Bali is one of a handful of islands whose very name conjures up the exotic. The centerpiece for visitors to Indonesia's 17,000-plus island chain, Bali's luxuriant landscape is graced with terraced rice fields, volcanic mountains, forests full of monkeys, and sublime beaches.
Ever since the first European tourists arrived more than a half- century ago and became enthralled with Balinese arts & culture, the islanders have catered to the whims of visitors, all the while preserving their own unique worldview. Today the traveler who comes to the island looking for a rich, timeless cultural experience -- from touring Hindu temples to studying traditional dance -- will find it, just as the visitor who can't imagine a tropical holiday with- out swim-up bars and bungee jumping won't be disappointed: One observer has noted that in resort areas like Kuta, "Everything you want as a tourist and everything you hate about tourists coexists."
What inevitably captivates most visitors is the way the Balinese have managed, seemingly without effort, to hold on to a way of life in which everyday tasks, art, and religion are all intertwined. The so-called Bali Way just may reshape the way you see the world.