Bali is an island and province of Indonesia. The province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan. It is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Its capital of Denpasar is located at the southern part of the island.
With a population of 3,890,757 in the 2010 census, and 4,225,000 as of January 2014, the island is home to most of Indonesia's Hindu minority. According to the 2010 Census, 83.5% of Bali's population adhered to Balinese Hinduism, followed by 13.4% Muslim,Christianity at 2.5%, and Buddhism 0.5%.
Bali is a popular tourist destination, which has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. The Indonesian International Film Festival is held every year in Bali.
Bali, the famed "Island of the Gods", stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth. Its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides provide a picturesque backdrop to its colourful, deeply spiritual and unique culture. The cultural landscape of the Bali province has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
With world-class surfing and diving, many cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations, this is one of the world's most popular island destinations. Award-winning Bali has something to offer almost every visitor from young back-packers to the super-rich.
Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone over 500 reef building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about 7 times as many as in the entire Caribbean. Most recently, Bali was the host of the 2011 ASEAN Summit, 2013 APEC and Miss World 2013.
|TIME ZONE :||WITA (UTC+08)|
|LANGUAGE :||Indonesian (official), Balinese, English|
|RELIGION :||Hindu (83.5%), Muslim (13.4%), Christian (2.5%), Buddhist (0.5%)|
|AREA :||5,780.06 km2 (2,231.69 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||8°39′S 115°13′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 50.30|
• Female: 49.70
|ETHNIC :||Balinese (90%), Javanese (7%), Baliaga (1%), Madurese (1%)|
|AREA CODE :||36|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+62 36|
The tourism industry is primarily focused in the south, while significant in the other parts of the island as well. The main tourist locations are the town of Kuta (with its beach), and its outer suburbs of Legian and Seminyak(which were once independent townships), the east coast town of Sanur (once the only tourist hub), in the center of the island Ubud, to the south of the Ngurah Rai International Airport, Jimbaran, and the newer development of Nusa Dua and Pecatu.
The American government lifted its travel warnings in 2008. The Australian government issued an advice on Friday, 4 May 2012. The overall level of the advice was lowered to 'Exercise a high degree of caution'. The Swedish government issued a new warning on Sunday, 10 June 2012 because of one more tourist who was killed by methanol poisoning.Australia last issued an advice on Monday, 5 January 2015 due to new terrorist threats.
An offshoot of tourism is the growing real estate industry. Bali real estate has been rapidly developing in the main tourist areas of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Oberoi. Most recently, high-end 5 star projects are under development on the Bukit peninsula, on the south side of the island. Million dollar villas are being developed along the cliff sides of south Bali, commanding panoramic ocean views. Foreign and domestic (many Jakarta individuals and companies are fairly active) investment into other areas of the island also continues to grow. Land prices, despite the worldwide economic crisis, have remained stable.
In the last half of 2008, Indonesia's currency had dropped approximately 30% against the US dollar, providing many overseas visitors value for their currencies. Visitor arrivals for 2009 were forecast to drop 8% (which would be higher than 2007 levels), due to the worldwide economic crisis which has also affected the global tourist industry, but not due to any travel warnings.
Bali's tourism economy survived the terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005, and the tourism industry has in fact slowly recovered and surpassed its pre-terrorist bombing levels; the longterm trend has been a steady increase of visitor arrivals. In 2010, Bali received 2.57 million foreign tourists, which surpassed the target of 2.0–2.3 million tourists. The average occupancy of starred hotels achieved 65%, so the island is still able to accommodate tourists for some years without any addition of new rooms/hotels, although at the peak season some of them are fully booked.
According to BBC Travel released in 2011, Bali is one of the World's Best Islands, ranking second after Santorini, Greece.
In August 2010, the film Eat Pray Love was released in theatres. The movie was based on Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love. It took place at Ubud and Padang-Padang Beach at Bali. The 2006 book, which spent 57 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list, had already fuelled a boom in Eat, Pray, Love-related tourism in Ubud, the hill town and cultural and tourist center that was the focus of Gilbert's quest for balance through traditional spirituality and healing that leads to love.
In January 2016, after music icon David Bowie died, it was revealed that in his will, Bowie asked for his ashes to be scattered in Bali, conforming to Buddhist rituals. He had visited and performed in a number of Southeast Asian cities early in his career, including Bangkok and Singapore.
Since 2011, China has displaced Japan as the second-largest supplier of tourists to Bali, while Australia still tops the list. Chinese tourists increased by 17% from last year due to the impact of ACFTA and new direct flights to Bali. In January 2012, Chinese tourists year on year (yoy) increased by 222.18% compared to January 2011, while Japanese tourists declined by 23.54% yoy.
Bali reported that it has 2.88 million foreign tourists and 5 million domestic tourists in 2012, marginally surpassing the expectations of 2.8 million foreign tourists. Forecasts for 2013 are at 3.1 million.
Based on Bank Indonesia survey in May 2013, 34.39 percent of tourists are upper-middle class with spending between $1,286 to $5,592 and dominated by Australia, France, China, Germany and the US with some China tourists move from low spending before to higher spending currently. While 30.26 percent are middle class with spending between $662 to $1,285.
In the twentieth century the incidence of tourism specifically for sex was regularly observed in the era of mass tourism in Indonesia In Bali, prostitution is conducted by both men and women. Bali in particular is notorious for its 'Kuta Cowboys', local gigolos targeting foreign female tourists.
Tens of thousands of single women throng the beaches of Bali in Indonesia every year. For decades, young Balinese men have taken advantage of the louche and laid-back atmosphere to find love and lucre from female tourists—Japanese, European and Australian for the most part—who by all accounts seem perfectly happy with the arrangement.
By 2013, Indonesia was reportedly the number one destination for Australian child sex tourists, mostly starting in Bali but also travelling to other parts of the country. The problem in Bali was highlighted by Luh Ketut Suryani, head of Psychiatry at Udayana University, as early as 2003. Surayani warned that a low level of awareness of paedophilia in Bali had made it the target of international paedophile organisations. On 19 February 2013, government officials announced measures to combat paedophilia in Bali.
Tourism information centres
- 166 from a landline in Bali only. From a mobile in Bali 0361 166.
- Bali Tourism Board: Jl Raya Puputan No41, Denpasar. +62 361 235 600, (fax: +62 361 239200).
Some major destinations in Bali have their own tourism offices; contact details are given in the relevant destination articles.
Bali was inhabited around 2000 BC by Austronesian people who migrated originally from Southeast Asia andOceania through Maritime Southeast Asia. Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are closely related to the people of the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, the Philippines and Oceania. Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.
In ancient Bali, nine Hindu sects existed, namely Pasupata, Bhairawa, Siwa Shidanta, Waisnawa, Bodha, Brahma, Resi, Sora and Ganapatya. Each sect revered a specific deity as its personal Godhead.
Inscriptions from 896 and 911 don't mention a king, until 914, when Sri Kesarivarma is mentioned. They also reveal an independent Bali, with a distinct dialect, where Buddhism and Sivaism were practiced simultaneously. Mpu Sindok's great granddaughter, Mahendradatta (Gunapriyadharmapatni), married the Bali king Udayana Warmadewa (Dharmodayanavarmadeva) around 989, giving birth to Airlangga around 1001. This marriage also brought more Hinduism and Javanese culture to Bali. Princess Sakalendukirana appeared in 1098. Suradhipa reigned from 1115 to 1119, and Jayasakti from 1146 until 1150. Jayapangus appears on inscriptions between 1178 and 1181, while Adikuntiketana and his son Paramesvara in 1204.
Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Bali dwipa ("Bali island") has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong pillar inscription written by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 914 AD and mentioning "Walidwipa". It was during this time that the people developed their complex irrigation system subak to grow rice in wet-field cultivation. Some religious and cultural traditions still practised today can be traced to this period.
The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. The uncle of Hayam Wuruk is mentioned in the charters of 1384-86. A mass Javanese emigration occurred in the next century.
The first known European contact with Bali is thought to have been made in 1512, when a Portuguese expedition led by Antonio Abreu and Francisco Serrão sighted its northern shores. It was the first expedition of a series of bi-annual fleets to the Moluccas, that throughout the 16th century usually traveled along the coasts of the Sunda Islands. Bali was also mapped in 1512, in the chart of Francisco Rodrigues, aboard the expedition. In 1585, a ship foundered off the Bukit Peninsula and left a few Portuguese in the service of Dewa Agung.
Dutch East India
In 1597 the Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived at Bali, and the Dutch East India Company was established in 1602. The Dutch government expanded its control across the Indonesian archipelago during the second half of the 19th century . Dutch political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840s on the island's north coast, when the Dutch pitted various competing Balinese realms against each other. In the late 1890s, struggles between Balinese kingdoms in the island's south were exploited by the Dutch to increase their control.
In June 1860 the famous Welsh naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, travelled to Bali from Singapore, landing at Buleleng on the northcoast of the island. Wallace's trip to Bali was instrumental in helping him devise his Wallace Line theory. The Wallace Line is a faunal boundary that runs through the strait between Bali and Lombok. It has been found to be a boundary between species of Asiatic origin west of the line and a mixture of Australian and Asian species to the east.
The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults at the Sanur region in 1906 and were met by the thousands of members of the royal family and their followers who fought against the superior Dutch force in a suicidal puputan defensive assault rather than face the humiliation of surrender. Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 200 Balinese marched to their death against the invaders. In the Dutch intervention in Bali, a similar massacre occurred in the face of a Dutch assault inKlungkung. Afterward the Dutch governors exercised administrative control over the island, but local control over religion and culture generally remained intact. Dutch rule over Bali came later and was never as well established as in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku.
In the 1930s, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, artists Miguel Covarrubias and Walter Spies, and musicologist Colin McPhee all spent time here. Their accounts of the island and its peoples created a western image of Bali as "an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature." Western tourists began to visit the island.
Imperial Japan occupied Bali during World War II. It was not originally a target in their Netherlands East Indies Campaign, but as the airfields on Borneo were inoperative due to heavy rains, the Imperial Japanese Army decided to occupy Bali, which did not suffer from comparable weather. The island had no regular Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) troops. There was only a Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda (Korps Prajoda) consisting of about 600 native soldiers and several Dutch KNIL officers under command of KNIL Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg. On 19 February 1942 the Japanese forces landed near the town of Senoer [Senur]. The island was quickly captured.
During the Japanese occupation, a Balinese military officer, Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese 'freedom army'. The harshness of war requisitions made Japanese rule more resented than Dutch rule. Following Japan's Pacific surrender in August 1945, the Dutch returned to Indonesia, including Bali, to reinstate their pre-war colonial administration. This was resisted by the Balinese rebels, who now used recovered Japanese weapons. On 20 November 1946, the Battle of Marga was fought in Tabanan in central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, by then 29 years old, finally rallied his forces in east Bali at Marga Rana, where they made a suicide attack on the heavily armed Dutch. The Balinese battalion was entirely wiped out, breaking the last thread of Balinese military resistance.
Independence from the Dutch
In 1946, the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly proclaimed State of East Indonesia, a rival state to the Republic of Indonesia, which was proclaimed and headed by Sukarno and Hatta. Bali was included in the "Republic of the United States of Indonesia" when the Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence on 29 December 1949.
The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands, created economic havoc and forced many displaced Balinese to be transmigrated to other parts of Indonesia. Mirroring the widening of social divisions across Indonesia in the 1950s and early 1960s, Bali saw conflict between supporters of the traditional caste system, and those rejecting this system. Politically, the opposition was represented by supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), with tensions and ill-feeling further increased by the PKI's land reform programs. An attempted coup in Jakarta was put down by forces led by General Suharto.
The army became the dominant power as it instigated a violent anti-communist purge, in which the army blamed the PKI for the coup. Most estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people were killed across Indonesia, with an estimated 80,000 killed in Bali, equivalent to 5% of the island's population. With no Islamic forces involved as in Java and Sumatra, upper-caste PNI landlords led the extermination of PKI members.
As a result of the 1965/66 upheavals, Suharto was able to manoeuvre Sukarno out of the presidency. His "New Order" government reestablished relations with western countries. The pre-War Bali as "paradise" was revived in a modern form. The resulting large growth in tourism has led to a dramatic increase in Balinese standards of living and significant foreign exchange earned for the country.A bombing in 2002 by militant Islamists in the tourist area of Kuta killed 202 people, mostly foreigners. This attack, and another in 2005, severely reduced tourism, producing much economic hardship to the island.
Being just 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali has a fairly even climate year round. Average year-round temperature stands at around 30 °C with a humidity level of about 85%.
Day time temperatures at low elevations vary between 20-33⁰ C (68-91⁰ F), although it can be much cooler than that in the mountains. The west monsoon is in place from approximately October to April, and this can bring significant rain, particularly from December to March. Outside of the monsoon period, humidity is relatively low and any rain is unlikely in lowland areas.
The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. Bali and Java are separated by the Bali Strait. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and spans approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; administratively it covers 5,780 km2, or 5,577 km2 without Nusa Penida District, its population density is roughly 750 people/km2.
Bali's central mountains include several peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) in elevation. The highest is Mount Agung (3,031 m (9,944 ft)), known as the "mother mountain" which is an active volcano rated as one of the world's most likely sites for a massive eruption within the next 100 years. Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Bali's volcanic nature has contributed to its exceptional fertility and its tall mountain ranges provide the high rainfall that supports the highly productive agriculture sector. South of the mountains is a broad, steadily descending area where most of Bali's large rice crop is grown. The northern side of the mountains slopes more steeply to the sea and is the main coffee producing area of the island, along with rice, vegetables and cattle. The longest river,Ayung River, flows approximately 75 km.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, they are not yet used for significant tourism.
The largest city is the provincial capital,Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 491,500 (2002). Bali's second-largest city is the old colonial capital,Singaraja, which is located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people. Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar's urban area, and Ubud, situated at the north of Denpasar, is the island's cultural centre.
Three small islands lie to the immediate south east and all are administratively part of the Klungkung regency of Bali: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These islands are separated from Bali by the Badung Strait.
To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed a transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok Island and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.
Three decades ago, the Balinese economy was largely agriculture-based in terms of both output and employment. Tourism is now the largest single industry in terms of income, and as a result, Bali is one of Indonesia's wealthiest regions. In 2003, around 80% of Bali's economy was tourism related. By end of June 2011, non-performing loan of all banks in Bali were 2.23%, lower than the average of Indonesian banking industry non-performing loan (about 5%). The economy, however, suffered significantly as a result of the terrorist bombings 2002 and 2005. The tourism industry has since recovered from these events.
South Bali (Kuta, Bukit Peninsula, Canggu, Denpasar, Jimbaran, Legian, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak, Tanah Lot)
|Central Bali (Ubud, Bedugul, Tabanan)|
The cultural heart of Bali and the central mountain range.
|West Bali (Negara, Gilimanuk, Medewi Beach, Pemuteran, West Bali National Park)|
Ferries to Java and the West Bali National Park.
|North Bali (Lovina, Singaraja)|
Quiet black sand beaches and the old capital city.
|East Bali (Amed, Besakih, Candidasa, Kintamani, Klungkung, Mount Agung,Padang Bai, Tirta Gangga)|
Laid back coastal villages, an active volcano and the mighty Mount Agung.
Southeastern Islands (Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan)
- Denpasar — a bustling city, the administrative centre and transport hub of the island but not a major tourist destination
- Candidasa — a quiet coastal town, the Bali Aga and gateway to the east coast
- Kuta — surfer central, by far the most heavily developed area in Bali. Lots of shopping and night-life and the centre of lower-end party culture on Bali
- Jimbaran — close to the airport, sea-side resorts, a nice sheltered beach and seafood restaurants south of Kuta
- Legian — located between Kuta and Seminyak; also the name of Kuta´s main street
- Lovina — beautiful black volcanic sand beaches and coral reefs
- Sanur — sea-side resorts and beaches popular with older families
- Seminyak — quieter, more upscale beachside resorts and villas just to the north of Legian, with some fashionable upscale restaurants and trendy designer bars and dance clubs
- Ubud — the centre of art and dance in the foothills, with several museums, the monkey forest and lots of arts and crafts shops
- Amed — an area of peaceful, traditional fishing villages featuring black sand beaches, coral reefs and excellent diving
- Bedugul — nice lakes in the mountains, a golf course, the botanical gardens and the famous Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
- Bukit Peninsula — the southernmost tip of Bali, with world class surfing, great beaches, and the can't-miss cliff-hanging Uluwatu Temple
- Kintamani — active volcano Mount Batur, great mountain scenery, cooler temperatures and fruit growing
- Mount Agung — highest mountain in Bali and the mother temple of Besakih
- Nusa Dua — an enclave of high-end resorts and a long, golden sand beach
- Nusa Lembongan — good diving, snorkeling and surfing and a great place to relax
- Nusa Penida — wild, rugged and untamed and as off-the-beaten-path as you will get in Bali
- West Bali National Park — trekking, birdwatching and diving in Bali's only substantial natural protected area
Unfortunately, it is very unlikely you will find a working public telephone on the street, which can be very frustrating in emergency situations. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to rely on mobile phones (local SIM cards may be used in unlocked phones with economical local and international calling rates) or phone/internet shops. Budget accommodation options are unlikely to offer telephone services to guests. Private rental phone booths (frequently together with internet rental) are available almost everywhere in Bali, mostly in Kuta and Legian, but the number is decreasing, because of cheap mobile phone price which can be got under $17 each. The cheapest tariff is calling to same operator, including to abroad using internet phone with 5 digits prefix 0xxxx, as Three/Hutchison or using Smartfren to call to Australia, but the coverage of the providers maybe good only in Kuta, Legian and Denpasar only. The best coverage in Bali is Telkomsel. For who do not want to go outside of Kuta and Legian, there are Biznet WiFi up to 100Mbps which can be used easily from your mobile gadget with WiFi. The voucher can be bought in Alfamart, Rp 10,000 for 500MB-10 days or Rp 30,000 for 2GB-30 days. One voucher can be used in 2 gadgets simultanuously.
International phone operators: 101. International Direct Dialing prefix: 001, 007, or 008. (the three digits prefix means using non-internet phone, which the tariff is more expensive than the internet phone and sometimes up to 8x.)
- 108 (if using a cell phone locally dial the area code you are in (e.g. 0361) and then 108)
- Niti Mandala, Renon, Denpasar. +62 361 227828.
- I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport. +62 361 751038.
Bali has six area codes.
- 0361: all of South Bali (Bukit Peninsula, Canggu, Denpasar, Jimbaran, Legian,Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak, Tanah Lot) plus Gianyar, Tabanan and Ubud)
- 0362: Lovina, Pemuteran and Singaraja
- 0363: Amed, Candidasa, Karangasem, Kintamani, Padang Bai, Tirta Gangga
- 0365: Negara, Gilimanuk, Medewi Beach, West Bali National Park
- 0366: Bangli, Besakih, Kintamani, Klungkung, Mount Agung, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida
- 0368: Bedugul
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