Bali is one of Indonesia’s many vacation islands. Here you will find long beaches, unique landscapes and numerous Hindu temples. The tourist infrastructure is outstanding. Visitors find some of the best internationally recognized Restaurants, hotels and spas for their money.
Bali is the westernmost tip of the small Sunda islands of the Indonesian archipelago. It is located in the Indian Ocean at about 8°30’ south latitude and 115° east longitude between Java and Lombok. “Nusa Dua” (“Two Islands”) -Bali as the locals call it, consists of the small island of Bali and Nusa Penida and has a total area of 5561 square kilometers.
Like almost all the Indonesian islands, Bali landscape is dominated by volcanoes. The still active Mount Agung (3,142 meter- high) is the highest and most sacred mountain in Bali. Bali landscape can be divided into four regions. In the South lies the so-called “Rice Bowl”. It is the most fertile and therefore the tourist part of the island. Eastern Bali features impressive mountains while the North is rather sparse with a narrow coastal strip which is used for agriculture. Most part of Western Bali was declared a national park. In “Taman National Bali Barat”, the flora and the fauna have found a protected sanctuary.
History and Economy
It is believed that men settled in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan were the first immigrants to Bali from 2500 to 1500 BC. Around 100 AD began the Hindu-Buddhist period, triggered by the colonization of Indian merchants and religious missionaries. Around 400 AD, the first kingdom in West Java and Eastern Borneo was created. In 1049, Bali regained its autonomy but became a Javanese colony in 1343. After the conquest of Java by the Islam, the Great Empire splitted and subsequently became independent, creating the provinces of Bali. Their rulers, the Radjas, were now to be kings of their own empires.
In 1522 the Portuguese settled in the Moluccas; in 1596, the Dutch founded a trading post in West Java which led to the colonization of the Indonesia by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The independence movement began in 1906 in many regions of Indonesia, but independence was not proclaimed until the liberation from Japanese occupation (1942-1945). Indonesia became independent on 17th August 1945. Since then, Bali has been a part of the country.
Agriculture and tourism are the most important sectors of the Balinese economy. Over half of all workers are employed in the tourist industry, the rest mostly in the agriculture sector. 65% of the island are agricultural land and rice remains the most important crop. Coconuts, fruit, rubber, sugarcane, tea, coffee and a variety of spices are harvested in Bali. Cattle and pigs are also another source of revenue.
In the south of the island, Denpasar is the capital city and has its own airport.
Singaraja, the former capital, is located in the north.
Ubud is the artistic center in central Bali, surrounded by rice fields.
Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Sanur are the tourist areas featuring white beaches, like Nusa Dua in the South East.
The fishing village of Padang Bai links Bali with the island of Lombok thanks to its ferry.
In Bali, you will find tropical heat with high humidity. Due to its proximity to the equator, there are two seasons in Bali : the dry season (April to October) and the rainy season (November to March). The year-round average daytime temperature is 23 to 30 °C and the water temperature remains constant from January to December at about 27 °C. This is why Bali is an attractive tourist destination throughout the year.
Population and Languages
Bali has around 3.2 million inhabitants ; 95 % belong to the Balinese ethnicity. Balinese and Bahasa Indonesian are the main languages although English is also widely spoken and understood.
Outside India, Bali is the only region in the world with Hindu population and the only Hindu island in Indonesia. The majority of Balinese are Shivaities which means they mainly worship the god Shiva. The temples archirtecture is very peculiar. In them and around them, thousands of fastuous religious ceremonies are held every year.
Bali is the most visited tourist island in Indonesia. About 4 million visitors a year come to spend a holiday here and enjoy the numerous cultural attractions. However, Bali has succeeded to keep its own cultural identity. Out of the 5,000 dance and gamelan exhibitions which regularly take place to celebrate religious ceremonies, only a few are open to tourists.
Some places like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak have known a strong Western influence over the last few years. Most tourists come from Australia, Japan, the USA, Germany and the Netherlands. The Ngurah Rai International Airport is located near Jimbaran and Kuta.
American and Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for at least six months with a free unstamped page (children and infants need their own passport). Upon arrival, they will be delivered a VoA (Visa on Arrival) at a cost of 25 US $. We recommend you to have this fee ready before your departure. Tourist visas are valid 30 days.
When leaving Indonesia, you will pay a fee of about 150.000 Rp (about 17 US $) at the airport.
The Indonesian currency is the rupiah (Rp)
GMT + 7 = +12 hours than EST
- Besakih, the mother temple
- Tanah Lot, the Sunset Temple
- Ubuh, Bali’s art center (paintings)
- Celuk, a village of silversmiths
- Bedugul Botanical Gardens
- Mas, the woodcarving village
- Gitgit, waterfalls
- Rice terraces in central Bali
- Temple festivals and funeral burns
- Lake Bratan – lake and temple
- Ulu Watu, rock temple built on a cliff in Southwestern Bali