The Best Travel Books About Bali

Thinking about planning a trip to Bali or simply hoping to bone up on your knowledge about the Indonesian island province?

Pick up one of these insightful books, recommended by travel literature expert Don George:

  • A House in Bali (1947) is Canadian musician Colin McPhee’s classic account of Balinese music and dance and their central role in Balinese life during the 1930s; it remains one of the most penetrating and illuminating books on the island’s elusive, alluring culture.
  • In Fragrant Rice: My Continuing Love Affair With Bali (2004), Australian Janet De Neefe recounts how she fell in love with Bali—and with a Balinese man. De Neefe, co-founder of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and owner of two restaurants, a guesthouse, and a cooking school in Ubud, has been a resident of Bali since the mid-1980s, and her book–part autobiography, part cultural narrative, and part cookbook–is an insightful introduction to Balinese culture and cuisine.
  • In A Little Bit One O’clock: Living With a Balinese Family (1998), William Ingram, co-founder and co-director of Bali-based Threads of Life–an organization dedicated to the preservation and promulgation of traditional Indonesian weaving–offers an intimate account of his own introduction to life on the Indonesian island.
  • Bali Soul Journals (2013), a great read written by Bali resident Clare McAlaney with photographs by Trish McNeill, presents a sumptuous exploration and evocation of the heart and soul of contemporary Bali.
<p>The colorful streets of Bo Kaap weren't always this way. The facades were once mandated to be a drab, uniform color during Apartheid. After, the residents painted their homes every color of the rainbow to celebrate their freedom from oppression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

South Africa

The colorful streets of Bo Kaap weren't always this way. The facades were once mandated to be a drab, uniform color during Apartheid. After, the residents painted their homes every color of the rainbow to celebrate their freedom from oppression.

 

Photograph and caption by The Scenic Suitcase

Don George is an editor at large at Traveler and the author of The Way of Wanderlust and Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel WritingHe has also edited award-winning travel writing anthologies, including An Innocent Abroad. Follow Don on Twitter @don_george.

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