Bali – The Island of The Thousand Temples
Bali is a tropical island located in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago – the largest archipelago in the world, consisting of around 17 000 islands. Because of its rich history, culture, dance, sculpture and painting, beautiful beaches, scenery and tropical climate, Bali is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. With tens of thousands of temples, Bali is known as “The Island of The Thousand Temples.”
Some of the main cities on the island are – the capital Denpasar, Ubud and Kuta. North of Denpasar (less than one hour drive from the airport), among green valleys and rice fields, is located the resort of Ubud – the best place for shopping, here are some of the world’s best boutique hotels. Ubud with its art shops, museums, galleries, is known as the cultural centre of Bali. Together with the capital Denpasar, Ubud is considered as a holy city. In Ubud theatre, music and dance will bring you in the ancient traditions and customs in Bali.
Denpasar is the business and administrative centre of the island. It is popular for its Hindu temples, green terraced rice fields and incredible beaches. Denpasar is a modern cosmopolitan city that has evolved a lot over the last three decades. In many ways, it has more in common with other Indonesian regional capitals, than the rest of the island. The city is the main administrative centre and home to a mixed population of Balinese, Javanese people and other immigrants from different parts of the archipelago. Most of the tourists in Bali go to the resorts in Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua. There are situated most of the hotels, commercial establishments and nightclubs on the island.
Kuta is the first and biggest resort on the island. It is located a few kilometres from the capital and is located 20 km along the coast, merging with the neighbouring island of Legian. The main attraction here is the beach, which is famous for surfers who go there. It is the most famous and lively beach in Bali, where you can soak up the sun during the day and night to mix with the wild pulse of the nightlife. There are suites and hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. So have fun!
Sanur – based east of Denpasar on the south coast, is noisy and little more expensive resort than Kuta. There are fewer night bars and cheap places where you can stay. Most of the hotels here are expensive.
Galungan is the most important celebration period for the Balinese people because it symbolizes the victory of Dharma over Adharma. For celebrations are made special “penjor” (this is a long stick of bamboo, long about 8 meters with a curved end and decorated with palm leaves, rice, maize, etc.). It is placed on the right side of every home. The last day of Galungan is the most important – it is a day of prayer, to do special ceremonies for the spirits of the Balinese ancestors.
One of the most important things when visiting Bali is to be informed when is the “Day of Silence” (Nyepi Day) – usually in March. On this day everything stops on the island. Even the traffic on the streets and the airport is closed too. People can not eat, talk, go out on the street. This day is reserved for self-reflection and meditation.
Bali is a paradise for surfers. There are great waves with varying size and speed. If you are a surfer, you will not miss the waves, and if you are on the water board for the first time, the island has surf schools with experienced instructors who will help you in your first attempt.
But the biggest attraction for tourists is spectacular festivals. They combine music and theatre, and classical dance performances are based on ancient Hindu epics, with elements of local folklore, typical for the island. The uniqueness of Balinese dance lies in the intricate choreography, which includes almost all parts of the body. Eyeballs and fingertips are synchronized in an incredible way and combined with the music, which over the centuries has changed and today sounds surprisingly current form a real spectacle for the eye and soul. Each dance is a brief story told with sounds and gestures and even if you’re not a fan of this art, then you just conquered.
The monkey forest
Ubud Monkey Forest in the town attracts many tourists. Despite the efforts of the staff, monkeys are determined to “say hello” to anyone walking closely. And if you wear a banana or something else for food, you better be alerted, because besides hungry, the monkeys are quite whimsical and sometimes aggressive.
Keep your accessories – hats, bags, sunglasses and other items that would attract the attention of the monkeys. You should be very careful because small monkeys are unpredictable. Here you can find everything for everyone. From breathtaking sunsets and perfectly sculpted rice terraces, impressive temples, excellent conditions for surfing and of course interesting nightlife.
Bird park Taman Burung
Here you can talk with parrots or feed some friendly cockatoo. You can watch the show with exotic birds while comfortably seated at the restaurant in the park. There are pelicans, cranes, storks and many other beautiful birds. The park is home to over 2,000 birds.
The palace was built in the XVI century and shows traditional Balinese architecture. It has rooms for accommodation. It is located near the market Kumbasari.
Temple Museum Puri Pemecutan
Right next to the palace is the temple museum Pemekutan. This hundred-year-old temple has a collection of valuable ancient daggers and other weapons, musical instruments and Hindu statues.
Taman Werdi Budaya (Art Center)
In this complex of buildings decorated in traditional Balinese style is contemporary artworks – wooden masks, carvings and paintings. Also there you can find many souvenir shops where you can buy from the workings of local artists.
Conservatory Of Music And Dance
Bali is famous for its rich musical heritage several centuries and the Conservatory is committed to keeping it alive and in the present day. Go there in the morning between 08.00 and 11.00AM to see how dance teachers pass their skills to the younger generations.
Volcano Batur and Lake Batur
Energize yourself and enjoy the majestic beauty! Since it is located at a higher altitude, the air here is cold. There are restaurants with panoramic views. Here you can hear the roar of the volcano, which reminds that there is nothing more powerful than nature.
Delicious fish and seafood!
Try something different and exotic. Balinese chefs will provide you with unforgettable dishes. The most interesting thing is that you can get involved in the preparation of the food with ideas for the preparation. Now is the time to fulfil your most daring culinary fantasies!
In Denpasar, you will find many traditional restaurants – warungs, usually located outdoors. They serve fried rice and traditional dishes of Bali. To try the best of Balinese and international cuisine, go to Seminyak or Kuta. Some of the best Western and Asian dishes can be found in the hotel restaurants, which offer a wide variety of food.
In the Discovery Shopping Mall, you can find branded shoe stores, clothing and accessories. Wooden souvenirs, masks and handmade jewellery can be found on the stalls in the streets and near the beaches. The village of Massena is a huge workshop for wood carving. There are beautiful figures and masks, entirely decorated with detailed hand carving. Square “Kuta” is a large store for massage oils, scented candles and natural soaps. You will feel the scent of orchids and vanilla, which will guide you in the right direction.
The nightlife in Bali begins after 12AM. Most of the places are in southern Bali, especially in the area of Kuta, where nightlife pulsates with full throttle. Dance under the stars in the outdoor disco on the beach or enjoy live music and an exotic cocktail jazz or rock club. Time for an adventure in the dark, in addition, you can add something different – to visit the night market in Gianyar where you can eat something delicious cooked on the spot.
Important things you need to know when visiting Bali:
International Airport Bali Ngurah Rai is 13 km west of Denpasar. At the airport, there are many shops, bars and restaurants, exchange bureaus, offices, tourist information, tourist agencies, offices, car rental and more.
- Public transport
Numerous buses for public transport and bemos (Almost every vehicle used for public transport is called bemos. This is actually a minibus or van with rows of seats) travel on certain routes around the city and the rest of the island. Leave after they are full and stop where you want. For most foreigners this system is confusing and haggling on price is a real challenge. Local buses are the cheapest way of transportation to town – a ticket costs 100 000 IDR (about 9 euros), the duration of the journey is about half an hour.
If the taxi has a taximeter, you must insist the driver use it. Urban taxis are blue and yellow. Taxi drivers offer a fixed price for the road. You can take a taxi on the street from one of the many stands or call from the hotel. Compared with the international standards here taxis are cheaper and much more convenient than the shuttle. However, you must be prepared to bargain for the price. Many drivers know little English.
- Hours of operation: Banks, shops and government offices are open from 08.00 to 16.00 and from 09.00 to 17.00. Many malls stay open until 22:00 or later.
- Best time to visit: April to October – During the dry season.
- Emergency phones: Police: 110; Main Emergency: 112; Fire Dpt.: 113; Ambulance: 118;
- Post: Post stamps and envelopes can be purchased from the concierge in every hotel, it will be more suitable for you than using post offices.
- Electricity: 110V and 220V Type C and F (two-prong) plug
- Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR); 1 EUR = 11 950 IDR
- Language – Balinese, Indonesian, English
So, when you decide to visit this enchanting piece of land, be prepared to see some of the most beautiful sights to encounter the unique local culture. Get to know closely some exotic animals and find out why the good relationship between people was turned into a cult.