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2 mins Read | 2 Weeks Ago

Bali Newsletter – June-2024

Plan Your Trip

Vacations – Travel magazine by ICICI Bank – June 2024


This month’s theme introduction

Deep in Heart

When we travel, it's not just about ticking off landmarks; it's about diving into the soul of a destination. And one of the most captivating aspects of this soul are its folk arts. They aren't just pretty decorations; they're the stories of a community told through music, dance, crafts and stories. They give us a glimpse into the past, shaping the culture we see today.

Each brushstroke, every note, every dance move carries a piece of history, passed down through generations. These traditional arts foster a sense of belonging and pride among locals, fostering a collective identity rooted in shared experiences and values. They serve as catalysts for social cohesion, uniting communities through celebrations and rituals that celebrate their cultural heritage.

For travellers, delving into the world of folk arts offers a profound and authentic immersion into the heart of a destination. Beyond surface-level attractions, it is through experiencing these art forms that one truly grasps the soul of a place.

Preserving folk arts isn't just about keeping traditions alive; it's also about protecting the world's diversity. It is not just a matter of cultural heritage but also of global significance. In an increasingly interconnected world, where cultural homogenisation threatens diversity, safeguarding these artistic traditions becomes paramount in maintaining the mosaic of human civilisation.

So, as travellers, it's not just about seeing the sights, it's about embracing the stories woven into every art form. Let's take this journey, where each mural, every folk song and every dance step leads us closer to the essence of a place.

Soul Trip

A Profound Journey

As we set foot in unknown lands, we are greeted with a myriad of experiences waiting to be uncovered. Each step forward is a step into the unknown, a chance to unravel the mysteries of a culture different from our own. It is in these moments of exploration that we discover the beauty of diversity and the richness of human experience.

Yet, amidst the excitement of exploration, lies a deep sense of appreciation. We come to realise that every corner of the world holds treasures worth cherishing—be it the intricate craftsmanship of local artisans, the haunting melodies of traditional music or the vibrant colours of indigenous festivals. Through our appreciation, we not only honour the past but also contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage for future generations to cherish.

But beyond discovery and appreciation, there is a higher significance to our travels. It is a journey that connects us to something greater than ourselves—it connects us to humanity's collective heritage. Across continents and centuries, our shared history is woven into the fabric of every destination we visit. Each artifact, each tradition, each story serves as a reminder of our interconnectedness and our responsibility to safeguard our cultural legacy.

Portugal – the cradle of European heritage

Bali – Arts Festival Month

Bali in Indonesia is a very special holiday spot for Indians. This is because of its widespread Hindu heritage. Bali is called the ‘Island of Gods’ and we can easily understand why. There are plenty of different gods in Balinese culture and religion, the three major ones being Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva). In the 8th century, when the first Shaiva Hindu priests arrived in Bali after travelling through Myanmar, Cambodia, Sumatra and Java, they found the locals already had a cultural tradition known simply as ‘respect your ancestor’ — a tradition found throughout Asia. The priests suggested that the inhabitants of Bali could follow the Shaiva teachings and ways of life but in their own way. This soft approach meant that Hinduism flourished.

As a result, the Balinese have many temples and many different ceremonies, because they are really honouring three religions rolled into one. The name of Bali comes from the temple in India, Balipuram or small Bali. It’s the connections like these which makes Bali specially fascinating for Indian travellers.

To truly experience the Balinese heritage and culture, music, art and excitement all in one place, the Bali Arts Festival is a must-visit. Held over a month in Denpasar, the province’s capital, this festival showcases Bali’s rich cultural heritage through all its art forms.

It’s a vibrant celebration and considered the heart and soul of the Balinese people. Both locals and tourists flock to the festival to enjoy parades and events centred around a unique theme each year. Known locally as ‘Pesta Kesenian Bali,’ this annual event attracts prominent Indonesian figures, from movie stars to political leaders.

The Bali Arts Festival started in 1979 and is typically held from mid-June to mid-July at the Bali Arts Centre. It is a four-week celebration of Balinese culture and way of life. This festival not only promotes and preserves centuries-old traditions of the Balinese and Indonesian people but also provides a platform for reviving endangered art forms, showcasing them on a grand stage and giving them a renewed lease on life.

Must-See Experiences at the Bali Arts Festival

Opening Parade

The festival kicks off with a vibrant parade at Puputan Renon Square. Bali’s eight regencies showcase their unique performance styles, accompanied by floats and envoys from other Indonesian islands. Traditional 'Gamelan' music enhances the lively atmosphere.

Amphitheatre Shows

Amphitheatre performances are a festival highlight, featuring competitions in traditional arts from remote Indonesian corners. The festival blends old and new, with groups competing in genres like Barong, Legong, Kecak and mask dances. These shows capture the essence of Indonesia’s cultural richness.

Culinary Experiences

Indulge in a unique culinary spread featuring Balinese delicacies and Indonesian favourites. The festival also offers a chance to explore handicrafts and artisanal works, reflecting Bali’s rich artisanal heritage.

Museum Exhibits

The Arts Centre doubles as a museum showcasing Balinese cultural artifacts. Festival exhibitions teach Balinese painting styles, highlight traditional clothing and body painting and feature puppet and theatrical shows.

Grand Ballet Finale

The festival concludes with the traditional ‘Sendratari’ ballet at the Ardha Candra Amphitheatre. This spectacular performance is a fitting end to a celebration of Bali’s rich cultural heritage.

The Bali Arts Festival is a melting pot of cultural diversity, blending modern and traditional music, dance and theatre. It’s an ideal place to experience Indonesia’s cultural variety in a short time, attracting tourists from all over the world. And if you get a chance to visit Bali while this festival is on, do try to catch its many offerings apart from everything that Bali has to offer all year round anyway – the beaches, the lovely sunsets, lush paddy fields, soothing temple sounds, sweeping views from mountains and much more. Enjoy!

Travel Smart

Summer Travel Tips

Summer is one of the most popular times to explore new places, whether it’s a beach getaway, a city adventure or a mountain retreat. The sunny weather and longer days make it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. However, summer travel also comes with its own set of challenges, such as heat and crowds. To ensure your trip is enjoyable and stress-free, here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your summer travels.

Pack Right: When it comes to summer travel, less is more. Take breathable, lightweight clothing that can be layered. Think cotton, linen and moisture-wicking fabrics to stay cool and comfortable. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun. A good tip is to roll your clothes instead of folding them; it saves space and reduces wrinkles. Also, pack a swimsuit, even if you’re not headed to the beach – you never know when you might find a pool or a hidden swimming spot!

Stay Hydrated: Summer heat can be intense, so always carry a reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated is crucial to avoid heat exhaustion. You can even infuse your water with fruits for a refreshing twist.

Plan Ahead: Summer is peak travel season, so plan and book your accommodations and activities in advance to avoid disappointment. Popular spots fill up quickly and booking early often means better deals.

Beat the Heat: Try to schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when the temperatures are cooler. Take advantage of the midday heat to relax indoors, visit museums or enjoy a leisurely meal. Use sunscreen with a high SPF and reapply it every two hours, especially if you’re swimming or sweating.

Stay Flexible: While it's good to have a plan, leave some room for spontaneity. Weather changes and unexpected events can alter your schedule, so stay flexible and go with the flow.

Travel Insurance: Don’t skip on travel insurance, especially during summer. It can cover unexpected cancellations, health emergencies and other travel mishaps.

Local Tips: Talk to locals for the best advice on places to visit, eat and explore. They often know the hidden gems that aren’t in the guidebooks. Do the things that they do in summertime.

With these tips in mind, you’re all set for a fantastic summer adventure. Safe travels!

 Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month

“To get a sample itinerary for Bali, "Click here

Slow Travel – a better way to explore

In today's fast-paced world, many travellers rush from one destination to another. They aim to see as much as possible in a short time. This hurried style of travel can harm the environment and local communities. It's important for every traveller to consider the sustainability of their trips. Slow travel offers a better way to explore the world.

Slow travel means spending more time in one place. It allows you to truly experience the culture and lifestyle of a destination. Instead of ticking off tourist spots, you connect with the local community. You get to know the people, their traditions and their daily lives. This approach reduces the environmental impact of your travel. You take fewer flights and use local transportation, which lowers your carbon footprint.

Staying longer in one place also supports the local economy. You spend money at local businesses, such as markets, restaurants and shops. This helps the community thrive and preserves their way of life. You are not just a visitor but a temporary resident who respects and values the local culture.

Slow travel is not only better for the planet and local communities, but it also enriches your experience. You find hidden gems that are off the beaten path. You have time to relax and enjoy each moment without the rush. This deeper connection with your surroundings makes your journey more meaningful.

By embracing slow travel, you become a more responsible and mindful traveller. You help protect the environment and support the people who call your destination home. Slow travel is a rewarding way to see the world, offering lasting memories and positive impacts.

Vacations travel question of the month 

When did the famous Bali Arts Festival start?

‘Vacations’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels – a social enterprise that promotes travelling as a means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of most authentic travel experiences around the world.

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