The People of Bali

Indonesia, Photography

Bali is different. This became evident as soon as we landed on the island and saw temples in front of every house, shrines in every rice field and offerings on all the sidewalks. A Hindu enclave in a Muslim country, it is much different in many ways than the rest of Indonesia.

However, there is one thing that remains like the other islands we have visited: the people are extremely friendly, open, kind and helpful. The people of Indonesia are easily some of my favorite that I’ve met in my travels.

Below is a collection of photos of the people we came across in Bali.

Learning to surf is hard. Seen on Kuta Beach.

Kristi: You are from Flores? We are going there.
Boys: Yes, Yes! But how did you know we are from Flores?
Kristi/Jeff: Your T-shirt.
Boys: Ah! (Laughing)

Safety standards are different here. Can you imagine this in America?

But, seriously?

Balinese dance: robotic, rigid, precise, with detailed finger and eye movements set to the clanging Gamalen orchestra. It is something that must be seen to appreciate.

We could see this coming from a mile away. For 10 minutes these four girls would look over at us then glance away and giggle when we’d look back. They were trying to work up the courage to ask for a photo.


Women in Indonesia are experts at carrying things on their heads. I suspect these two ladies were on their way to a wedding. We were in Ubud on October 24 which is an auspicious day to get married. There were weddings everywhere.

A stroll along the beach.

Kids near Munduk in central Bali. When I asked to take the photo, the girl on the right came running down from her house to join. They were so excited but then gave this shy pose.

Boy sweeping away leaves at a temple in a remote rice field in central Bali. I think he likes the Smurfs.

A competitive game of beach soccer/football. Surprisingly, the game featured lots of running around and no scoring.

A proposal on the beach and a very happy bride-to-be. He’d have proposed sooner but he had to pay off his tats before he could buy the ring.

This boy eyed us for quite some time while we were people watching in a market in Ubud. When he put his head on the motorbike, I had to take the photo.

We tried to help the flip-flop vendor by assisting him in the harassment of tourists. Sadly, we didn’t make any sales.

No photo essay of people of Bali would be complete without an under-dressed tourist.

Locals playing beach games at lively Kuta beach.

Kuta beach at sunset.

A cigarette promotion at a Circle K complete with a live band.

“People travel to far away places to watch, with fascinatioin, the kind of people they ignore at home.” We were very interested in the people working the rice paddies in Bali, although we never did figure out what the long bamboo poles with sticks stabbing through them were for.

Egg vendor. Don’t those need to be refrigerated?


Seen in Ubud. Likely on their way to one of the many weddings.

I don’t (usually) go around taking photos of young girls on the beach. They requested I take their photo. I’m not creepy. I promise.

To help fund this trip, I’ve been working as a Balinese dancer.


Posted by

Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

17 thoughts on “The People of Bali”

  1. You make a lovely looking Balinese dancer Jeff. 🙂 A wonderful collection of photos. I am so pleased not to hear that you have been diving into volcanoes….today anyway.

    • Thank you Sue. I agree that I make a nice looking Balinese dancer. We did a 3 day trek up a volcano and now and I am exhausted. No more volcano trekking on this trip!

      • As much as I love reading about the adventure I will say I am relieved the walking into volcanoes has ceased. 🙂

  2. Your street photography abroad is as captivating as your landscape photography in Alaska! I love the quote about traveling to watch people, how true!

    • Thanks Laura. The quote is one of my favorite. I have watched a lot of regular people here. Then again, life is lived in the streets and out in the open so it is a little easier. Thank you for the complement and the comment!

  3. One of the recurring themes in this trip is apparently friendly locals, I notice. Good to know that, Jeff. And it’s even better to know that you’re heading to Flores afterward, one of the most photogenic islands in Indonesia I’ve ever been to. So Jeff, you’ve been to Hindu Bali, Muslim Lombok, and next you’re visiting Catholic Flores. 🙂

    • Then after Flores, we are headed to animist Sulawesi. It will be interesting to compare and contrast them all. The people of Indonesia have been great and it has been pretty easy to get around for the nost part. I’m looking forward to seeing more but sad that I don’t have enough time to see more!

  4. Wonderful photos Jeff! Bali won my heart several years ago – it’s such a unique, exotic environment with amazing people and customs. I’ve been thinking about you two traveling in Indonesia, hoping you’re managing to avoid all the recent seismic activity. Are you still there? ~Terri

    • Hi Terri,

      We left Indonesia this morning and we are sad, but we are in Hong Kong for 5 days before heading to the states so that is easilng the pain. I wasn’t able to blog due to internet that was non-existent or too slow. We spent the last 5 weeks in some pretty remote areas. When I get back home next week I’ll start to post from the trip and see what my fellow bloggers have been up to. It was sort of nice to be disconnected for awhile but I’ll be glad to rejoin civilization!

  5. Kyle Davis says:

    I love that the parents in that one pic have helmets but not the kid. I love your blog, Jeff.

    • Thanks Kyle. I have since taken many photos attestint to this strange fact. Most all kis ride standing up without helmets while the brains of the adults are esconsed in plastic. Thanks for the comments.

  6. Beautiful images! Great photos you took in Bali, the sunset image is so lovely and of course, those panning pictures of the motorbike were superb! Glad to see that you enjoyed your visit in Indonesia 😉

  7. Pingback: Bali: The Constant Gardener | GALLIVANCE

Join the Discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s