Bali Travel Information
FNE Travel || About Us || Contact Us || Bali Hotels || 巴厘岛旅游信息
Introduction || History || Geography Location || Climate || Population || Visa Information || Immigration || Beaches || Travel Tip || Currency
Tipping || Phone Home || Etiquette || Sightseeing and Adventure || Temples || Top Things To Do || Entertainment || Dining Out || Shopping
Religion || Art & Dance || Architecture || How to Get There || Transport || Map of Bali
Introduction
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Bali is one of the most well known destinations in the entire world. The island itself is overflowing with beautiful landscapes, mysterious volcanoes, tropical jungles, lush rice farm terrace and yes…the most stunning beaches anywhere. Bali is absolutely bustling with activities during the day including water sports activities, golfing, hiking and trekking and sightseeing. However, after the sun sets, Bali turns the heat up and becomes an ultra-hip nightspot with stylish and trendy bars and clubs sprinkled throughout the island.

The island is also celebrated for its many famous forms of artworks, its splendid architecture that has been copied world-wide and the intricately designed Hindu temples, which can been found in abundance throughout the island.

A trip to Bali without having a rejuvenating Balinese massage is completely unheard of. Here, the ancient art of massage and alternative therapies have been perfected over many generations leaving visitors utterly invigorated.

Mythical and magical, a diamond shaped island (140km by 80km) of spectacular volcanic mountains and lakes, enchanting rice terraces, ancient temples and palaces, surrounded by sparkling coral seas, Bali is alight with cultures and traditions.

Renowned for its influential and enterprising architecture, traditional dance and theatre and elaborate religious festivals, the effusive Balinese culture is a lively and dynamic force that is constantly fusing the old and traditional with the new and innovative.You may be surprised by Bali's modern tourist facilities, but you'll be amazed by its medieval culture - a vibrant civilisation still living and breathing its golden age.

Bali is the original magic isle. Westerners have long been entranced by the heady combination of a fabulous landscape and a mesmerizing culture. Streams cascade down impossibly green mountainsides from sacred crater lakes, while dance dramas are performed to please the Gods. Artists and the artistically inclined settled, worked and died amidst the rice fields and temples, reluctant to leave their Garden of Eden.

Bali Island - where religion is the source of traditional customs in everyday life. A vibrant culture, unique arts and ceremonies, a gentle and friendly people and spectacular scenery make Bali Island one of the premier travel destinations in the world.

Come to Bali Island to learn for yourself how beautiful Bali is. It needs more pages to describe the wonders and magic of Bali Island in words. Here is a glance info about Bali Island.

Bali Island is one of the 17,000 Islands of Indonesia, located between 8 and 9 degree south of the Equator.It takes 3 hours flight from Singapore or 5 hours from Sydney or  4 hours from Hong Kong and 8 hours from Tokyo,  those  closest cities in the pacific. There are direct and some connects flights from Europe, North and South America as well as Africa.

A very narrow strait, called the strait of Bali, joins the Indian (Indonesia) ocean and the Java sea, separating Bali Island from Java Island.Bali Island’s total area is  slightly more than 2000 square miles. According to the latest census Bali Island’s population is  three million five hundred thousand people.

Bali has approximately 3,500,000 inhabitants of which probably 80% are Hindu Balinese. The remaining having come from neighboring islands of Java, Lombok, Madura in search of employment.

Bali lies just 8.67° (965 km) south of the equator. As such the weather is tropical - consistently hot and sunny. Days are almost universally 12 hours long with sunrise is approximately 6:10 a.m.; sunset at 6:30 p.m. depending on the time of year. The daytime temperature averages between 27° C to 32° C (80° F to 90° F) in the southern lowlands (the main tourist venues). Humidity is quite high - a sticky 75% so often times it feels much hotter. Average temperature in the mountains is between 20° C to 25° C (70° F to 80° F). At night the mountains can get downright chilly - so bring a sweater if you plan to overnight there.

Bali’s tropical monsoon climate has two distinct seasons; dry (May to September) and wet (October to April). Monsoon refers to the wind, not the rain. However even in the wet monsoon there’s a better than even chance that it will be sunny for a good part of the day. Weather wise May, June and July are generally considered the best.

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History
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Bali has been inhabited since early prehistoric times firstly by descendants of a prehistoric race who migrated through mainland Asia to the Indonesian archipelago, thought to have first settled in Bali around 3000 BC. Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.

The end of the prehistoric period in Indonesia was marked by the arrival of Hindu people from India around 100 BC as determined by Brahmi inscriptions on potsherds. The name Balidwipa has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong charter issued by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 913 AD and mentioning Walidwipa. It was during this time that the complex irrigation system subak was developed to grow rice. Some religious and cultural traditions still in existence today can be traced back to this period. The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. When the empire declined, there was an exodus of intellectuals, artists, priests and musicians from Java to Bali in the 15th century.

The First European contact with Bali is thought to have been when Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived in 1597, though a Portuguese ship had foundered off the Bukit Peninsula as early as 1585. Dutch rule over Bali came later, was more aggressively fought for, and they were never ultimately able to establish themselves as they had in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku.

In the 1840s, a presence in Bali was established, firstly in the island's north, by playing off various distrustful Balinese realms against each other. The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults first against the Sanur region and then Denpasar. The Balinese were hopelessly overwhelmed in number and armament, but rather than face the humiliation of surrender, they mounted a final defensive but suicidal assault, or puputan. Despite Dutch pleas for surrender, an estimated 4,000 Balinese marched to their death against the invaders. Afterwards the Dutch governors exercised little influence over the island, generally allowing local control over religion and culture to remain intact.

Japan occupied Bali during World War II during which time a Balinese military officer, Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese 'freedom army'. Following Japan's Pacific surrender in August 1945, the Dutch promptly returned to Indonesia, including Bali, immediately to reinstate their pre-war colonial administration. This was resisted by the Balinese rebels now using Japanese weapons.

On 20 November 1946, the Battle of Marga was fought in Tabanan in central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, 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. In 1946 the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly-proclaimed Republic 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 Dec. 29, 1949. In 1956 Bali officially renounced the Dutch union and legally became a province within the Republic of Indonesia.

The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands, created economic havoc and forced many displaced Balinese to be transmigrated to other parts of Indonesia.

In 1965, after a failed coup d'etat in Jakarta against the national government of Indonesia, Bali, along with other regions of Indonesia most notably Java, was the scene of widespread killings of (often falsely-accused) members and sympathizers of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) by right-wing General Soeharto-sponsored militias. Possibly more than 100,000 Balinese were killed although the exact numbers are unknown to date and the events remain legally unclosed. Many unmarked but well known mass graves of victims are located around the island.

On October 12, 2002, a car bomb attack in the tourist resort of Kuta killed 202 people, largely foreign tourists and injured a further 209. Further bombings occurred three years later in Kuta and nearby Jimbaran Bay.

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Geography Location
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Bali lies 3.2 km east of Java and approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km wide and 112 km north to south (95 by 69 miles, respectively), with a surface area of 5,633 km². The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains cover centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active. About 30,000 years ago it experienced a catastrophic eruption — one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth.

In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain.

The principal cities are the northern port of Singaraja, the former colonial capital of Bali, and the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the southern coast. The town of Ubud (north of Denpasar), with its art market, museums and galleries, is arguably the cultural center of Bali.

There are major coastal roads and roads that cross the island mainly north-south. Due to the mountainous terrain in the island's center, the roads tend to follow the crests of the ridges across the mountains. There are no railway lines.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both: the main beach and the secret beach have white sand and the south beach and the blue lagoon have much darker sand. Pasut Beach, near Ho River and Pura Segara, is a quiet beach 14 km southwest of Tabanan. The Ho River is navigable by small sampan. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, this is not yet a tourist area.

The island of Bali has an area of only 5,632 square kilometers (2,175 square miles) and measures just 55 miles (90 kilometers) along the north-south axis and less than about 90 miles (140 kilometers) from East to West. Because of this it's no problem to explore the island on day tours. You can go wherever you want on the island and return to your hotel or villa in the evening.

Located only two kilometers east of Jawa, Bali's climate, flora and fauna are quite similar to its much larger neighbour. The island is famous for its beautiful landscape. A chain of six volcanoes, between 1,350 meters and 3,014 meters high, stretches from west to east. There are lush tropical forests, pristine crater lakes, fast flowing rivers and deep ravines, picturesque rice terraces, and fertile vegetable and fruit gardens. The beaches in the South consist of white sand, beaches in other parts of the island are covered with gray or black volcanic sand.

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Climate

The dry season is between April and October with the coolest months of May, June and July having an average temperature of 28°C. Rainy season is between November and March, with sudden downpours interrupted by periods of sunshine. The weather affects the diving here only in certain areas at specific times of the year. You can scuba dive Bali all year round. Please check our dive sites descriptions for more detailed information on diving seasons.

Tourist High Season is July and August for Europeans and Americans, and December and January for Australians. We recommend a visit between April and December.

You can expect pleasant day temperatures between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. From December to March, the West monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but usually days are sunny and the rains start during the night and pass quickly. From June to September the humidity is low, and it can be quite cool in the evenings. During this time of the year, you'll have hardly any rain in the coastal areas.

Even when it rains in most parts of Bali you can often enjoy sunny days on the "Bukit", the hill south of Jimbaran Beach. On the other hand, in Ubud and the mountains you must expect cloudy skies and showers throughout the year (this is why the international weather reports for "Denpasar" or "Bali" mention showers and rain storms during all times of the year). In higher regions such as in Bedugul or Kintamani you'll also need either a sweater or jacket after the sun sets.

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Population

The Balinese were not able to develop and sustain their extremely complex agricultural economy for centuries on end without a very organized community structure. The basis of this community structure is the Subak and the Banjar. Everyone who owns a rice paddy must join the Subak in their village. The Subak controls who will plant rice and when (plantings are staggered so that pestilence is minimized). As well and more importantly the Subak ensures that all farmers receive their fair share of irrigation water since traditionally the head the Subak was the farmer whose field was at the bottom of the hill and water first had to pass through everybody else's field before it was allowed to irrigate his.

The other important community structure, the Banjar, organizes all other aspects of Balinese life (i.e. marriages, cremations, community service, festivals and the like). When a man marries he is expected to join the village Banjar and must participate in community affairs. Meetings are held at a large open air building called the Bale Banjar.

The island's population is around 3 million of which 95% are of Balinese Hindu religion and are classed as ethnic Balinese. The majority of the other 5% are from other parts of Indonesia, mainly Java.

The Balinese have a traditional caste system, but as 90% now belong to the main caste, its role is declining to that of religious roles and language. Unlike Indian society, there are no untouchables in the Balinese caste system.

Bali's population has grown to over 3 million people the overwhelming majority of which are Hindus. However, the number of Muslims is steadily increasing through immigration of people from Java, Lombok and other areas of Indonesia who seek work in Bali.

Most people live in the coastal areas in the South, and the island's largest town and administrative center is fast growing Denpasar with a population of now over 370,000. The villages between the town of Ubud and Denpasar, Kuta (including Jimbaran, Tuban, and Legian, Seminyak, Basangkasa, etc), Sanur, and Nusa Dua are spreading rapidly in all directions, and before long the whole area from Ubud in the North to Sanur in the East, Berawa/Canggu in the West, and Nusa Dua in the South will be urbanized.

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Visa Information
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All travellers to Indonesia must be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months after arrival and must show proof (tickets) of onward passage.

Visas are waived for nationals of 39 countries for visits of no more than two months (non-extendable). The countries are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco (entries only through the airports of Jakarta, Medan and Bali), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.

Entry and departure must be made through the airports of Medan, Batam, Pekanbaru, Padang, Surabaya, Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta), Bali, Manado, Ambon, Biak, Kupang (Timor), Balikpapan (East Kalimantan) and Pontianak (west Kalimantan) and/or the seaports of Medan, Batam, Tanjung Pinang (Riau Islands), Jakarta (Tanjung Priok), Surabaya, Semarang, Bali (Benoa and Padang Bai), Ambon and Manado.

Taiwan visitors with passports coded "MFA" or "M" issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei, whose point of departure is Taipei international airport are allowed visa free entry through the airports of Jakarta, Medan and Bali and the seaport of Batam Island only within one week of leaving Taipei airport to enter Indonesia.

For other ports of arrival and departure, visas are required. Visas are also free for registered delegates attending a conference which has received official approval. For those who are not nationals of the above-stated countries and who arrive and/or leave from non-designated ports, tourist visas can be obtained from any Indonesian Embassy or Consulate. Two photographs are required and a small fee is charged.

Visas are required by citizens of all countries to visit Indonesia. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days and are available upon arrival. There is a small fee for a tourist visa, although citizens of other ASEAN countries are exempt from this charge. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you enter Indonesia.

iconThe following nationalities will not require a visa for short visits (30 days) to Indonesia:

Brunei Darussalam Chile Hong Kong SAR Macao SAR Malaysia Morocco Peru Philippines Singapore Thailand Vietnam

iconThe following nationalities can obtain a short visa (3 or 30 days) on Arrival:


Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirate and United States of America.

The Visa on Arrival fee for a stay of up to three days is $US 10 and for up to thirty days is $US 25. This visa is not extendable and not convertible into other types of visas. This is availiable at all international airports and all major borders. If you are crossing at a non recognised entry post you will need a visa.

Single entry visas (60) days, Multiple Entry Business Visas and Temporary Stay Visas are available on application prior to departure at the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia.

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Immigration

All visitors to Indonesia must be in possesion of passport valid for at least six months with proof of onward passage, either return or through tickets.

Visas are waived for nationals of 11 countries for visits of no more than one month (non-extendable). The countries are: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Phillipine, Hongkong Special Administration Region, Macau Special Administration Region, Chili, Marroco, Turkey, and Peru. For those who are not nationals of the above-stated countries and not entitled for free visa facility, the tourist visa can be obtained on the day of arrival according to the valid procedures and rules. Please note that a small fee will be charged. Please consult with Indonesian embassy or consulate for further information on visa.

The visa requirement is also waived for other nationals from friendly countries, attending a conference which has received official approval.

The visa free entry is for maximum of 30 days and is not extendable. Entry and departure must be through the airports of Polonia in Medan, Simpang Tiga in Pekanbaru, Hang Nadim in Batam, Tabing in Padang, Soekarno Hatta in Jakarta, Husein Sastranegara in Bandung, Juanda in Surabaya, Adisumarmo in Solo, Ngurah Rai in Denpasar, Eltari in Kupang, Supardjo in Pontianak, Sepinggan in Balikpapan, Sam Ratulangi in Manado, Pattimura in Ambon, Hasanudin in Makassar (Ujung Pandang), Selaparang in Mataram, Frans Kasiepo in Biak, and the seaports of Belawan in Medan, Batu Ampar and Sekupang in Batam, Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Tanjung Mas in Semarang, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, Benoa and Padang Bai in Bali, Bitung in North Sulawesi, Ambon in Maluku, and Tanjung Pinang in Bintan. There is only one land gateway, Entikong in West Kalimantan. For other ports of arrival and departure, visitors must have visas.

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Beaches
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Bali boasts many beaches, each very different from the other. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to tuck into a book, or an action-packed scene of surfers and sun-worshipers, Bali has got it all!

iconKuta Beach

Kuta, with the adjacent Legian, Seminyak and Tuban, is by far Bali's busiest beach resort area. Shops, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs are all in abundance here and the beach itself is the best in the area with great surfing. Being the hub of Bali tourism, you can join day trips and sightseeing tours to anywhere on the island from Kuta. So if you're looking for a lively night out with your new found dive buddies this is the place to be with many of the bars having live music, special drink promotions and organised pub crawls.

iconSanur Beach

Sanur is an upmarket alternative to the Kuta area of the island with a great beach and plenty of water sports - windsurfing, snorkelling, parasailing etc. all readily available. The nightlife is quiet in comparison to Kuta and there are plenty of good quality, reasonably priced eateries as well as some excellent craft, clothing, art and antique shops making this an attractive option for those wanting a more peaceful type of vacation.

iconTulamben

Tulamben is a sleepy village on the north east coast, beautifully set with the stunning backdrop of Mount Agung volcano, and famed for the Liberty Wreck dive site. Bali scuba diving and relaxation here are the principal draw cards, or if you feel like burning some calories, you can climb Gunung Agung (3,104m) or the smaller Mt. Seraya (1,174m).

Beyond that, there are many places of local interest such as Bali's highest waterfall in the nearby town of Les. For something unusual you can head to Tejakula, a local town famed for its horse bath which now acts (slightly disturbingly) as the towns public bath. More hygienic, but slightly further afield, is the spring baths water palace of Amlapura, Tirta Gangga in the east of Bali. Then there's river rafting, a luxurious golf course (set inside a volcanic crater!), mountain tours, traditional markets and cookery classes.

iconJimbaran

Jimbaran is a sleepy cove where fishing boats colour the scene beyond the grey sand beach. Since the opening of the Four Seasons Resort and the Inter Continental, this once quiet area has now become a popular spot for windsurfing and small sailing craft, which are available for rent.

iconLegian Beach

Legian Beach has been called the “United Nations Beach” as locals, expatriates and tourists mingle together. Sunset at Legian is a lively time when the beach bars fill and the soccer field is at its busiest.

iconLovina Beach

Lovina Beach is well known as an excellent site for sunset watching, snorkelling, and diving. Night life activities also abound, as well as chartered boats to go out into the sea. If you like what Kuta offers but do not like the crowds, Lovina Beach is for you.

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iconNusa Dua Beach

Nusa Dua Beach is where the big-name hotels line the beautiful sandy beaches offering excellent swimming in a protected lagoon. Some resorts have private beaches however most are accessible to the public. Visit this site for further information about Spa Treatments and Massage in Nusa Dua.

iconNusa Lembongan Beach

Nusa Lembongan Beach is one of the most popular destinations for day trips from Bali. The journey takes between one and two hours depending on what type of boat you choose for the crossing. The pristine sandy beaches with calm bays are abundant with colourful sea life, so diving and snorkelling are very popular. Glass-bottom boats tours are available. Visit this site for further information about Nusa Lembongan Beach in Bali.

iconSoka Beach

Soka Beach is a small, quiet beach. It lies northwest from Denpasar, on the way to Gilimanuk, the ferry port town that connects Bali and Java.

iconTuban Beach

Tuban Beach located between Kuta and the airport is lined with big hotels. Less frantic than Kuta, it is a wonderful place to simply grab a beach chair, a good book and relax.

Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin and Dreamland Beaches used to be the exclusive playgrounds of surfers as the hike down to some of the beaches deterred many people. Paved roads have now been built, along with access paths down to the most popular beaches so now anyone can take advantage of these stunning beaches, still relatively quiet by Bali’s standards. When the surf is up you can catch world-class rides, and when there is no surf the sea becomes a crystal clear lagoon gently lapping the white sand. Uluwatu is particularly busy at sunset when the monkeys play at the local temple. Visit this site for reviews of the best breaks to surf in Bali.

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Entertainment
Entertainment Entertainment Entertainment

Bali offers a wide range of entertainment from traditional Balinese dances, which are staged nightly by many of the larger hotels, to discos and pubs. Kuta has the liveliest nightlife, with watering holes and discos all along Jalan Legian and Jalan Buni Sari, some of which stay open till dawn. The best way to see traditional dances, wayang kulit and gamelan orchestras, is to attend a village temple festival. These are going on somewhere on the island almost daily.

Kuta is the centre for partying in Bali, with lots of drinking, music, and late nights.Jalan Legian has many bars, clubs and discos, all within stumbling distance.There are several live music joints, including jazz, and there's always an evening Balinese dance show or two to attend.Stay outside of Kuta and Sanur areas anywhere else on the island and you could be forgiven for thinking it was a different island, as the nightlife is far more sedate and peaceful elsewhere.

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Dining Out
otel restaurants in Bali generally offer guests a wide variety of excellent dishes to satisfy every taste - Indonesian, European and even "nouvelle-Bali". If you feel like venturing out for a meal, there are dozens of good, reasonably priced restaurants to be found in Sanur, Kuta and Ubud, many of them offering menus that mix Indonesian, Chinese and European dishes.

Here is a sample of some restaurants to try: Tanjung Sari Hotel Restaurant, Jln. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Excellent rijsttafel served in great comfort. Kul Kul Restaurant, Jln. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Western, Indonesian and Chinese cuisine. Beach Market, Jalan Segara Ayu, Sanur. Indonesian with Balinese specialities. Trattoria Da Marco, Jln. Banjar Semawang, Sanur. Offers some of the best Italian fare in Bali. La Marmite, Seminak. Balinese "nouvelle cuisine" served in the open air by the beach. Made's Warung, Jalan Pantai, Kuta. One of the "in" places to eat and to be seen. Great food from an eclectic menu. Poppies, Kuta. Another Kuta institution which serves great food in an idyllic garden setting. Murni's Warung, Ubud. Excellent Western and Chinese food at reasonable prices. Cafe Lotus, Puri Saraswati, Ubud. Delicious Western and Balinese food.

For Chinese food, try: Golden Lotus at Bali Dynasty Resort, Jln. Kartika Plaza, Kuta. Telaga Naga, which is operated by Bali Hyatt Hotel at Jln. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Golden Palace at Jln. Kuta Raya, Kuta, opposite Gelael Supermarket.

Whilst is quite easy to eat very nicely (and cheaply) in Bali, most of that is due to the intense competition of too many restaurants serving too much the same menu. With not much menu differentiation restaurants in Bali have, until recently, competed solely on price. Good for the hungry yobos but where to go for a nice evening and get good value for the money? (btw, good value does not always mean cheap...)

Below you'll find what could be Bali's only objective restaurant guide. We say objective because BaliHotels.com does not accept any advertising, sponsorship or freebies. We live here and when it's our money on the table this is where we spend it. Please be advised that when we say a restaurant is moderate or expensive it is in relation to other restaurants in Bali. Scale is $ (Almost Free) to $$$$$ (Very Expensive). With no further ado, the knife and fork please.....

Wherever you are on the island there are plenty of restaurants offering good quality, reasonably priced food.In Kuta there are all the usual restaurant types you'd expect in any popular tourist place, such as Italian, Seafood, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Asian, local Indonesian, as well as western fast food joints.

To sample real, traditional Balinese food you'll have to sample the cuisine cooked at home by the people of the island or try a dish from one of the many street side food stalls called 'warungs'. This mainly consists of rice with small portions of vegetables, fish and meat and is generally very spicy ("Sambal").

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Shopping
Bali's extraordinary range of merchandise makes it a shopper's paradise and a treasure trove of exciting purchases just waiting to be made. Here the usual junky tourist handicrafts scarecely exist, only exciting and well made authentic crafts.

The innovative Balinese are continually coming up with wonderful new concoctions to tempt the serious shopper. Even those with little spare cash will find plenty to indulge themselves with and even ten dollars can go a long way. Modern and traditional batiks and brightly coloured woven cloth are cheap and make wonderful gifts for friends back home. Silver jewellery is another Balinese speciality. Rings, ear-rings, brooches, pins bangles and bracelets are of a high quality at almost ridiculously low prices.

An island of artists, Bali produces fine stone and wood carvings, superbly carved wooden masks, finely painted and beautiful enough to decorate any wall. Woven blankets from Bali and other nearby islands where traditional crafts are still practised make distinctive wallhangings ,tasteful pottery and ceramic wares are available in studio shops in Sanur and Kuta.

Shopping in Kuta and Sanur is vast and varied from markets and shopping centres, to roadside shops filled with local crafts, art, antiques, clothes and copy rip-offs. Kuta Square is by far the most sophisticated shopping experience on the island, with many designer labels and products available.

Please be aware that it is illegal to take any object older than one hundred years out of Indonesia without proper documentation - so be wary of 'Grab a Granny' nights!The traditional Denpasar Kumbasari Market is the place to go for fruit and vegetables, as well as basketwork, sarongs, and mats.

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Religion

The local religion is Agama Hindu-Dharma, and centres on the five ritualistic pillars of gods and ancestors, demons, the stages of human growth, the dead, and the consecration of priests. Essential to these rituals are offerings of food, flowers, and palm-leaf figures. The offerings are consecrated by priests with holy water, incense and sacred mantra incantations. The belief is of one god, but in many forms including the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa, but also deified kings, saints, ancestors and elemental spirits.

The Balinese New Year is known as Nyepi Day. On this day, the Balinese believe that they have to fool evil spirits that no-one is actually on Bali - hence the need for silence. If this can be achieved, then it is believed that the evil spirits will go looking elsewhere for their prey and leave Bali island alone for another year. Balinese people are very religious and life is full of ritual - Nyepi is one of the most important days in their calendar. Police and security are on hand to make sure that everyone abides by the rules! Note that on Nyepi day, the airport is closed, cars and even people are not allowed on the streets, and at night, lights must be kept to a minimum. The rules apply to tourists also, although some activity is allowed in hotels. The date changes each year, as the Balinese follow a traditional lunar new year. The date in 2007 is March 19th.

Most population of Bali Island (90%) are Hindu and the others are Catholic, Protestant, Moslem and Buddhist. The Hinduism in Bali mixed with local tradition and culture, thus almost everyday you can find ceremony or festival.

The Balinese will be accompanied by rituals from birth to death. The birth is celebrated through the "penyambutan" ceremony, The three Month ceremony when the child is allowed to touch the ground an given the name. Every six month celebrate otonan (birth day), after the adulation they have 'tooth filling' ceremony then wedding ceremony.

As we are Hindu we have also Cremation ceremony, if some one died we will cremate the death body. Common people said that through cremation the soul can go the Heaven.

Temples, houses and other building are celebrated every 210 days (6 month) as the anniversary ceremony. You can easily find ceremony almost everyday. This is one of the main reason why travelers come to bali.

Although the Balinese are Hindu and worship the Hindu trinity Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, the Balinese religion is very different from the Indian variety. The Balinese do have a caste system but there are no untouchables. The caste system is most evident in the language which has three levels: a low level for commoners, a mid level to address strangers and a high level only used when addressing aristocracy.

The Balinese are an unusual island people in that they have never been sea faring people. They believe that good spirits dwell in the mountains and that the seas are home to demons. Most villages have at least three main temples: one of which is the Pura Puseh or ‘temple of origin’, is dedicated to the village founders and which faces to Mt Agung - home to Pura Besakih the mother temple on Bali. Together with the other two village temples each house may several temples and as well as rice fields, markets etc. etc. etc. Now you can see why Bali is often referred to as the Island of the Gods.

The Balinese are extremely devout and no day goes by without making offerings to the gods. These daily offerings - called Banten are a major part of Balinese life. You will see these offerings nearly everywhere in Bali. Made of flowers, cigarettes, cookies, rice and even sometimes money (the actual items used are not as important as the process of making and offering it to the spirits) these offerings are given to the good spirits in hopes of continued prosperity as well as to the evil spirits as an appeasement.

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Art & Dance
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Theatre is an integral part of Bali life and linked closely to religion. Birthdays, weddings and ceremonies are all occasions for drama. Some of the more popular shows you might see are Barong and Rangda - A ritual contest between the chaotic witch Rangda and the force of protection, order and healing, the lion-like Barong, Kecak Dance, Fire Dance, Legong, and the highly respected and symbolic Wayang Kulit, or puppet shadow show.

Baris Dance Just as the Legong is essentially feminine, Baris, atraditional wardance, glorifies the man hood of the triumphant Balinese warrior. The word baris means a line orfile, in the sense of a line of soldiers, and referred to the warriors who fought for the kings of Bali. There are numerous kinds of Baris, distinguished by the arms borne by the dancers-spear, lance, kris, bow, sword, orshield.

Originally, thedancewas a religious ritual: the dedication of warriors and their weapons during a temple feast. From the ritualistic Baris Gede grew the dramatic Baris, a story prefaced by a series of exhibition solo dances which showed a warrior's prowess in battle. It is from these that the present Baris solo takes its form. The Balinese saya good Baris dancerisr are. He must undergo rigorous training to obtain the skill and flexibility, that typifies the chivalrous elegance of the Sale.

A Baris dancer must be supple, able to sit on his heels, keeping his knees spread wide apart in line with his body. His face must be mobile to convey fierceness, disdain, pride, acute alertness, and, equally important, compassion and regret-the characteristics of a warlike noble. The Baris is accompanied by gamelan gong. The relation between dancer and orchestra is an intimate one, since the gamelan must be entirely attuned to the changing moods of the warrior's imperious will. The dancer enters the stage-a field of action where he will display the sublimity of his commanding presence.

At first, his movements are studied and careful, as if he were seeking out foes in an unfamiliar place. When he reaches the middle of the stage, hesitation gives way to self-assurance. He rises on his toes to his full stature, his body motionless with quivering.limbs. In a flash, he whirls on one leg, his feet patter the ground to the tumult of the gamelan, and his face renders the storm of passions of a quick-tempered warrior. Such a spectacular show of style, mental controf and physical dexterity would intimidate any enemy worthy of the Baris!

iconThe Gamelan

The Gamelan is the central instrument in Balinese music and traditional orchestras are called ‘Gamelan orchestras’ which are pretty much percussion based. You’ll hear this music in the arrivals hall at the airport and at first it sounds rather uncoordinated with a ‘glong glong glong’ type of sound.

iconKecak

The Kecak is the best known of the traditional Balinese dances and does not feature the gamelan. A male choir provides the accompaniment. The dance itself is expresses mythological aspects local traditions and the Hindu Ramayana poem. The dance tells the story of how King Rama was persecuted by the ogre king, Rahwana forms an alliance with the monkey people of the forest to overcome his enemy. Dances last an hour and feature about a hundred dancers.

iconBarong & Rangda

The Barong dance is the Balinese version of a Chinese lion dance and is very popular with tourists. It is a battle of good versus evil and the lion character (Barong) represents good and is up against the widow witch (Rangda). There are two guys who work the lion character and get very animated.

The Barong dances in tightly wound around Balinese superstition and culture and it be performed during religious ceremonies as well as for tourists. Central to its theme is the fight between the king of the forest and the forces of evil. The musical accompaniment is a gamelan orchestra with metal xylophones creating a jangly, rhythmic effect.

The Balinese have a respect for the sacred associations of the characters in the Barong dance and at the end of a performance the heads of the characters are taken to a special storage place in the temple and covered, acknowledging that the battle of good versus evil is over…for the moment. If you want to see the best performances or the Barong dance you might check out villages of Singapadu as well as Tegaltamu and Batubulan, that are 30 minutes from Denpasar.

iconKris Dance

The Kris dance comes at the end of the Barong dance and is almost like another dance entirely. Basically the followers of Barong (the good guys) have been overtaken by evil spirits and have entered a trance state. The evil Rangda taunts them and they attempt to stab themselves with their krises (traditional wavy knives) until the good Barong steps in to stop them. The magical trance state is supposed to protect them from injury.

iconTopeng

This dance has sacred significance to Balinese and only those who behave respectfully will be allowed to watch. This dance is accompanied by a gamelan orchestra and involves dancers wearing masks, imitating the character represented by the mask. These dances are often performed at ceremonies and processions. The particular rhythms followed by the different dancers are related to the age of their characters.

iconSanghyang (Fire Dance)

The Fire dance has a variety of forms but the basic idea is that it is done to drive out the evil spirits from the village. The dancers are in a trance state and a priest brings them out of it at the end. One version of this is the Sanghyang Jaran where a boy dances through and around a fire riding a sacred toy horse. Another is the Sanghyang Dedari where a couple of young girls dance gracefully, eyes closed.

iconLegong:The Legong dance is very graceful and the dancer is usually young girl, often not even in their teens.

iconBaris:The Baris dance is a solo warrior dance and is like a male version of the Legong.

iconRamayana Ballet:This dance follows a similar story to the Kechak dance and tells of Rama and Sita with a gamelan orchestra.

iconKebyar:Similar to the Baris dance but one that highlights the dancers’ own abilities.

iconBarong Landung:This is the annual puppet dance displayed in parts of southern Bali and on the island of Pulau Serangan.

iconJanger:A relatively new dance that came about in the last 80 years or so. Now it is part of the customary dances that take place in Bali.

iconLegong:The Legong dance is very graceful and the dancer is usually young girl, often not even in their teens.

iconBaris:The Baris dance is a solo warrior dance and is like a male version of the Legong.

iconRamayana Ballet:This dance follows a similar story to the Kechak dance and tells of Rama and Sita with a gamelan orchestra.

iconKebyar:Similar to the Baris dance but one that highlights the dancers’ own abilities.

iconBarong Landung:This is the annual puppet dance displayed in parts of southern Bali and on the island of Pulau Serangan.

iconJanger:A relatively new dance that came about in the last 80 years or so. Now it is part of the customary dances that take place in Bali.

iconJauk:This is a solo mask dance.

iconPendetThis is a daily dance performed at temples before offerings are made.

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Architecture

Most of Bali's considerable artistic prowess and energy is exercised on the sculpting of god effigies, palatial pavilions, pagodas and doors, and paintings of ceremonial paraphernalia. Its greatest art form is its classical architecture, characterised by temples with graceful roofs and narrow gates. Colourful processions mark most days, with their attendant bands, costumed gods and towering offerings, moving between one temple and another.

Until this century Balinese artists produced work (paintings, stone & wood carving etc.) under the patronage of wealthy kings or as gifts to decorate the local temple. As such the artists were only doing their part as a member of the community and therefore never gave much thought to be recognized for their efforts by signing their work. In addition, art had to follow very stringent guidelines so whilst the quality may have varied the content was quite standard. It wasn't until the arrival of European artists that Balinese artists learned to express themselves individually and then began signing their work.

Whilst maybe not a traditional art form, in fact kites were only recently introduced into Bali by the Japanese during their occupation of Indonesia in World War 2, the Balinese have quickly turned them into an art form. It is not unusual to see a group of men struggling to put a kite 4 meters (yes, 4 meters - some of these contraptions can be down right dangerous to passing aircraft !) into the back of a truck to take down to the beach. In fact there are laws against flying kites too close around the airport. The shapes can be winged eagles or tall ships complete with main mast and sails ! Truly a delight. And when these really big kites are airborne the wind on the string produces a loud, hypnotic humming sound. Serious competitions have begun to be staged with international competitors trying their best against the Balinese. Airworthy small versions make interesting souvenirs for young children.

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How to Get There

Bali lies in the chain of islands directly between Java to the west and Lombok to the east.

There are direct international flights to Denpasar - Ngurah Rai International Airport from Singapore (Singapore Airlines), Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific), Hawaii and Guam (Continental Airlines), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian Airlines), Tokyo (Japan Airlines) and Taipei (China Airlines or EVA Air).

For full details of all the airlines that fly into Bali, visit The Bali Pages.

Denpasar is located just south of Kuta and is served with daily flights from Jakarta. Flights are frequent and take 80 minutes. There are many other direct internal routes including Maumere - Flores, Manado - Sulawesi, Kupang - Timor, Bima - Sumbawa and Ambon - Banda Islands.

If you are booking a liveaboard trip through us the liveaboard operator will organise your domestic flights or, if you prefer, this too can be done directly with us for a small administration fee. Otherwise, Indonesia's domestic airlines do not have reliable websites so we advise customers to book domestic flights from Bali through our travel agent - PT Vaya Tour - E-mail: Ticketing@VayaTour.com, Tel. +62 (0)361 281145 or Fax +62 (0)361 281144. Your domestic tickets can be forwarded to your hotel, collected by you in person, or passed over to you upon your arrival at Denpasar International Airport. However they cannot accept credit card payments.

Direct flights to Bali are available mostly from cities in Asia and Pacific countries: Bangkok (BKK), Brunei (Bandar Sri Begawan, BWN), Darwin (DRW), Dili (DIL), Doha (DOH), Hong Kong (HKG), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Melbourne (MEL), Osaka (KIX), Perth (PER), Seoul (ICN), Singapore (SIN), Taipei Taiwan (TPE), Tokyo Narita (NRT).

If you are not living on the above cities, find the flight to Singapore (SIN) or Hong Kong (HKG) or Bangkok (BKK) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL), then get connection flight to Denpasar (DPS), Bali.(Denpasar is capital city of Bali with code: DPS. When you check flight schedule, don’t look for Bali, but look for Denpasar, DPS)

If you are living in Amsterdam, you get KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Amsterdam (AMS) to Jakarta (CGK) then connect to Denpasar by Garuda Indonesia. OR You can get Cathay Pacific (CX) flight to Hong Kong, or Singapore Airlines (SQ) to Singapore (SIN), or Thai Airways (TG) to Bangkok, or Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur (KUL), then connect to Denpasar, Bali (DPS).
For other cities in Europe, check it out at Our Flight Schedule. Just click here!

If you are living in North America, you can get flight from Los Angles to Singapore (by Singapore Airlines) or to Hongkong (by Cathay Pacific) then get connection flight to Bali with the same airlines. OR ou get flight from New York to Singapore (by Singapore Airlines) or to Hongkong (by Cathay Pacific) then get connection flight to Bali with the same airlines. Another option: You may also get flight from New York to Nagoya – Japan (By Japan Airlines or Northwest) then connect to Bali.

You can find your flight schedule using “oag-flights.com”. Type your Departure city in “Departure” field and Denpasar or DPS in “Arrival” field. Click here to go to “oag-flights.com”.

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Transport
Although many visitors to Bali like to rely on tour companies, there is really nothing like setting off to explore on your own.

Arm yourself with a map and trusty guide book and head off in a hotel taxi, a hire car with or without a driver, or motor bike. Gather a group of friends or family and hire a microbus. Bali is at your fingertips.

Those looking for adventure can try the local "bemos" You never know who will end up sharing the car with, but it could be ducks, chickens, women off to the market to sell their produce or a group of boys going to perform at a dance. Bemos are fun, frequent and above all, very cheap.

For a change of pace, negotiate a 'dokar' the local horse and carriage that can carry three or four passengers. In Denpasar and Singaraja the carts ply up and down the streets taking passengers to market and around town. Their harness bells jingle as they make their colourful way through the streets. The tiny horses seem to be amazingly strong for their size.

One of the most popular (and most dangerous) ways to get about in Bali is to take a motor bike. Cheap and practical, they can be great fun. But be warned. Many westerners are not prepared for the seeming chaos of Balinese roads and drivers have to watch for everything while zooming about. Bikes can be rented in Kuta, Denpasar and Sanur for very reasonable prices by the day or the week. Drivers need a valid International Diver's Licence and helmets are compulsory.Perhaps the best way to get about is by bicycle. The friendly Balinese love to stop for a chat, and a bicycle is just the right speed.

Public transport here is inexpensive and regular. Most public transport is provided by bemo, or minibus, and involves a connection at one of the terminals in Denpasar. This can make any journey time consuming and inconvenient. Add to this the tendency of bemo drivers to overcharge tourists, and you've got a good reason to look for alternative means of transport.

There are many shuttle bus services operating between the major tourists areas. These you can book at any travel desk, and they'll even collect you from your hotel. Beware! Indonesians are not renowned for their driving skills and most seem to think that they are on time trial for Ferrari Formula 1!

Alternatively, you can hire a taxi. These are still relatively cheap as they are subject to fixed price control with meters. Don't get in a taxi with a broken meter. If you are prepared to get out of the vehicle, you'll often find that the meter has suddenly fixed itself!

A final option is to rent your own vehicle. For this you'll need an international driving license, a copy of the vehicle registration papers, and thick skin - firstly to deal with any police trying to extort fines from you, and secondly to turn a blind eye to the diabolically low and dangerous driving standards of the locals.

It is a known ruse on the island for local reprobates to stop tourists on motorbikes claiming there is smoke coming from the exhaust. They then come over to the bike and surreptitiously flick the choke switch which will cause the bike to stutter and stop when you feel ready to move on. At this stage the kind chap will take you and your bike to a nearby mechanic who will charge you the equivalent of the Indonesian G.D.P. for simply flicking the choke switch back into place (which takes about half an hour behind closed doors) - don't fall into this trap (as, you'll no doubt get the impression, one of our correspondents did!).

By Air

Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport is one of Indonesia's main tourist gateways and is served by the national flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, on its internatinal and domestic routes as well as by 12 international airlines on scheduled services and charters.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is situated in the south of the island, not far from the resorts of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur. Taxi fares from the airport ranges from 4500 rupiahs to Kuta, 10,000 rupiahs to Denpasar, 12,000 rupiahs to Sanur and Nusa Dua, and 34,000 rupiahs to Ubud.

From Singapore, there are daily direct flights on Indonesia's national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, and Singapore Airlines.
From Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), both MAS and Garuda operate direct flights and similarly, from Hong Kong with Garuda and Cathay Pacific.

From Bangkok, Thai International and Qantas fly to Bali direct. While Royal Brunei flies to the island from Bandar Sri Begawan. There are also direct fights from Paris with UTA, from Amsterdam via Medan with KLM, from Japan and Taiwan with Garuda and from the Australian cities of Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Adelaide with Garuda and Qantas.

From the United States, Garuda Indonesia serves Los Angeles/Honolulu/Biak/Bali and vice versa. Bali also has feeder services to other eastern and northern destinations. There are daily flights to Ujung Pandang (gateway to Toraja land) and to the eastern Nusa Tenggara islands of Lombok and further afield. Garuda has several flights daily connecting Bali with Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Sempati Air flies to Bali from Jakarta, Yogya, Solo, Semarang, Surabaya and Ujung Pandang

By road or rail from Java

Land transport from Java, both rail and road, stops at Banyuwangi from where a ferry service operates 24 hours a day, bringing cars and passengers across the Straits to Gilimanuk in Bali. Buses carry passengers from Gilimanuk to Denpasar.Java - Bali overland packages are available.

By sea

Two of Bali's four sea ports are used by international cruise ships and yachts. Benoa is a small port relatively close to the airport, while Padangbai is used by larger and luxury cruise ships.

A ferry service runs twice daily from Lombok's port of Lembar to Padangbai and a hydrofoil service operates from Benoa harbour to Lembar.On the north coast, the harbour of Singaraja is used by Bugis schooners and smaller craft serving the lines between Java and north Bali.

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Map of Bali

 

Map

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