Bali, a tropical island in the Indonesian archipelago, is so picturesque and immaculate it could almost be a painted backdrop. It has rice paddies tripping down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soaring up through the clouds, dense tropical jungle, long sandy beaches, warm blue water, crashing surf and a friendly people who don’t just have a culture but actually live it. In Bali spirits come out to play in the moonlight, every night is a festival and even a funeral is an opportunity to have a good time.
Bali, a province of Indonesia, is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java. Its area is about 5,623 km2 (2,171 mi2), and its highest peak, Mount Agung, reaches 3,142 m (10,308 feet).
The population is 2,766,000; cities include Denpasar, the capital, and Singaraja. Volcanic in origin, Bali has a dry, mountainous north coastal section and a southern plain with a rainy monsoon season. The annual mean temperature is 28o C (82o F).
The Balinese, the major ethnic group occupying the island, are of Malayan origin. Balinese culture was indirectly influenced in the past by Indian civilization as traders passed through the Indonesian Islands. During the 16th century the ruling class of predominantly Hindu Java adopted Islam. As a result many Javanese took refuge in Bali, carrying with them Hindu beliefs and traditions. Today nearly all Balinese live in villages in narrow river valleys or along the coastal lowlands, where they raise rice, maize, cassava, pigs, and cattle for local use and copra, coffee, and tobacco for export. They practice a blend of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism that stresses dramatic rituals rather than philosophy and mysticism and have adopted a modified from of the Hindu caste system. The Balinese are noted for their graceful dances, lively music, and superb handicrafts-silver and gold jewelry, painting, and woodcarvings.
Bali, the perfect holiday destination for all ages offers something for everyone. This tropical paradise has a unique blend of modern tourist facilities combined with wonderful shopping and a rich past and heritage.
The Balinese people are proud of having preserved their unique Hindu culture against the advance of Islam, the dominant religion throughout Indonesia. This is still reflected in day to day life and can be seen in the numerous ceremonies, Balinese festivals and magnificent temples and palaces. Some of the best surfing beaches in the world can be found on the western side of the island whilst conversely the eastern side is a wonderful haven for families, with beautiful white sand beaches and gentle seas.
Bali is a shopper’s paradise particularly for casual and tailored clothing, locally made jewellery, handicrafts, antiques and artifacts. Leather ware is one of the unexpected local bargains with everything from handbags through to tailor made leather jackets and coats, all at unbelievable prices. In fact, prices are so inexpensive, you’re sure to need more room in your suitcase! Try bargaining at the street markets of Kuta, Sanur of Nusa Dua or fixed price shopping at a Denpasar department store. Bali has it all.
For those that want to stay wet, Bali has world class scuba diving, snorkelling and wonderful day trips out to Nusa Penida for beach sports and coral viewing.
When the sun sets, the choices are still hard to make – a quiet romantic moon lit dinner or watch the spectacular Balinese Fire Dance or Kecak Dance. For those that want to party, Bali has it all with bars, discos and nightclubs.
As a truly international destination attracting visitors from all over the world, restaurants in Bali are extremely cosmopolitan yet inexpensive. Experience not only local delicacies like Nasi Goreng and Sate Campur but also Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Italian/European and even Mexican cuisine. We must not forget Bali’s wonderful seafood – local lobster at such prices that you will want to keep coming back for more.
For those more culturally inclined, Bali can offer the peace and tranquility of Ubud high in the hills; the spectacular Mother Temple at Besakih; the ancient capital of Bali, Singaraja and the floating palace at Ujung near the pretty beach area of Candi Dasa. The Scenery is nothing less than spectacular. Jungle, picturesque hillside rice terraces and the awesome magnificence of Kintamani Volcano.
The more active, wanting a break from the idyllic beaches, can experience wonderful golf courses in the mountains at Bedugul and beachside at Nusa Dua, the thrill of white water rafting or kayaking down the beautiful Ayung River; mountain cycling amid scenery you will never forget and organized rice paddy and jungle treks to see the side of Bali most tourists never encounter.
Bali, a truly international destination, offers every standard of accommodation ranging from charming yet modest bungalow style hotels in lush tropical gardens for the budget minded through to arguably amongst the most exclusive and sophisticated hotels in the world!