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 colourful, 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.
Sports & natureBali is a major world surfing destination with popular breaks dotted across the southern coastline and around the offshore island of Nusa Lembongan.
As part of the Coral Triangle, Bali, including Nusa Penida, offers a wide range of dive sites with varying types of reefs.
Bali was the host of 2008 Asian Beach Games. It was the second time Indonesia hosted an Asia-level multi-sport event, after Jakarta held the 1962 Asian Games.
The Bali nightlife scene gradually emerges as the sun sets over the western coastline, where Kuta, Seminyak and Legian feature life after dark at its most liveliest. Standalone entertainment venues such as District Bali and the Hard Rock Cafe in Kuta feature occasional gigs from international bands. In-house hotel bars transform into more dynamic places, some featuring live DJs, bands playing top 40 songs, or simply automated playlists channeled through hi-tech sound systems.
In other parts of the island, top Bali nightlife spots offer a combination of impressive locations and winning menus, such as Ku De Ta on the Seminyak coast, or the Rock Bar at Ayana Resort, perched on cliffs above the Indian Ocean. Visitors enjoying a night out will find fellow travelers, locals and good acquaintances at these various watering holes, and getting about is a breeze; drivers know how to get to the island's hip entertainment spots like the back of their hand.
Culture and history info
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 neighboring 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.
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!).