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What is Bali famous for? The Most Interesting Facts about Bali 5

What is Bali famous for? The Most Interesting Facts about Bali

Did you know that there are more than a thousand temples in Bali? Or that the people of this exotic island are some of the most hospitable in the world? If you’re looking for a fascinating travel destination, look no further than Bali! This beautiful island is home to stunning landscapes, amazing temples, a rich culture, and plenty of things to do. So what are you waiting for? Read on for some more interesting facts about Bali and discover what Bali is famous for.

Facts about Bali

Quick Facts on Bali Island geography 

Bali is an Indonesian island, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east, with Borneo and Australia farther away to the north and south.

Bali is one of more than seventeen thousand small Indonesian islands, from which only 6,000 are inhabited. To learn more about the whole nation, read our facts about Indonesia.

Bali’s climate

The climate in Bali is tropical monsoon, which means that the weather is warm and humid all year round with only two seasons: the dry season from April to October and the rainy season from October to April.

If you’re visiting Bali during the wet season, be prepared for everything from showers to thunderstorms. However, they only last a short time, so don’t let that put you off! The sun will soon be out again. Some tourists prefer to visit during the wet season because the beaches are less crowded.

Facts about tourism in Bali 

Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, and for a good reason! This tropical paradise has something to offer everyone. From its stunning beaches and lush landscapes to a rich culture and endless activities, there’s something for everyone in Bali. Currently, around 80% of Bali’s economy is based on tourism. But how did this start?

The beginning of tourism on Bali Island

Bali Beach Hotel was the fourth hotel on the island but the first international hotel. Built in Sanur in 1963, the Bali Beach mark’s Bali birth as a tourist paradise, paradoxically in the same year that an eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands on the island, not to mention an estimated 80,000 killed in Bali in 1965 and 1966 during and following an attempted coup.

The tourist economy was also badly hit with fatal terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005, and Indonesia exists over faultlines, so there are regular earthquakes. For example, in 2018 alone, there were ten earthquakes with epicentres within 200miles (300km) of Bali measuring more than six on the Richter scale. Three people were killed in Bali by an earthquake in 2021. The worst local faultline event in recent history resulted in the December 2004 tsunami killing more than 150,000 in Indonesia, although not in this case on Bali itself.

On the positive side, Bali’s tourist industry has benefited from the publication of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat Pray Love” in 2007. It tells the story of her travels here and is always mentioned by travelers as among books that spark wanderlust.

The people of Bali are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people in the world, making this one of the island’s greatest attractions.

The Biggest numbers of tourists come to Bali from Australia. The island is only 4 hours by air from Perth. Recently the number of Chinese tourists has increased so rapidly that it is expected that soon they will surpass the Australian and UK tourists.

Volcanos in Bali

Bali has three active volcanoes, the most famous of which is Mount Agung. With a height of over 3,000m, Mount Agung’s peak is the highest point in Bali. The two other volcanos are Mount Batur (1,700m) and Bratan ( just under 2,300m). A severe eruption of Mout Agung in 1963 resulted in thousands of mortalities.

Mount Agung volcano is considered to be sacred by the Balinese Hindus, and it is known locally as the “navel of the world.”

When was the latest volcano eruption in Bali?

Bali’s most recent volcanic eruption to date was of Mount Agung, which took place in June 2019. At that time, the volcano had been active for the two years since 2017, causing a 30% decline in tourism.

Waterfalls in Bali

Bali boasts several stunning waterfalls, the most famous of which is the Gitgit Falls. These are located in the north of the island and are known for their thundering 35-metre cascades set in a beautiful tropical rainforest environment.

Bali’s waterfall portfolio doesn’t end there, though. If you are looking for waterfalls to explore, be sure to check out the following:

What is Bali famous for? The Most Interesting Facts about Bali 6

Sekumpul Falls, located in the north of Bali and known for its impressive beauty and height

Munduk Falls, in the central highlands of Bali and again surrounded by lush rainforest.

Kintamani Falls near Mount Batur and offers stunning views over the forests.

Bali’s Beaches

Bali boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Picture white sands, clear blue waters, and breathtaking sunsets, and you have the Bali coastline in your head. All the activities associated with great beaches are there, including diving, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

A short history of Bali

For more than a thousand years, Bali was the Hindu Kingdom, and still, most of the population is Hindu. In AD 977, the Balinese royalty entered a dynasty, which survived until the second half of the 20th century. In AD 1343, king Dalem Baturenggong became ruler and united all Balinese kingdoms under one realm.

The Dutch invaded Bali in 1906, and it remained under their control until World War II, when it was occupied by the Japanese. The Japanese considered they were forming a positive economic empire; however, the harsh requirements of the island to support their war effort made them unpopular, and in any case, Japan surrendered in August 1945.  

Indonesia was handed back to the Dutch by international treaty after the war. However, Indonesia declared its independence and fighting broke out between the new Republic of Indonesia and the returning Dutch. The Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence finally in 1949. It wasn’t all plain sailing after that, however, and a complex of conflicts religious, ethnic and political continued – culminating in an attempted coup for independence from Indonesia in 1965. Eventually, after about 1966, the island, at last, returned to peace and has re-established itself in an image of its pre-colonial paradise and has become a haven for tourism. Bali today has a population of about four million people, with 90% being Hindu. 

Spa in Bali

There are many spas in Bali, and for good reason-Bali is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. From traditional Balinese massages to modern spa treatments, you’re sure to find something to pamper yourself.

Religion in Bali and Balinese temples

The main religion of Indonesia as a whole is Islam; however, in Bali, the people are predominantly Hindu. Hindu religion is an integral part of the culture, and it shapes all aspects of their lives, from the way they dress to the food they eat. There are over a thousand temples scattered across the island, where the Balinese visit to offer prayers and perform religious ceremonies.

Balinese Hindu Priests are known as “Pemangku”. They are highly revered by the Balinese, and they often enjoy a high level of social status and respect. Bali Hinduism revolves around the concept of ‘Tri Hita Karana’, referring to the balance between three factors: Man, Nature and God.

Food in Bali 

Bali is justly famous for its food, starting with the renowned ‘Bebek betutu’ or stuffed roasted duck. Another great local tradition is what they call barbecuing; however, when the Balinese say they want to grill something, it can mean that they will place their chosen food in a bamboo tube then throw it directly into hot coals. Try also ‘sate lilit’ – a traditional dish of fresh seafood served with a delicious coconut milk sauce.

The staple base is, of course, rice, and the Balinese will often eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meanwhile, the standard beverages are both coffee and tea. 

On the sweet side, you must experience fried bananas! You can try them with chocolate sauce or simply enjoy them on their own. 

UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bali 

One of the nine Unesco sites in Indonesia is located in Bali, and it is not one of a Balinese temple as I was expecting but a Balinese agricultural landscape built of rice terraces with water temples and canals and a water management system. The site covers a vast 19,500 ha.

What else is Bali famous for? Interesting Facts about Balinese culture

Apart from temples, beautiful beaches and lush landscapes, there’s a lot more to Bali than meets the eye! Here are some more fast facts about the culture of this fascinating island.

Balinese babies

Balinese babies are considered to be little angels, so to keep them connected to spirit, they are carried and not allowed to touch the ground for the first few months of their life.

First name in Bali

The people of Bali only have four first names- Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut. This means ‘first born’, ‘second born’, ‘third born’ and ‘fourth born, there is the fifth child it gets the Wayan name again.

Calendar in Bali

The Balinese use a lunar calendar. The lunar cycle is closely connected to their spiritual world, and they often use it to plan religious ceremonies and rituals. The Balinese calendar is divided into 12 lunar months, and each month is named after a different animal. To make life interesting, they subscribe to the international solar calendar too!

Sarong in Bali

The women of Bali wear sarongs. There are many different ways to style them. For example, a woman might choose to drape the sarong around her waist and knot it at one hip before letting it fall to the floor, where it forms a train behind her as she walks.

Balinese performing arts

The Balinese are renowned for their traditional performing arts, which include dance, music and theatre. The most famous Balinese dances are perhaps the Legong and the Barong; the Legong tells the story of a young girl who falls in love with a prince and is often performed by elaborately dressed girls who are just a few years old. Meanwhile, the Barong tells the story of a fight between good and evil and is performed by a man wearing a mask representing a lion-like creature accompanied by music and other dancers dressed in colourful costumes.

What is Bali famous for? The Most Interesting Facts about Bali 7

The Balinese theater tradition is also very impressive. One of the most famous plays is based on Ramakavaca – a Balinese interpretation of the Sanscrit Hindu epic poem the Ramayana.

Festival in Bali

One of the most famous festivals on the island of Bali is very different from what you might expect. The ‘Nyepi’ is not a day of street dancing and decorations but rather a ‘Day of Silence’. This is the day on which Balinese people spend time at home meditating and avoid going out to commemorate the defeat of a demon by the ruler, Mayadenawa. It’s the day when the entire island shuts down – no work or travel is permitted.

Spas in Bali

Bali, with over 1,200 spas across the island, has most probably the world’s highest density of spas per square kilometre. So when you are visiting Bali, it’s a must to get a Balinese massage.

Facts about the Balinese Language 

The indigenous Balinese languages has three regional dialects. It has a similar grammar to Indonesian but diverging vocabulary. Balinese can be written either in the local script, which is beautiful and curly or in Latin letters. About one million people use Balinese in their daily life, but more than three million are fluently familiar with it, while the other common languages are Indonesian and English, spoken by most of the island’s inhabitants.

The Balinese language is an important part of the culture and identity of the Balinese people, and it plays a significant role in religious ceremonies and rituals.

Weird facts about Bali 

Ziggy Stardust’s Ashes

Singer David Bowie requested that his ashes be scattered in Bali. After his death in 2016, his body was sent to Indonesia, cremated and treated according to Buddhist rituals in accordance with his wish. 

The world’s most expensive coffee

Bali is famous for producing Kopi Luwak – the most expensive coffee in the world. The price of Luwak coffee is around $300 – $400 for a pound of beans. As famously described by Morgan Freeman’s character in the movie “The Bucket List,” Kopi Luwak beans are harvested from the droppings of the civet cat, which makes it one of the most disgusting and weird food in the world.

Facts on Bali Indonesia – Summary 

With its natural beauty, both inland and coastal, friendly people, great food and more temples, history and culture than you can shake a stick at, there’s no shortage of things to see and do on Bali. So what are you waiting for? Book your flight to visit this exotic destination today!

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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