Tradition and cutting-edge efforts of “the island where gods live”
Known as one of Asia’s leading resorts, Bali often captivates visitors with its charm. In addition to its beautiful beaches, the island has many unique cultures and customs such as historic temples in harmony with nature, scenic rice terraces with lush rice fields, and traditional dances in colorful costumes. All of this explains why it is called “Plau Dewata (island where the gods live)” by locals. Furthermore, on the Spring 2023 Peace Boat Voyage , we plan to observe the total solar eclipse at sea before calling at Bali. Expectations are also rising for observing mysterious celestial shows. Let’s embark on a journey around a beautiful island with many charms.
Experience the unique culture of the island
Indonesia is a majority Islam country, but Bali, located to the east of Java where the capital Jakarta is located, is rooted in Balinese Hinduism, a fusion of Hinduism and indigenous beliefs. One of the customs that represents such Balinese culture is “Chanan,” a prayer with feelings of gratitude for the gods. This is an offering of colorful flowers and incense such as red, white, orange, and purple in a small plate woven from palm leaves and banana leaves. If you see Chanan offered all over the city, you will be exposed to the faith that lives on the island.
The mythical dance drama “Kecak Dance” is also one of the performing arts that you will want to enjoy when visiting Bali. The Kecak dance performs the ancient Indian epic “Ramayana”. A dancer dressed in a gorgeous costume dynamically plays the mythical story in which the rebirth of Vishnu, the incarnation of the Demon King, and the god of monkeys appear. Kecak dance is characterized by the ring of male chorus that surrounds the dancer in layers. Rhythmic and thick chorus by dozens of people greatly enlivens the stage. Coupled with the bewitching dance, the stage is wrapped in a unique uplifting feeling, and you are drawn into the world of fantastic stories.
To the spectacular spot on the island
Taman Ayun Temple, located in the Midwestern part of Bali, is said to be one of the most beautiful of the six major temples in Bali. As the name of the temple means “beautiful garden”, a tower called “Mel” with many thatched roofs is built in the precincts surrounded by waterways. Taman Ayun Temple is also a place to give thanks for the blessings and fertility of water, and also serves as a facility to manage the water to drain into the surrounding rice terraces. For this reason, it is also called the “Temple of Water” and has been registered as a World Heritage Site.
The rich rural landscape with terraced rice fields is also a spectacular sight unique to Bali. Beautiful terraced rice fields spread all over the hills of Jatilui, which is lined with deep green mountains and canyons. In addition to the scenery, this terraced rice field is famous worldwide for its unique traditional irrigation system called “Subak”. Subak is built on the Balinese Hindu philosophy of harmonizing God, people and nature with a history of over 1,000 years. Due to their cultural value, these terraced rice fields are also registered as a World Heritage Site. If you take a walk along the paddy fields, you will be able to experience the faith and life inherited in this area.
Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bali. It is one of the six major temples in Bali along with Taman Ayun Temple, and is also known as the “Rock Temple” because it is built on a huge rock floating in the sea. The attraction of this temple is its location. Especially when the sun sets over the horizon, it’s a beauty that can’t be beaten. At dusk, many people come to see the magnificent view of the sky and the sea gradually turning orange. The approach to the temple is also a highlight. There are restaurants, food stalls and souvenir shops, and it is a fun area to just walk around while looking at the shops.
A School in the Wilderness
Deep in the jungle near Ubud in central Bali is the world’s most environmentally friendly and innovative school, the “Green School”. The school was founded in 2008 with the aim of creating a “sustainable environment”. As the name “Green School” suggests, it is made from plants and naturally derived substances as much as possible. In particular, the school building made by combining bamboo is very open because it has a high ceiling and no walls. Of course, the stairs, desks and chairs are all made of bamboo. In 2014, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also visited the site, which is attracting attention all over the world. The Peace Boat Voyage also offers an optional tour to visit the Green School when calling at Bali.
At Green School, about 400 children from elementary school to high school from about 30 countries around the world study. By living in a green environment from an early age, the students will grow up to be children who think deeply about the global environment and sustainability. Students are living comfortably in a recycling-oriented environment, such as by introducing a bio-toilet that decomposes and processes excrement by the action of microorganisms and composts it, and by growing organic vegetables on a farm on the premises. Get in touch with the world’s most advanced activities at a green school with abundant nature—The trip around Bali is also an important opportunity to think about the future of the earth.