Monday, April 30, 2012

Bali, Indonesia: March 20 - 24, 2012

After a few days in Hong Kong, we hopped on a series of planes and went on our way to the island of Bali in Indonesia!  Bali is an incredibly beautiful island, I would recommend it to anyone who would like to see Indonesia. We stayed in Ubud, a city in central Bali. Most people stay on the Southern coast, but we really loved our location as it was a fantastic spot from which to explore most of the island and the city of Ubud was such a neat place.

Our gorgeous resort

We were lucky enough to get to be there during Isakawarsa (Saka New Year) which is the New Year according to Bali's calendar. This year it fell on March 23, 2012.  There are many traditions leading up to this day, and the one we were able to witness occurred the night before the New Year called the Bhuta Yajna Ritual.  The people of Bali spend the days leading up to March 22 building these massive ogoh-ogoh's which are statues made of bamboo and paper that symbolize negative elements or malevolent spirits.  On March 22 after the sun goes down, the statues are paraded around the cities and towns, accompanied by live music and a sort of dance.  It was so impressive to be able to witness this, and it was a blast as the people have so much fun! After this ritual takes place, the ogoh-ogoh's are burnt or destroyed to get rid of the negative elements.


On March 23 following the Bhuta Yahna Ritual is Nyepi day.  This day is a Day of Silence observed from 6 AM on the 23rd to 6 AM on the 24th and is a day reserved for self-reflection. No-one is permitted to leave their home (the streets are completely empty), even the residents who do not practice Hindu observe the day out of respect for their following citizens.  Everything is closed, even the airport!  What this meant for us as tourists was that we were not allowed to leave the hotel. This wasn't so bad for us as it followed 4 busy days of touring around Bali, and it was the most beautiful day of the week! So were were able to sit by the pools and relax all day. Now who could complain about that?

It was absolutely amazing to be able to be in Bali during this important time for the Balinese people. While in Bali we were able to see some beautiful temples, meet some of the friendliest people, and enjoy delicious Indonesian cuisine.

Would I go back to Indonesia? Definitely! It was such a beautiful country full of wonderful people and an amazing culture and history.

Here are some more pictures from our time in Indonesia.

That stylish sarong isn't just for show! You had to wear them in order to enter the temples

I hope they don't kill me, but I really love this picture!

We are going to miss you Indonesia!

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