Bali Travel Guide
There is a certain magic in Bali. The longer one stays, the he/she is enchanted by the glimpses of beauty of the island and by the charming warm people.
Bali is truly exceptional. Bali presents a modern paradox, an ancient, traditional society that is still incredibly alive and vital. Bali is so picturesque that you could be fooled into thinking it was a painted backdrop; rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, the forest are lush and tropical and beaches are lapped by warm water of Indian ocean.
Since an ancient time, Bali is able to drew expatriate artist, writer and escapists from all over the world. Indonesian government has taken important steps to update security for tourist and tourism sectors.
Despite the terrorist bombings, Bali remains an appealing destination, perhaps even more so because the tragic events have reduced the number of tourists. It seems that no area of the world is immune from terrorist activity, and there is no real reason to think that Bali is less safe than Madrid, New York, or London. Having said that, beware of pick-pockets, money exchange scams and all of the usual annoyances.
Bali, The island of the gods, is blessed by goes, decorated with beautiful countryside, rice terraces, exotic beaches, holy temples, fascinating cultures and much more. Bali island consist of province, regency, village and Banjar(sub-village).
There is a certain magic in Bali. The longer one stays, the he/she is enchanted by the glimpses of beauty of the island and by the charming warm people. Bali is truly exceptional. Bali presents a modern paradox, an ancient, traditional society that is still incredibly alive and vital.
Bali is so picturesque that you could be fooled into thinking it was a painted backdrop; rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, the forest are lush and tropical and beaches are lapped by warm water of Indian ocean. Since an ancient time, Bali is able to drew expatriate artist, writer and escapists from all over the world. Indonesian government has taken important steps to update security for tourist and tourism sectors.
It’s important to know that peaceful Balinese welcome visitor warmly with great hospitability so, a visit to Bali is still replete with kingly comforts immersed in an ancient culture on the beautiful island paradise.
Bali is the only island in Indonesia, which enjoyed less uninterrupted culture continuity. Bali was isolated, left to go her on way although Dutch troop arrived in Sanur beach on 1900 and occupied it. As a result, Bali is the only area of Indonesia that remains ‘Hindu’ with fusion of indigenous and Indian cultures which took place over a thousands year ago.
It has been found that Bali has been inhabited since early prehistoric times. Bronze age began in Bali before 300 B.C. Hinduism spread its influence around 400 A.D. followed by Buddhism in 500 A.D. After Japanese occupation in Second World War from 1939 to 1945; Bali became an Indonesian province but was able to maintain its own unique culture.
Bali is amazingly blessed by nature . Lying within a narrow band of the tropics, where wet and dry season fall roughly into balance providing both adequate rainfall and long period of sunshine.
When to go
April to October is the cooler dry reason and is the best time to visit Bali. Rest of the year is more humid, cloudier and has more rain storm but you can still enjoy hot day.
July, August and early September is the busiest month as many tourist visit in these months.
Accommodation and prices might be higher in there season.
Many Indonesian also visit Bali around Christmas. Outside there times, Bali has few tourists.
How to go By Air
Most international flights from Europe, America, Australia and most Asian countries fly to Bali. You may also get regular domestic flights to and from major cities within indonesia.
You can get regular passenger ferries cruise ship from Java and Lombak.
You can find cars and taxies calling you by saying ‘transport, transport’. Normally driver knows many language and can act as a guide to you. Buses and bemos are found as local transport. They virtually take you anywhere you want to in but slowly due to traffic and are sometimes overcrowded.
Bicycles are available but remember Kuta, Legian, Denpasar are heavy traffic area. You can also get a car on hire. The rented company will help you obtain a permit. It is not recommended to drive at night especially road to Gilimanuk where ferry commence to Java and truck drivers are notories to overtake.
The best way to beat traffic in Bali is to in by air. You can charter helicopters and even a ferry too and if you are a nature loving person then i recommend you to walk as you can enjoy beauty in a distance of your breath.
Places to visit South and West of Bali
1. Sanur Beach and Kuta Beach
Sanur, ten kilometres to south-east of denpasar at the lagoonside end of the fertile renon-kepaon-legian rice crescent, was once an enclave of fishermen and holy Brahman priest, more famous for its demons and magic than its scenic delight. Kuta beach is known for its white sand, and a food wave to attract surfer to ride on it. From here you can also see the beautiful sunset.
A bulbous appendage fans out form the Bukit Peninsula, once the hunting grounds of Denpasar’s rajas. Geologically and climatically this area is mediterranean-a dry, mostly barren plateu lying well above sea level. The western and south shoreline is rimmed with sharp, jutting cliffs, site of uluwatu temple- a sublime place to watch sunset.
3. Tanah Lot
Here you can find a temple on a large rock just offshore, a remarkable temple of Tanah Lot. One of Bali’s most important sea temples, Tanah Lot temple is built atop a huge rock, surrounded by the sea. Build in the 16th century, Tanah Lot’s rituals include paying of homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found in the little caves at the base of the rocky island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. 4. Other interesting place in this areas
Taman ayun temple, Bali Museum, Monkey forest at Kedaton, The Palace of Kerambitan
Places to visit Central of Bali
For many years, ubud has been a mecca for foreign and local artists who enjoy the creative atmosphere in this are of bali. Although Ubud’s main streets is now lined with shop selling all manner of paintings, carvings, weavings and bric-a-brac, the surrounding villages and countryside are as charming as ever, and most artists gladly welcome visitors into their home or studio.
Ubud today expands to other arts. You should not be surprised to run into a foreigner who happens to be living in Ubud, meditating or soul searching for his next book or poetry collection.
2. Goa gajah
Most of bali’s ancient remains and artifacts are to be found in the narrow region bounded by two holy rivers, the Pekerisan and the Petanu. Crossing the Petanu river immedietely to the east of Peliatan on the road to Bedulu, the mysterious Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) is just visible on the lower side of the road.
The Cave’s gaping mouth is fantastically carved with leaves, rocks, animals, waves and demons, and when it was discovered in 1923 these carving were apparently mistaken for an elephant.
3. Other interesting place in this areas
Celuk the center of the silver smith, Mas the center of wood carving, Batuan the center of the stone carving, Sukawati the place of Art Market, Peliatan place of the dance performing, etc.
Places to visit North of Bali
1. Mount Batur
A beautifull mount that lying on the lower land, complete with its own lake. This palce are very charming, and a good place to spent your time during the holiday. Across the lake there is a very unique village name Trunyan.2. Other interesting place in this area such as : Lovina Beach, Air saneh, Bedugul,etc.
Places to visit East of Bali
1. Besakih, Holiest temple in Bali
The mountain road north from Klungkung climbs up for about an hour through some of Bali’s most spectacular rices terraces, passing through several villages on the way to the island’s holiest spot, Pura Besakih temple. With the massive peak of mount Agung, the Balinese Olympus, as a backdrop, the broad, stepped granite terraces and slender, pointed black pagodas of this 60 temple complex are fitting residence for the gods.
The Javanese Hindu Kingdom in Bali, where Balinese royalty draws its blood line, sat in Klungkung. It is the oldest kingdom on the island, and its Raja the most exalted.
The ceiling of Kertha Gosa (Royal Court of Justice), built in the 18th century, displays one of Bali’s masterpieces. Much like Michelangelo’s The Creation on the Sistine Chapel, the murals portray the punishment of hell and the rewards of heaven, elaborated in thousands of panels of wayang style. The floating pavillion, garden, and lotus ponds are a reminder of the former glory of this kingdom.
3. Other interesting place in this areas
Kamasan place that produce gold and silver work, kertagosa, Karangasem Palace, Tenganan Village, etc.
Climbing Gunung Batur (1,717 meters) in Bangli District is one of Bali’s most heavenly experiences. The sunrise from the top is awesome. To find information on climbing Batur, in the village of Toyabungkah at the base of the volcano look for the sign CV. Jero Wijaya Tourist Service, P.O. Box 1, Kintamani 80652, Indonesia, run by I Made Suarsana. He can explain the geologic history of the mountain, show you some excellent maps of the area, and arrange guides to the top. The guide fee includes eggs and bananas cooked in the steaming fissures at the summit, but your guide should be discouraged from engaging in this environmentally polluting practice.
Australian-based A.J. Hacket Company invites you to experience the wonder and excitement of jumping off a 44-meter-high tower tied to a giant rubber band. The platform, manufactured in Australia, overlooks one of southern Bali’s most spectacular beachfronts.
A professional crew will take you through the preparations, then it’s up to you. Or as a spectator, sit back and relax, take a swim, have a drink at the pool bar or a snack, and just watch the jumpers. You can also ride the lift to the viewing platform without jumping, and take in Bali from a new perspective-views stretch from the northern volcanoes to the surfing beach of Ulu Watu. On a clear day you can see Java.
Two other companies have emerged: Adrenalin is located to the south on the Kuta-Legian line, and Bungee-Bali offers Bali’s highest and only waterfall jump.
Based at windy Bukit Peninsula’s Bali Cliff Resort, the qualified professionals of Water world, offer instruction and tandem glides for those wanting to try it first. One of the best locations on the island to take off. No cliff jumping involved, just a gentle breeze to lift you off the ground. It’s easier than it looks, and on a clear day you’ll see Bali from a new perspective.Golf
The finest course in Asia and one of the world’s top 50 is the Bali Golf and Country Club in Pancasari near Bedugul just north of Lake Bratan. Judged fifth in the world for technical design and service, this 18-hole championship course features tall trees and flowers in riotous colors separating its grand, panoramic fairways.
It’s a long, pretty drive down bumpy country roads to the Pony Tour facility deep in Tabanan Regency for this full-day guided circular tour. Horses allow you access to an area only three kilometers west of Tanah Lot, yet almost totally unaffected by tourist development. After a safety talk you’ll get a five minute riding lesson to assess your experience and find a suitable mount. You may be led or ride unassisted. Helmets are available as are ponchos if it rains and a fanny pack to carry valuables.
The word “pony” is used because it sounds safer, but these are actually retired racing horses from Java and Sumba.
Bali’s surf is world class, with power and speed comparable to Hawaii. Surfers who have experienced waves from Santa Cruz to Baja claim that Bali’s surf is superior to any along the United States’ West Coast. Drawn by the surf, thousands of Californians, Japanese, Australians, and Brazilians arrive each year to test themselves on Bali’s famous tubular waves. International and professional surfers train on Bali for the prize money on the contest circuit around the Pacific. Bali’s Annual Surf Championships are held at Suluban, not far from Jimbaran, but the logistics of the Bukit Peninsula make it difficult to hold big events like the Quicksilver Pro contest.
The best surfing spots are crowded during the dry season, but since there are so many the experienced wave rider is always able to find his own retreat. Pride of place goes to Uluwatu and nearby Padang Padang on the Bukit Peninsula, which get swells churned in storms in the Indian Ocean during the wet season. Snorkeling and scuba diving
Bali is a scuba, spearfishing, and snorkeling center, famous among divers for marinelife, superb visibility, and sensational dropoffs. Six hundred km of coastline and numerous offshore islands offer a wide range of snorkeling and diving locations. Your options include one of many operators offering snorkeling and diving trips or join an all-inclusive package that sails to dive sites around Bali and islands to the east. If it’s not monsoon season (Oct.-April), count on warm tropical waters around 80c F.
Snorkeling is an excellent and safe activity for children. Abundant marinelife can be enjoyed on the reefs off Sanur, Nusa Dua, Lovina, and Padangbai-all accessible by boat. Snorkeling can be enjoyed anywhere there’s scuba diving-if an area has good coral reefs, there will be snorkeling gear for rent.
Scuba diving is more expensive, frequently requiring land or sea transport to the best dive locations. The best diving on Bali is from around five to twenty meters, though during the wet season storms may reduce visibility. Drift diving was made popular on Bali because techniques were needed to accommodate the deep currents surrounding the island. Other water sports
If you’re really into water sports, stay in Nusa Dua, Sanur, or Tanjung Benoa, Candidasa on the coast, or Bedugul in the mountains of Tabanan Regency. Dozens of sea sport agencies line Sanur’s main street, offering waterskiing, jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, and chartered sailboats. Windsurfing
Along with ordinary surfing, windsurfing is gaining great popularity; see brightly colored sails leap over waves off Kuta, Sanur, and Candidasa. July and August are the best time to windsurf. Ideal wind velocity is 15 km/hour, and you can windsurf all the way from Sanur to Serangan Island. Sanur Wind Surfing Centre, probably offers Bali’s best service.
The safest areas to swim are the coral lagoons abutting Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Candidasa. Kuta and Legian boast excellent bodysurfing with crystal-clear water and top-to-bottom tubes. For your own safety, swim only between the red and yellow flags, never after sunset, and don’t swim deeper than your body length. The undertow off Kuta/Legian is extremely treacherous and unpredictable.
One of Bali’s nicest, least known beaches for swimming is at the airport end of Kuta in Tuban. Virtually all of the luxury-class hotels, and a growing number of small, moderately priced hotels, have swimming pools, open to almost everyone.
Festivals and Events
Apart from the usual western calendar, the Balinese also use two local calendars, the Hindu saka and the wuku. The wuku calendar, which is used to determine festival dates, uses 10 different types of weeks between one and 10 days long, all running simultaneously! The intersection of the various weeks determines auspicious days. It’s impossible to work it out yourself: when you arrive in Bali, go to a tourist office and ask which festivals and celebrations are coming up. Try to get to at least one.
The Galungan Festival, Bali’s major feast, is held throughout the island and is an annual event in the wuku year. During this 10-day period all the gods come down to earth for the festivities and barongs (mythical lion-dog creatures) prance from temple to temple and village to village. The last and most important day of the festival is Kuningan.
Nyepi is the major festival of the saka year – it’s the last day of the year, and usually falls towards the end of March or the beginning of April. The day before is set aside as a day of purification across the island. The night before, evil spirits are noisily chased away with cymbals, gongs, drums and flaming torches. On Nyepi itself, everyone stays quietly at home, making no noise, using no lights and doing no cooking. The idea is that when evil spirits descend, they are fooled into thinking that Bali is uninhabited and leave the island in peace for another year.