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In pictures: the beauty of Bali, above and below the waves

More of a state of mind than a place, the most popular Indonesian island conjures instant thoughts of a tropical paradise with a soft spiritual soul and a healthy dose of mysticism thrown in for good measure. Bali tops many a traveller’s bucket list and has been drawing the visitors for decades, our guest bloggers the very talented Jeff and Katy Foster from Nomads Expeditions – who have had work published in the National Geographic – showcase their beautiful Bali photography both above and below the waves…

Bali is perhaps most well known among travelers for its world-class surf, booming nightlife scene, and endless colourful stalls of kitschy souvenirs. The island offers a cheap date for Australians looking for an exotic tropical vacation within a relatively short flight from home, and provides travellers from more distant reaches of the globe a gateway into the vast and diverse archipelago of Indonesia. Yet behind the lively and vibrant tourist hotspot that many people think of when they hear the word Bali, lies an island with a calm and tranquility that can be hard to capture with words.

Bali has a culture unique amongst the Indonesian islands, and hosts sights, sounds, and tastes all it’s own. Over 80% of the islands population identifies religiously as Balinese Hindu, the influence of which can be found in the islands many temples, music, and arts. Mornings on Bali are filled with calm rhythmic chanting sounds emanating from the temples and the soft smell of incense wafting up from carefully crafted daily offerings. Balinese cuisine delights the palate with complex spice combinations complementing a range of fresh cooked meats and vegetables, the ingredients of which are selected daily from bustling morning markets. The exciting flavours and calming sounds leave a lasting impression, however it’s the sincere friendliness of the Balinese people that defines the island in the hearts and minds of travellers.

Although Bali is undisputedly aesthetic topside, much of the islands beauty lies below the waves. Part of the Coral Triangle (an area famed for it’s extraordinarily high marine biodiversity), the waters surrounding Bali are home to a rich array of marine life. From pygmy seahorses to manta rays, Bali is a worthy dive destination for those seeking macro and megafauna alike. Affordable training in scuba diving is easy to find along the southern and eastern coasts, and you can even attend a freediving school if you are looking to escape the bubbles.

With a wealth of art, culture, interesting food, ocean adventures on and below the waves, Bail has no shortage of ways to stimulate the senses. Of course, if all you are looking for is simply a beautiful white sandy beach with palm trees…Bali has that too…

All words and images by our guest bloggers Jeff and Katy Foster from Nomads ExpeditionsAn adventure blog, started by two marine biologists and photographers, they specialize in documenting remote places far off the beaten path, such as the jungles of Papua. Nomads Expeditions also strives to share information and images from more well known and loved stops along the way.

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