Bali, the fabled "Island of the Gods", has been enchanting visitor for centuries with its rich cultural traditions and spectacular panoramas. From lofty, mist enshrouded volcanos and cool mountain lakes down through terraced rice fields to a golden strand lapped by azure waters, every square inch of Bali offers a fresh and unforgettable image.
No less enchanting are its people, some 2.7 million souls whose artistry and piety are recognized trhoughout the world. Balinese Hinduism, a complex fusion of Indian cosmology, Tantric Buddhism and home-grown mythology, is the primary faith of Bali's inhabitans, and so deeply woven into the fabric of their daily lives that the line between the spiritual and the material is blurry the best.
Those you keen on delving into the island's fascinating culture will have plenty of opportunities, as colourful ceremonies and traditional performances occur with the regularity of sunrise. Most hotels offer nightly dance shows of one form or another, tailored to tourist audiences but none the less exquisite. The hill town of Ubud, the island's premier arts centre, also has a full schedule of performances, and nearby stone-cutters's village of Batubulan is famed for its Barong lion dances.
The soppers among you will find Bali treasure house of handicrafts and fine works of art.
The Balinese are incredibly gifted artists and craftsmen, and their material creations are imbued with the same sense of wonderment with which they regard their universe. Stone and wood carving, traditional paintings and intricately designed jewelry in gold and silver are readily available in shops and galleries throught the island.
Bali is just one of the many small islands of Indonesia, but without a doubt, it is one of the most famous islands of Indonesia. Bali is frequently referred to as "The Paradise Island" because of its reputation in the world as a tropical paradise of untold beautiful nature, idyllic mood and never ending fascination. The island is also known as "The Island of Gods" because worship colors every facet of life among the Hindu Balinese in their daily activities. Bali occupies an area of only about 6,000 square kilometers. The longest distance is about 140 kilometers. Bali is located just off the eastern tip of Java, from which it is separated by the narrow Bali Straits. Immediately to its east is the island of Lompok, across the Lombok straits. On the south and north side of the island is flanked by the Indian Ocean and Java Sea, respectively. The island lies eight degrees south of the equator.
Hills and mountains fill the central parts of the island, running along an east-west axis which is naturally adorned by beautiful lakes and rivers winding slowly to the clean sea water. The highest mountain in Bali is Mount Agung (3,142 m) where the Besakih Mother Temple is located on its slope.
The island of Bali is a province of Indonesia, and is administered by a governor. With a population of approximately three million people and most of them are Hindu, Bali is one of the most densely populated territories of Indonesia. The province of Bali consists of eight regencies and a municipality of Denpasar which is also the capital city of Bali.
The Balinese warm hospitality comes naturally which is believed will be not encountered elsewhere. Bali has become very famous for tourist and artists from all over the world since the 1920's. They have been coming to Bali since that time, when air travel was in its infancy and sea travel was considered extravagant.
Bali nowadays has become one of the most popular and interesting tourist destination in central Indonesia and has been appointed by the government to be the center and pilot project of tourism development. Current statistics show over a million international visitors come to Bali annually and most of them disembark at Ngurah Rai International Airport and some at Benoa and Padangbai ports on cruise ships. Those arriving by overland from Java disembark at Gilimanuk port in west Bali.
Bali has a great range of accommodations from very basic home stays up to international five star/diamond class hotels spread out on the beach resorts of Nusa Dua, Sanur, Jimbaran, Kuta, Candidasa, Lovina and the mountain resorts of Bedugul, Kintamani, and also at the wonderful rice field area of Ubud (art village). A wide range of day tours are available to the main temples and other sightseeing locations. Besides the local Bemo transport system, extensive tourist coaches operate throughout the island.
For the sport lovers a wide selection of marine sports (e.g. surfing, diving, fishing, cruising, etc.), adventure tours (e.g. white water rafting, cycling, trekking, etc.) and international standard golf courses are available.
Bali is also an ideal venue for shoppers, offering an amazing wide range of quality items at reasonable prices including leather goods, clothing using traditional fabrics, wood carvings and antiques as well as gold and silver works. The Balinese have always been famous for their superb craftsmanship in a variety of materials: stone, wood, silver and even bone. They are also famous for their paintings and textiles. Craft skills are applied in a multitude styles from the purely traditional to avant-garde and those can be easily found at the art & souvenir shops throughout the island. Duty free goods can also be found at selected duty free shops.