Context of Bali

 

Bali (; Balinese: ᬩᬮᬶ) is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands and the easternmost of the Sunda Shelf. East of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller offshore islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan to the southeast. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second-largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. The upland town of Ubud in Greater Denpasar is considered Bali's cultural centre. The province is Indonesia's main tourist destination, with a significant rise in tourism since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy.

Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia, with 86.9% of the population adhering to Balinese Hinduism. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, pain...Read more

 

Bali (; Balinese: ᬩᬮᬶ) is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands and the easternmost of the Sunda Shelf. East of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller offshore islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan to the southeast. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second-largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. The upland town of Ubud in Greater Denpasar is considered Bali's cultural centre. The province is Indonesia's main tourist destination, with a significant rise in tourism since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy.

Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia, with 86.9% of the population adhering to Balinese Hinduism. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. The Indonesian International Film Festival is held every year in Bali. Other international events that have been held in Bali include Miss World 2013, the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group and the 2022 G20 summit. In March 2017, TripAdvisor named Bali as the world's top destination in its Traveller's Choice award, which it also earned in January 2021.

Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species, especially fish and turtles. In this area alone, over 500 reef-building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about seven times as many as in the entire Caribbean. Bali is the home of the Subak irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to a unified confederation of kingdoms composed of 10 traditional royal Balinese houses, each house ruling a specific geographic area. The confederation is the successor of the Bali Kingdom. The royal houses are not recognised by the government of Indonesia; however, they originated before Dutch colonisation.

More about Bali

Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 4362700
  • Area 5780
History
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    Ancient
     
     
    Subak irrigation system

    Bali was inhabited around 2000 BCE by Austronesian people who migrated originally from the island of Taiwan to Southeast Asia and Oceania through Maritime Southeast Asia.[1][2] Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are closely related to the people of the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Oceania.[2] Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.[3][4]

    In ancient Bali, nine Hindu sects existed, the Pasupata, Bhairawa, Siwa Shidanta, Vaishnava, Bodha, Brahma, Resi, Sora and Ganapatya. Each sect revered a specific deity as its personal Godhead.[5]

    ...Read more
     
    Ancient
     
     
    Subak irrigation system

    Bali was inhabited around 2000 BCE by Austronesian people who migrated originally from the island of Taiwan to Southeast Asia and Oceania through Maritime Southeast Asia.[1][2] Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are closely related to the people of the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Oceania.[2] Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.[3][4]

    In ancient Bali, nine Hindu sects existed, the Pasupata, Bhairawa, Siwa Shidanta, Vaishnava, Bodha, Brahma, Resi, Sora and Ganapatya. Each sect revered a specific deity as its personal Godhead.[5]

    Inscriptions from 896 and 911 do not mention a king, until 914, when Sri Kesarivarma is mentioned. They also reveal an independent Bali, with a distinct dialect, where Buddhism and Shaivism were practised simultaneously. Mpu Sindok's great-granddaughter, Mahendradatta (Gunapriyadharmapatni), married the Bali king Udayana Warmadewa (Dharmodayanavarmadeva) around 989, giving birth to Airlangga around 1001. This marriage also brought more Hinduism and Javanese culture to Bali. Princess Sakalendukirana appeared in 1098. Suradhipa reigned from 1115 to 1119, and Jayasakti from 1146 until 1150. Jayapangus appears on inscriptions between 1178 and 1181, while Adikuntiketana and his son Paramesvara in 1204.[6]: 129, 144, 168, 180 

    Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Bali dwipa ("Bali island") has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong pillar inscription written by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 914 AD and mentioning Walidwipa. It was during this time that the people developed their complex irrigation system subak to grow rice in wet-field cultivation. Some religious and cultural traditions still practised today can be traced to this period.

    The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. The uncle of Hayam Wuruk is mentioned in the charters of 1384–86. Mass Javanese immigration to Bali occurred in the next century when the Majapahit Empire fell in 1520.[6]: 234, 240  Bali's government then became an independent collection of Hindu kingdoms which led to a Balinese national identity and major enhancements in culture, arts, and economy. The nation with various kingdoms became independent for up to 386 years until 1906 when the Dutch subjugated and repulsed the natives for economic control and took it over.[7]

    Portuguese contacts

    The first known European contact with Bali is thought to have been made in 1512, when a Portuguese expedition led by Antonio Abreu and Francisco Serrão sighted its northern shores. It was the first expedition of a series of bi-annual fleets to the Moluccas, that throughout the 16th century travelled along the coasts of the Sunda Islands. Bali was also mapped in 1512, in the chart of Francisco Rodrigues, aboard the expedition.[8] In 1585, a ship foundered off the Bukit Peninsula and left a few Portuguese in the service of Dewa Agung.[9]

    Dutch East Indies
     
     
    Puputan monument

    In 1597, the Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived at Bali, and the Dutch East India Company was established in 1602. The Dutch government expanded its control across the Indonesian archipelago during the second half of the 19th century. Dutch political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840s on the island's north coast when the Dutch pitted various competing Balinese realms against each other.[10] In the late 1890s, struggles between Balinese kingdoms on the island's south were exploited by the Dutch to increase their control.

    In June 1860, the famous Welsh naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, travelled to Bali from Singapore, landing at Buleleng on the north coast of the island. Wallace's trip to Bali was instrumental in helping him devise his Wallace Line theory. The Wallace Line is a faunal boundary that runs through the strait between Bali and Lombok. It is a boundary between species. In his travel memoir The Malay Archipelago, Wallace wrote of his experience in Bali, which has a strong mention of the unique Balinese irrigation methods:

    I was astonished and delighted; as my visit to Java was some years later, I had never beheld so beautiful and well-cultivated a district out of Europe. A slightly undulating plain extends from the seacoast about ten or twelve miles (16 or 19 kilometres) inland, where it is bounded by a fine range of wooded and cultivated hills. Houses and villages, marked out by dense clumps of coconut palms, tamarind and other fruit trees, are dotted about in every direction; while between them extend luxurious rice grounds, watered by an elaborate system of irrigation that would be the pride of the best-cultivated parts of Europe.[11]

    The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults at the Sanur region in 1906 and were met by the thousands of members of the royal family and their followers who rather than yield to the superior Dutch force committed ritual suicide (puputan) to avoid the humiliation of surrender.[10] Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 200 Balinese killed themselves rather than surrender.[12] In the Dutch intervention in Bali, a similar mass suicide occurred in the face of a Dutch assault in Klungkung. Afterwards, the Dutch governours exercised administrative control over the island, but local control over religion and culture generally remained intact. Dutch rule over Bali came later and was never as well established as in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku.

    In the 1930s, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, artists Miguel Covarrubias and Walter Spies, and musicologist Colin McPhee all spent time here. Their accounts of the island and its peoples created a western image of Bali as "an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature". Western tourists began to visit the island.[13] The sensuous image of Bali was enhanced in the West by a quasi-pornographic 1932 documentary Virgins of Bali about a day in the lives of two teenage Balinese girls whom the film's narrator Deane Dickason notes in the first scene "bathe their shamelessly nude bronze bodies".[14]: 134  Under the looser version of the Hays code that existed up to 1934, nudity involving "civilised" (i.e. white) women was banned, but permitted with "uncivilised" (i.e. all non-white women), a loophole that was exploited by the producers of Virgins of Bali.[14]: 133  The film, which mostly consisted of scenes of topless Balinese women was a great success in 1932, and almost single-handedly made Bali into a popular spot for tourists.[14]: 135 

    Imperial Japan occupied Bali during World War II. It was not originally a target in their Netherlands East Indies Campaign, but as the airfields on Borneo were inoperative due to heavy rains, the Imperial Japanese Army decided to occupy Bali, which did not suffer from comparable weather. The island had no regular Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) troops. There was only a Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda (Korps Prajoda) consisting of about 600 native soldiers and several Dutch KNIL officers under the command of KNIL Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg. On 19 February 1942, the Japanese forces landed near the town of Sanoer (Sanur). The island was quickly captured.[15]

    During the Japanese occupation, a Balinese military officer, I Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese 'freedom army'. The harshness of Japanese occupation forces made them more resented than the Dutch colonial rulers.[16]

    Independence from the Dutch

    In 1945, Bali was liberated by the British 5th infantry Division under the command of Major-General Robert Mansergh who took the Japanese surrender. Once Japanese forces had been repatriated the island was handed over to the Dutch the following year.

    In 1946, the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly proclaimed State of East Indonesia, a rival state to the Republic of Indonesia, which was proclaimed and headed by Sukarno and Hatta. Bali was included in the "Republic of the United States of Indonesia" when the Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence on 29 December 1949.[17] The first governor of Bali, Anak Agung Bagus Suteja, was appointed by President Sukarno in 1958, when Bali became a province.[18]

    Contemporary
     
     
    2002 Bali bombings memorial

    The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands, created economic havoc, and forced many displaced Balinese to be transmigrated to other parts of Indonesia. Mirroring the widening of social divisions across Indonesia in the 1950s and early 1960s, Bali saw conflict between supporters of the traditional caste system, and those rejecting this system. Politically, the opposition was represented by supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), with tensions and ill-feeling further increased by the PKI's land reform programmes.[10] A purported coup attempt in Jakarta was averted by forces led by General Suharto.

    The army became the dominant power as it instigated a violent anti-communist purge, in which the army blamed the PKI for the coup. Most estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people were killed across Indonesia, with an estimated 80,000 killed in Bali, equivalent to 5% of the island's population.[10][13][19] With no Islamic forces involved as in Java and Sumatra, upper-caste PNI landlords led the extermination of PKI members.[19]

    As a result of the 1965–66 upheavals, Suharto was able to manoeuvre Sukarno out of the presidency. His "New Order" government re-established relations with Western countries. The pre-War Bali as "paradise" was revived in a modern form. The resulting large growth in tourism has led to a dramatic increase in Balinese standards of living and significant foreign exchange earned for the country.[10]

    A bombing in 2002 by militant Islamists in the tourist area of Kuta killed 202 people, mostly foreigners. This attack, and another in 2005, severely reduced tourism, producing much economic hardship on the island.

    On 27 November 2017, Mount Agung erupted five times, causing the evacuation of thousands, disrupting air travel and causing much environmental damage. Further eruptions also occurred between 2018 and 2019.[20]

    ^ Taylor, pp. 5, 7 ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Hinzler was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Taylor, p. 12 ^ Cite error: The named reference Lonely was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "The birthplace of Balinese Hinduism". The Jakarta Post. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2012. ^ a b Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1. ^ Barski, p. 46 ^ Cortesão, Jaime (1975). Esparsos, Volume III. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra Biblioteca Geral. p. 288. "...passing the island of 'Balle', on whose heights the nau Sabaia, of Francisco Serrão, was lost" – from Antonio de Abreu, and in João de Barros and Antonio Galvão's chronicles. Google Books ^ Hanna, Willard A. (2004) Bali Chronicles. Periplus, Singapore, ISBN 0-7946-0272-X, p. 32 ^ a b c d e Cite error: The named reference ctpqur was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Wallace, Alfred Russel (1869). The Malay Archipelago. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-7946-0563-6. ^ Haer, p. 38. ^ a b Friend, Theodore. Indonesian Destinies, Harvard University Press, 2003 ISBN 0-674-01137-6, p. 111. ^ a b c Doherty, Thomas Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930–1934, New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN 0231110952 ^ Klemen, L (1999–2000). "The Capture of Bali Island, February 1942". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. ^ Haer, pp. 39–40. ^ Barski, p. 51 ^ Pringle, p. 167 ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Ricklefs was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "A volcanologist explains Bali eruption photos". BBC News. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe
     
     
    Behind the cuddly façade lies a cunning thief

    Bali is, in general, a safe destination, and few visitors encounter any real problems.

    Bali was the scene of lethal terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005, with both waves of attacks targeting nightclubs and restaurants popular among foreign visitors. Security is consequently tight at obvious targets, but it is of course impossible to protect oneself fully against terrorism. If it is any reassurance, the Balinese themselves—who depend on tourism for their livelihood—deplored the bombings and the terrorists behind them for the terrible suffering they have caused on this peaceful island. As a visitor, it is important to put the risk in perspective: Bali's roads are statistically far more dangerous than even the deadliest bomb. It may still be prudent to avoid high profile Western hangouts, especially those without security measures. The paranoid or just security-conscious may wish to head out of the tourist enclaves of South Bali to elsewhere on the island.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe
     
     
    Behind the cuddly façade lies a cunning thief

    Bali is, in general, a safe destination, and few visitors encounter any real problems.

    Bali was the scene of lethal terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005, with both waves of attacks targeting nightclubs and restaurants popular among foreign visitors. Security is consequently tight at obvious targets, but it is of course impossible to protect oneself fully against terrorism. If it is any reassurance, the Balinese themselves—who depend on tourism for their livelihood—deplored the bombings and the terrorists behind them for the terrible suffering they have caused on this peaceful island. As a visitor, it is important to put the risk in perspective: Bali's roads are statistically far more dangerous than even the deadliest bomb. It may still be prudent to avoid high profile Western hangouts, especially those without security measures. The paranoid or just security-conscious may wish to head out of the tourist enclaves of South Bali to elsewhere on the island.

    Bali is increasingly enforcing Indonesia's harsh penalties against the import, export, trafficking and possession of illegal drugs, including marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. Several high profile arrests of foreigners have taken place in Bali since 2004, and a number have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms or (very rarely) execution. Even the possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use puts you at risk of a trial and prison sentence. Watch out for seemingly harmless street boys looking to sell you drugs (marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, etc.). More often than not, they are working with undercover police and will try to sell you drugs so that they can then get uniformed officers onto you. The police officers will (if you are lucky) demand a bribe for your release, or, more likely, look for a far larger payday by taking you into custody. Just avoid Bali's drug scene at all costs.

    The unfortunate people who are caught and processed will find there is little distinction between personal use and dealing in the eyes of the Indonesian legal system. 'Expedition fees', monies paid to shorten prison sentences can easily be US$20,000 and are often a lot more.

    There is a fair chance that you will be offered magic mushrooms, especially if you are young and find yourself in Kuta. Indonesian law is a little unclear in this area but with the whole country in the midst of a drug crackdown since 2004, it is not worth taking the risk.

     
     
    Don't swim near the red flag(s); swim between two yellow flags, if there are any

    If you see a red flag planted in the sand, do not swim there, as they are a warning of dangerous rip currents. These currents can pull you out to sea with alarming speed and even the strongest swimmers cannot swim against them. The thing to do is to stay calm and swim sideways (along the shore) until out of the rip and only then head for the shore. The ocean is not to be trifled with in Bali, and dozens of people, some experienced some not, die by drowning every year.

    Scams

    Even though Bali is quite a safe place in which few tourists encounter problems, avoid scams and overpriced services this island can offer you.

    Petty scams are not uncommon, although they can usually be avoided with a modicum of common sense. If approached on the street by anybody offering a deal on souvenirs, transport, etc., you can rest assured that you will pay more if you follow your new found friend. Guard your bags, especially at transport terminals and ferry terminals. In addition to the risk of them being stolen, self-appointed porters like to grab them without warning and then insist on ridiculous prices for their "services".

    Timeshare scams and schemes are common in Bali with several high profile, apparently legitimate operators. If you are approached by a very friendly street canvasser asking you to complete a survey and then attend a holiday resort presentation to claim your 'prize' (this is inevitably a 'free' holiday which you end up paying for anyway), politely refuse and walk away. You may also be cold-called at your hotel to be told you have 'won a holiday' - the caller may even know your name and nationality thanks to a tip-off from someone who has already seen your data. If you fall for this scam, you will be subjected to a very long, high pressure sales presentation and if you actually buy the 'holiday club' product, you will certainly regret it. Timeshare is a completely unregulated industry in Indonesia, and you have no recourse.

    When leaving Bali, if you have anything glass in your baggage (such as duty-free alcohol) the security guards may put some pressure on you to have it wrapped to keep it safe, and it can seem like its a requirement rather than a suggestion (it is Rp 60,000 a bag). Similarly, when arriving in Bali, some uniformed airport porters may offer to take your bags for you and walk you through customs, be generally friendly and helpful, and then demand a tip. The charge is Rp 5,000, a request for any amount in excess of this has no formal sanction, it is best to stop them from interfering with your bags in any way, just tell them you do not want their services unless you are sure you want to use them, if so clarify the price before they lift up your bags. These 'services' are best avoided.

    The money changing rule is simple: use only authorised money changers with proper offices and always ask for a receipt. The largest is called PT Central Kuta and they have several outlets. If you are especially nervous, then use a formal bank. You may get a better rate at an authorised money changer though.

    Avoid changing money in smaller currency exchange offices in shops, as they more often than not will try to steal money by using very creative and "magician" like methods. Even when you think you've watched the dealers every move, you're not unlikely to end up with far too low an amount in your hands, so just take a minute to recount your stack of notes at the spot. Often the rate advertised on the street is nowhere near the rate that they will give you in the end. Many times the rate is set higher to lure you in so that they can con you out of a banknote or two, and when this is not possible, they will give you a shoddy rate and state that the difference is due to commission. This even applies to the places which clearly state that there is no commission, of course any money changer charges a commission, they would cease to be viable if they did not and it is built into the differential between the purchase rate and the sell rate at any given time.

    For many, the largest irritant will be the hawkers and peddlers who linger around temples, malls, beaches, and anywhere tourists congregate. It may feel difficult or rude to ignore the constant come-ons to buy souvenirs, food and assorted junk, but it can be necessary in order to enjoy your holiday in semi-peace.

    Be wary around the monkeys that occupy many temples (most notably Uluwatu and Ubud's Monkey Forest). They are experts at stealing possessions like glasses, cameras and even handbags, and have been known to attack people carrying food. Feeding them is just asking for trouble.

    Rabies is present in Bali and several deaths arising from rabies infections have been recorded in early 2011. Visitors to the island should avoid contact with dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals that carry the disease. If bitten seek medical attention.

    Whilst eating dog meat is not illegal in Bali, some vendors are breaching animal cruelty and food safety laws. Dogs are being bludgeoned, strangled or poisoned for human consumption. Dog meat is filtering into the tourist food chain in Bali, sometimes unsafely.

    "Turtle Island" scam

    A "Turtle ‘Island’" in Tanjung Benoa is one of Bali's most infamous scams. Bali does possess a legitimate Turtle Conservation and Education Center (TCEC) at Serangan Island, also known as "Turtle Island", which is sponsored by the government (to be exact, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry [Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan]). However, when requested to go to "Turtle Island", many drivers, guides, and tour agencies will instead lead tourists to an unlicensed "conservation center" called Moon Cot Sari there. It is more of a mini-zoo than a conservation centre, despite its name. What’s wrong with this place is that animals are kept in filthy, small habitat and subject to several forms of mistreatment. For instance, the snakes are kept there with their mouths taped, while the turtles (which really are solitary animals) were packed into several murky, small-for-turtle pens. Civets were kept in dirty cages which allows them to experience improper breeding and stimulation. Furthermore, tourists are subject to high-price services being offered on the departure spot leading there - that is, at BMR Watersport. There, you will be led into boats that take you to that place, which is actually not in an island - that is, it is accessible by land (not just water). These boat trips are generally expensive, and stop for a while at a very small coral reef situated offshore, where several boats also wait, before going to your final destination - the "turtle ‘island’".

    It is all part of a system - guides, drivers, and tour agencies gets a cut (commission) from the company when they bring tourists there.

    If you have any concern about animal welfare, make sure that you visit the licensed (and government-funded) TCEC at Serangan. Do not support any tour agencies, drivers, or guides, that attempt to lead tourists and locals to the fake "conservation center" at Tanjung Benoa.

    Satria Agrowisata

    Another scam in Bali involves a "coffee plantation" called Satria Agrowisata, which specialises on kopi luwak. In it, visitors are subject to luwaks that has been "drugged up" and exorbitant prices of their "tea"s and "coffee"s. Furthermore, while their "tea"s and "coffee"s are not really tea and coffee powder at all, but just useless sweet-tasting powder, with one review stating that it was just "kool-aid"; the ingredients are also not specified at all, with some claiming to be "sugar-free" but in fact it is sweet, so you will never know what are the actual contents of the product.

    If you want to sample coffees, make sure that you go to Seniman Coffee Studio at Ubud. Also, do not support any tour agents, guides, or drivers that bring you into Satria Agrowisata or similar kopi luwak-based scams.

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