“Island of Bali” – Our favourite Bali Books

They call it COVID 19 and it has brought tough and uncertain times to many of us. Who would ever have thought that the entire world comes to a hold? At no other time, ever in our lives, we where able to see what would happen if the world simply stopped.

Social media pages are filled with comments of people asking, looking forward to when they will be able to leave their houses, when they will be able to travel to Bali again. As it appears to be at the moment no one can really tell. There’s nothing we can do but wait. Yet in the meantime we can travel with our imagination and discover, explore and escape the confinements of our four walls by reading books.


A book is like a garden carried in your pocket. (Chinese Proverb)


For those who have been visiting our home, surrounded by the rice fields and have met with us personally, you know that we are no big fans of the crowded and over constructed areas which, in our opinion, have taken away the very thing that made Bali so special. But to each their own, no judgment intended.

If you are curious to get a feeling for what Bali used to be, and in some parts still is, we warmly recommend to read the Book “Island of Bali” by the Mexican painter Miguel Covarrubias. He visited Bali with his wife Rose two times back in 1930 and 1933. Rose was a photographer and some of her pictures accompany Covarrubias’ books revealing a very intimate look into the live of the Balinese people in those days. Just as Covarrubias’ paintings they are testimony to the paradise that Bali was in those days.

Map of Bali with the Rose of the Winds. Gouache and watercolour on paper. MIGUEL COVARRUBIAS (Mexican, 1904-1957)
Map of Bali with the Rose of the Winds. Gouache and watercolour on paper. MIGUEL COVARRUBIAS (Mexican, 1904-1957)

Covarrubias narrates about Balinese Culture, daily life, all the different gods and the Balinese belief in good and evil. Despite the book being written such a long time ago much of the content is just as relevant today as it was back then.

Travel with your imagination, guided by the words and impressions of Miguel Covarrubias and hopefully for some of you, when you finally can come to visit Bali again, you will be inspired to discover and explore a side of Bali which maybe you haven’t been aware of and that still can be found and experienced beyond the hustle and bustle of Bali’s Beach Clubs, its fancy restaurants and long lines where people wait to have their picture taken on a swing.

Photographs from the book
Photographs from the book “Island of Bali” taken by Miguel Covarrubias’ wife during one of their visits.

Oh, and before we forget, should you decide to buy a copy of the book, any book for the matter, grab or order it in your local bookshop instead of one of the big online stores and support your local community.


Read a short summary of the book at Good Reads:



Stay safe everyone 🙏


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