Bali is an island and province of Indonesia, and includes a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida. It is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Its capital of Denpasar is located at the southern part of the island.
Bali is the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Since the late 20th century, the province has had a rise in tourism. Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone over 500 reef building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about 7 times as many as in the entire Caribbean. There is a wide range of dive sites with high quality reefs, all with their own specific attractions. Many sites can have strong currents and swell, so diving without a knowledgeable guide is unadvisable. Bali is the host of 2011 ASEAN Summit, 2013 APEC and Miss World 2013.
Bali is now easy to reach economically from all major cities worldwide. The Internet is the source of many cheap flights for those happy to book direct. Most major airlines have websites that allow you to book online. For flights from Europe and Asia try Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways, KLM, and national airline Garuda. From Australia try Air Asia, Garuda or Jetstar. Alternatively visit your travel agent who will be able to find a flight for you.
Bali has a tropical climate with average temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius. Although rainy season is between October and April this should not discourage a visit especially as downpours are very often limited to only part of the day and offers relief from the sun to explore. Dry Season between April/May and September brings blue skies and a perfect time to visit if you are particularly looking to enjoy a relaxing beach holiday.
With a population recorded as 3,891,000 in 2010, the island is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu population. In the 2000 census about 93.2% of Bali’s population adhered to Balinese Hinduism while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Bali has won the World Tourism award for the Most Popular Island Destination in the world.
Put simply, Bali is magical. In a world where tradition, religion and family are often stifled by modern day life, Bali’s ancient and individual culture is plain for all to see, in fact it positively bursts out colorfully from every corner and cannot be ignored. It is easy for even the first time visitor to catch a glimpse, or even be involved, in the life of real Bali in a way that we are seldom able to do in other destinations where local life is often hidden behind tourist attractions.
The Balinese people are inherently creative not only in their art, music and craftsmanship which is famed across the world; no mean feat for such a small island, but also in their every day life, Bali is alive with colour and sound. Don’t be fooled, though, of course Bali is not all ‘Eat, Pray, and Love’, if you’ve visited other South East Asian destinations you’ll be familiar with the bustle and chaos, but it is exactly the diversity that makes Bali, in our opinion, the perfect holiday destination.
There are still challenges for the intrepid independent traveler but also plenty of help and advice and friendly guides for those that prefer to have more of a helping hand.
You can eat in restaurants where the food is world class and sophisticated or spend pennies on street food. You can enjoy water sports, island-hop, lie on one of the sandy beaches or explore villages, rice paddies and temples. You can see and be seen with the ‘in-crowd’, drink cocktails and shop until you drop or discover the Bali of centuries ago in still practiced ceremonies and dance. You can indulge yourself in arguably the best spa destination in the world or climb a mountain.
All of this on an island whose size makes it possible to achieve all this during your stay and manage to still leave you feeling relaxed.