Category Archives: Bali Island

bali

Some interesting facts about Bali

Temple-Ceremony-in-BaliWhen most people think about Bali they think about pristine, white sandy beaches so it may surprise you to find out that Bali is also home to stunning black volcanic beaches thanks to the volcanoes that are still active on the island. What may come as less of a surprise is that 80% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism and the island, for many reasons, enjoys a steady stream of visitors. What many visitors do not realize is that in Lovina, on the north tip of Bali, dolphins are also frequent visitors, the Southeast Asian Spinner Dolphin, Spotted Dolphins and the Rissos dolphin can all be found in this area.

 

VOLCANO01

 

DOLPHINE01

Bali falls completely silent once a year on Nyepi the Balinese Day of Silence that is commemorated every Isakawarsa or Saka New Year, in 2014 it fell on March 31st. This is day of silence, fasting and meditation that is observed from 6am until 6am the following morning. This is a day of self-reflection and anything that might interfere with that is restricted. Lights must be kept low and working, entertainment, the lighting of fires, traveling or anything in the least pleasurable is prohibited, for some even talking and eating is off limits. Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu Holiday the non-Hindu residents of the island also observe the day of silence out of respect for fellow citizens. Even tourists are not exempt from this special day and although they are free to do as they choose within the confines of their hotels, they are not allowed onto the streets or beaches, and furthermore the only airport in Bali is shut for the entire day. The only exceptions are granted for emergency vehicles carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women in the throes of childbirth.

NYEPI02

NYEPI01

Another interesting part of life in Bali is the calendar, that only has 210 days and has its origins in the Hindu religion. So don’t be surprised if you are wished Happy New Year by some Balinese residents who keep to this very different, very traditional calendar, on a day of the year that on the outside appears to have nothing to do with New Year.

Another rather astonishing fact about Bali is that every priest is paid by the government, despite the fact that Indonesia is a very secular country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, every priest of every religion is paid by the government so every religion is supported.

Bali is home to the world’s largest commercial bamboo building that houses the Bamboo Chocolate Factory that opened in November 2011. It is located not far from Ubud and offers tours to visitors as well as a range of chocolate products. Its close proximity to Densapar, Bali’s largest city makes it a popular tourist attraction.

chocfarm choco factory

Another surprising fact, this time about the Balinese people, is that they have very little creativity when it comes to names. The Balinese usually only have one of four names, either Wayan, Made, Nyoman or Ketut that simply mean first, second, third and forth born, and it does not matter if the child is a boy or a girl! Even more surprising is that prior to turning three months old Balinese babies are not allowed to touch the floor so are literally carried everywhere until they reach twelve weeks!

Bali - Island of Gods

Bali – Island of Gods..

Bali – the climate, dress code, language and nightlife

004

Weather and Climate

The dry season in Bali is between the months of April and September, this is also the time of year that Bali receives the most visitors, however the temperatures at this time of year are only marginally hotter than the rest of the year and occasional rainfall can still be expected. Often even the locals in Bali are amazed at how much rainfall they experience in the dry season and how little they receive during the wet season.

Indonesian Temple 002

The rainy season that falls typically from October to March can see temperatures drop at night to 15 degrees, and is often the quietest time of year in terms of visitors but the islands close proximity to the equator provides a warm tropical climate that is a huge draw for tourists who enjoy an average temperature of 30 degrees all year round with humidity levels at around 85%.

009

For those who find high temperatures a little hard to handle it is advisable to find accommodation near the coast where the fresh breeze provides a welcome relief from the heat.

Dress code

The dress code in Bali is pretty casual and men can get away with a smart pair of shorts and shirt just about anywhere, even in the more expensive venues. For the ladies wide blouses and thin linen trousers are acceptable, however when visiting temples long sleeves and sarongs are a must. And it goes without saying that sun protection is a must if you are not used to hot tropical climates so don’t forget to pack some factor 50 and a sun hat.

Language

English can be considered the third language in Bali after Indonesian and Balinese. Most Balinese have basic English skills due to tourism. You will find that many locals speak with an Australian twang thanks to between 600,000 to 700,000 Australian arrivals each year. Like most countries if you do manage to pick up and use a few words in the local language you will suddenly find yourself with many friends. Most big hotels have staff who speak English, French, Spanish and German. When it comes to ordering food most menus are in English and some do not even have an Indonesian version. Some restaurants provide menus in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Russian, but generally these will only be found in Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua and Seminyak.

Local travel agencies can help with tour guides who speak Japanese, Russian and Korean. In the tourist sector Indonesian is the most commonly used language. A lot of Javanese and Indonesians from other islands have entered the tourism sector and live and work on the islands so on the streets it is Bahasa Indonesia that is the language most commonly heard. Bahasa Indonesia is very lose to Malay and is taught in school and is the language spoken in government offices.

Nightlife

005

Bali is renowned for its nightlife and has more than its fair share of pubs, clubs, discos and beach bars. Many venues offer affordable drinks, food and entertainment while others cater for the upscale market with cocktails, imported beers, world class cuisine and world class musical acts. Fridays and Saturdays are popular nights to party for locals, expats and visitors to island and many venues invite DJ’s from all over Asia to entertain guests at the weekend.

007

Many of the bars in Bali offer happy hours around sunset, once darkness falls the restaurants start to fill up and as the night draws in many restaurants turn into nightclubs and the tables and chairs give way to dance floors. Bali has many great spots for night owls who hop from club to club to enjoy different music styles and atmospheres such as hip and contemporary, rowdy and wild and elegant and sophisticated. Around Kuta many of the clubs start to get busy around midnight