Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique culture, stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth. With world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations, this is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. Bali has something to offer a very broad market of visitors from young back-packers right through to the super-rich. Bali is also renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music.
Bali is a land that seems to have a magnet at its very heart. It is a feeling that is difficult to understand unless experienced but once visited you are surely compelled to come back and you may even want to stay forever, such is its pull. Maybe it’s Bali’s beauty, maybe the friendly people, or maybe even the influence from spirits that certainly abide in this place.
Weather and Geography
Daytime temperatures are pleasant, varying between 20-33 C (68-93 F) year-round. From December to March, the west monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but days are still often sunny with the rains starting in the late afternoon or evening and passing quickly. From June to September, the humidity is low and it can be quite cool in the evenings. At this time of the year there is hardly any rain in the lowland coastal areas.
Even when it is raining across most of Bali, you can often enjoy sunny, dry days on the Bukit Peninsula which receives far less rain than any other part of the island. On the other hand, in central Bali and in the mountains, you should not be surprised by cloudy skies and showers at any time of the year.
At higher elevations such as Bedugul or Kintamani, it gets distinctly chilly and you will need either a sweater or jacket after the sun sets.
Bali is in the UTC+8 time zone (known in Indonesia as WITA, Waktu Indonesia Tengah), same as Western Australia, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore and 1 hour ahead of Jakarta.
Electricity is supplied at 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 “Schukostecker” or “Schuko” or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 “Europlug” types. American and Canadian travellers should pack a voltage-changing adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment (although a lot of electronics with power adapters will work on 220 volts, check your equipment first).
Transportation in Bali comes in plenty of flavors, some more tourist-friendly than the others. If you’re not relying on your hotel to get you around – not that there’s anything wrong with that – you can get around town on foot, on rented bike or motorbike, or via bemo. If you’re seeking to go between towns, you can catch a ride on a public bemo, a public bus, or charter a private bemo, a taxi, a car/driver rental package, or rent a car to drive.
Due to its large and spottily-regulated tourist industry, Bali hosts an endless number of short- and long-distance transport entrepreneurs, each jostling to get your business. Some of them are honest brokers, some are not.
Riding a taxi in Bali works the same way it does everywhere else – you hail a taxi from the curb, a taxi stops to pick you up, and off you go. Some taxis are not honest: a few favorite tricks are claiming to have a broken meter, or taking the long way around, among others. The blue taxis marked “Bali Taxi” (known as Blue Bird Taxis) are the most honest.
If you have cash to spare, you can hire a car in Bali, with the option to drive it yourself. If you rent from a reputable car company, you can have the benefit of driving your own vehicle to Bali’s less-traveled destinations, with your range being limited only by your gas budget. Don’t bother, though, if you’re not used to driving a right-hand-drive car, or panic easily when other motorists break the road rules. Bali’s traffic is both chaotic and dangerous – get a car with a driver if you can’t handle it.
Rent a bicycle if you want to see Bali in the most earth-friendly way possible. If you choose to ride independently, you can see the Balinese countryside first-hand on your own schedule. Bali’s bike tracks come in many forms, from paved roads to off-road tracks. Organized bike tours of Bali are also available, catering to all types of bikers of all ages. Tour packages usually include meals, safety gear, and return trips from and to your hotel.
More information on Bali, please find at; http://wikitravel.org/en/Bali