Paradise island. Heaven on Earth. The magical getaway. The island of the Gods. These are just some of the flattering nicknames of the famed island of Bali, located in the Indonesian province of the same name in South Pacific, between Java and Lombok.
With its striking combination of green hills and volcanic mountains, rugged, lush coastlines, rice terraces and black and white sandy beaches emerged in crystal clear water, Bali deservedly stands for one of the most rewarding tourist destinations in the world. Amazing natural beauty provides a perfect backdrop for the colorful, spiritual and unique island culture based on Balinese Hinduism. Whether you are a backpacker catching one of many cheap flights to Bali or a millionaire sipping champagne in your private plane, Bali will offer you exactly what you want in terms of accommodation, exceeding your expectations and charming you every step of the way.
Every visitor of “the island of the thousand temples” should take time to check out some of them. They were built in different eras and under various influences, many of them on spectacular, picturesque places, which are plentiful on the island. Just the nature surrounding them makes the trip worthwhile. Each village is required by customary law to have at least three temples.
Probably most famous Balinese temple is Tanah Lot, built in the 15th century. It lies on the south coast of the island on a rock just a few meters off the shore, approximately 45 minutes by car northwest of the major southern tourist centers of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. It is an extremely popular tourist destination, surrounded by a maze of souvenir shops. Once you find your way through them, you will see the magnificent temple perched on a big rock very close to the shore. If the tide is low, you will be able to walk to the base of the temple. If you prefer, you can just take the footpath to the top of the cliffs with a spectacular, iconic view of Tanah Lot, where you will find it hard to resist the urge to drain the battery of your camera.
Most of Bali’s beaches have black sand, which is not surprising given the volcanic nature of the island. Some beaches on the south shore feature fine-grained white sand, providing a typical landscape for an island paradise. Most of Bali’s coastline is riddled with beaches, but not all of them are safe for swimming, particularly during the rainy season. You should respect the swimming safety markers – many tourists drown each year after ignoring them.
When you go inland, you will find lush vegetation, high volcanic mountains and unique rice paddies, in some places sculpted in spectacular land terraces, so every available acre would be cultivated. All of Bali’s mountains are volcanoes. Some are dormant, some still very much active, like permanently smouldering Mount Batur. It is one of the most accessible active volcanoes in the whole of Indonesia, as it takes only two hours to climb.
Bali offers an incredible number of various festivals and celebrations, seeing as there are around 20.000 temples on the island and every one of them organizes local festivals (odalan) at least twice a year. Dates of island-wide festivals are determined by two local calendars. One of them is completely out of sync with the western calendar with a year of 210 days, and the other one roughly follows the western year. Galungan, one of the biggest celebrations, is a 10-day festival that comes around every 210 days. It celebrates the death of tyrant Mayadenawa in the company of gods and ancestors that, for this occasion, visit the Earth and join the festivities. They are greeted with gift-laden bamboo poles and frantic ritual dancing in a unique celebration of life free from tyranny.
So what are you waiting for? Book your flights to Bali today and enjoy all the wonders this magical island has to offer!