Of the 17,000 islands in the archipelago of Indonesia, Bali stands apart as ‘the Island of Gods’, a veritable combination of sun-kissed beaches, rugged mountains, an undulating landscape of hills, variedly green rice terraces and barren craggy volcanic sites combined with its spiritual and traditional culture, and with its hospitable people making it a tourist’s paradise.
Though Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, Bali is predominantly Hindu. Balinese Hinduism is an eclectic mix of Balinese culture and traditions and the Hindu religion. The result is a unique culture that gives Bali its identity and charm. The primary deity worshipped here is the Sanghyang Widi, depicted by an empty throne enfolded in a poleng, a black and white checkered pattern cloth and placed under the ceremonial tedung umbrella. A quaint custom on the island is the daily offerings of leaf trays filled with a wide array of items to the deity and sprinkled with holy water. These offerings are everywhere, left even on the ground, along the streets and roadsides. Bali is also an island of temples, each of which holds its own festivals, and combined with other holy days there is a flux of celebrations the year around. Another colorful event here is the Pitra Yatra, where several deceased are sent on their final journey with pomp and ceremony.
The Hindu New Year, Nyepi, follows another quaint tradition of absolute silence. The island shuts down completely from 6 am (the first day of the New Year) to 6 am of the following day. Even the airports are closed for that time and no flights enter or leave the island.
Balinese sculptures are famous throughout the world and all temples are adorned with sculptures of gods and goddesses, protecting demons and the like.
Balinese tradition of dance and music are a major attraction for tourists. The elaborate dances depict myths and tales and some famous dances are the Barong, the lion dance, Calonarang a spectacular display which speaks of overcoming dark magic and evil spirits. The Kecak or monkey dance with 250 performers and the famous Legong Keraton.
|Bali Coordinates (Denpasar): 8°39′S 115°13′E|
|- Governor||Made Mangku Pastika|
|- Total||5,632.86 km2 (2,174.9 sq mi)|
|Bali Population (2010)|
|- Density||690.8/km2 (1,789.3/sq mi)|
|- Ethnic Groups||Balinese (89%), Javanese (7%), Baliaga (1%), Madurese (1%)|
|- Religion||Hindu (92.29%), Muslim (5.69%), Christian (1.38%), Buddhist (0.64%)|
|- Languages||Indonesian (official), Balinese|
|Time Zone||CIT (UTC+08)|
Bali also offers professional surfing and diving in its pristine waters, a large number of historical and archeological attractions and the excellent culture is a tourist paradise offering backpackers and the rich an awesome experience. The cuisine is excellent and a wide range of accommodations make Bali a perfect gateway.
|1||Stana Puri Gopa Hotel||US$38|
|2||Hotel Tjampuhan Spa||US$72|
|3||Bali Spirit Hotel & Spa||US$87|
|4||Barong Resort & Spa||US$138|
|5||The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali - MGallery Collection||US$140|
|6||Waka Di Ume Resort||US$157|
|9||Bali Agung Village||US$46|
|10||Tamu Kami Hotel||US$50|