Category Archives: Bali

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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%.

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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

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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.

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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

Discover Bali

bali beachBali is an island and the smallest province in Indonesia. As a province Bali includes the main island and a few small neighbouring islands such as Nusa Penida. Bali has an area of some 5,780 Km2 and a population of about 4,220,000. The capital of Bali is Denpasar and it is known by several different nicknames, Island of Peace, Morning of the World, Island of Gods, Island of Hinduism and the Island of Love.

Bali lies 3.2km east of Java and is about 8 degrees south of the equator. East to West the island is approximately 153 km wide and spans approximately 112km north to south. Peaks in the islands center reach over 3,000 meters, the highest being Mount Agung known as the mother mountain which is an active volcano. The islands volcanic nature has contributed to its exceptional fertility along with high rainfall that supports a highly productive agriculture sector.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs, the beaches in the south of the island have white sand, while those in the north are black. There are no major waterways in Bali, however the Ho River is navigable by small boats.ubud_bali

In terms of the ethnic demographic, the Balinese people make up around 89% of the population, Javanese 7%, Baliaga 1% and Madurese 1%. 84% of the population are Hindu and 13.3% are Muslim, the remainder are generally either Buddhists or Christians.
The official language is Indonesian, although Balinese and English are both widely spoken.

A popular haven for tourist for many decades, Bali was first inhabited around 2000 BC by Austronesian people who migrated from Southeast Asia and Oceania. Linguistically and culturally the Balinese are closely related to the people of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The first European contact with Bali is thought to have been in 1585 when a Portuguese ship foundered off the Bukit Peninsula. In 1597 Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived and with the establishment of the Dutch East India Company in 1602 the stage was set for two and a half centuries of Dutch control. Dutch political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840’s in the north and by the late 1890’s struggles between Balinese kingdoms in the south were exploited by the Dutch to increase their control. During World War II Imperial Japan occupied Bali. Following Japan’s Pacific surrender in August 1945 the Dutch returned to Indonesia, including Bali and reinstated their pre-war colonial administration. Bali was included in the “Republic of the United States of Indonesia” when the Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence on 29 December 1949.

The tourism industry in Bali is largely focused on the south of the island, as well as other significant parts of the island. The main attractions include Kuta with its white beach and outer suburbs of Legian and Seminyak, which were once independent townships and the town of Sanur once the only tourist hub. Other popular areas include Ubud in the centre of the island and to the south Jimbaran and the newer developments of Nusa, Dua and Pecatu.

---Beach-horse-ridingAs well as tourism Bali has a thriving real estate industry that has been rapidly developing in Katu, Legian, Seminyak and Oberoi and many 5 star projects are under development in the Bukit peninsula in the south of the island.

Multi-million dollar villas have been developed along Bali’s southern cliffs and beaches making it a highly popular holiday destination as guests can rent these villas through Mambo Retreats

TANALOT TEMPLEBali is a fascinating place to visit with a rich history, a distinctive cuisine, art forms such as painting, sculpture, woodcarvings and handcrafts and it boasts one of the most diverse and innovative performing art cultures in the world with paid performances at thousands of temple festivals and public shows.HDtimelapse.net_Landscape_0482_hirez