Bali is truly a unique and an amazing place. Its beauty and culture have made it one of the world’s top tourist destinations. This small Hindu island at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago is often referred to as the island of a thousand temples or island of the gods. There are literally thousands of temples that come in varying sizes, and during the many ceremonies held throughout the year they are adorned with colourful decorations.
Balinese are deeply religious people and are blessed with creative talents that are often used for religious purposes, hence as well as the many colourful temples, you will also see many incredibly colourful ceremonies. During your visit to Bali you are bound to see one or more of these ceremonies and the ubiquitous daily offerings to the gods, all made with an eye for detail and beauty. To see major ceremonies like Galungan, Kuningan, Ngaben or Nyepi, you need to be in Bali during certain time of the year. To find out what each of these major ceremonies mean and when they happen, please go to ‘What’s On’ page.
Just like the 17,000 or more neighbouring islands that make up the Indonesian Archipelago, Bali boasts an almost perfect tropical climate and scenery of unparallel beauty including the spectacular, uniquely manicured rice terraces and a string of volcanic mountains with Gunung Agung being the tallest at 3,142 meters. The rich volcanic soil and healthy monsoon season make the island extremely fertile. A range of crops grow easily and quickly here. Tasty tropical fruits and vegetables are in abundance and can be bought along the road side.
There are two seasons in a year, wet and dry with the average annual temperature around 27°C with June to August being the cooler months at 23°C. The rainy season is from October to March but rainfall can be expected throughout the year.
Bali stretches approximately 140 km from east to west and 80 km from north to south, so you can easily go round the island in a day. Balinese are known for their friendliness and readiness to smile and greet. They are very willing to speak English particularly in areas often visited by tourists. The official language is Bahasa Indonesia and like all the other islands in Indonesia, Bali has its own dialect that can be heard in the villages or local markets.
Bali has a population of 3,000,000 people, for the most part, they live in tight but highly organised village communities. Every village has at least two community elected leaders, one to deal with the business of government and the other with traditional or community s affairs. Ceremonies are mostly performed at the village level where everyone works together carrying out a predefined duty. Married women are expected to live with their husbands’ parents and other siblings making a house filled with large extended families. Balinese have a tradition of naming their children according to their order of birth for example, first born is always Wayan, second is Made, third is Nyoman and fourth is Ketut and then the cycle starts again. You will no doubt be introduced to many Wayans, Mades etc, thankfully each has a middle name which helps lessen the confusion.
The largest towns are the capital Denpasar in the south and Singaraja in the north. The main tourist areas like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are in South Bali and all are renowned for their proximity to the surf beach, the night life and shopping.
The seaside’s towns of Uluwatu, Jimbaran, Sanur, Nusa Dua and Candi Dasa in the south are very popular as well.
Those seeking spiritual tranquility tend to head to mountainous region of Ubud and its surrounding. Ubud is known as the artistic and cultural capital of Bali. Art galleries, artists’ homes and workshops dot the area. Also known as a healing place, this region offers many wellness programs including yoga and meditation.
Bali offers a string of activities for all ages and wishes. You can experience an adventure tour including bungy jumping, mountain or jungle trekking, river rafting, downhill cycling or the less adrenalin pumping but just as unforgettable such as visits to art galleries, temples or villages or cooking classes. No one should miss the opportunity to shop in Bali. Quality goods at good prices. If you venture out to the local markets, shopping becomes a work of art since you have to bargain the prices.
No matter where you go in Bali, you will find your ideal spot. You are certain to go back home taking memorable Bali moments and wanting to come back for more.