Once hearing the name of Indonesia, people in the world will usually think about Bali. Do you know why? It is because of the popularity of Bali as one of the main tourism entrances in Indonesia. As it has hosted a lot of attractions, many visitors feel no need to take a trip leaving the island. At least, they will spend most of their first-time vacation to Indonesia in Bali Island.
Bali is famous for its culture. You will find temples and palaces surrounding with the beautiful natural landscapes. From this aspect, you can do a lot of things from climbing the mountains, trekking into the jungles or even dancing with the waves. Once the sun set, the amusement does not stop. For some people who love the nightlife, it is just the beginning to feel alive with the availability of exciting clubs packed with dance floors.
Just do not forget to fill your stomach. Vacation with the hungry belly is no fun at all. You have wide choices from local to international culinary treats. Shopaholics will also find their own fun by visiting the stores that sell various kinds of souvenir. Want some more information? Keep reading this article.
Tourism in Bali
What makes Bali so popular among of both local tourists and foreign visitors? What makes Bali so attractive for travellers?
Bali is one of the most visited places in Indonesia. It is even on the top list of vacation destinations. Whether they come all alone or with family and friends, the travellers always consider going to Bali to spend holidays. For foreign visitors, this island is also popular. It is a perfect tropical gateway where they can enjoy the warm exposure to sunshine.
With so many options of attraction, Bali welcomes any type of traveller. It does not matter if you just come with a backpack on your shoulder. You can still enjoy the vacation with a tight budget. A number of accommodations are available from the affordable homestay to the luxurious villa. Just choose one that suits your spending plan. You also find many things to do and see. You can enjoy the sunlight at noon with various activities like going to the beaches, hiking to the mountains and watching locals doing their routines. At night, it can be more exciting since you can find bars, clubs or any nightlife spot that you do not want to miss.
Cultural sites in Bali
Bali Island is known as The Island of Gods, being recognized as a tropical paradise with rich cultural heritage sites. Visitors can learn the perfect mixture of culture, nature, art, spiritual and important diversity. If you do not know where to start, here are four places you should visit when coming to Bali:
To learn about the culture, you need to get along with the people. Visiting a Balinese village will be one of the best experiences. You can see them smiling, living, working and playing. if you go with your guide, he or she will also explain every detail of things you meet and how it relates to Balinese culture. Or, you may find your own way of asking local people.
When Thailand has a lot of Buddhist temples, Bali is famous for its Hindu temples. There are even about 86 sites which Besakih Mother Temple as the holiest and largest one. if you come to Bali Island, you should check out:
- Tanah Lot
A popular temple with easy access and offers the nice panorama of sunset.
- Tirta Empul
The 30-minute drive from Ubud, known as a place for soul cleansing and purifying.
Located on a steep cliff, it is believed as one of the spiritual pillars in Bali.
- Ubud Royal Palace
Back in time to the beginning of 19th century, Ubud Royal Palace was built. It is one of the main cultural sites in Bali, or Ubud, especially where you will find a beautiful masterpiece, along with the local art market and lovely gardens. At night, visitors can enjoy a Balinese dance performance. And importantly, this place welcomes tourists at all ages.
- Balinese Cultural Creation
Do you want to know more about the culture in Bali? it is time to visit Balinese Culture Creation where you can learn about the local culture and artwork through courses and classes. You can spend quality time with family or friends by taking part in various programs including painting, cooking, dancing, woodcarving and silver jewellery making.
Natural Must Visit Wonders in Bali
Bali is very famous among tourists, you may first think that you can’t find the right place to enjoy your next vacation. The thought of how it will be so crowded, especially the beaches, may distract your decision to plan a visit.
Well, going to Bali Island is more than just spending time under the sunlight on the sandy beaches. Even if you wish for peace, there are still other hidden tropical paradises in this Island of Gods.You can pick based on your most interest among of the following choices:
Every corner of Bali Island is blessed with gorgeous beaches. It means, you can always find ones on its side. Take for an example the beaches stretch from Kuta to Nusa Dua in the South side of the island. Then, you can even find mysteriously quiet and Somber temple named Candidasa, which is dedicated to the sea goddess or just enjoy the beautiful sunset at Lovina beach in the north.
Not only enjoying time on the shore, but you can also beat your fear to give the waves a try. Whether you are just a beginner or even experienced professional, Bali has varied levels of waves. Just pick the best sites like Saneh in the East, Uluwatu in the South or Medewi to the West area of the island.
Looking for more calm water? It is time to stay away from the beaches. There are four lakes in Bali you can visit that offers excellent views. They are Lake Batur which is the largest one. It is the old crater of Mount Batur. It means you need to hike up to the summit to find the lake. Then, there is also Kintamani Lake, a famous one in Trunyan Village where you can meet Bali Aga people and may get shocked with their tradition to keep decays on open air, under the ancient Trunyan tree. Can’t stand with the mystical atmosphere? It is time to leave and head to Lake Bratan, close to Bedugul town. There are also two other lakes, i.e. Lake Buyan and Lake Tembilang which are also near.
You can find volcanic mountains in the northern part of Bali Island. The highest one is Gunung Agung, which is believed where the Gods and the Goddesses are living.
Flora and fauna in the forests
You can find wild forests in Bali, mostly protected within a national park dedicated to wildlife preservation. Behind the glamour modern life in the downtown, there is still a hidden paradise where various flora and fauna live under the nursery of tall trees in the forests. You can find orchids, pine trees, Bali Starling, sea turtles and other protected species in the national parks.
Religious Sites in Bali
Most of the people in Bali are Hindu. That is why most of the sacred sites here are related to this religion, i.e. temples. Interestingly, they are open for public, but with some conditions. It is important to wear decent clothes on whenever you enter a temple. If you are not ready with the dress code, you can find borrow from the nearest rental sites, or it is also possible to buy ones as souvenirs.
Among of many sacred temples in Bali, here is a short list that you should not miss:
- Goa Lawah or Bat Cave Temple
The name of bat cave was given as the two large banyan trees standing at the main entrance create that kind of impression. This one of the most important temples in Bali is located on the South East coast. Tourist and locals go there and give offerings while enjoying the view of Nusa Penida coast.
- Pura Luhur Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple
Uluwatu Temple is situated on the steep cliff, offering the beautiful view and atmosphere. There are two entrances to get into the temple, both surrounded by Ganesha sculptures. If you take a look at the rear area behind the main shrine, you will find the Brahmin Statue facing the Indian Ocean. It is worth spending more time at Uluwatu Temple because there is usually a Balinese Dance Performance in the evening. Do not miss to see the sunset too. And if you want to get in touch with water, you can go to the nearest beach and surf.
- Ulun Danu Batur
This name has literary meaning, head of the lake. Besides reflecting the location, the name was given due to its importance and the main purpose of the temple itself. Each part of the structure including the nine different smaller temples and about 30 kinds of shrines defines the foundations of society and culture of Bali. Not only visiting the temple, but you can also enjoy the view of rice paddies and agriculture in Batur Village. Get amazed and probably inspired with the unique irrigation system called Subak which is controlled from the peak of the volcano.
Cuisine in Bali
Are you going to travel around Bali with the empty stomach? Or you just want to end the hunger once spending the time to visit one place or two. Fortunately, it is easy to find places to eat in Bali. you can simply take an available seat at the nearest food stall or order a special menu at a high-class restaurant and café.
But if you are a food hunter, you must taste the traditional cuisines in Bali. experience the perfect mix of local herbs and spices from the following popular dishes:
Babi Guling or Snuckling pig
Although most of Indonesians are Muslims, those living in Bali are mostly Hindu. That is why you can easily find locals eating pork dishes. Take for example Babi Guling or Snuckling pig. The seasoned pig is roasted on a spit over coconut husks or wood. Instead of getting a full serving, your plate will only consist of some pieces of sliced meat.
Lawar is a mix of vegetables and meat which is seasoned properly. It is a popular cuisine among of Bali Island people where each village has their own version. Some even still use fresh blood as the added touch. Do you want to give it a try?
Bebek Betutu or slow-cooked duck
This is another popular dish, especially for ceremonial purposes. The duck is firstly rubbed with tamarind puree and salt to remove the ducky aroma. Before being cooked, the duck is filled with eggs, Bumbu Rajeng and cassava leaves. The cooking process is slow in the betel nut husks, so the meat will fall off the bone.
Satay or sate is classic meat on stick dish that you can easily find across Indonesia territory. Even so, you can still expect the varied mix of spices from one region to another. You probably have seen this such dish in other parts of Indonesia, mostly Java Island. instead of getting the peanut sauce, sate Lembat is usually served with sambal Matah (raw or alive).
Ikan Bakar or grilled fish
It may sound ordinary, but the grilled fish in Jimbaran is so special, it uses red snapper (Kakap Merah) which is grilled above the wood charcoal and it’s more unique with the secret sauce recipe that made from the original chef. However, you can just enjoy this dish on the seaside of Jimbaran Bay when the sun sets on the barefoot for the extraordinary dining experience.
Be Siap sambal Matah (Chichen with raw sambal)
Be Siap sambal Matah is one of most favourite dishes for many tourists in Bali. The chicken is cooked properly and served with the raw sambal consisting of shallots, ginger torch, lemongrass, chillies, shrimp paste, salt, coconut pol and lime leaves.
Because eating pork is normal among Balinese people who believe in Hindu, Muslim travellers need to be careful of what they eat. Always ask if it a dish is halal.
Nightlife in Bali
Not only their friendly people and amazing cultural life but Bali also has special offers for owls. The atmosphere is even more alive once the sun sets, especially along the western coastline. Join other visitors to enjoy the nightlife in Kuta, Seminyak or Legian. There are many standalone and in-house entertainment venues. You can choose various activities from dining to partying. Do not forget about shopping. Just mention such places like Ku De Ta or Rock Bar to your driver and he will definitely know where to take you to.
Transportation to Bali
Getting in Bali is quite easy. You even have some choices of the way to get there.
- By flight
It is the simplest idea to go to Bali. you can take a plane and land on Ngurah Rai International Airport or Denpasar International Airport in South Kuta district. From the airport, you are able to hail a taxi to take you to your destination.
- By road
If you are in Jakarta now, or any region of Java, you can also go to Bali by on-road public transportations such as the bus or rental car. But, make sure you feel fine with the 23-hour trip, or even more depending on the traffic and weather.
- By ship
Not only reachable by plane, but Bali also has ports where international cruise liners can dock their ships, especially through South East Asia. The cruises usually depart from Singapore, Sumatra or Java.
So, have you decided when to go to Bali? Or do you probably wish to spend the New Year’s Eve in this Island of Gods? well, it can be a good idea. But if you prefer to avoid the crowd, you can choose a different occasion. Visit Bali after the New Year Euphoria, where the vacation offers are more affordable. It means you will be able to have more things on your trip agenda, including visiting the religious sites, exploring the natural wonders, enjoying the nightlife and shopping for souvenirs.