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Bali Travel Guide

Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique culture, stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth. With world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations, this is one of the world's most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. Bali has something to offer a very broad market of visitors from young back-packers right through to the super-rich.

Travel atmospheric of Bali

Travelers in Bali atmosphere was very strong indeed gripping anyone who visited there, addictive. Wanted to come and come again at the next opportunity. The centers of tourist destinations in Bali also never deserted of visitors, both domestic and foreign. Bali simply deserted when commemorating Nyepi in Saka New Year. If you have never been to Bali, the easiest way to visit, of course by a travel agent. Everything will be taken care of them. Ranging from travel tickets to Bali, hotel to stay, transportation while in Bali, and a visit to the tourist destinations. But in fact no-travel agent is not a problem. Not difficult to plan your own trip to Bali. The agenda are very flexible, tailored to your special interests. Expenses incurred are also relatively more efficient.

Tips for preparing the itinerary to Bali

Bali already has a mature infrastructure and tourism services that can be trusted. It will be easier for anyone, including you, to arrange their own travel plans to get there. You should plan your trip many days ahead before setting off. You can start to buy the airplane ticket to Bali, then look for a hotel, rent a car, plan where to visit and other purposes while in Bali. Do it all online, by telephone, browse on Internet, Instant Messenger or email. Not hard to do.

The best time to visit to Bali

We should know the high season and low season of tourists in Bali. Think twice, wanted to visit during high season or low season. Despite the fact that each moment in Bali would never devoid of domestic and foreign tourists, even during the low season. But in high season, Bali gets really crowded.Some people would like to visit during the low season. The ambiance is relatively more comfortable, easier to find a good-cheap hotel (off course they will offer special discount during the low season), traffic on the streets is not jammed, and more efficient. Consider also to visit during the dry season, so that all your plans undisturbed by rain. The dry season in Bali generally occurs between April and September. High season in Bali is normally in June to August, December and the beginning of January.

The best place to stay in Bali

Lots of hotels to stay in Bali. Depending on the destination, and your budget. The hotel's location to the most popular attractions is Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur and Ubud. Kuta, Seminyak and Sanur are on the waterfront. Kuta is the most favorite locations by both domestic and foreign travelers. Seminyak is preferred by international tourists. It is said that because there are many places hangout at night. Sanur seem more exclusive. The room prices by average are higher then Kuta. While Ubud is located in rural areas, stronger in a sense of Balinese art and culture.

If you have never been to Bali before, we recommend to stay in Kuta. Because so many hotels there, from regular classes to a five-star hotel and lot of places that can be seen and enjoyed without having to rent a car. There are beaches, water bom, shopping center, culinary, craft market and night-life places. If you decide to stay at the beach location, choose hotels that is located not far from the beach. In Kuta, hotels located around Kuta Raya street or Kartika Plaza street is an ideal choice. Or hotels around Poppies lane are cheaper. Popies region is also a favorite choice to stay for backpackers from around the world.

Transportation from Airport to Hotel in Bali

The most convenient transport from the airport to hotels in Bali is to use an airport taxi. The fee will be calculated based on the region of interest, are not based on the metered taxi. The second alternative is a shuttle from the hotel facilities. If the destination hotel located not far from Ngurah Rai, for example in Kuta and the surrounding area, then use the airport taxi is the ideal choice. The fares are relatively cheaper than if using Hotel's pickup service. However, if the location of the hotel is far enough from the airport, such as in the area of Ubud or Sanur, pick-up by the hotel would be more practical. The cost will be cheaper. When arrival at Ngurah Rai Airport is still too early and not allowed to check in at the hotel yet, the third alternative is "car rental with driver + fuel". No need to check in to the hotel first, but just trip around. Ask the driver to picked up directly at the airport. This is efficient alternative transport from the airport.

Rent a car or motorcycle in Bali

To enjoy the atmosphere of Bali which is not far from your place, most convenient, cheap, practical and enjoyable is by walking. Every corner of Bali can be enjoyed in details. If you want to reach a wider area or longest distance, can rent a motorbike. Rates per day about IDR 70.000 (seventy thousand rupiah). Lots of bike rental in Bali, they are peddling the services in tourist centers such as Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak, Legian and Ubud. But if you want to explore Bali to visit a variety of popular tourist destinations with more convenient and secure, of course, the ideal is to rent a car. The following car rental services plus driver and fuel is relatively cheap in Bali. Many choices of car used a similar like MPV . For example, you come as a family/group of no more than seven people, then take this service with a rate about 400-500 thousand per approx. 10 hours.

The drivers in Bali are very good in serving tourists. They could well be a guide during the trip, because they generally very aware about the tourist attractions in Bali. Discuss with them the most effective path so not much time wasted on the road.

Water sport in Bali

Water sport is mandatory agenda in Bali. The most popular Sea-based water sport activities is Tanjung Benoa, Sanur and Nusa Lembongan. There are: banana boat, seawalker, parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jetski, flying fish, and visit the turtle island by glass-bottom boat. There are also water sport that is not done at sea, but in freshwater, i.e. rafting. The most popular places is the Ayung River at Ubud and Telaga Waja River at Karangasem. Make a reservation in advance via internet through online booking agent, because they used to give large discounts up to 50% off. Water sport operators typically also provide a free services of transport for area: Kuta, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Legian, Seminyak, Tuban and Tanjung benoa. If you came directly to get there, do not expect to get a discount.

Culinary Destinations in Bali

Do not forget to enter the culinary become mandatory agenda during the visit in Bali. There are so many types of food and drink was worth trying. Ask the driver where the place of good eating and match to your taste. Gladly driver will take you to such that places. Restaurants in Bali also understands how to cater to tourists, who usually come escorted by a driver. They will host a free meal for the driver in a special place. So travelers do not have to bother thinking about meal for a driver who drove. It should be noted that the traditional Balinese dishes are very spicy. That did not matter, because here is very easy to find an international food or Chinese food restaurants.

History

Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple which dates from the 15th century. The first Hindus arrived in Bali as early as 100 BC, but the unique culture which is so apparent to any current day visitor to Bali hails largely from neighbouring Java, with some influence from Bali's distant animist past. The Javanese Majapahit Empire's rule over Bali became complete in the 14th century when Gajah Mada, Prime Minister of the Javanese king, defeated the Balinese king at Bedulu.

The rule of the Majapahit Empire resulted in the initial influx of Javanese culture, most of all in architecture, dance, painting, sculpture and the wayang puppet theatre. All of this is still very apparent today. The very few Balinese who did not adopt this Javanese Hindu culture are known today as the Bali Aga ("original Balinese") and still live in the isolated villages of Tenganan near Candidasa and Trunyan on the remote eastern shore of Lake Batur at Kintamani.

With the rise of Islam in the Indonesian archipelago, the Majapahit Empire in Java fell and Bali became independent near the turn of the 16th century. The Javanese aristocracy found refuge in Bali, bringing an even stronger influx of Hindu arts, literature and religion. Divided among a number of ruling rajas, occasionally battling off invaders from now Islamic Java to the west and making forays to conquer Lombok to the east, the north of the island was finally captured by the Dutch colonialists in a series of brutal wars from 1846 to 1849. Southern Bali was not conquered until 1906, and eastern Bali did not surrender until 1908. In both 1906 and 1908, many Balinese chose death over disgrace and fought en-masse until the bitter end, often walking straight into Dutch cannons and gunfire. This manner of suicidal fighting to the death is known as puputan. Victory was bittersweet, as the images of the puputan highly tarnished the Dutch in the international community. Perhaps to make up for this, the Dutch did not make the Balinese enter into a forced cultivation system, as had happened in Java, and instead tried to promote Balinese culture through their policy of Baliseering or the "Balinisation of Bali".

Bali became part of the newly independent Republic of Indonesia in 1945. In 1965, after the failed coup d'etat which was allegedly backed by the Communist Party (PKI), state-instigated, anti-communist violence spread across Indonesia. In Bali, it has been said that the rivers ran red with the reprisal killings of suspected communists—most estimates of the death toll say 80,000, or about five percent of the population of Bali at the time.

The current chapter in Bali's history began in the seventies when intrepid hippies and surfers discovered Bali's beaches and waves, and tourism soon became the biggest income earner. Despite the shocks of the terrorist attacks in 2002 and 2005, the magical island continues to draw crowds, and Bali's culture remains as spectacular as ever.

Culture

Unlike any other island in largely Muslim Indonesia, Bali is a pocket of Hindu religion and culture. Every aspect of Balinese life is suffused with religion, but the most visible signs are the tiny offerings (canang sari, or sesajen) found in every Balinese house, work place, restaurant, souvenir stall and airport check-in desk. These leaf trays are made daily and can contain an enormous range of offering items: flowers, glutinous rice, cookies, salt, and even cigarettes and coffee! They are set out with burning incense sticks and sprinkled with holy water no less than three times a day, before every meal. Don't worry if you step on one, as they are placed on the ground for this very purpose and will be swept away anyway (But you better not step on one on purpose, because - as Balinese believe - it'll give you bad luck!).

Balinese Hinduism diverged from the mainstream well over 500 years ago and is quite radically different from what you would see in India. The primary deity is Sanghyang Widi Wasa (Acintya), the "all-in-one god" for which other gods like Vishnu (Wisnu) and Shiva (Civa) are merely manifestations, and instead of being shown directly, he is depicted by an empty throne wrapped in the distinctive poleng black-and-white chessboard pattern and protected by a ceremonial tedung umbrella.

An empty throne of Sanghyang Widi Wasa, with poleng cloth andtedung umbrella, Ubud The Balinese are master sculptors, and temples and courtyards are replete with statues of gods and goddesses like Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice and fertility, as well as guardians and protecting demons like toothy Rakasa, armed with a club. These days, though, entire villages like Batubulan have twigged onto the tourist potential and churn out everything imaginable from Buddhas to couples entwined in acrobatic poses for the export market.

Balinese dance and music are also justly famous and a major attraction for visitors to the island. As on neighbouring Java, thegamelan orchestra and wayang kulit shadow puppet theatre predominate. Dances are extremely visual and dramatic, and the most famous include:

Barong or "lion dance" — a ritual dance depicting the fight between good and evil, with performers wearing fearsome lion-like masks. This dance is often staged specifically for tourists as it is one of the most visually spectacular and the storyline is relatively easy to follow. Barong dance performances are not hard to find.

Calonarang — a spectacular dance which is a tale of combating dark magic and exorcising the evil spirits aligned with the witch-queen Rangda. The story has many variations and rarely are two calonarang plays the same. If you can find an authentic Calonarang performance, then you are in for a truly magical experience.

Kecak or "monkey dance" — actually invented in the 1930s by resident German artist Walter Spies for a movie but a spectacle nonetheless, with up to 250 dancers in concentric circles chanting "kecak kecak", while a performer in the centre acts out a spiritual dance. An especially popular Kecak dance performance is staged daily at Uluwatu Temple.

Legong Keraton — perhaps the most famous and feted of all Balinese dances. Performed by young girls, this is a dance of divine nymphs hailing from 12th century Java. Try to find an authentic Legong Keraton with a full-length performance. The short dance performances often found in tourist restaurants and hotels are usually extracts from the Legong Keraton.