It is a well known fact that Bali culture and Indonesia as a whole has a history that is both bloody and full of strife. Having being colonised by the Indians and the Dutch, Bali had to endure going through a period when the Japanese expelled the Dutch as well. All in all, these events that took place over hundreds of years only served to enrich and support the Bali culture. Furthermore, it needs to be said that the multi-religious environment that is currently present in Bali has served to influence its traditions, heritage, art and also its cuisine. When travelling across Bali, it is apparent that the Indians, Japanese and Dutch have left their indelible mark upon the island.
However, it is this heavy influence that has served to ensure that Bali culture remained rich as sophisticated. UNESCO has named the Pakerisan Valley, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Taman Ayun Temple as World Heritage Sites largely thanks to their aesthetic value, which is unlike any across the whole world. The Pakerisan Valley is a testament to the early settlement by the Hindus and the Buddhists. The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located close to the Subak rice terrace system of agriculture which is in Tabanan. Last but not least, the Taman Ayun Temple was built during the 18th century and is surrounded by a pool. The ingenious sculpture and design ethos of these early works just showcases what type of culture Bali truly had.
And indeed, Bali does even thrive now thanks to the preservation of its heritage. Having won numerous awards and accolades for being the best island in the world, even as recently as 2009, Balinese culture is a tourist attraction per se. Bali also does boast many art forms such as sculpture, painting, woodcarving, performing arts and handcrafts. Some of their dances include topeng, barong, gong keybar, and kecak, which are adored across the world. A visit to Pura Gunung Kawi would also show you 1,000 year old monuments built for the dedication of the island’s royalty.
Many tourists are rather surprised that such a diminutive island is able to offer such a cornucopia of things, the fact remains that it is largely thanks to its culture and heritage that Bali possesses such a rich patina of both class and sophistication which is unlike any other in the Asian region. When visiting Bali, it is best to plan ahead so that you do visit during the dry season when there is sunshine all season round. This would help you at the end of the day to enjoy a culture that is intrinsic to Bali along with a tropical climate that is also part and parcel of this amazing island.