:: Bali Island Travel Guide.
Bali Island is one of the provinces of the Republic of Indonesia, divided administratively between eight districts that take their names and boundaries from the island’s old Hindu kingdoms. Bali is a land that seems to have a magnet at its very heart. It is a feeling that is difficult to understand unless experienced but once visited you are surely compelled to come back and you may even want to stay forever, such is its pull. Maybe its Bali’s beauty, maybe the friendly people, or maybe even the influence from spirits that certainly abide in this place.
Bali goes under many names. Some call it the ‘island of the gods’, others Shangri-La. The ‘last paradise’, the ‘dawning of the world’ and the ‘centre of the universe’ are yet more names for this truly beautiful tropical island inhabited by a remarkably artistic people who have created a dynamic society with unique arts and ceremonies.
Geographically, Bali lies between the islands of Java and Lombok and is one of more than 17.000 islands that make up the Indonesian Archipelago. Bali is small, stretching approximately 140 km from East to west and 80 km from North to south. Running east to west and slightly off center, are a string of volcanic mountains, the tallest and most recently being active Mount Agung, which reaches 3.142 m at its highest point and last erupted in 1963. Like many islands, Bali has developed a world of its own. It not only captures what is special about Indonesia but also has a uniqueness of its own.
In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. There are major coastal roads and those 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 have black sand.
Daily life on Bali is culturally linked to satisfying and appeasing the gods, spirits and demons in the midst of breathtaking panoramas of cultivated rice terraces, impressive volcanoes and pristine beaches. Bali’s main volcano, Mount Agung, is still active and sometimes explosive and is considered sacred among local people as it is believed to be the centre of the universe. Lying just 8º south of the Equator, Bali can boast a tropical climate with just two seasons a year and an average temperature of around 28º Celsius. It has a whole range of different environments and activities for the tourist, many of which are covered in these homepages.
Economically and culturally, Bali is one of the most important islands of Indonesia. Rice is grown on irrigated, terraced hillsides; other crops include sugar cane, coffee, copra, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Cattle and hogs are also raised. The Balinese are skilled artisans, particularly in woodcarving and in fashioning objects of tortoiseshell and of gold, silver and other metals. The Balinese are noted for their traditional dance, the distinctive music of the gamelan and for their skills in weaving cloth of gold and silver threads, Songket, as well as for embroidering silk and cotton clothing.
Bali Island is the perfect holiday destination for all ages offers something for everyone. This tropical paradise has a unique blend of modern tourist facilities combined with wonderful shopping and a rich past and heritage. The Balinese people are proud of having preserved their unique Hindu culture against the advance of Islam, the dominant religion throughout Indonesia. This is still reflected in day to day life and can be seen in the numerous ceremonies, Balinese festivals and magnificent temples and palaces. Some of the best surfing beaches in the world can be found on the western side of the island whilst conversely the eastern side is a wonderful haven for families, with beautiful white sand beaches and gentle seas.
The tourism scene on Bali is spread around the island's main towns and regions, being especially concentrated in South Bali and the resorts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Denpasar serves as the island capital and features some lively markets and information bureaux, while the regency of Karangasem is known for being home to the Mother Temple of Besakih, Bangli for its hilltop views, Kuta for its exceptional beach and party atmosphere, and the more centrally located Ubud for its Balinese culture and mountainous scenery.
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