Bali: There’s just this astonishing sense of flow

tukad unda dam

“…In Bali, for the most part, the flow of traffic – and of parenting, and of life – is smooth and organic, despite a complete lack of stop lights, road signs, junk food, iPads, or anything resembling a lane or a cohesive set of rules. There is no crazed speeding, no swerving, cursing, angry honking, road rage or middle fingers. It’s true for the whole of Balinese life, actually; there’s just this astonishing sense of flow.

As a result, thanks to endless ritual, offerings, long-standing community connections and a deep, relaxed veneration for all forms of divinity that’s unheard of (if not nearly impossible) in the west, kids turn out sort of… luminous. They tend to be calm and friendly, curious and kind. Like all Balinese, they smile easily. They do not scream and lurch, they do not walk around all sullen and bitchy.

How refreshing. How unlike anything we think we know. How frequently we should keep asking ourselves: How many ways are there to dance this amazing dance, really?”

~ Mark Morford, 101 Ways Not to Raise Your Kid

Image Source: NatGeo Photography by Lisa Hendrawan at Tukad Unda Dam, Bali.  This dam is on a river called Tukad Unda in Klungkung, Bali. Locals regularly bathe and wash their clothes here. It’s also a fun place for the children to play.


  1. Alex Jones says:

    This article caught my attention. Off now to check out Bali.


  2. Bali’s been on my bucket list for a while now. It just moved up a few notches… 😉


  3. Alex Jones says:

    Sent some time studying Bali’s background, a beautiful culture corrupted by mass tourism:


  4. Bali sounds like paradise 🙂


  5. I think you just contributed to their tourist numbers exponentially..


  6. Fun splashing on a hot day. I hope they don’t slip down that waterfall.


  7. Interesting to note about the correlation of lack of stop lights and not being accident prone. There have been studies that suggest the more safety nets you create the less safe people’s behavior becomes. Makes sense to me! Bali sounds wonderful. It’s nice to know about their culture. Thanks for sharing!


  8. lkanigan says:

    Heard its a great place from many.


  9. Makere Stewart-Harawira says:

    On my bucket list also.. More than ever now.. Thanks David!


  10. Packing my bags and moving to Bali …


  11. I’ve been to Bali and have to agree that it is a calm environment.


  12. I’ll bet there’s little need for bucket lists in Bali.


  13. I read the full article by Mark Morford. He took a lot of heat for his parenting suggestions. Many people had their egos bruised I think by his disapproval of the typical “western” style of parenting. Instead of seeing the beauty of the Balinese way of nurturing children they only saw their own style criticized. Too bad. They missed the message and will influence others to stay close minded as well.
    I want to go to Bali. Eat, Pray, Love boosted its tourism a lot. May it stay enchanting.


    • HI Brenda. I want to go to Bali too. I like the “output” – the children and their kind gentle way about them. I wonder if this style of parenting (including me) would work in the US.


  14. I remember visiting Bali during the 1970s when I was on HMS Devonshire. A lovely place to visit.


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