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Discover Bali with Timothy Tye

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Discover Bali with Timothy TyeDiscover Bali with Timothy Tye (18 June, 2004)

 Timothy Tye

Bali is the biggest tourist destination in Indonesia. Out of the thousands of islands that form the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is unique in religion, unique in culture, and in almost everything Bali sets itself apart from the rest of Indonesia. And yet it is this inexplicable charm that captivates the imagination, sending droves of tourists to its shores, to bask in the sand, to quench their thirst for exotic cultures, to relish the magic that can only be derived from visiting Bali.

Bali is the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Sandwiched between the densely populated Java to the west, and the island of Lombok to the est, Bali is one of the 33 provinces of Indonesia, and the only one where the main religion is Hinduism. Bali's population, as of 2005, stood at 3.1 million, of which over 93% are Balinese Hindus whose highly developed culture has made the island Indonesia's biggest travel destination.

Major Towns in Bali

  1. Denpasar: Capital and main city in Bali.
  2. Kuta: Famous beach area in South Bali.
  3. Sanur: Beach area to the south of Denpasar.
  4. Jimbaran: Village famous for seafood dinners south of Kuta.
  5. Ubud: Village in Bali famous for its handicrafts.

Map of places of interest in Bali

Hotels in Bali

Places of Interest in Bali

  1. Bali Bird Park (GPS: -8.59943, 115.25186)
  2. Bali Bombing Memorial (GPS: -8.71729, 115.17449)
  3. Besakih (GPS: -8.37482, 115.45092)
  4. Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park (GPS: -8.37482, 115.45092)
  5. Goa Gajah (GPS: -8.52292, 115.28793)
  6. Goa Lawah (GPS: -8.52292, 115.28793)
  7. Gunung Kawi Royal Monuments
  8. Kintamani
  9. Kuta Beach
  10. Lempad House
  11. Makam Jayaprana
  12. Nusa Dua: Site with upscale resorts.
  13. Pura Batu Bolong: Sea temple near Pura Tanah Lot.
  14. Uluwatu
  15. Taman Ayun
  16. Tanah Lot
  17. Pura Tirta Empul
  18. Pura Sakenan
  19. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
  20. Sacred Monkey Forest
  21. Taman Nasional Bali Barat

Beaches in Bali

Islands off Bali

Lakes in Bali

  1. Danau Beratan (GPS: -8.27982, 115.16572)
  2. Lake Buyan

Temples in Bali

Mountains in Bali

Museums and Art Galleries in Bali

Roads in Bali

Towns in South Bali

Towns in Central Bali

Towns in East Bali

Towns in North and West Bali

The landscape of Bali includes wave-battered coastline, rice terraces, serene highland lakes, soaring mountains and active volcanoes. The tallest mountain in Bali is Gunung Agung, a 3142 meters tall active volcano which last erupted in 1963. It is the easternmost of the major mountains in Bali. Another active volcano, Gunung Batur, created a massive crater that is now a lake, in what was the largest eruption on earth 30,000 years ago.

Much of the central and eastern sides of Bali is mountainous. The land slopes gradually towards the south, so that most of the rivers in Bali tend to flow in the north - south direction. These rivers, flowing through the alluvial plain, tend to be very dry during the dry season, and overflowing their banks in the rainy season.

Tim at Tanah LotTim at Tanah Lot (19 June, 2004)

Cliffs at UluwatuCliffs at Uluwatu (20 June, 2004)

Religion in Bali

Most Balinese follow a unique form of Hinduism which can be described as a fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism. Along the way, it generously adopted animistic traditions that were already inherent in Bali before Hinduism arrived. Balinese believe that every element of nature, be it a rock, a tree, a mountain, or flowing water, is potentially an abode of spirits emanating goodness or evil. Such spirits have to be appeased through elaborate offerings, whether done daily or on specific occasions.

Apart from Bahasa Indonesia, the official language, many Balinese also speak their local Balinese language. A good number is learning up English, especially those who are, or aspiring to be, involved in the tourism industry. As with many Hindu society, there is a caste system in Bali, and nuances in the Balinese language helps the hearer determine the speaker's position within Balinese society.

Bali has a highly developed artform. Balinese crafts range from painting to woodcarving, sculpturing and floral arts. Performing arts in Bali includes the kecak, barong, topeng, pendet, and other dances. Many of these had their origin in the palace and temple courts, but now are often performed to satisfy the tourism industry. Even sacred rituals such as the barong dance, which was previously performed for religious purposes, are now more often than not, staged for the tourist dollar. Nevertheless, most performances have retained their authenticity. However, in the case of barong, many villages have resorted to using barong masks made specifically for tourist performances, while retaining the older mask for their own sacred performances.

Balinese temple architectureBalinese temple architecture (18 June, 2004)

Arriving in Bali

Most visitors to Bali arrive at the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Please note that airport tax must be paid at the airport during departure, and is Rp 100,000 at time of writing. Ngurah Rai International Airport is located between Kuta and Jimbaran, and about half an hour from Denpasar.

Bali is connected by air to the following destinations:
  1. Balikpapan (Garuda)
  2. Bandar Seri Begawan (Royal Brunei)
  3. Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (Thai Airways)
  4. Darwin (Garuda, Qantas)
  5. Doha (Qatar Airways)
  6. Guam (Continental Airlines)
  7. Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific, Mandala Airlines)
  8. Kuala Lumpur (AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways)
  9. Jakarta (Adam Air, AirAsia, Batavia Air, Garuda, Lion Air, Merpati Nusantara, Sriwijaya Air)
  10. Jayapura (Garuda)
  11. Makassar (Garuda)
  12. Melbourne (Garuda)
  13. Osaka-Kansai (Garuda, Japan Airlines)
  14. Perth (Garuda, Qantas)
  15. Seoul-Incheon (Garuda, Korean Air)
  16. Singapore (Garuda, Jetstar Asia, Singapore Airlines, Valuair)
  17. Surabaya (Batavia Air, Garuda, Mandala Airlines)
  18. Sydney (Garuda)
  19. Taipei (China Airlines, EVA Air, Mandala Airlines)
  20. Tokyo-Narita (Garuda, Japan Airlines)
  21. Yogyakarta (Batavia Air, Garuda)

Surfer at Kuta BeachSurfer at Kuta Beach (19 June, 2004)

Best time to visit Bali

The best time to visit Bali is between the months of July and August, when the sky is blue almost every day. It is however a peak season with hordes of Australian tourists descending on Bali. The low season is between January and March, when the weather can get quite wet.

Getting around Bali

Taxi: Metered taxis are easily available in southern Bali. The flag off rate is Rp 5000 for the first two kilometres followed by Rp 5000 per kilometre thereafter. You may also rent a taxi for Rp. 375,000 per day. Negotiate and agree to the price before the journey, and pay at the end of the trip.

Self-Drive: Cars may be rented for Rp. 80,000 - 120,000 per day. Motorcycles rent for Rp. 30,000-35,000 per day. Driving is on the left side of the road, similar to UK, Australia, Malaysia, and Japan. If you need a car with driver, the price would be in the region of Rp. 400,000 - 500,000 per day of 10 hours, including petrol.

Useful Tourist Information

Bali is in the UTC+8:00 time zone, similar to Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but one hour ahead of Jakarta.

220V 50Hz. The outlets are European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko".

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