Bali Travel Info, Bali Indonesia Holiday Info
…a Balinese vacation primer
Bali is all about scenery, culture, sport and fun with it’s exotic temples, beautiful beaches, great surf and jungle covered volcanoes. What more could you ask for? Try cheap seafood, quality clothes and amazing artwork. Add friendly people, a safe tourist friendly environment, great restaurants & nightlife and you have the perfect holiday destination, plus Bali is good for kids too.
Outside the cities Bali is so picturesque that you could be fooled into thinking it was a painted backdrop. Balinese rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, the forests are lush and tropical and the beaches are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Bali Indonesia General Information & Statistics
Area: 5620 sq km (2192 sq mi)
Population: 3 million
Capital city: Denpasar (pop 370,000)
People: 95% ethnic Balinese, plus Javanese minority
Languages: Bahasa Bali, Bahasa Indonesian, plus English in tourist areas
Religion: 95% Balinese Hindu, plus Muslim and Christian minorities
Bali Indonesia Weather & Climate
The Balinese climate is tropical with distinct wet and dry seasons, the coastal lowland regions are hottest becoming cooler as you ascend the mountains and foothills. The dry season from April to October is the best time to visit Bali with warm sunny days and cool evenings. The rest of the year is more humid, more cloudy and has more rainstorms but you can still enjoy a Bali holiday any time.
Lowland temperatures in the dry season range from 28-30°C by day and a pleasant 18-23°C at night. In the wet season temperatures range from 30-32°C by day and 24-25°C at night. Humidity varies from 60% up to 90 % depending on the season. The most detailed Bali current and forecast weather plus long term Balinese climate statistics are available at the following link.
The new visa regulations for visitors came into effect. Now the maximum stay in Bali is just 30 days and not extendable.
No visa fee for visitors from: Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines, Macau, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam.
A Visa On Arrival costs USD25 per person (up to 3 days stay just USD10) for visitors from Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, Denmark, South Africa, United States, Argentina, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Hungary, South Korea, Norway, France, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Visas will be issued on arrival in Bali.
All other nationalities have to get a visa before arrival at their local Indonesian Embassy or Consulate. Ensure that their passport is valid at least another 6 months at time of arrival.
The Balinese Tourist Seasons
Usually there are two distinct foreign tourist seasons plus many Indonesians visit Bali throughout the year. The European summer holidays from July to September and the Australian summer holidays from Christmas to the end of January are the busiest Bali holiday seasons. Due the Bali bombings and the recent SARS crisis the island of Bali is very quiet at the moment, it’s always low season so you don’t have to worry about crowds or finding accommodation.
Balinese Festivals & Holidays
Balinese religious festivals and holidays occur all the time, so don’t worry too much about timing your visit to coincide with local events. If you are interested in Balinese religion and culture just make some inquiries when you arrive and be prepared to travel around the island. There is only one day where a public holiday will affect your travel plans which is Nyepi, the Balinese new year when everything including the airport is closed to allow the earth a day of rest.
Paleolithic stone tools indicate human presence on Bali island as early as 1500 BC when the ancestors of modern Indonesians arrived from southern India. They introduced an agrarian society centred on village units. By the Bronze Age around 300 BC Bali was already well populated.
Early Balinese Society
The earliest written records in Bali are inscriptions on a stone pillar in Sanur dating back from around 9th century AD. From the 10th to 15th centuries AD Bali was ruled on and off by Javanese kingdoms and Balinese royal families. During this time many Javanese artists, dancers, musicians and actors came to Bali and the island experienced an explosion of cultural activity.
The Dutch Period
The Dutch arrived on Bali in 1597 and stayed until the Japanese invaded in 1942, the main city at the time was Singaraja in North Bali. After the Japanese surrender in 1945 the Dutch tried to reclaim the island while President Sukarno declared Indonesia’s independence. Fierce fighting ensued between Balinese and Dutch forces until 1949 when the Dutch officially recognized Indonesia.
Bali has developed quickly over the last 50 years or so with tourism the major engine of growth. The Indonesian government was quick to recognise Bali’s potential as a major tourist draw card and built the required infrastructure. The South West of Bali island is the main tourism area which allows the rest of Bali to remain relatively undisturbed and Balinese traditional culture to flourish.
Recent crises such as the Kuta night club bombings and the SARS epidemic have decimated the Balinese tourism industry. There is a deepening economic crisis as people are laid off from their jobs and businesses struggle to stay afloat. Although the Balinese tourism industry will recover many people are looking to reduce Bali’s reliance on tourism by expanding their export markets.