Bali – General Information
Bali is of course popular for it’s stunning beaches and famous amongst surfers who come from all over the world to catch the waves. But Bali is so much more than just that. A tour through the jungle, a bicycle ride amidst the Sawas (rice fields), a dolphin safari in Lovina or a visit to one of the impressive hindu temples. Bali is a dream destination that offers a mix rich of culture, nature, entertainment, relaxation and beaches.
Bali is one of the last Islands in Indonesia of which the majority is Hindu and is also known as “The Island of the Gods”. Besides the countless temples in peoples houses there are numerous big and some legendary temples on Bali which are definitely worth visiting. One of the most famous ones is the temple of Tanah Lot that has been build on a rock in the ocean. Another important and famous temple is Pura Besakih, the mother temple build on the southern slope of the ‘Gunung Agung’, a 3,142 meter high vulcano. Definitely worth visiting as well is Gunung Kawi in ‘The Valley of the Kings”, here you will find two rows of monuments sculptured on the rocky stone wall during the 11th century, illustrating the younger brother of King Erlangga named Anak Wungsu.
Ubud is often considered the cultural capitol of Bali. It’s an inspiring place surrounded by Sawas, temples, the jungle and small authentic villages. Ubud is also the place to find many arts, artists, crafts men and to witness traditional Balinese dance performances.
If you’re a nature lover then you could do beautiful tours through the jungle in for instance national park ‘Bali Barat’ which is rich of tropical vegetation, beautiful flowers and rare birds. By climbing on of the vulcanos like Gunung Batur or Gunung Agung you can enjoy the spectacular view over the area.
Beach lovers will find the south of Bali more appealing like Kuta which in 50 years has grown to a real tourist city and famous for Kuta Beach and the night life. The many stores, clubs, bars, restaurants and activities make Kuta a vibrant destination. The close by village of Seminyak offers a little bit more upscale environment but is also a little bit more pricy. If you’re looking for a bit more peace and quiet then Nusa Dua might be a good option for you. The waves in the south are strong and big which makes it a very popular place for surfers.
Lovina Beach is located in the North of Bali where the sea is more quiet and you’ll find some nice coral reefs and beaches made of black lava sand. Lovina is just newly being developed and tends to be quite different from the south and would probably be not the right destination for you if you’re looking for the ‘full Bali package’. However, when staying in the south of Bali a trip to Lovina definitely will be one of the highlights of your holiday. The trip through the mountains leads you past ancient old forest with trees the size you can’t even imagine. Also you will pass Gigit waterfall which is definitely worth a stop.
Every year, usually in march/april during new moon, the Balinese celebrate Nyepi Day, which is Hindu New Year, also called “The Day of Absolute Silence”. According to Balinese religion this is the day the evil spirits come to Bali. To mislead these spirits the Balinese turn of all lights, stay indoors and make no sounds so the spirits will think no one is on the island. Well, not wanting to offend the Balinese we would have to add it’s a little bit more complicated than this.
Nyepi is for many people a reason to leave the island but for just as many to visit Bali. Tourists should know that during Nyepi day you’re not allowed to leave the resort. Breaking this rule can cost you dearly since all night locals are patrolling the streets and they take Nyepi pretty serious. The airport is closed during Nyepi and no transfers or excursions can be done. So for both the Balinese people and you this is a day of total rest and silence, quite a remarkable experience.