Natural beauty, beaches and mystical culture are the characteristics of this magical island. Thanks to the harmony of numerous opposites and the natural hospitality of the people, Bali is considered one of the world’s most attractive destinations
Bali is an Indonesian island located between the islands of Java in the west and Lombok in the east. This is also the smallest province of Indonesia. The capital of the island is Denpasar. Bali covers an area of 5.780.06 square kilometers, and it has the population of about 5.6 milion. The majority of the island’s inhabitants are Indonesian Hindus, who are a minority in Indonesia. Bali is a major exporter of rice, coffee, cotton and tobacco, and an extremely attractive destination on the tourist map of Indonesia.
Also known as the Island of Gods, Bali appeals through its sheer natural beauty of looming volcanoes and lush terraced rice fields that exude peace and serenity. It is also famous for surfers’ paradise. Bali enchants with its dramatic dances and colorful ceremonies, its arts, and crafts, to its luxurious beach resorts and exciting nightlife. And everywhere, you will find intricately carved temples.
THE HANDCRAFTS OF THE GODS
There are thousands of gift shops in Bali. From Denpasar to Ubud, you’ll find many things you’d like to bring back home. Balinese signature souvenir range from delicious snacks and beverages, to the exquisite handcrafted goods like Tenun Bali. If you are thinking of bringing home souvenirs, your best bet is the souvenir market at Sukowati, where you may be overwhelmed by choice.
Most of the starred hotels are located near the beach. Some even have their own private spots at certain beaches, where you can splurge on exclusive privilege. You can find them easily at popular spots like Kuta, Sanur, and Seminyak.
Kuta has a large variety of boutiques and shops, selling everything from bright T-shirts, surf-wear, flip-flops to creative trinkets. If you wish to buy dried foodstuffs, Bali coffee is the most aromatic one. You may also want to buy aromatherapy essential oils to sprinkle your bath with.
SAVOR THE ATMOSPHERE
As Bali is located 8 degrees south of the equator, you will find the climate to be the typical tropical, warm and humid all year round with two main distinctive seasons: Dry Season and Rainy Season. Some of the areas around Bali’s central mountains (volcanoes) have several peaks over 3,000 meters above sea levels. Up here the temperatures are considerably cooler, and there is much more rainfall than in the coastal areas.
Bali’s white beaches are certainly a favorite destination for family holidays. There are a variety of watersports available, such as banana boats, parasailing or jet skiing. Kuta is one of the most well-known beaches in Bali. Along with this stretch are an array of hotels, restaurants, shops, and cafes. In the evenings the area throbs to the beat of disco music.
For a quieter evening enjoy the beach at Jimbaran, a popular spot to eat fresh barbecued seafood. Seminyak is home to five-stars International hotels and luxurious accommodation studded with fancy dining spots. Sanur Beach also dotted with hotels and restaurants. You can also visit Nusa Dua, where more private beaches front super deluxe hotels.
PUMP YOUR ADRENALINE
Surfers love the waves at Nusa Lembongan near Nusa Penida. These islands are a 45 minutes boat trip from Nusa Dua or from Sanur. At Nusa Penida’s south western coast are the Manta Point and the Malibu point where divers can swim with Travally, big rays, and even sharks. Kelingking Beach, Atuh beach and Broken beach among the most famous spots of Nusa Penida.
The best dive spots can be located at Menjangan island, with its reef flat, anchor wreck, eel garden and caves to explore. Located in the western part of Bali, you can enjoy the rare sight of deer swimming near the beach.
Try exploring or trekking the West Bali National Park, where you may get up close and personal with Bali’s rich flora and fauna, such as Jalak Bali or the Bali Starling.
Bali offers first-class adrenaline-pumping white water rafting down the spectacular Ayung River by Ubud. If you enjoy cycling, Ubud and its surrounding is a wonderful town to bike around.
FEAST YOUR EYES AND SOUL
Mountain climbers may want to climb up Gunung Agung. Begin your ascend from behind the temple or through the village of Sebudi. However, make sure to ask permission first from the temple authorities, as the Balinese religion prescribes that no one may stand higher than the sacred temple especially when ceremonies are being held.
Another mountain for your adventurous hike is the beautiful Mount Batur, that overlooks the serene Lake Batur in Kintamani.
The Kecak dance is staged most dramatically in the open-air setting on a cliff, by the Uluwatu temple. Experience the unforgettable moments where the sun slowly lowering in the sea over the horizon beyond this beautiful temple serenade with Balinese most iconic art performance. The Kecak dance tells the story of Ramayana wherein prince Rama’s wife, Sita, is abducted by the ogre Rahwana.
After exploring hours are done for the day, you can surrender in total relaxation and experience the best of Balinese spa, located all over Bali. Balinese spa products are made with fine quality local ingredients and are perfect for you to also bring home as a souvenir!
There are many modes of transport to help you get around in Bali. A variety of excellent half day, full day and overnight tour packages are available from your hotel desk or any of the numerous travel agents and tour operators which abound in Bali. You can also find a car and driver who will also be your guide. Tell the driver your desired route and negotiate a fee.
An important virtue to have while on the road in Bali is patience! Although the road system in the heavily populated areas is quite reasonable (condition wise), it can also be heavily congested at peak periods.
Ceremonial processions often take up the entire road so if you’re caught behind a procession, enjoy the colorful experience.
Cover photo: Image by Alit Suarnegara from Pixabay