maybe it’s the sunsets and spas on almost every corner that entice people the most. It is all those things and more. But Bali is a unique island that is more than what it seems. Here are some lesser known facts about the island and five reasons why you should go.
1. You Can Get Off the Grid
Most people don’t think they can still find hidden treasures in tourist-driven Bali, but if you want to get away from it all, head to the northwest coast. You’ll be surprised to find towns with little-to-no tourism. Deserted beaches, beautiful water for scuba diving, rice fields, and jungles are all within reach. It is even possible to find your own plot of land without any neighbors to rent a house on. Jembrana is the least explored region on the island, and should be your first stop if you’re looking to get away from it all.
2. Easy International Travel
Bali is an island but you won’t be isolated. International travel is easy and affordable. Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar (the capital) has direct flights to 40 cities in 19 countries around the world. Countries as near as Malaysia and Australia, and far as Qatar and the Netherlands. And flying within Indonesia is even cheaper with flights to 20 cities starting as low as $35. You may not want to leave Bali, but at least you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when you need a change of scenery.
3. Balinese Craftsmanship is Incredible
Have you always wanted to design your dream home with quality custom furniture at affordable prices? Here is your chance. If you rent or buy an unfurnished home, there is no reason to worry about finding the right furniture. Wooden furniture shops can be found in almost every town. You can get anything you want custom made for you; they can even recreate something from a magazine. The craftsmanship is impeccable. You could rent an empty house and furnish it with all handcrafted local furniture for less than you could buy a couple of beds back home.
4. Taste the World’s Most Expensive Coffee
Kopi Luwak, otherwise known as “cat poop coffee,” is produced in Bali. It is made from the droppings of a civet cat that has eaten coffee cherries. The acids in the digestive system partially digest and ferment the fruit, and after the droppings are collected, it gets dried and roasted…killing any bacteria. Because the beans go through a fermenting process, the taste is described as less bitter and smoother that regular coffee. Authentic Kopi Luwak has sold for as high $100 per cup, but in Bali, you can go to the farms where it is produced, take a tour, and sample a few cups.
5. First Names are all the Same
Children are named after the order they were born, regardless of their gender: Wayan means first born, Made or Kadek is second, the third child is Nyoman or Komang, and the fourth is Ketut. Imagine going to a party and meeting five Wayans and two Mades—so confusing. To differentiate themselves, they will add a nickname like Wayan Legu (mosquito) or Made Santi (peaceful), so there is some hope of distinguishing people.
What do they call the fifth, sixth, and so on? They start over with Wayan but might add Balik which translates loosely to “again” or “another.”
As an expat, you will undoubtedly meet many locals. They are some of the friendliest people and always want to have a chat, so learning the meanings of their names gives you an insight into their family order.
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