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Villa Surya, Bali

 

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Where is Bali?

Recently made famous by the Times Bestseller book and hit movie "Eat, Pray, Love", Bali is part of the Republic of Indonesia and is 8 degrees south of the equator between Java to the West and Lombok to the East.   Flying time to Jakarta is 1.5 hrs, 2.5 hs to Singapore , 3 hrs to Perth, 4.5 hrs to Hong Kong and 5.5 hrs to Sydney.

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What is the Geography of Bali?

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Bali is approximately 90 miles (140km) East to West and 55 miles (90km) North to South.  The island is famed for its beautiful landscape: a chain of six volcanoes up to 3000m, lush tropical forests, pristine crater lakes fast flowing rivers, waterfalls, rice terraces and beaches with white sane in the south and black volcanic sand in the north.   

You will see a rich variety of flora, from Banyan trees to mangroves and palms.  A huge variety of flowers and orchids grow on the island and are widely used for decorations.  Although tigers and elephants no longer exist on Bali, the island includes various species of monkeys, deer, and over three hundred species of birds.  Dolphins  are often in the area and divers can see colorful coral fish, moray eels and whale sharks along the east coast.

Bali's population is now a little over 3 million, the majority of whom are Hindus.  Religion plays a major part in daily life (see "What makes Bali special?").  Most people live in the coastal regions of the south. The islands largest town and administrative center is Denpasur. This is also the location of the international airport. 

As you would expect, tourism is a major economic engine,  Bali has a long and rich heritage of arts and crafts, such as textiles, furniture , stone work and silver craft and many are employed throughout the island, exporting around the world.   Rice, tea, coffee, cocoa, vamilla, soy and many others are grown widely - there are even now vineyards along the northwest coast!   

 

How is the weather?

You can expect pleasant day temperatures between 20 and 33 degrees Celsius (68 to 93 Fahrenheit) year-round.  From December to March the West Monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity but usually the days are sunny and rains come overnight.  From June to September, the humidity is low and it can get cool in the evenings with hardly no along the coasts.    Even when it rains in most parts of Bali, you can often enjoy sunny days on the "Bukit" south of Jimbaran Bay.  If you travel to Ubud and the mountains, be prepared for cloudy skies and showers throughout the year.  Spectacular sunrises and sunsets are almost guaranteed!

 

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What Makes Bali Special?

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There is the combination of the friendly people, the natural attractions, the great variety of things to see and do, the year-round pleasant climate. And then there is Bali's special "magic", which is difficult to explain.

As soon as you step off the plane you might sense the difference. In the villages you'll notice the quietness and wisdom in old people's faces, and the interest and respect in the young's. Old men sit at the road side caressing their fighting cocks. Beautifully dressed women walk proudly through rice fields and forests carrying offerings on their heads to the next temple. There is the smell of flowers, and in the distance you hear the sound of gamelan music.

Gods and spirits have been an important part of Bali's daily life for hundreds of years. Gunung Agung – Bali's holy mountain – is internationally regarded as one of the eight "Chakra" points of the world. This may be more than an coincident. Watch out, the moment you feel the magic of this island, you're addicted for the rest of your life.

 

 

To quote from the "Bali travel Forum" contributor "Si Badak":

"Shining delight upon the faces of newly arrived visitors, "baru datang" to local people, as they forge ahead into the great unknown that is Bali. Confronted by a sea of golden faces, the visiting children are the first to smile and reap emotional profit as they are cosseted and cuddled by every Balinese woman or man they meet : sale or no sale, children are all adored as spirits newly returned from the after-life. Giving a happy smile in the direction of Balinese children is a very rewarding pass-time also ; the proud Mum or Dad are only too willing to stop for a chat, even without a language in common !

An erect old lady on her 1940s bicycle, pedaling through traffic while carrying 1000 eggs, in cartons 60cm square, balanced precariously we think, upon her head of old, honorable grey. Thoughts of very large omelets pass through tourists' minds but seldom has one of these ladies of remarkable poise been seen to provide entertainment by falling over. Carrying heavy buckets of water on their heads, from an early age, has given them a balance and strength to be envied by Olympic gymnasts.

Pairs of men on motor-bikes who deliver newly made, wooden beds on their heads and shoulders from town to country. Sometimes they can be seen carrying as many as three mattresses in the same way, or even a bundle of pillows larger than themselves, buffeted by the slip-stream of passing trucks : the man on the pillion is responsible for load security while the driver controls the bike and attempts to keep them both steady. One wonders if this merchandise gets tested along the way, maybe at about 2pm ?

Early morning on the beach at Legian towards Seminyak. A light breeze wafts aromas of the morning's rice to the fisherman, sarung and basket tucked up near his waist, casting his net into the surf in the hope of some extra food for his family. Old ladies and gentlemen appear for a bath, cautiously dipping into the water, fully clothed, at its shallowest. Tourist joggers and power-walkers come thundering sweatily along, ( to the amusement of locals from a less punishing lifestyle), to be joined by a few enthusiastic dogs, barking happily, who add to the fun by companionably running between their legs.

Gunung Agung can be seen raising his mighty head above his vassal clouds to see what his subjects are up to. Having made his ritual inspection he draws his court around him and, usually, hides for the rest of the day: he doesn't go away, the Balinese people know he is still there, unseen but all-seeing as he ponders upon the doings of everybody."

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This site was last updated February 4th, 2020