Barong, in Balinese mythology, is a panther-like character, that’s the king of spirits and the leader of all that’s good. Rangda is the demon queen. Their battle, the Barong dance, is the eternal battle between good and evil. Tourism in Bali is a Barong dance in itself - a battle between all that’s good and the bad. Before I visited Bali for the first time I was picturing: A tropical paradise Strange and exotic temples Digital nomads furiously typing away in cafes Instagram influencers furiously shooting reels Surfy beaches Most of it was true. But I had attributed a layer of serenity to the whole thing which, in hindsight, was an illogical assumption. Given that N and I pretty much stuck to the standard tourist circuits of the island, the Bali we encountered was steamy, dusty, and chaotic but when you can put in the work presents parts that are dreamy and serene. However, I’d have to visit again to go off the beaten path a little bit to really see the quiet paradise side of it.
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