Land of the Gods
Also known as the Land of the Gods, Bali appeals through its sheer natural beauty of looming volcanoes and lush terraced rice fields that exude peace and serenity. Bali enchants with its dramatic dances and colourful ceremonies, its arts and crafts, to its luxurious beach resorts and exciting nightlife. And everywhere you will find intricately carved temples.
There are are thousands of gift shops in Bali. From Denpasar to Ubud, you’ll find many things you’d like to bring back home. Most of the starred hotels are located near the beach. Otherwise, they usually have their own private spots at certain beaches. You can find them easily at popular spots like Kuta or Sanur. If you are thinking of bringing home souvenirs, your best bet is the souvenir market at Sukowati, where you may be overwhelmed by choice.
Kuta has a large variety of boutiques and shops, selling everything from bright T-shirts, surf- wear, flip-flops to creative trinkets. If you wish to buy dried food stuffs, Bali coffee is most aromatic. You may also want to buy aromatherapy essential oils to sprinkle your bath with.
As Bali is located 8 degrees south of the equator, so the weather you will find is tropical, warm and humid climate all year around with two main distinctive seasons: Dry Season and Rainy Season. Quite different with the areas around Bali’s central mountains (volcanoes) which have several peaks over 3,000 metres in elevation. Up here the temperatures are considerably cooler, and there is much more rainfall than in the coastal areas.
Bali’s white beaches are favourite for family holidays. There are a variety of watersports available, such as banana boats, parasailing or jet skiing, swimming or plain sunbathing. Most well known among Bali’s beaches is Kuta. Along this stretch are an array of hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes. In the evenings the area throbs to the beat of disco music. For a quieter evening enjoy the beach at Jimbaran, a popular spot to eat fresh barbecued seafood in the evenings. Sanur Beach also dotted with hotels and restaurants. You can also visit Nusa Dua, where more private beaches front super deluxe hotels.
Surfers love the waves at Nusa Lembongan near Nusa Penida. These islands are a 45 minutes boat trip from Nusa Dua or from Sanur. At Nusa Penida’s south western coast are the Manta Point and the Malibu point where divers can swim with Travally, big rays and even sharks. The best dive spots are at Menjangan with its reef flat, anchor wreck, eel garden and caves to explore. Nearby and still in the Bali Barat Park is Pemutaran island.
Bali offers first class adrenaline pumping white water rafting down the spectacular Ayung River by Ubud. Here you can also go bungy-jumping from a cliff down to almost touch the river. If you enjoy cycling, Ubud and its surrounding is a wonderful town to bike around. There are also good cycling paths at Uluwatu in the south.
Mountain climbers may want to climb up Gunung Agung. Begin your ascent from behind the temple or through the village of Sebudi. However, make sure to ask permission first from the temple authorities, as Balinese religion prescribes that no one may stand higher than the sacred temple especially when ceremonies are being held.
The Kecak dance is staged most dramatically in the open air by Pura Tanah Lot with as backdrop, the sun slowly lowering in the sea over the horizon beyond this beautiful temple. The Kecak dance tells the story of Ramayana wherein prince Rama’s wife, Sita, is abducted by the ogre Rahwana.
An important virtue to have while on the road in Bali is patience! Although the road system in the heavily populated areas is quite reasonable (condition wise) in comparison to other developing countries, it can be heavily congested at peak periods. Ceremonial processions often take up the entire road so if you’re caught behind a procession, enjoy the colorful experience.
With increasing number of direct flights from many parts of the world, getting to Bali is easy. Flights from Jakarta to Bali take about 1.5 hours, from Singapore and Perth (Australia) around 2.5-3 hours, from Hong Kong about 4.5 hours, and from Sydney/Melbourne about 5.5-6 hours on many national and international carriers.
Another means to reach the island is by ferry from Banyuwangi, located at the most eastern tip of East Java. It takes 30-45 minutes crossing from Banyuwangi to Ketapang on Bali. From Bali, you can also continue further by ferry to the island of Lombok, in West Nusa Tenggara. Take the ferry at Padang Bay with transit at Lembar seaport for a total of 4 hours journey.