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As the most popular destination in Indonesia, Bali is known to be a romantic, spiritual and exotic island. It offers various unique, natural to spiritual attractions such as villages, beaches and temples. Bali temples mostly gain influence from Hindu culture and appear in almost every area and street corners.
Bali’s rich traditional arts are also tourists’ favorite attractions. Varying from paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, handmade crafts to traditional dances, most traditional arts are also heavily influenced by the Hindu culture.
Covering an area of 5.600 square km, Bali is more than beaches. The Island of Gods boasts other fascinating views such as volcanic hills, mountains and rice terraces. The highest mountain in Bali is called Mount Agung, located in the far east. Several other mountains are spread from the middle to the east of the island.
The land of Bali is fertile due to a number of volcano and mountains surrounding it. The amount of mountains has also caused heavy rainfall in the areas of Bali. Up north near the beaches, Bali also has a large area that produces coffee, rice, vegetables and farm animals.
The largest city in Bali is Denpasar, located in the south coast. Other major areas are Singaraja (north coast), Kuta and Ubud. Towards the east, you can visit Lombok that is believed to be the ‘better Bali’.
Although Bali is relatively small in size, it has plenty of attractions to offer:
South Bali is the most popular area, more like a tourist magnet. The area covers:• Denpasar
Denpasar is the capital of Bali that was established as the central government and transportation.• Jimbaran
Located around the seashore, Jimbaran offers you various seafood restaurants.• Kuta
Entertainment, nightlife, shopping and partying are the common activities happening in Kuta.• Legian
Similar to Kuta, Legian is filled with many restaurants and bars.• Sanur
From Sanur beach, tourists can witness Nusa Penida Island. Blanjong, an old inscription that shows the oldest history of Bali, is also located in Sanur.• Seminyak
Seminyak is the less crowded area filled with exclusive resorts, villas, restaurants and bars.
Located in a mountainous area, central Bali is the heart of Balinese culture. Visit these wonderful destinations:• Bedugul
Well known destinations in Bedugul are botanical garden, Candikuning market and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (temple).• Tabanan
Mount Batukaru and black sand beaches attract tourists to visit Tabanan. Tabanan is also the main access to West Bali.• Ubud
Surrounded by mountains, Ubud is the home of Bali’s traditional arts. In Ubud, you can also visit many art shops selling handmade products. The famous Sacred Monkey Forest is located here.
Ferry boats departing to Java leaves from the harbor in West Bali. Visit these areas and encounter other interesting facts about West Bali:• Gilimanuk
West Bali harbor is located in Gilimanuk.• Negara
Interesting things to see in Negara are cow racing and the amazing Pura Rumbut Siwi.• Medewi beach
Medewi beach is perfect for surfers. The beach is surrounded by Balinese style villages.• Menjangan Island
Menjangan Island is part of Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park). The island genuinely makes a perfect match for divers.• Pemuteran
Also a diver’s spot, Pemuteran offers you a stunning mountain view.• Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park)
Trekking and birdwatching are two common activities at West Bali National Park. Around the park, you can also see the diverse marine life.
The beautiful Lovina beach is located in North Bali. This area has plenty of interesting places to offer:• Lovina
For those who want to see dolphins, Lovina is your destination. The quiet atmosphere makes it the perfect beach to relax.• Seririt
Seririt is commonly known as a transit area before heading south.• Singaraja
Once known as the central administration of Bali, Singaraja is the largest city in North Bali.
Forests, black sand beaches and Mount Agung (Pura Besakih) are what describe East Bali. Tourists also visit this area to go to Lombok, precisely from the Padang Bai Harbour. Well-known cities in East Bali are Candidasa, Klungkung, Amed, Kintamani and Tirta Gangga.
Several islands in the southeast have perfect diving, surfing and recreational spots. A number of destinations which you can visit are: Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan.
The arrival of immigrants in Bali began in the prehistory, as they sailed across Asia and Oceania. Since then, Bali has been influenced by Hindu teachings mainly from India. These teachings began to influence society and form a Hindu culture in Bali.
In 1343, Hindu culture in Bali became stronger as Majapahit enters the island and spread Hinduism.
In 1597, after a Dutch explorer named Cornelis de Houtman made his way to Bali from Europe, Bali was ruled by the Dutch chartered company (VOC).
During World War II, Bali was occupied by Japan. However, after a war against the forces led by I Gusti Ngurah Rai, Japan stepped away from Bali.
When the Dutch returned to rule Bali, it led to a massive war called Puputan Margarana, a war against troops of I Gusti Ngurah Rai. After the war, in 1950, Bali gained independence and became part of the Republic of Indonesia.
In 1963, Bali experienced economic crises caused by the explosion of Mount Agung. In 2002, Bali’s popular area Kuta went under terrorist attack. The same tragedy happened three years later in Kuta and Jimbaran.
Travelling to Bali by plane will land at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Denpasar.
Transportation to and from the airport
The distance between the airport and Denpasar is 13 km or 30 minutes by car. You can either use taxi or the cheaper public transport called ‘bemo’.
When you take a bemo, tell the driver your destination considering that you may not be the only passenger.
Travelling to Bali by sea is relatively cheaper than by plane, yet takes a longer journey.
By ferry, the trip from Java Island to Gilimanuk Harbour in Bali may start from Ketapang Harbour in Banyuwangi, East Java. From other cities in Java, Banyuwangi can be reached by bus or train.
From Ketapang Harbour, the trip to Gilimanuk Harbour will take around 30-45 minutes.
Ferry fare from Ketapang to Gilimanuk Harbour:
From Gilimanuk Harbour to Denpasar by bus, the trip will take around 3 hours.
(All prices shown may be subject to change).
Taxi is easy to find in Denpasar.
Taxi fare such as Blue Bird starts from IDR 7.000. For every next kilometer, the price adds IDR 3.000.
Trans Sarbagita bus
This light blue coloured bus is one of the cheapest public transports in Bali. This bus serves routes to 4 major areas in Bali: Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar, Tabanan, including the airport.
Trans Sarbagita bus operates everyday from 05:00-21:00 WITA (local time) and leaves every 15 minutes.
Trans Sarbagita bus fare:
Angkutan kota or bemo (city transport)
Bemo in Bali is a four wheel minibus. Bemo to Kuta and Nusa Dua can be found at Tegal Terminal in Denpasar.
Bemo price range: between IDR 3.000-IDR 5.000 per person.
Many tourists choose to rent a car or motorcycle in Bali. However during traffic hours, bike and motorcycle are more preferable.
Jalan tol Bali Mandara (Bali Mandara highway)
Bali Mandara highway is the first highway in Bali that connects three areas: Ngurah Rai, Nusa Dua and Benoa.
Bali Mandara highway is 12.7 km long and most parts of it are built above the sea. What makes it different from other highways is that motorcycles are allowed to ride through.
Entrance fee to Bali Mandara highway
(All prices shown may be subject to change).
The temperature in Bali is around 24 to 31 degree Celsius. The dry season starts in April and ends in October whereas rainy season from October until April. The peak of rainy season is in February.
There are three types of local language in Bali:
Bali offers you various tourist attractions from beach recreation, mount trekking to temple sightseeing. These are several destinations you can visit:
Pura Tanah Lot is located in Beraban Village, Tabanan. From Denpasar, the distance to this temple is 30 km or around 30 minutes by car.
Located in the coastal area, Pura Tanah Lot is around 20 meters from the shoreline. Tourists usually gathered here during sunset to enjoy the beautiful view of both the temple and the sea.
An interesting fact about Pura Tanah Lot is the cave that keeps a holy black-white snake. The locals believe that it is the caretaker of the cave.
Price of admission to Pura Tanah Lot
Padang-Padang beach has a unique entrance. The route to this beach is the same as the route to Dreamland beach.
Hollywood movie “Eat, Pray, Love” starring Julia Roberts has two scenes at Padang-Padang beach.Access to Padang-Padang beach:
Padang-Padang beach is located in Pecatu Village in the Uluwatu area. From Kuta beach, it is a 30-minute drive. From Ngurah Rai International Airport, it is a 20-minute drive. From Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park, it is only a five minute drive.
As the name suggests, this area is crowded by hundreds of monkeys (Macaca fascicuiaris). The holiness of this area is symbolized by Pura Dalem Agung Padang Tegal located in the middle of the forest.
Two other temples in this area are Pura Dalem Agung and Pura Pemandian Suci. Pura Pemandian Suci covers 3 types of pools: Utama Mandala (ritual), Madia Mandala (sacred) and Nista Mandala (public).
Price of admission to Sacred Monkey Forest: IDR 25.000 per person
Opening hours: 08:30-18:00
For those who would like to surf or learn how to surf, you must visit Kuta beach. This area also offers you a beautiful sunset view. You can spend time by bar or cafe-hopping.
Kuta has the biggest water playground in Asia which is called Waterbom Park. It is only a stone’s throw away from Kuta beach.
If you are looking for a beautiful view of the nature, then Tegalalang Rice Terrace is your destination. Not only unique but also popular since it is close to other tourist objects such as Tirta Empul and Mount Kawi Tampaksiring.
Trekking, visiting art shops, or chillaxing at one of the cafés are common activities in this area.
(All prices shown may be subject to change).
Bali is well-known for its puras (temples) and shrines. Some of the most prominent are:
Pura Agung Besakih is the largest and considered the holiest Hindu temple in Bali. It is a complex of 23 temples with Pura Penataran Agung as the most important.
Pura Basukian, the forerunner of Hindu Dharma in Bali, is also located at the complex of Pura Agung Besakih.
For those who want to watch Tari Kecak (Balinese dance) on top of a cliff, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a must-visit.
Prices of admission to:
Pura Tanah Lot is placed on a huge rock by the sea. This temple is often visited by many local as well as foreign tourists.
From Denpasar, a trip to Pura Luhur Tanah Lot is one hour by car.
Pura Ulun Danu is located in Tabanan, 55 km away from Denpasar. Built in the middle of Beratan Lake, this is one of the most beautiful temples in Bali.
If you are looking for one of the oldest temples in Bali, then you must visit Pura Lempuyang, located in the area of Mount Lempuyang.
(All prices shown may be subject to change).
Visit these places and explore Bali’s diverse cultural faces:
Ubud is the home of Bali culture. Rent a bike and encounter several local art galleries, dance studios, and Hindu temples.Penglipuran Village
If you would like to purchase Bali souvenirs and find out how to make one, then you must visit this village. In this area, you will also see different kinds of traditional houses.
From the airport, Penglipuran Village is about 2-hour drive away.Taman Werdhi Budaya (Art Center)
Taman Werdhi Budaya is Bali’s cultural park and the venue of Bali Arts Festival.
It is located at Jalan Nusa Indah, Denpasar. From the airport by car, it is located around 30 minutes away.Celuk Village
Celuk Village is famous for its gold and silver handicrafts made by locals. These crafts are sold for thousands to millions of rupiah.
It is located in Sukawati. To reach this place from Denpasar, take the route to Kintamani.
Besides beaches, villages and temples, Bali nightlife lures visitors with its charm:Kuta
Kuta has several popular nightlife spots such as Zappaz, Ye Olde Foo-kin Pub, Sky Garden Lounge and Vienna coffee shop.Ubud
In Ubud, you can listen to jazz music while enjoying Asian cuisine at the Jazz Café. Besides that, you can also visit Napi Orti, Ozigo and Lebong Café.Sanur
Sanur has some of the finest bars and cafes such as Borneo Bobs, Café Billiard, and Lazer Sport Bar.Lovina
In Lovina, you can watch live music performances at Kantin 21. Other options are Triple 9, Poco Lounge and Volcano Club.
• Babi guling Ibu Oka, Jalan Suweta/Tegal Sari 2, Ubud
• Melting Wok Warung, Jalan Gootama 13 Ubud (Indonesian cuisine)
• Warung Bale, Jalan Sriwedari 6 Ubud (Indonesian and Thai cuisine)
• The Coffee House, Jalan Basangkasa 3A, Seminyak (bread, coffee, Asian and Western food, desserts)
• Bali Asli, Jalan Gelumpang, Gelumpang Village, Karangasem (Balinese cuisine)
• Warung Mila / Mila’s Warung, Jalan Batur Sari 70 Sanur (Indonesian cuisine, vegetarian)
If you plan to take a holiday in Bali, follow these tips:
• Considering how intense the sun could get, do not forget to use your sunblock cream if you plan to stay at the beach for a while.
• Watch out for canang sari (Hindu offerings) whenever you walk on pavements or around temples.
• Learn to negotiate before you purchase something at the market or anywhere else besides malls.
• Exchanging currencies at Money Changers can be rather tricky. It is suggested to draw cash from the ATM.
• Prepare an umbrella due to sudden heavy tropical rain.
• If you need to send postcards, send them from other cities other than Bali as they can be much cheaper. As an example, Bali post office sells stamps twice more expensive than Jakarta.
• When you visit places where there are monkeys and apes, beware of your belongings as they can be easily stolen.