Known as The Island Of The Gods, Bali is a unique circle of sand-fringed land that bobs gently in the coral circle of central Indonesia. The religion here is predominantly Balinese Hindu, making the island stand out from its neighbouring islands, all of which make up the most populous Islamic nation in the world. Bali differs from the rest of the islands in Indonesia in more than just its religious beliefs. Famed for progressive modern art and theatre, as well as spectacular history and extraordinary traditional dance, this is a place made for travellers.
If you’re planning a trip to this incredible island, get ready for a unique experience that will stay with you forever.
Hindus arrived in Bali as early as 200 B.C and much of today’s architecture, dance and traditional theatre is rooted in strong historical connection with its Javanese neighbour. Despite the fact that the other 17,000 Indonesian islands are largely Muslim, Bali has retained a strong connection to their Hindu faith. Everyday life revolves around religion and visitors will most notably see tiny offerings (sesajen) which are usually placed in leaf bowls and set out on the street with burning incense sticks.
Balinese dance is something that should not be missed. The famous Barong or “Lion Dance” can be seen all over the island and it depicts the classic battle between good and evil portrayed by elaborately masked figures jumping and moving to complex melodies of Balinese music.
Because of the Hindu culture, religion and customs, there are some amazingly fun festivals in Bali. Try to time your visit for Nyepi, the Hindu New Year. This colourful festival ends in a day of complete silence. Tourists will be asked to stay in their hotels, flights stop running and the streets are empty. But in the days leading up to the New Year, beautifully ornate giants known as ogoh ogoh parade through the streets and everyone is upbeat and in a festive mood.
Despite the recent growth in toxic American fast food chains, Bali still has some of the best food in the region. Steer away from MacDonald’s and KFC and indulge in some truly decadent Balinese cuisine. Babi Guling (roast suckling pig) is a Balinese favourite but it may be hard to find in restaurants unless you order a day or two in advance. Sate Lilit is a delicious minced seafood satay wrapped around a twig of lemon grass and it is definitely not to be missed!
Bali is also famous for its sculptors. Men and women who practice the art of carpentry and stone carving create masterfully ornate temples, statues and homes all over the island. Walk through a Balinese temple and stare in awe at the talent of these sculptors. There are temples in every town and all of them are guarded by two lions. Inside you can often find statues of gods and goddesses like Dewi Sri the god of rice and fertility. The curved eves of the rooftops and intricate carvings on structural columns are all unique aspects that make Balinese architecture so fascinating.
Whether you’re coming here on a week-long honeymoon or a year-long trip around the world, this place has it all! There are accommodation options for all budgets in Bali, from small guest houses and family run hotels in Tirtagangga, to the beautiful Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.
The beaches in Bali are beautiful but there’s plenty more to do than just lazing in the sand. Rent a surf board and try to ride some waves! Try your hand at wind surfing, kite surfing or sky diving. And if you’re tired after a long day of activities, you can enjoy a nice massage back on the beach.
Bali is at the center of the ring of fire and the famous coral circle of Indonesia, so it’s no surprise that the scuba diving around the island is spectacular. The volcanic rock sunken beneath the crystal clear sea is the perfect breeding ground for hard and soft corals. The colors you’ll find under water are so vivid that it looks like someone has turned up the contrast on an HD television.
Head to the rugged interior of the island and discover tantalizing waterfalls where you can swim, jump and canoe around. The Gitgit waterfall is one of the most famous in Bali and is definitely worth a visit.
Places To See
Make sure you visit all of the different regions of Bali. In each region you’ll find unique culture and architecture. Make your way up to the Kintanami region and hike a volcano, or visit Ubud for its bewildering array of art galleries, museums and traditional architecture. Kuta is the partiers haven but offers visitors little in the way of culture or history.
By far the best way to see Bali is by renting a car or motorbike to tour the island at your own speed. There is public transport in Bali but it’s not nearly as fun as having your own means to explore the beautiful mountains and stunning coastlines that the island is famous for. You can rent a car for as little as $20 US / day and motorbikes can be rented for just $6 / day!
Making It Happen
Getting to Bali is easy thanks to many international and domestic airlines that can get you here on the cheap. If you’re travelling through Indonesia, you can come to Bali via ferry or flight. No matter how you get here, you’re sure to have the time of your life. Bali is one of our favourite islands and it is a place that we would love to return to soon. We’re sure that you’ll share our love for this colourful, culture-filled Indonesian island!
Have you ever been to Bali? What did you think?