Diving Off White Sandy Village
A large number of tourists visit eastern Bali Island. Candi Dasa is the right place to base your eastern Bali tour, especially for a culinary tour. It is pretty easy to reach the location, only two hours away from Kuta. A wide range of places to stay, from guest houses to hotels, are available here. The eastern part of Candi Dasa borders forests and beaches. Buitan, Mendira and Senkidu to the west offer more accommodation options.
In the 1960s, an influx of hippies arrived in Candi Dasa, which was a quiet fishing village back then. Upon the construction of roads, however, more visitors come in and guest houses, small hotels and cafes started crowding the place. Trading has been growing rapidly here since the 1990s. According to a tourist guide book published in the early 1990s, "Candi Dasa is an interesting place, relatively comfortable and peaceful wherein you can enjoy best dinner. You can simply lie in the Sun here, or take a dive, or lie on the bed at night with the rolling waves lulling you to sleep".
Candi Dasa was originally named Cili Dasa, which means 10 kids. The village was built in the 11th Century. A temple, which hosts a Buddhist Goddess of Fertility statue, sits on an ascent near the main road spanning through a lagoon. Candi Dasa is especially renowned for its beautiful white sandy beach panorama.
The Lonely Planet's travel guidebooks about Indonesia always highlight the undeniable presence of art in people's daily lives in Bali. Hinduism combined with longstanding Buddhist influences have contributed to the unique beliefs of the Balinese, whose strong characters seem to have been shaped by their lush tropical home. Throughout Indonesia, impressively known as the "Land of Myriad Islands", no place can hold a candle to Bali in terms of its arts.
In Bali, people express profound spiritual values in their daily routines. Works of folk art serve as prisms to enchant tourists and bring fame to this tropical island. In residential areas of Bali one finds temples set within large spaces. These large temples are ancient royal religious sites. One also sees thousands of small familyrun temples, each of which is an intriguing
structure bearing no resemblance to those found in the cradles of Hinduism or Buddhism.
Inspired by the Sacred Mountain of Meru, the entrance gates take the shape of the Sacred Mountain split in two, allowing pilgrims to express the idea of the ascent to ultimate salvation. The small structures in these temples are especially interesting. These include wooden or brick towers, central temples and side wings. Most of them are roofed with palm leaves and topped with golden statues. Under the azure sky, the sight of people bringing offers to the temples or placing sacrifices on the ground leaves a strong impression on watching visitors. While the streets may be as busy as those in Jakarta, silence presides in the temples. Basre- liefs of Nagas guard staircases, and sacred Garuda Birds are carved onto rafters. Images of fairies and heroic guards linger in our minds.
The islands beaches and bars attract tourists, who come here to surf, dive and enjoy extreme sports. Yet the influx of visitors has not deprived Bali of its ancient cultural identity.
Along coastal walls, we may catch sight of small ceramic bas-reliefs, each of which depicts an old folk tale about how people lived in the past. Using droll patterns and bright colors, ceramic paintings, like carvings, are popular with tourists, who take them home as souvenirs. Tour companies bring visitors to craft villages specializing in wood carving, stone carving, handmade silverware and glass blowing... A matrix of handicraft villages spans the island, giving endless choices to shoppers. Which one is better, a South Pacific tribal mask or a set of mosaic marble table-wares? Although a wooden Buddha statue is tempting, those funny wooden Pinocchio dolls are also equally enchanting.
Hundreds of shops line the road to Batur Volcano, showing off the rich imaginations of local artisans who employ materials such as steel, iron, wood, stone, rattan and bamboo to create modern wares with distinctly Balinese styles. From a giant stone Maitreya statue to little gossamer butterflies carved out of wood, each item reveals Balinese peoples unique artistic tastes.
Bali offers a wild mix of tourist gimmicks, distinct calm, charming locals, incorruptible religious beliefs, and a passion for graphic arts. Just like traditional batik fabrics that feature dozens of intertwined colors, life in Bali is characterized by a wide array of shades and ideologies. For visitors, Bali is always memorable and always alluring. No matter where we have been, we look forward to returning to Ваli.