Bali (Indonesia), Sep 2 (IANS) A unique amalgam of nature and culture, blessed by balmy weather for most of the year, and friendly people, Indonesia's Bali is one of the world's most popular tourist spots, drawing in people from all over the globe. But where do its own people head to when they need a break?
Answers to the question are rather mixed as IANS found out in informal conversations with a cross-section of people during a visit to the scenic island for the Kaspersky Cybersecurity Weekend.
A visiting Singapore-based senior tech executive said that Bali, which is one of the over 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia, is not as small as it may appear on the map. At over 5,600 square kms, it is bigger than Singapore, almost equal in size to Brunei, and nearly three times the size of Mauritius.
And with its varied terrain - encompassing pristine beaches, challenging mountain hiking trails, rain forests, quaint villages, majestic temples, and more - there is a lot to explore for even the local residents.
Be it Ubud, with its verdant paddy fields, temples, street dance performances and museums - and its monkey forest, the resplendent Mount Batur and the nearby lake, tranquil Bratan with its floating temple, the stately Tanah Lot temple, the Sanur and Jimbaran beaches with their picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets, the Sekampul waterfall, the West Bali nature reserve, not to forget the nearby islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, Bali has lots of places to cater to its own people too.
"People of Bali may not need to go out of the island - those living near the beaches can go on to visit the scenic uplands, the natural parks, the mountains, and vice versa, for a change," he contended.
Singapore, and other ASEAN countries are also viable options that the Balinese can consider, he added.
An Indonesian journalist from Jakarta opined that his archipelago country is big and varied enough for people to consider travel within its own boundaries. He confessed that he was visiting Bali for the first time himself and hadn't been much around his own country too.
He also noted that many Indonesians, especially from Bali with its overwhelming Hindu population, also visit India for "spiritual reasons".
On the other hand, a taxi driver ferrying this IANS correspondent from Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport to a hotel in the Jimbaran area revealed that he has never been out of the country but would love to go to other countries like India or Australia to see different cultures.
Others in Bali - especially shops, restaurant, or hotel staff - confess that they would love to go around for holidays but remain busy with their work as the tourist season spans almost three-fourths of the year - from April to December, with a pick up from Christmas time.
Even January to March - when the island witnesses heavy rains, there are visitors seeking deals in the off-season.
"Where do people from Bali go on holiday?" repeated a helpful tour group liaison.
"To home to sleep."
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