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A tropical island in the Indonesian archipelago, is so picturesque and immaculate it could almost be a painted backdrop. The rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, dense tropical jungle, long sandy beaches, warm blue water, crashing surf and friendly people, this perfect holiday destination for all ages offers something for everyone with Bali hotels and Villas catering for all budgets.
Some of the best surfing beaches in the world can be found on the western side of the island whilst the eastern side is a wonderful haven for families, with beautiful white sand beaches and gentle seas.
Bali Island is a shopper's paradise particularly for casual and tailored clothing, locally made jewellery, handicrafts, antiques and artifacts. Leather ware is one of the unexpected local bargains with everything from handbags through to tailor made leather jackets and coats, all at unbelievable prices.
Try bargaining at the street markets of Kuta, Sanur of Nusa Dua or fixed price shopping at a Denpasar department store. Bali has it all.
For those that love the water, Bali Island has world class scuba diving, snorkelling and wonderful day trips out to Nusa Penida for beach sports and coral viewing.
When the sun sets, the choices are still hard to make - a quiet romantic moon lit dinner or watch the spectacular Balinese Fire Dance or Kecak Dance. For those that want to party, Bali Island has it all with bars, discos and nightclubs.
As a truly international destination attracting visitors from all over the world, restaurants in Bali are extremely cosmopolitan yet inexpensive. Experience not only local delicacies like Nasi Goreng and Sate Campur but also Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Italian/European Greek, Moroccan and even Mexican cuisine.
We must not forget Bali's wonderful seafood - local lobster at such prices that you will want to keep coming back for more.
For those more culturally inclined, Bali can offer the peace and tranquility of Ubud high in the hills; the spectacular Mother Temple at Besakih; the ancient capital of Bali, Singaraja and the floating palace at Ujung near the pretty beach area of Candi Dasa. The Scenery is nothing less than spectacular. Jungle, picturesque hillside rice terraces and the awesome magnificence of Kintamani Volcano.
The more active, wanting a break from the idyllic beaches, can experience wonderful golf courses in the mountains at Bedugul and beachside at Nusa Dua, the thrill of white water rafting or kayaking down the beautiful Ayung River; mountain cycling amid scenery you will never forget and organized rice paddy and jungle treks to see the side of Bali most tourists never encounter.
Bali Island, a truly international destination, offers every standard of accommodation ranging from charming yet modest bungalow style hotels in lush tropical gardens for the budget minded through to arguably amongst the most exclusive and sophisticated hotels in the world!
WHERE IS BALI?
The island of Bali is part of the Republic of Indonesia and is located 8 to 9 degrees south of the equator between Java in the West and Lombok and the rest of the Lesser Sunda Islands (Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba and Timor) in the East.
Flying time to Jakarta is about 1.5 hours, to Singapore and Perth (Australia) 2.5 and 3 hours, to Hong Kong about 4.5 hours, and to Sydney/Melbourne about 5.5 to 6 hours.
GEOGRAPHY: 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 Java, 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.
The wide variety of tropical plants is surprising. You'll see huge banyan trees in villages and temple grounds, tamarind trees in the North, clove trees in the highlands, acacia trees, flame trees, and mangroves in the South.
And there are flowers, flowers everywhere. You'll see (and smell the fragrance of) hibiscus, bougainvillea, jasmine, and water lilies. Magnolia, frangipani, and a variety of orchids are found in many front yards and gardens, along roads, and in temple grounds. Flowers are also used as decorations in temples, on statues, as offerings for the gods, and during prayers. Dancers wear blossoms in their crowns, and even the flower behind the ear of your waitress seems natural in Bali.
Elephants and tigers don't exist any more in Bali since early this century. Wildlife, however, includes various species of monkeys, civets, barking deer and mouse deer, and 300 species of birds including wild fowl, dollar birds, blue kingfishers, sea eagles, sandpipers, white herons and egrets, cuckoos, wood swallows, sparrows, and starlings.
You can watch schools of dolphins near Lovina, Candi Dasa, and Padangbai. Divers will see many colorful coral fish and small reef fish, moray eels, and plankton eating whale sharks as well as crustaceans, sponges, and colorful coral along the east coast and around Menjangan Island near Gilimanuk.
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.
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.
This southern part of Bali is where most jobs are to be found, either in the Bali hotel and Bali Accommodation industry, the textile and garment industry, and in many small scale and home industries producing handicrafts and souvenirs. Textiles, garments, and handicrafts have become the backbone of Bali's economy providing 300,000 jobs, and exports have been increasing by around 15% per year to over US$400 million. Textiles and garments contribute about 45%, and wood products including statues, furniture and other handicrafts 22% to the province's total income from exports. Silver work is ranked third (4.65%) with 5,000 workers employed. Main buyers are the US and Europe with 38% each, and Japan with 9%.
Important agricultural products besides rice are tea, coffee, tobacco, cacao, copra, vanilla, soy beans, chilies, fruit, and vegetable (there are now even vineyards near the northwest coast). Bali's fishing industry and seaweed farming provide other products which are important exports.
WHAT MAKES BALI SO SPECIAL:
There is the combination of the friendly people, the natural attractions, the great variety of things to see and do, the year-round pleasant climate, and the absence of security problems. And then there is Bali's special "magic", which is difficult to explain.
As soon as you step off the plane you might sense the difference. In the villages you'll notice the quietness and wisdom in old people's faces, and the interest and respect in the young's. Old men sit at the road side caressing their fighting cocks. Beautifully dressed women walk proudly through rice fields and forests carrying offerings on their heads to the next temple. There is the smell of flowers, and in the distance you hear the sound of gamelan music.
Gods and spirits have been an important part of Bali's daily life for hundreds of years. Gunung Agung – Bali's holy mountain – is internationally regarded as one of the eight "Chakra" points of the world.
Watch out, the moment you feel the magic of this island, you're addicted for the rest of your life.