Bali – The Island of Gods
Bali is a world away from the rest of Indonesia, and it's a longstanding favourite with independent travellers. Itinerant surfers started coming as early as the 1930s, but it wasn't until the 1960s that surfing holidays in Bali became fashionable. Today, the island legacy continues, and Bali sees as many bohemian surfers as it does affluent resort tourists. With miles of luxurious coastline and a range of accommodation in Bali, this small island has room enough for everyone.
Indonesia may have the world's largest Muslim population, but Bali fosters its own distinct culture. Hinduism has flourished here for nearly 2,000 years. Away from the beaches are fascinating Hindu temples, cultural exhibitions, terraced rice fields and colourful festivals all worthy of a visit – any many photos.The Balinese culture is totally unique and permeates through every aspect of life on the island. The influence of Hinduism as the main religion is evident in the music, drama, art, costumes and festivals which take place daily. The Balinese cuisine is bursting with flavour... it’s not to be missed! You’ll have endless possibilities just moments from your Bali hotel, from local cuisine at a warung (road side stall) to world-class food from around the world. You’ll find the Balinese food has been influenced from all corners of the globe, and revolves around spices, coconut milk and tropical fruits. It’s an exotic mix of curries and stir-fry intermingled into mouth-watering dishes.
Seminyak & Batu Belig
Seminyak, located just north of Kuta and Legian, owing to its high density of high end shopping, combined with the clustering of many fine eating establishments, it has rapidly become one of the most well known tourist areas on the island. It has evolved into one of Bali's most frequented tourist spots. The town is a high-end, long-term stay destination, and some who venture there fall in love with the place and never leave. it is a charming place with access to a good range of beaches, shopping and activities.
Batu Belig is only minutes away from central Seminyak and is famous for its white sandy beaches where you can find the enjoyment of the tranquil beauty and the legendary sunset that lure many visitors to here. The waters have some moderate waves, which are ideal for beginner and novice surfers. Farther a field, but still within a half hour's drive, are the quiet and much less trafficked black sands of Canggu Beach, as well as the fishing boats of Berawa Beach and the more demanding surf of Echo Beach. the area of batu belig also known for the horse riding experience, through small rice paddies and along the beach. This tour will cover many grounds and will appreciate the simplest of Bali’s nature.
People and Life Style
Bali’s population of over 4,000,000 souls spread over the whole island, including those in the smaller islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, Serangan and Menjangan Island. The overwhelming majority of Balinese are Hindus, with the increasing number on non-Hindu migrating from the closest neighboring islands of Java and Lombok.
The coastal areas in the south are the most populous area with over 370,000 people living in various professions in the capital of Denpasar. Farming has been the primary way of living in Balinese life. Where else fishing, trading and craftsmanship are also in fashion from generation to generation. Yet with the fast growing of tourism since past few decades, young people start to build up a new touch in their living culture.
Life in Bali is very communal under the organization of villages. Temple ceremonies, marriage, cremation, farming and even the creative art festivals are decided by the local community institution called “Banjar”. The responsibilities in the day-to-day life are normally administered by both the Banjar and the government. The local government mostly responsible for schools, health clinics, hospitals and roads, and Banjar is responsible for all other aspects of life. There is another association exists in the banjar named “Subak” that concerns to the production of rice and organizes the complex irrigation system. Every family who owns a rice field must be a member of their localSubak, which then ensures that every member gets his fair distribution of water. A banjar consists of an average of 50 to 150 family members, owning a meeting venue called the Bale Banjar, which is used for regular gatherings and a center for local gamelan orchestras and drama groups.
Bali has a long chain of history from the ice-age era (pre-historic time) to modern, global civilization era. With a dynamic characteristic indicating selectivity and flexibility, the Balinese culture initially reflects a configuration of an expressive culture dominated by religious, solidarity and aesthetic values. Nowadays, it develops along with the adoption of foreign values especially in the aspects of the economic, science and technology, as a result of the global modernization.
In general, the history of Bali is divided into three different eras including the pre-historic, the Hindu-Buddhist era and the modern culture.
The pre-historic marked the oldest and simplest way of life, an era of hunting and food-stuff gathering, verified by the discovery of several tools and hunting equipments. In the following era there were also building construction system and a particular communication system. These were just proofs of the existence and further development of Balinese culture. The Balinese culture flourished that nowadays one can indicates a perfect bonds between religions, tradition and culture to become the identity of the Balinese community.
The Dutch seamen were the first Europeans to arrive on Bali and started to introduce western culture in 1597, though they hadn’t discovered any appealing aspect until 1800s. Around 1846 the Dutch returned with colonization in their minds, having established a strong political base as majority of the Indonesian islands were under their control since the 1700s. The military campaign embarked from the northern coast of Bali. With the help of Sasak people of Lombok, by 1911, all Balinese principalities were under the Dutch control.
The sense of Indonesian nationalism began to grow after the World War I, with the young generation declaring the national language in 1928, known as Bahasa Indonesia. During the height of World War II the Japanese arrived, expelling the Dutch and ruled the country for about 3.5 years, which ended later in 1945 when Indonesia declared independent led by its very first president, Sukarno. Yet the new-born nation was only recognized by the international community as an independent country in 1949.
How To Get To Bali
With the increasing number of direct flight to Bali from many cities around the world, getting to Bali is much easier than before. From Bali, flight 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, with various airlines offering their services.
Getting Around In Bali
Because of the size of the island, it is not difficult to get around Bali by various modes of transportation. The traditional types of transportation to the high class limousine are available for tourist to choose. Not to forget the sea transportation that connect Bali to some of its sister islands. However, train does not exist in Bali.
Bemo : this is the most used transportation in Bali especially in the city of Denpasar. It is a miniature van with a routine route set by local government periodically. This type of transportation is good for short distance around town and cities, because of its size and passenger can get in and out at any point. Most importantly, it is cheaper compared to some other type of transportations, even though fairly slow. Price ranges usually around Rp 3,200 to Rp 4,000 per one stop over.
Buses : there are buses for transportation between towns that relatively bigger compared to bemo. These buses connect all towns and most places of the island through local bus stations. Likewise bemo, buses also can be stopped at any point of the routes. They mostly operate day time inter island, but some are available at night for long distances within cities. Fares are between Rp. 1.500 to Rp. 10.000 per one stop point.
Taxi : Taxi is the most efficient and convenience transportation in the island. Either chartered or metered one, they are everywhere and quite inexpensive compared to some other countries. In Bali there are some different companies providing taxi services.
Rental Cars, Motorbikes and Bicycles : If you plan to explore Bali in half day or full day trip, the best way is hiring a car with the driver. The average rate is from Rp 120,000 to Rp 300,000 a day depending on the type of the vehicle. There are many independent car rentals around the island. If you wish to have better services, you can go to a Travel Agent. You even can hire a tour guide of your own language. The other possibility is to rent a self drive car. An international driving license from your own country is required. This rule also applicable for motorbike rental, but in some cases you can get a temporary permit at local police office. Price ranges are around Rp. 35,000 to Rp. 50,000 per day for motorbike and Rp. 15,000 for bicycle. Likewise, a safety helmet is a compulsory when you ride a motorbike. Meanwhile, bicycles are normally available for rent at hotels. Some bigger resorts even provides bicycle tour for free including a professional tour guide.
Dokar : in many areas of Indonesia, a traditional horse and cart transportation still can be found in many different versions. In Bali, this kind of transportation is known as “dokar”. Nowadays, the use of dokar is simply limited due to efficiency. In some areas dokars are even prohibited by the government because it becomes a dwindling sight around the street. A dokar ride can be a fairly bumpy and unique experience. That is why some hotels and event organizers sometime offer a dokar ride for their guests, wedding couples or special groups.
Sea transportation : to travel to some sister islands of Bali famous for their marine activities, local cruises is the most convenient. They normally offer a tour package including meal, activities and even a resort to stay over night. Some traditional boats are also in service for shorter distances such as to Serangan or Menjangan island.