Travel to Bali: the guide to read before your departure
Travel to Bali is a dream destination for many of us, Bali is an island with multiple wonders lying in the hollow of the Pacific and just waiting to be discovered.
This island of wonders combines wild nature and the mastered works of man incredibly well. An island of divine essence has settled in the hollow of the Pacific and is just waiting to be known. So ready for a trip to the island of the gods?
Understand its history before your trip to Bali
For a long time, the island of Bali was dominated by different nobility. In the 16th century, it was conquered by the Dutch, along with many islands in Indonesia. Bali then exports a lot of cotton, rice and cattle. The population, partly subject to slavery, revolts from time to time, like the slave Surapati in the 17th century.
The Dutch have little interest in Bali, in fact only seeking to prevent acts of piracy, a lucrative activity for the Balinese, but which harms the economy of the Netherlands. It was because of these maritime thefts that Holland took control of the island in 1906. The two royal families therefore committed suicide, accompanied by their subjects. The same scene is repeated during the return of the Dutch in 1946. The repression of a communist movement in the 1960s causes between 50,000 and one million deaths in Java and Bali.
Diversity of cultures: an island-world
Although modest in size (140 km long, 80 km wide), Bali is an island-world unto itself. She has a strong character, but cultivates the diversity of cultures and nature. Bali is a dream destination for all tourists who find an absolutely relaxing change of scenery on this island.
Balinese culture teaches a lot about exchange and sharing. This is probably due to local Hinduism. Thus, many ceremonies, dances and offerings take place in the various temples that you will have to visit, but also in the streets of the cities of Bali.
Everywhere, you can see craftsmen performing artistic feats, making furniture, making simple and touching decorations. Responsible tourism starts with buying products directly from the artisan. A great opportunity to shop with a clear conscience.
A cultural trip: the essentials to visit
To visit Bali is to meet a civilization totally different from ours, a culture to be tamed by visiting the temples, museums, palaces, or cities of the Indonesian island.
The Hindu religion is omnipresent in Bali, but it is especially part of the landscapes thanks to the temples. They exist both in cities and in the most remote areas. Each of them worships a different deity, whether it is the three great Hindu gods (Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma), or whether it is the god of the earth, the river or any other element. natural. These temples are worth especially for their decorations and the architectural styles completely new in Europe. Here are 2 temples to visit during your trip:
Pura Ulun Danu Temple Bratan
In Begudul, you absolutely have to take a look at the magnificent Ulun Danu temple, a sumptuous place. Time literally seems to float on peaceful Lake Bratan. Such serenity emanates from the surrounding places that we are often left speechless.
Besakih Temple is the largest Hindu temple in Bali. Located at the foot of Mount Agung, it offers magnificent views of the surrounding wilderness, making it a popular destination in Bali. However, this surrounding nature confers a kind of peace which brings a lot to the sanctity of the place.
There are many museums in Bali. Many are interested in Balinese art. Some are dedicated to local particularities: nature, agriculture… Suffice to say that with all these cultural facilities, you will be able to know other facets of the Balinese.
Agung Rai Museum
In Ubud, this real living museum presents many paintings and artistic shows. From this museum, you will have a full view of the volcano which is an integral part of the museum.
Puri Lukisan Museum
This museum has a collection of about 150 paintings and 60 sculptures. It is the most beautiful art museum in Bali.
The palaces of Bali are impressive in terms of wealth and decoration. Noble families have reigned on this island for a long time and have left very beautiful architectural works. Here are some of the palaces to discover during your trip.
Built in the 17th century, this palace is one of the few open to the public. You will discover all the modern splendor desired by the last king of Denpasar. Part of this palace has now become a hotel.
Puri Saren Ubud
Puri Saren Ubud (Ubud Palace) is a royal residence located in the center of Ubud. It is now a cultural center, with also a magnificent market. It is one of the great tourist attractions in Bali, but its splendor greatly justifies its popularity.
Taman Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Built in 1948, the water palace was partly destroyed by the lava flow of 1963. However, it is well worth a look with its veritable belt of pools and small richly sculpted bridges, as well as the many statues. A surprising visit.
The island of Bali is a dream destination resulting from the exceptional marriage between men and nature. In Bali, culture and nature are intimately intertwined, and you will pass from one to the other without even noticing it, stopping in cities with a rich culture.
Denpasar is Bali’s main city. Modern capital, Denpasar has nevertheless managed to keep some of its cultural origins, with in particular the Pura Jagatnatha temple dedicated to the God of Bali. Other places with a very strong historical interest are to be visited, such as Puputan Square, with an impressive monument, recalling the suicides of protest against the Dutch.
However, Denpasar has also been able to modernize. Witness the administrative complex of Renon and the Werdhi Budaya Museum, with many exhibitions of Balinese paintings and art.
In June, you must see the festival that takes place throughout the city with exhibitions, performances, artistic competitions and other arts related to nature.
Located in the central part of the island of Bali, the Ubud region is both a magnificent set of green landscapes and an important cultural center. In terms of culture, two museums are must-sees: the Puri Lukisan and the Neka. There are also many art galleries as well as an artists’ village.
Seminyak is one of the most family-friendly towns in the southern part of this famous Indonesian island. Sitting on the coast, it is a certified beach destination that offers exquisite and incredible sunsets in Bali. Seminyak in Bali is also home to many boutique hotels and luxurious resorts. Unlike neighboring Kuta, the town is more laid back and sophisticated. Of course, the main attraction of this area is the long stretches of golden sand, but visitors to Seminyak also enjoy a huge range of additional activities to do while staying in Bali. Read also: Seminyak Bali | Why choose SEMINYAK during your trip to BALI? | Seminyak Travel Guide, Bali
A nature trip: the most beautiful landscapes of Bali
In Bali, the extraordinary spectacles offered by nature are impressive and quickly make you forget the long hours of flight. Approach the center of the island, and observe these magnificent rice fields which stretch as far as the eye can see and create unique landscapes, especially near Jatiluwih and Ubud.
To the north and east, breathe in the force of the wilderness, whether it’s hearing the sea rolls crashing onto the shore, feeling the sea air rush through your hair, or to see the vastness of the chain of volcanoes. A playground that will give you the opportunity to practice many activities throughout your trip!
The Jatiluwih region and its rice fields
The Jatiluwih region is anchored in the minds of most visitors thanks to the astonishing landscapes, and in particular the immense rice fields cultivated on the terraces. Rice is grown here using ancient methods. There are some of the busiest temples on the island. It is the ideal region for magnificent hikes along soothing landscapes.
The eastern volcanoes
Bali, like all of Indonesia, is adorned with several volcanoes. You will absolutely have to salute Mount Agung and Mount Batur during your vacation in Bali.
Mount Agung is the great volcano to see. From the top of its 3,142 meters, it dominates the whole island with its imposing stature. It caused a lot of damage when it erupted in 1963. It is possible to reach its summit, but it is better to be in good physical condition, due to its high altitude. To realize its strength, you absolutely have to see the lava flow left by the last eruption dating from the 1960s.
From the top of its 1,717 meters, Mount Batur is another must-see on the island. This volcano is indeed still active and is even the object of a real cult on the part of the Balinese. It is truly impressive. You can also hike to the top of Mount Batur and embrace a huge part of the island. An enchanting moment.
As you have understood, volcanoes are omnipresent in Indonesia, and especially in Bali. Their underground activity also allows a natural phenomenon: the presence of hot springs, loaded with sulfur, ideal for healing or relieving various problems in a natural way. A unique experience to test during your trip to Bali.
Hot springs near Tabanan
About fifteen kilometers north of Tabanan, the waters naturally contain sulphur, potassium and sodium, which you can enjoy in several private spas.
Panas Banjar Hot Spring
Imagine a natural hot water swimming pool… Well, here is one located in the northwest of Bali, not far from the coast. You will find many tourists and Balinese who come to relax in this little corner of paradise.
Bali Barat National Park
Almost the entire west of the island of Bali belongs to the national park. It preserves many species of fauna and flora that inhabit the tropical rainforest. This park allows tourists to discover an incredible and very rare fauna. Take a day to stroll through this huge protected area. Some tracks promise you pretty walks during which you can see most of this tropical forest.
You will also have the opportunity to discover the fauna through 2 animal parks:
Bali Bird Park
Located north of Denpasar, the Bali Bird Park collects many species (about 250) of birds from Africa and South America. You will have the opportunity to see magnificent shows of birds in the middle of huge tropical plants. A pleasant time to spend with the family.
Near Tabanan, the butterfly park allows you to observe magnificent insects with rich colors. If there are fewer and fewer butterflies in France, in Tabanan, you will see many of them.
Nusa Penida Island
Still little known to travelers until recently, this island southeast of Bali has become the new star of social networks in recent years. It must be said that it is now easily accessible thanks to the ferry which connects it in just an hour. Once there, the steep coasts of this piece of Indonesia offer a breathtaking spectacle!
The beaches of the island
In Bali, many beaches are famous for surfing. Others, much more peaceful, allow you to enjoy the warm waters of the Pacific at your leisure. These are the favorite beaches of all lovers who have gone to Bali for their honeymoon.
Lovers of beautiful sunny beaches will appreciate the marriage of land and sea just as much. Indeed, the green hills and the high volcanoes are very close to the sea, offering magnificent hiking trails.
G-land, as surfers call it, is a world famous surf spot. Here, the rollers break at high speed and only the best surfers manage to stay on the ridge for a long time. If you are a board lover, this is an unmissable place in your Balinese itinerary.
South of Denpasar is the other great beach known for surfing: Uluwatu. Rollers can sometimes be dangerous. Novices really need to be careful.
Imagine an uncrowded beach with beautiful white sand, warm waters, a beautifully green hinterland… That’s it, you are at Amed beach. An idyllic setting awaits you here, in the northeast of Bali.
Shopping: souvenirs of your travel to Bali:
Bali is an island increasingly known for its shopping areas. A good tip: leave with light suitcases, because you risk falling for many memories…
The Balinese are past masters in the art. They produce many objects from bamboo, coconut, ceramics, metal and silver… Do not hesitate to choose carved and painted wooden objects. They often represent fantastic animals such as a dragon, or pets such as cats. They are usually great decorative items to bring home.
Works of art
Bali is an island of artists, of which Ubud is truly the capital. Suffice to say that you will meet many galleries throughout your stay in this great Balinese city. You will also find some at the Denpasar market.
Take advantage of your stay in Bali to have your skin tattooed. Many artists will propose to paint a part of your body permanently or ephemerally. However, pay close attention to the choice of tattoo artist. It is better to have a good feeling with him, and do not hesitate to ask your hotel for information…
Practical information for your trip to Bali
To prepare your trip to Bali, nothing better than useful addresses and practical information! Find tourist offices, modes of transport, exchange rate, time difference…
The website of the Indonesian tourist office:
The website of the Bali tourist office:
Getting around Bali
The easiest way to get around Bali is to rent a car with driver. This way, you won’t have any trouble with left-hand traffic, but in addition, your driver will show you the best places to visit and where to go out in Bali.
If you want to drive yourself, and thus be totally independent, consider asking your prefecture for an international permit.
Public transport can also be a good compromise between self-guided tours and safety. Choose a Bemo, a modernized local minibus.
Finally, cycling can be a great way to get around town. A handy Dutch heritage for getting around in the urban jungle.
When to go to Bali
Bali is located near the equator, in a tropical area. The island has two equally distributed seasons. The average year-round temperature is 28°C, but the heat is never unbearable.
To benefit from a drier and sunnier climate, the best period runs from May to October. To avoid the tourist influx, it is better to stay in Bali in May, September or October. Of course, you won’t be alone. June is also proving to be a good month to go, as everything is green after the monsoon and prices are not yet at their peak.
Note that the days have the same amplitude all year round, with sunrise at 6 a.m. and sunset at 6 p.m. at the latest.
No vaccine is required to enter Bali. The island is not, a priori, a risky destination in terms of health, however it is recommended to be vaccinated against tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A and B.
Beware mosquitoes: An anti-malarial treatment is also recommended, especially if you are traveling during the wet season. A resurgence of malaria has been observed in the western area of the island of Java. Dengue fever is also increasingly common. It is therefore advisable in case of headaches (knowing that the incubation is 10 days) to consult a doctor and not to take aspirin.
In terms of food, consume only soft drinks, which are easily found everywhere, and preferably avoid raw foods and unpeeled fruits.
Avian flu epidemic (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs) No cases have recently been identified. However, remain vigilant: avoid raw or undercooked products (eggs, meat), wash and disinfect your hands several times a day.
Indonesia’s telephone code is +62, Bali’s is 0361 (we use it without the initial 0). Two international codes, 001 and 008, allow you to call abroad from Indonesia.
In principle 220 volts everywhere. The electrical outlets are the same standards as in Europe. So provide an adapter, depending on the region where you come from.
Are there any security issues in Bali?
Bali is not an island or country more dangerous than another, but as with any tourist stay abroad, these security measures, which seem obvious, must be respected in order not to spoil your stay.
It cannot be said that there are security problems in Bali. There is no real danger. There are only small abuses or miscalculations during purchases and in some exchange offices, especially in Kuta. Remember to recount your money directly on the contrary and remain diplomatic in any situation.
Sources: PinterPandai, Villa Carissa Bali, Wonderful Indonesia
Photo credit (main photo): Desfosse / Pixabay