Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Bali
Cox & Kings reviews the island of Bali in Indonesia, and tells you about destinations to visit, places to eat, where to stay and things to do!Article Credit: Alefiya Rashiq
Population: 4.225 million (approx. in 2014)
People: Balinese (90%), Javanese (7%), Baliaga (1%), Madurese (1%), Other (1%)
Religious Groups: Hindu (83.6%), Muslim (13.4%), Christian (2.5%), Buddhist (0.5%)
Languages: Bahasa Indonesia (official Indonesian), Balinese, English
Government: Constitutional Republic-Indonesia and Community Structure
Time difference: UTC +8 (2:30 hours ahead of India)
Currency: The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR or Rp.)
Voltage: 220-240V, 50Hz, Plug type C/F
Telephone Country Code: +62
Internet Country Code: .id
Geography And Location
Bali is a small fertile island, among the string of islands that make up the Indonesian archipelago. It is located 8 degrees south of the equator with Java Sea to the north, and Indian Ocean to the south. Spread over an area of 5,636 km (approx.), Bali lies between islands Lombok and Java. The province includes the island of Bali, and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. Important cities include the capital – Denpasar, the beach resort – Kuta and the island’s cultural centre, Ubud. The south-central area is the rice basket with many crop fields. Mount Agung (3,031 m) is the highest mountain, and an active volcano. Bali is also part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species.
The Weather In Bali
Bali has a fairly tropical climate all year round, and average daytime temperatures vary from 20-33⁰ C. The seasons alternate between dry and wet. April to September are the dry and preferable months for visit, while October to March are the monsoon months. However, the weather is unpredictable and it can rain any time of the year. It is warmer around the coast, but as you move inland towards the mountains, it gets cooler. During Easter and Christmas, accommodation prices are higher, while May-August are perfect as the crowds lessen and rains are light.
The History Of Bali
Bali has been inhabited since the early prehistoric times. Immigrants from Asia populated the island, shaping the Balinese culturally and linguistically. The entry of Indian traders introduced Hinduism and Sanskrit writings. In 1597, Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived, and the Dutch soon established rule over Bali. Their control ended when Japan took over during the World War II. Following Japan’s Pacific surrender in August 1945, the Dutch promptly returned, only to be sent back by the Balinese military during the Battle of Marga. Tourism started in the early 1970s, and helped in improvement of roads, telecommunications and education.
Bali offers a lot of variety in terms of food. You can dine at high-end restaurants or enjoy eating at warungs (roadside stalls). The Balinese cuisine is rich owing to the heavy use of local herbs and spices. Some of the traditional delicacies include Babi Guling (stuffed pig roasted over coal fire), Bebek Bututu (smoked duck marinated with a mix of spices, and cooked for over 12 hours), Sate Lembat (meat on a stick), Tahu (tofu) and Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice). These dishes are generally paired with Tuak, a home-brewed palm wine.
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The People Of Bali
The Balinese are a culturally distinct ethnic group known for their paintings, sculptures, dance, drama and traditions. Most of them are Hindus, and observe religious ceremonies in their temples almost every day. Farming is their primary way of earning a living. The Balinese society is very community oriented and has two important structures, Banjar and Subak. Banjar organizes temple ceremonies, marriages, cremations and even creative art festivals. Subak is the group of rice paddy owners, who makes decisions regarding the production and irrigation system.
Getting To & Around Bali
Nguruh Rai International Airport in Denpasar is a gateway to Bali from all major countries. To move around within, metered taxis are a good choice over private bemos (mini vans), as they offer transport at variable fares. Renting a moped/bicycle is a better option for travelling short distances. Bali has no major waterways, although you can navigate to some of its sister islands by ferries.
Where To Stay In Bali
Bag packers can settle for budget hostels, while those looking at a luxury holiday have scores of hotels, resorts and villas to choose from.
Where To Go And What To Do
This land of volcanic lakes, spectacular rice terraces, ancient temples, coral reefs and stunning beaches is an exotic melting pot of cultures. The flamboyant island offers so much to see and do, that it is sure to keep you occupied throughout your holiday.
Scuba Diving And Snorkeling
Whether you’re a first-timer or a pro, diving in Bali gives you much more than you expected. You can enroll yourself at one of the centres that train you to face the ocean, and lets you explore the fascinating marine life. Amed, Padang Bay, Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan are popular diving sites, so make sure to visit them if you’re in Bali.
Tanah Lot, The Floating Island Temple
Picture this: A beautiful rock formation, the sun setting in the backdrop, waves crashing and you standing amidst it all. Experience this and a lot more on your visit to Tanah Lot, one of Bali’s iconic temples built by Hindu priest, Dang Hyang Nirartha. Oh and beware, venomous snakes are believed to guard the temple at the shore!
To get a better picture of the local Hindu traditions and ceremonies, you can visit the cliff-side Uluwati Temple, and the Besakih Temple on Mount Agung.
Ubud Monkey Forest
A trip to Ubud Monkey forest is your chance to get up close and personal with over 600 macaques or the Balinese long-tailed monkeys, as they are locally called. In addition to monkeys, the lush green forests, mystical stone sculptures and historical temples make your time spent in the sanctuary, worthwhile!
If you enjoy encounters with the wildlife, then make sure to include Bali Safari & Marine Park, and the Elephant Safari Park to your to-do list.
Rejuvenate On Beaches And In Spas
The greatest thing about Bali is that you need not do anything ‘touristy”. You can simply sun bathe, go surfing or just relax at one of Bali’s stunning beaches, like Kuta, Suluban, Nusa Dua and Sanur. And if you’re really in the mood to indulge, then many lavish spas offer everything to pamper you, from rejuvenating massages to flower petal baths.
Witness Sunrise From Mount Batur, An Active Volcano
This one’s a must-visit for the breathtaking views encompassing the foggy Batur Lake, and the volcano behind it. The lake is formed in a deep crater, which was created due to volcanic eruptions that occurred thousands of years ago. We highly recommend a midnight trek to the summit of the mountain (1,700 m) to get a glimpse of the sunrise and the splendid vista. After all, when will you ever get to climb an active volcano?
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