For me, the most striking feature of Bali is not its famed beaches, riced terraces or religious rituals. What Bali left impressed on my memory are the smiles of its people. The Balinese talk softly, are gentle in their actions and always responds with a smile even if they don’t speak in English, or don’t know the direction you asked for, or haggled for a price they cannot offer.
Pico Iyer believes that “[Bali] was governed by a race of noblemen, artisans and priests that had been chased into exile across the seas.” It is true that during the 15th century, intellectuals, artisans, spiritual gurus and the rest migrated from eastern Java to Bali when the Majapahit empire collapsed. But I doubt that the Balinese remains to be in exile in this majestic island. They brought with them their religion, art and history to this place they now own.
If you go to Bali, please smile to them for me.
If you want to know more about how contagious the smiles of the Balinese people are, check out the guest article I wrote for Itevia a site that supports locals by showcasing their ethnic crafts and fair trade products. Check out their site.