The country and its people
Bali belongs to Indonesia, the biggest archipelagic state in the world and is the most western of the Lesser Sunda Islands in the Indian Ocean with an island area of approx. 5,500 km². The north-to-south extension consists of 90 km, the east-to-west extension is approx. 140 km. The island has volcanic nature and most fertile soil. Therefore agriculture is still just as important as tourism and is the most important sources of income. Because of the exceptional fertility, the residents worship the volcanoes as the “holy mountains”. Nature presents itself on a smallest area in a most extraordinary diversity: beginning with mountains of up to 3,000 m high with sparse crater landscape on the peaks and cloud-forests on the mountain sides, through to cool flat tops with vegetable cultivation and exuberant green rice fields on the soft mountain sides through to tropical rain forests with mangroves, black sandy lava beaches in the north and wide white sandy beaches in the south.
Approximately 4 million people live on Bali. The majority of the people are Hindus. Hinduism on Bali has developed into a local belief which is not as strong as the belief in India. Ceremonies for the honour of the gods and for the appeasement of demons are a significant part of their culture and of daily life. The belief, the religion and the heartiness of the Balinese people make this island so unique. Scarcely anybody can escape from this mesmerisation of the gods and demons.
Most of the people are integrated in a village-like structure in which their life and daily routine is oriented to the common good. The community has more significance than individual prosperity and the most important principle is life in harmony. The distribution of roles between male and females is clearly structured: children are precedential creatures. This strong village-like and social group has always maintained its uniqueness – even when confronted with a lot of external influence, something which for example tourism brings with it. But of course the guests who visit the island contribute to this by showing and practicing their respect for the local people and nature, thus making it possible to retain the “paradise”.
The island of Bali lies approx. 8 degrees south of the equator – the reason for the more untypical persistent tropical weather. An almost consistent temperature of between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius together with a constant sea breeze make it feel pleasant and not clammy in comparison with other tropical areas. There is a dry period between March and November and a wet season from December to February, whereas there can also be rain-free days with sunshine during the wet season – although there is a lot of humidity. Most of the rain falls in January and February, particularly in the afternoon – but there is more rain in the mountains and in other parts of the island. All in all, less rain falls in the northern part of the island compared with other parts. The “coolest” months are June to August. The water temperature is good all year through and is quite constant at approx. 28 °C – this is what makes Bali a favourite place to visit for water sports. People come to Bali for water sports from all over the world. This makes Bali a place to visit all year round – although you should consider the time between April and December as being the best time to visit (avoiding the wet season). Sunrise is normally at about 06.20hrs all year and sunset normally at about 18.30hrs.
Money and Currency
The currency of Indonesia is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).The price for hotels are often quoted in US Dollars. The strong Euro currency makes Bali a relatively cheap place to travel to. Cash and credit cards are recommended (Visa and Master). Dollar notes can lead to problems as not all series are accepted.
During CET from the end of October to the end of March, the time difference compared with Europe is +7 hours. From April to October there is a difference of +6 hours.
Visa and Passport
In order to enter Bali you require a passport which must be valid for a minimum of 6 months. Tourists buy a visa on arrival at Deanpasar airport. Such a visa currently costs 35 US Dollars and is valid for 4 weeks. For some countries e.g. Germany it is free of charge. For longer stays on Bali it is necessary to apply for a visa via the Indonesian Embassy or Consulate at your country of residence. Visas are currently valid for a period of 60 days. The price for a visa is currently approx. 60 Euro. Please enquire at the respective authorities.
Airlines and Airport Transfer
There are different airline companies which offer flights to the airport in Denpasar (DPS). The best alternative is to fly with airlines which offer flights via Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Doha or Taipei and a flight duration of between 14.5 and 20 hours. Our partner travel agency Pauli can help you with your flight bookings and will of course look for the most suitable connection for you – if need be, a connection with stopover in appropriate metropolis. It would be a pleasure for us to book your transfer from the airport, should you wish. The journey from the airport to Sambirenteng in the north of the island takes about 2.5 hours.
There are no general recommendations for vaccinations to have before visiting Bali, therefore it is up to you to decide whether to have certain vaccinations or not. Bali is not considered an area for malaria, so therefore vaccination is not necessary. However, you should not drink tap water, eat fruit or salad which has not been washed and as a tourist you should avoid travelling cook shops.
To a great extent medical assistance and treatment is good. There is a general practitioner in the local village and in the neighbouring village there are several hospital wards as well as Balinese clinics in Sinagaraja (approx. 30 km). Medical treatment in private clinics can be compared with European standards. In any case, it is advisable to have a private medical insurance for your holiday. Specialist clinics with a good reputation worldwide can be found in Singapore. Furthermore there are many superb healers on Bali.
Pakuwon – Balinese Calendar
The Balinese calendar, Pakuwon which is also known as Uku/Wuku, consists of 210 days. Life on Bali is aligned to this calendar. There are good and bad days for almost every occasion – this can mean, for example, that travellers will come across many couples getting married on a good day. Click here for a better understanding of the Pakuwon.