Where is Bali

Bali: Geography & sights of the top 1 vacation island in Indonesia

Bali is the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands and lies between Java and Lombok. Together with the smaller islands of Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembogan and Nusa Penida, Bali forms the province of Bali of the same name with the administrative center and capital Denpasar.

Bali has around 3.9 million inhabitants, 89% of whom are Balinese, the rest is split between Javanese and Chinese. More than 92% of the people of Bali are followers of the Balinese variant of Hinduism, the Hindu - Dharma. Dharma includes a code of ethics and morals. These rules are of great importance in the social and personal behavior of the Hindus in Bali. From fasting, celebrations, the preparation of food to personal hygiene - all this and much more is carried out and lived in a certain way in Dharma Hinduism. Fulfilling the Dharma principles is in turn closely related to karma.
Outside of India and Nepal, Bali has the only indigenous Hindu population. The Balinese once immigrated from China; they adopted Hinduism from the neighboring island of Java. In contrast to other Indonesian islands such as Java and Sumatra, Islam was unable to displace Hinduism here. A predominantly Muslim district of Bali is Jambrana with the capital Negara.

Geography of Bali

A look at the map shows that a mountain range of volcanic origin stretches across the island from west to east. The highest mountain in Bali is the 3,142 m high Gunung Agung. For the devout Balinese this volcano is the Seat of the gods. In the center of Bali lies the Batur Mountains with a crater 10 km in diameter. At the edge of the crater lies the Gunung Abang with a height of 2,135 m. Inside the crater, a relatively young volcano, the 1,717 m high Gunung Batur, has formed; the rest of the crater floor is taken by Lake Danau Batur.

Map of Bali

The volcanic soil of Bali is very fertile and so where the terrain allowed it, rice fields were terraced and vegetables and fruits were grown in the narrow coastal plains. Most of the Balinese work in agriculture. As a result, the original vegetation - apart from the less accessible and sparsely populated west of Bali - was compressed to residual biotopes. Originally, mangrove forests stretched along the coastal strip and estuaries, today you can only find the last mangrove stands in the west and south-east.

Tropical fog wall once covered the mountain slopes in a zone between 800 and 1500 m above sea level. NN. Today there are only small remaining areas, although the cloud forest fulfills important functions for the ecological balance of the island: It forms the most important water reservoir and prevents erosion of the volcanic slopes. Remnants of a tropical dry forest can also be found in the north and west with less precipitation. The upper slopes and crater edges of the volcanoes give the impression of a vegetation-free, uninhabitable lunar landscape. On the Nusa Dua peninsula, a moist savannah has formed over the calcareous soil.

Sightseeing in Bali

The traveler gains an impression of the original tropical vegetation of Bali in the Barat National Park in the northwest of the island. The area was placed under protection in 1984, mainly to save the now rare Jalak Bali, the white Bali star, from extinction. The Bali tiger once roamed the forests here, the last specimens were seen in 1950. Since then, the Bali tiger, like the Java tiger, has been considered extinct. Java buffalo, wild boar, deer and monkeys have found refuge in the national park. The national park is subordinate to the Indonesian Forestry Service (PHPA), which strictly limits the number of visitors. For nature lovers, a visit to the Bedugul Botanical Garden is also worthwhile.

Tanah Lot Temple in Bali

Another scenic highlight of Bali is the Gitgit waterfall near Singaraja.
Most of the Balinese still live in the traditional village community, where family and religious rites are very important. Life is determined by numerous customs and festivals. There are numerous temple festivals. Bali is also called the island of a thousand temples. The mother temple Besakih at Gunung Agung, the sacred mountain of the Balinese, is the most important temple for the residents. A trip to the sea temple Tanah Lot, which is located on a rock off the west coast, is also worthwhile. However, the interior of the temple is reserved for the Hindus. The Pura Lughur Ulu Watu is located on the 150m deep cliff.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan or Pura Bratan - a water temple in Bali

Each village community usually has its own temples, usually three: the original temple Pura Puseh, the temple of the great council assembly Pura Desa and the death temple Pura Dalem. These temples are usually quite elaborately designed and are lovingly cared for. Furthermore, every family has its own house temple. On the way you can see small temples and stone monuments by the roadside.

If you are interested in Balinese art and traditional handicrafts, you should definitely visit the artistic center of Bali, Ubud, pay a visit. Celuk is known for its silversmithing, wood carvers practice their craft in Mas and Batubulan is the village of sculptors. In Ubud, there are daily performances of the Balinese shadow theater and Balinese dances for tourists as well.

Travel to Bali

The above-mentioned sights are of course the ideal travel destinations for backpackers. In the vicinity of the mentioned cultural centers and places of interest in general, it is always easy to find cheap, yet luxurious accommodation. Despite the large number of travelers, Bali is definitely worth a trip every year - the 4 million mark was broken for the first time in 2015. Here you can treat yourself to a lot of wellness, cultural and scenic diversity even with a relatively low backpacker budget.

The tourist centers are in the south of Bali: Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua. Here you come across less Balinese culture than Ballermann and MacDonald. Somewhat quieter is a bit to the west in Seminyak. The resort is known for its long black sand beach. Here you can still find a quiet place even in the high season. The north coast is still more original and traditionally Balinese. A new tourist center is developing here on Lovina Beach.

Arrival and traffic in Bali

The international airport Ngurah Rai (IATA three-letter code DPS for Denpasar) is located near Denpasar and is served by numerous renowned airlines from Germany via Dubai, Doha, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Hong Kong. Upon entry, a paid visa granted for a stay of a maximum of 30 days. There is a dense network of public buses on Bali itself. But you can also rent a car with a driver, which is often cheaper than renting a car and driving it yourself. You also have a guide who will be happy to show you around Bali. The Balinese themselves prefer mopeds and scooters as a means of transport. There is room for 3 to 5 people on a scooter.

More about the cities and sights in Bali:

Denpasar
Jimbaran