Bali is the only island in the Indonesian archipelago that is predominately Hindu, in contrast to the rest of the islands, which comprise the world’s largest Muslim population. For the Balinese, Hinduism is not just a religion—it’s a fundamental social and spiritual value that forms the bedrock of Balinese culture, from dance and painting to architecture. In the 1970s, Ngurah Rai International Airport was expanded, and Australian surfers flocked to the small island. This first generation of foreigners were followed by others from all around the world, drawn to the pristine nature, nearly millennia-old traditional culture, and Balinese sages who bequeath secrets to a balanced life. Then came creatives with high hopes of learning about self-care and sustainable futures through yoga and meditation. More than just a tourist destination, Bali is now the ultimate mecca for alternative living.

Welcome to the 82nd issue of B.

Modern society has conditioned humans to the cycle of perpetual adaptation. They adjust to evolving work paradigms, family structures, and social hierarchies— not to mention rising generations, new cultures, and emerging technologies. We take it for granted that adaptability is the ultimate survival skill. This holds especially true for urban dwellers, who remain invariably admired through the ages. Concepts that are largely considered virtues like convenience and efficiency, to name a couple, originated to satisfy the demands of city life. Likewise, for millennia, cities have peddled grandiose dreams and ideals to acculturate residents. Unfortunately, though, this never-ending chain of forced adaptation overruns our ability to raise questions. The momentum pushes us to just keep moving forward. But an unquestioning life is nothing more than simple survival because to be alive is to question who you are as a person and why you continue to live on.

This issue introduces Bali, a place where asking profound existential questions is the norm. It’s easy to find glowing testimonies of the island professing that this is the place to ruminate and discover answers to life questions. Countless also share a similar story of embarking on a short trip to Bali, only to settle down on the island and never look back. A popular tourist destination located among over 10,000 Indonesian islands, it’s fascinating to see how Bali is consumed like a religion. Truth be told, Bali may very well be the only place on earth where people can experience both a spiritual awakening and an incredible creative energy that never disconnects from the rest of the world—an assertion evidenced by the island’s status as a surfing and yoga mecca. Unlike most physical activities that condition the body and mind, yoga and surfing introduce unique spiritual challenges. Case in point, surfing teaches humans how to let go in the face of vast ocean, and yoga engages practitioners on a journey to self-discovery.

Known as a paradise for yoga and surfing retreats that also has fascinating cultures beyond tourism, Bali’s reputation is not all owing to the natural beauty. In fact, most people B met in Bali waxed lyrical about the all-embracing quality of the Balinese people. Other places that B has covered for city issues— namely Berlin, Portland, and Bangkok—also attract talented newcomers because they accept the new and the diverse. Such inclusivity is one of the greatest values that a good city offers. And it seems that Bali tops this list of highly inclusive cities. People are free to stay and leave as they please, and a veteran island dweller of two or more years can mingle easily with a visitor on a two-week stopover. One traveler on a brief sojourn to Bali said that it was like a “home you can come back to whenever you want.”

If foreigners can move around and feel like a place rivals their home turf in terms of comfort, it’s without a doubt that there’s more than national tourism promotion policies at work. And that’s why Bali continues to be praised ardently as a singular destination. Along with inclusion, many point to a great sense of balance in Bali and among the Balinese people. In this sense, balance is how a society can flexibly interact with external stimuli while retaining a strong cohesive identity. This sense of balance can be earned only by those prioritizing self-preservation. Going back to the idea of human conditioning, the Balinese practice constant self-reflection thanks to powerful forces of nature and millennia-old religious practices. It seems natural, then, that city dwellers accustomed to being pushed along by external stimuli would find Bali original and fresh. Returning the body and mind back to an ultimate zero point is to regain a center of gravity. A digital nomad B interviewed in Bali offered a great line about this state of balance: “It can be said that rebels who want to control their lives visit Bali. [···] Then, they realize that they can do pretty much whatever they want.”

Eunsung Park
Content & Editorial Director

INTRO


EDITOR’S LETTER


IS BALI WORTH VISITING?

Stories about Bali and Balinese culture


SURFERS IN BALIE

Three surfers talk about surfing life


LIVING IN THE WAVES

Creator Thai Little talks about surfing communities in Bali


SURF REPORT

Bali’s top surfing spots and wave types


DIGITAL NOMAD DIARY

Digital nomads discuss their lives and decisions to settle down in Bali


WORKING REMOTELY

Bali’s top coworking spaces teeming with digital nomads


YOGIS IN BALI

People in pursuit of a balanced state of body and mind through yoga in Bali


SPIRITUAL LIFE

Spiritual cultivation and daily practices from two yoga studios


VIEWPOINTS

Regular sojourners to Bali talk about their experiences in-country


OUTLINE

An essay reflecting an intimate understanding of Balinese culture and key concepts that encapsulate Balinese society


BALINESE HOUSES

Traditional houses that embody Balinese social values


BALINESE CUISINE

Iconic Indonesian dishes available in Bali


NEW DESIGN PRACTICE

Five creators committed to connecting traditional beauty with modern tastes


CULINARY VENTURES

Ecological farms and local restaurants that revolutionized Balinese culinary culture


LIVING IN BALI


The lives and living spaces of incomers in Bali


OBJECTS

Objects that demonstrate Bali’s artistic style and craftsmanship


THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BALI

Hot spots in six areas rich in Balinese culture


OUTRO

PUBLICATION RIGHT

Publisher Suyong Joh
Executive Director Myungsoo Kim
Content & Editorial Director Eunsung Park
Managing Editor Sojeong Jeong
Lead Editor Narae Kim, Sol Lyu
Editors Jaewoo Seo, Chanyong Park, Jean Kim, Hyun Son,
Assistant Editor Heewon Shin
Photographer Miyeon Yoon
Art Direction & Design Yuwon Choi
Marketing Hyunjoo Kim, Yeubin Kim
Sales & Distribution Suyeon Kim, Kiran Kim
Managing & Editing (English Edition) Jean Kim
Translation (English Edition) Rancy Kim, Bongah Shin, Hyejoo Lee, Seongae Yang, Soonok Hwang
Copy Editing (English Edition) Sarah Kessler-Jang
Correspondents Mihye Nam (Tokyo), Lena Shin (LA), Alex Seo (London), Sanghyeok Lee (Berlin), Hyeseon Jeong (Paris), Mark Carter (Bangkok)
Thanks to Suzy Kim
Publishing JOH