Everybody knows Bali, but not many people can name many other islands in Indonesia, of which there are 17.508… Bali represents a tropical, exotic paradise, that has something to offer for every kind of traveller. You’re bound to experience the ultimate holiday feeling.
Bali is a more than popular island for those who love sun and beaches. This part of Indonesia still has so much rich, historic cultural traditions on offer, but there is so much more to experience. There are still some really wild parts, away from the tourist resorts. The rugged west, for example, with protected coral reefs and rainforests. And the wild north, where volcanoes rise up out of the landscape.
Sun, sea and sand, that’s Bali to most people. Its famous long beaches have remarkable yellow sand, but some (in the east) have got black lava sand. The many beaches are what makes this such a popular destination for sun lovers, but there is also great diving and surfing here. There’s a lot to say for this small island in the ‘belt of emerald’, as this area is sometimes referred to.
All over the island you’ll discover how close the gods are here. There are lots of Hindu temples. They’re not particularly large or impressive, but some are really worth a visit because of their location. They might be in the middle of a rainforest, on a steep cliff on the coast, or right in the middle of a lake.
Bali is located between the islands of Java and Lombok, but it really has its own unique atmosphere, and its location also creates its own climate. Even when it rains on the surrounding islands, it can be sunny and dry on Bali. And the climate also provides life under water in the surrounding sea.
The coral reefs around the island are in pretty good shape, and is home to more than 1.000 fish, 260 kinds of coral and 70 kinds of sponges. The diversity underwater is great because the island is located on the ridge where the tropical water meets the cooler water from the south, so the different kinds of animals like to call it home.
About 75% per cent of the Balinese people is Hindu, and about 10% is Muslim, the rest is either Christian or have no religion. The Balinese believe the mountains are a source of life, and home to the gods, who decide what happens on earth. A volcanic eruption shows their anger, but also brings fertility to the soil. And the rivers bring precious fresh water from the mountains. There isn’t a whole lot of wildlife, other than monkeys and especially birds.
Best time to visit Bali:
Bali knows roughly two seasons: the wet and the dry.
- Wet season lasts from December to April. But this doesn’t mean it will rain all day, there will be showers every now and then, especially in December and January. It’s likely to be cloudy and muggy. There will be fewer tourists and the island is extremely green and lush, with many colourful flowers. The rain does cause a lot of debris to flow into the ocean, which can create poor visibility underwater. The temperatures are between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, but it can also reach 35.
- Dry season: this is peak season in Bali. The hotels and resorts will be full, the sun will be shining, and the beaches will be full of tourists. The temperatures can get up to 35 degrees, and even up to 40. This can really hamper any activities you might want to undertake unless it’s a water sport. But it’s a lot less humid than in the wet season.
Bali has many luxury resorts, small hotels and private villas for rent. You can book your preferred kind of accommodation from home. If you’d like to get a taste of the local culture, stay somewhere small. If you’re after luxury, there are lots of resorts to choose from. Of course, you can combine the two, especially if you’re touring around.
In nearly all temples it is a requirement that your legs are covered, but it’s no problem if you happen to be wearing shorts, because you can borrow or buy a sarong at the entry.
In the volcanic region you can hire a guide to take you up onto the volcanoes, but be prepared to pay high fees. There are also fees for each car and each passenger. And there are also many vendors who will try and sell you’re their goods at the Pura Besakih temple. Plus there are extra charges there as well for the different parts of the temple, make sure you’re well informed, so you know what to expect.