Located 600 mi/965 km east of Jakarta, the island of Bali is among the most popular stops in Indonesia, and it's no wonder why—the island's friendly people, Hindu culture, rhythmic dances, volcanoes, sculptured rice paddies, spectacular beaches, and beautiful jungle and mountain scenery—combined with a wide array of accommodations—make it one of the most fascinating places in the world.
Indonesia has become a troubled land and is slowly recovering from its struggles. A series of terrorist bombings in Jakarta and Bali caused a significant decline in tourism, and bloody civil conflicts in other parts of the country discourage nonessential travel to such areas.
And if Indonesia's social and political troubles weren't enough, the country has suffered a number of devastating natural disasters in recent years. A 7.7-magnitude earthquake, volcanic eruptions and several major tsunamis have rocked the nation, killing and injuring thousands, and recovery is a slow process.
Still, amid all this, Bali Island remains a magical getaway that doesn't seem of this earth, much less part of the troubled country that surrounds it.
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