The Indonesian Island of Bali is one of the 33 provinces of Indonesia with Denpasar as its provincial capital. Positioned just off the eastern rim of Java, the main Indonesian island, Bali is perhaps the most popular island in Indonesia when it comes to tourism. Besides a tremendous sun, sand, and surf appeal, the destination also charms with it rolling rice terraces, lush tropical forests, and spectacular volcanic hilltops. Bali also has a plethora of restaurants dishing out the choicest of local as well as global cuisines. One can catch glimpses of surviving fragments of authentic Balinese culture in the destination’s remote villages. Bali is also wonderful for relaxed motorbike cruises of the countryside. This holidaying hotspot has myriad charms. Visiting the nearly 400 year old Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple, trying out some glorious sporting action at the Blue Lagoon, watching the mesmerising sunset at the Jimbaran Beach, bargain hunting at Ubud, and indulging in heavenly massages at Kuta and Legian are all part and parcel of a trip to Bali. Quite understandably, the destination has earned the epithet, ‘Island of the Gods’.
Skim through this Bali travel guide before boarding your flights.
- Location – Indonesia
- Time Zone – GMT + 8 hours
- Government – Unitary Presidential Republic
- Area – 5632.86 sq. kms.
- Population – 3,551,000 (as per 2009 figures).
- Currency – Rupiah (IDR)
- Calling Code – +62
- Official Language(s) – Indonesian
- Religion – Balinese Hinduism
- Visa information – Travellers must check the visa guidelines from their relevant embassy/consulates or contact their travel agents.
Top Tourist Activities in Bali
Bali is home to some of the most beautiful sandy beach stretches that are largely clustered in the south of the island. The beach towns of Amed, Lovina, and Pemuteran and the resorts of Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua have always been few of Bali’s key draws. Travellers can enjoy a range of watersports activities at these places. Ubud with its outer suburbs of Legian and Seminyak is popular tourist attraction. A jungle resort town, Ubud is preferred by visitors for its adventurous treks amidst the volcanoes with Mt. Batur, an active volcano being the most sought after attraction. Ubud also features meandering mountain lakes and unspoiled landscapes, lush rice paddies around stepped terraces and soaring palm trees. Visitors can explore the unique Balenese culture here in Ubud which is visible in dance-and-music performances here. A number of clubs, bars and cafes especially in resort of Kuta witness are buzzing centres of entertainment and suitable for those in pursuit of some vibrant nightlife. The action in Kuta is fuelled by a young crowd looking for a serious party. For some peaceful ambience suitable for families to relax, head to the restaurants and cafes in Nusa Dua and Sanur.
Bali Culture & Lifestyle
Bali is a hub of myriad art forms that include performing arts, handicrafts, woodcarving, sculpture, and painting. In fact, this island city has one of the most innovative and varied art cultures across the world. The cultural scene is in itself a big crowd puller. Many events are organised to keep tourists entertained with a liberal colourful cultural extravaganza. There are countless public shows, private ceremonies, and temple festivals. In the realm of music, Bali commands a respectable position for its gamelan or percussion orchestra. Similarly, Bali is well known for myriad dance forms such as kecak, gong keybar, barong, topeng, baris, legong, and pendet.
Here are some of the pointers towards social customs and lifestyle in Bali:
- By and large, people in Bali exude a lot of warmth. Unlike the western world they may ask personal questions on their first meeting with strangers. It is their way of trying to know you better.
- Public display of affection between members of the opposite sex is not appreciated.
- Eating together is not a major practice among Balinese families. People eat at their own convenience.
- The Balinese people are very religious and are highly devoted to their faith.
- The Balinese people consider the left hand to be impure. As such eating, shaking hands, greeting someone, giving or receiving things, and most other activities are carried out by the right hand.
- When you visit someone’s home for a meal, you are not supposed to start eating without the host’s permission.
- Balinese women tend to be conservative in terms of dressing and Balinese men are used to that. It is advised that women travellers, who want to avoid unwanted attention, should dress appropriately.
- There is an abundance of hotels and other accommodation facilities in Bali.
- For further tips on travelling in Balior Bali travel advice, check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Shopping Attractions in Bali
The shops in Ubud are good for some souvenir shopping and showcase interesting artwork and crafts etc. Shop on the beaches where you can buy many locally made items of interest as well as imitation watches and sunglasses sold by hawkers and which exhibit popular designer brand names.
Eating out in Bali
The street stalls abound in Bali and are popular for serving piping hot local Indonesian food and gourmets keen on relishing some local food can head here. Try some exclusive Indonesian Sea food and rice dishes which are available at these stalls and make a great combination with the Indonesian Bintang beer. Bali may be small but a huge diversity is visible in the assortment of flavours from all over the world that it has to offer. The hotels boast excellent restaurants and its myriad resorts dish out a wide range of scrumptious international cuisines that cater to every taste.
Bali offers a range of range of world class hotels and resorts which suit every pocket. Travellers can pick from a combination of lavish as well as budget hotels. Ubud is home to most of the popular hotels in Bali and holiday makers prefer to stay in Ubud that offers a number of tourist attractions. Few of the popular hotels are given hereunder:
- Komaneka at Monkey Forest, Ubud
- Komaneka at Tanggayuda, Ubud
- The St. Regis Bali Resort, Nusa Dua
- Villa Semana, Ubud
- Alam Shanti, Ubud
- The Samaya Bali, Seminyak
Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to Bali operating from UK.
Preferred Airlines to Bali from UK
Airports in Bali
Ngurah Rai International Airport popular as Denpasar International Airport, is the nearest airport and serves as Bali’s gateway to the rest of the world. It is located in south of the island of Bali, approximately 13 km south of Denpasar.
Best Time to Visit Bali and Overall Climate
Bali has been blessed with a year round tropical climate. The average daily temperature stays at about 31°C. The best time to visit the destination is during the dry season from May to September. The days are long and rain is very little. Bali’s wet season lasts from October to April and is marked by high levels of humidity.
Banks and hotels are the major money exchange centres in Bali.