Bali offers best spiritual destinations
It was the island’s holy vibrations and mystical culture that attracted the first generations of world visitors here, making it ideal as a spiritual travel destination, an official says.
Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of the Bali Tourism Office, told Bali Daily recently that, aside from its natural beauty, people kept coming to Bali to seek spiritual harmony, because it was packed with religious and traditional rituals, as well as many sacred places of worship.
“Bali seems to be one of the world’s centers of spiritual energy,” explained Subhiksu.
In the last few years, the island has welcomed spiritual seekers, healers and people in search of spiritual harmony.
A number of spiritual and religious national and international events have also been held here in the island’s ashrams and yoga retreat centers.
The island has been internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading destinations for yoga and spiritual retreats, as well as holistic practitioners.
Thanks to the Hollywood movie Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts, Bali is again on the world tourism map as a spiritual destination.
Subhiksu said all religious and traditional ceremonies are embedded in the daily lives of the Balinese Hindus.
“Their devotions and respect for all of God’s creations — human beings, nature, animals, plants — are reflected in their everyday activities, creating harmony in our tangible and intangible worlds,” he said.
A visitor from France shared a memorable event from her holiday in Bali.
“When I visited the holy Besakih Temple in Karangasem, I felt like I was crossing into another world. The peaceful and meditative moments I experienced there were incredibly astounding. It really changed my whole perspective on life,” Isabelle reminisced. More and more people were feeling the desire for a deeper connection with nature, beauty and the powerful energy. Subhiksu added that tourists who came to Bali for spiritual activities were usually those who stayed for quite a long time.
“These are the people who really want to learn about our culture, traditions and religion, not just enjoy the beaches and entertainment,” he said.
There were many spiritual leaders from overseas, who have come to Bali bringing with them their faithful followers, Subhiksu said.
“It has been effective promotion for Bali in the international tourism world,” he said.
He suggested developing spiritual tourist destinations in the northern and eastern parts of Bali, such as Kintamani in Bangli regency, as well as in Karangasem regency.
“The natural conditions of both locations are suitable for spiritual destinations,” he said.
Kintamani, located near Mount Batur and Lake Batur, is considered one of Bali’s sacred sites.
Bangli Regent I Made Gianyar said that his administration had closely cooperated with related institutions and organizations for the development of Kintamani as a spiritual destination.
The regent said he was working with with the Indonesian Travel Agencies Association (ASITA), the Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) and the Tour Guide Associations (HPI) to to realize the plan.
Putu Subaya, chairman of the Tour Guide Association, said that upgrading the knowledge of local tour guides on Balinese culture, traditions and religion was one of the association’s attempts to support the plan.
“It will be important for any registered tour guide to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the richness of Bali’s culture, traditions and spiritual life to their guests,” Subaya explained.