Explore Bali

Explore Bali
The only one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands that has retained its Hindu culture, Bali is quite culturally distinct from its neighbours. The island’s captivating dance, music, arts and general ambience have long drawn those in search of serenity.

However, the tourist influx has brought with it intense development in the main urban areas such as Kuta where you’ll find many brash bars, big nightclubs and international restaurants. So if that’s not what you’re after, then head away from the major hubs for a taste of the real Bali. All around the island you’ll find beautiful beaches, world-class surf breaks, top snorkelling, delicious cuisine and a wide range of accommodation.

Then there are Bali’s stand-out attractions such as the UNESCO-listed rice paddies at Jatiluwih, the active volcano at Mount Batur, hot springs along the Lovina Coast, the popular Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud and the spectacular Uluwatu sea temple – a great place to watch the sunset.

But once you’re done sightseeing, temple-hopping or devouring, then be sure to simply chill out. Indulge in a little yoga or meditation, have a massage or just soak up the last rays of the sun on a pretty stretch of sand.

Traditional Fishing Boats
Rice Paddies in Jatiluwih
Lotus pond and Pura Saraswati temple in Ubud

Places to Visit in Bali

  • Jatiluwih
  • Ubud
  • Sanur
  • Seminyak
  • Lovina

Unique Things to See and Do in Bali

  • Explore the rice terraces of Jatiluwih
  • Go whitewater rafting on the Ayung River
  • View the spectacle of active volcano Mount Batur
  • Take on the surf breaks around the island
  • Attempt a yoga class in serene Ubud

Balinese Hinduism

Although Hindus make up less than 2% of the population of Indonesia as a whole, in Bali that figure shoots up to more than 80%. Thousands of Hindu shrines are scattered across the island which around three million Hindus call home.

Hinduism arrived in the Indonesian archipelago way back in the 9th century and spread to Bali during the reign of King Airlangga who ruled Java between 1019 and 1042 and is remembered as one of Java’s greatest kings.

And, although Christianity, Buddhism and Islam have also settled in Bali, Hinduism remains the primary religion.

But while its foundations are Indian, Balinese Hinduism blends these with Indigenous beliefs and rituals.

Nature is all important, as are the ancestors and spirits who are housed in a shrine and treated with respect.

And, just as in India, there are a multitude of gods although all are seen as coming from a single source. The principle gods are Brahma, the god of creation; Wisnu, the god of providence and Siwa, the god of destruction.

The caste system is also to be found here although it is somewhat simpler than its counterpart in India with just four castes. These are the sundras who make up the majority of the population, then there’s the Wesia Warrior caste, the noble Satria caste and the Holy Pedana caste.

The caste of a person is shown in their title – for example, Ida Bagus for Pedana, Anak Agung or Dewa for Satrias, and I Gusti for Wesias. Each caste also has its own language, although most also use the national language of Indonesia which is known as Bahasa.

Getting Around Bali

Many people like to get around Bali by hiring a scooter – it’s a nippy and cost-effective way of getting around although driving conditions can be challenging at times and traffic frustrating. The same is true of car hire, and a few days behind the wheel is often enough for most.

Did you know…?

The island of Bali is the largest in Province of Bali. There are several other small islands such as Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and Serangan Island.

Seaweed farming, Nusa

Did you ALSO know…?

Many people in Bali have had their teeth filed down to prevent the six vices of anger, confusion, jealousy, drunkenness, desire, and greed from entering the body through the top six teeth.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways of getting around. Taxis are plentiful and run on meters in the main tourist areas in the south. Elsewhere, you’ll need to agree on a price. Not only are they useful for getting around town, but you can get them to take you from one town to another – for a price which should be agreed at the start of the journey.

There are also buses and ojeks – which are motorcycles which take a paying passenger.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Bali

Bali’s geographical position, close to the equator, delivers temperatures of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. But rainfall varies far more significantly. The rainy season runs from October through to March when the humidity comes hand in hand with frequent storms with bursts of torrential rain. As a result, many prefer to visit during the dry months of April through to September, although showers do still occur from time to time even at this time of year.

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