Story about Bali that You need to Know

Story about Bali that You need to Know

Bali which is referred also as The Island of Gods, The Paradise Island, or The Island of A Thousand Temples, is located between Java and Lombok. The larger Java is located to the west while Lombok is situated to the east of Bali. Geographically, Bali is the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Administratively, Bali is one of the 33 provinces of Indonesia with Denpasar at the southern part of the island as its capital.

Bali is home for small Hindu community. In 2010, 92.29% of the total population of 3.891,000 adheres to Balinese Hindu. The rest of the number adheres to Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. Bali is famous as the largest tourist destination in Indonesia and also well known all over the world. The popular image of the island is that it is rich with sophisticated arts like traditional and modern sculpture, leather, painting, dance, music, and metalworking.

The Geography of Bali

Bali Island is located 3.2 km or 2 mi easy of Java, 8 degrees south of the equator. Java and Bali are separated by the narrow Bali Strait. Its length from east to west is about 153 km or 95 mi while from north to south it spans up to 112 km or 69 mi. The total measure of the land area is 5,632 km2.

The highest elevation at the central of the main land reaches up to around 3,000 meters above the sea level, the highest of which is Mount Agung which reaches 3,142 meters. This active volcano is also referred as the mother mountain. Form central region to the east runs the mountainous range with Mount Agung as the easternmost highest point. The volcanic nature of the main land, combined with the high mountains which encourage rainfalls, makes Bali extremely fertile for agricultural crop. The most fertile area is located in the center of the main land to the south. Meanwhile, the northern side of the mountains slopes steeply toward the sea. This area becomes the main producer area for coffee, vegetables, rice and cattle. The longest river of the island is Ayung River, which flows as long as approximately 75 km.

Most areas of the island are surrounded by coral reefs and the northern and the western beaches tend to have black sand while those of the southern tend to have white sand. There are not any major waterways in the mainland. However, sampan boats can navigate the Ho River. There are some beaches in the area between Klatingdukuh and Pasut and these beaches are being developed for tourism. However, the most significant tourist spot until today in the area is still the seaside temple Tanah Lot.

Denpasar, located near the southern coast, is the biggest city in the mainland with a total population of approximately 491,500 according to the estimate in 2002. Singaraja, the old colonial capital, home for 100,000 people and situated at the northern coast, is Bali’s second-largest city. Other major cities include Kuta and Ubud. There are three small islands at the southeast of the mainland. They are administratively parts of the Klungkung Regency. They are Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. The three of them are separated from the main land by Badung Strait.

Bali Maps

Lombok Strait at the east separates Bali and the rest of the Lesser Sunda Islands. This strait also marks the bio-geographical division between the fauna of Australasia and the fauna of Indo-Malayan eco-zone. The imaginary separating line is called the Wallace Line, which is named after the biologist Alfred Russell Wallace. Bali was connected to Sumatra, Java and the mainland of Asia during the Pleistocene Ice Age, during which period the levels dropped. Hence Bali at that time shared the same Asian fauna. However, the Lombok Strait at that time had been deep water so that the rest of the Lesser Sunda Islands kept isolated.

Balinese Agriculture
Most of Balinese are still working in the agricultural field although the GDP’s largest output is produced by tourism. The most notable agricultural effort is the rice cultivation. Smaller crops that are also grown in the island include vegetables, fruits, Coffea aracbica and other subsistence and cash crops.

Kintamani, a region near Mount Batur, is the region where Arabica coffee is produced. Producers generally process Balinese coffee using the wet method which results in a soft, sweet coffee. Flavors that can be integrated are lemon and other citrus notes. The majority of the coffee farmers in the region are members of Subak Abian which is based on the Hindu Tri Hita Karana philosophy. The philosophy teaches that there are three causes for the happiness, namely the relation with God, other people and the environment. The system of the Subak is the best suited for the production of organic coffee and fair trade. The Arabica coffee produced in Kintamani region is the first product in Indonesia that receives a geographical indication.

Tourism in Bali
The real estate industry related to tourism has been thriving at the main tourist hubs. Bali hotels are built in the famous locations like Kuta, Seminyak, Oberoi and Legian. 5-star Bali hotels were started to be developed in 2010 at the southern part, namely at the Bukit Peninsula. Bali villas, totally worth millions of dollars, have been built at the cliff sides at the south and hence promise panoramic ocean view. Many Jakarta companies and individuals as well as foreign investment are active in the industry to develop other areas. But land prices have remained stable although there had been economic crisis throughout the world.

Indonesian Rupiah had dropped down to 30% against the US dollar in the last half of 2008. This result in the bigger value for the foreign currencies and triggered the flood of tourist into Bali. In 2009, visitor arrivals were dropped to 8% with economic crisis as the main cause and not the travel warnings.

Terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 made the tourism industry in Bali drastically turned into ruin. However, the industry had been recovering since the last bombing and in 2010 the target of 2.0-2.3 million tourists had been surpassed with 2.57 million foreign tourists. Bali accommodation as well as other support facilities like Bali spa contributes positively to the recovery. The average occupancy of Bali accommodation in 2010 is 65%, which was a positive trend compared to the previous year’s 60.8%. However, during the peak seasons, tourists will be difficult enough to find accommodation since all the rooms are usually had been fully booked.

In 2010, Bali received Travel and Leisure award which was presented at World’s Best Award 2010 in New York on 21 July 2010. The World Best Hotel Spas in Asia 2010 award had been awarded to a Bali hotel too, namely the Hotel Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran. The designation #1 Spa in the world was received by the Ayana Resort after a reader poll from Conde Naste’s Travel Magazine. The award was won by Bali because of its various tourist attractions, attractive coastal and mountain surroundings, friendliness of the local people and excellent local and international restaurants. Bali it one major holiday destination in world.

Language in Bali
The most widely spoken languages in Bali are Bali and Indonesian. Most of Bali people are bilingual or trilingual. Several indigenous Balinese languages are present but most Balinese use modern common Balinese to communicate. The caste system determines the usage of different Balinese language. The primary foreign language is English due to the thriving of tourism industry.

Balinese Culture
Bali is famous for its sophisticated art forms in sculpture, handcrafts, painting, woodcarving and performing arts. Gamelan, Balinese percussion orchestra music, is varied and highly developed. Stories from Hindu epic like Ramayana are often portrayed in performing arts with a lot of influences from Balinese traditions. Well known Balinese dance include legong, topeng, gong kebyar, pendet, baris, barong and kecak. There are innovative and diverse performing arts cultures in Bali. Due to tourism, there are traditional Balinese performance arts that are arranged as paid performance in temple festivals, public shows, or private ceremonies.

Balinese Hindu celebrates Nyepi, the Hindu New Year in the spring with a day of silence. Everyone stays at home and tourists are encouraged to stay in their hotels too during the day. However, colorful, large sculptures of ogoh-ogoh monsters were built and burned in the evening before the Nyepi day. This is a symbol to drive evil spirits away. The Balinese pawukon calendar system determines the other festivals throughout the year.

Balinese are fond of celebrations. There are celebrations for tooh filling or coming of age ritual, odalan or temple festival and cremation. The most important concept in Balinese ceremonies which is shared by most Balinese is desa kala patra. The concept refers to the appropriateness of ritual performances with the general and specific social context. Therefore, some of the ceremonial art forms like topeng or wayang kulit have high flexibility so that performers can adjust the event with the current situation.

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