Bali (Balinese: ᬩᬮᬶ, Indonesian: Pulau Bali, Provinsi Bali) is
an island and province of Indonesia. The province includes the island
Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida,
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It is located at the westernmost end
of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with
Java to the west and
Lombok to the
east. Its capital, Denpasar, is located in the southern part of the
With a population of 3,890,757 in the 2010 census, and 4,225,000 as
of January 2014, the island is home to most of Indonesia's Hindu
minority. According to the 2010 Census, 83.5% of Bali's population
adhered to Balinese Hinduism, followed by 13.4% Muslim,
Christianity at 2.5% and
Bali is a popular tourist destination, which has seen a significant
rise in tourists since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up
80% of its economy. 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. In March 2017,
Bali as the
world's top destination in its Traveller's Choice award.
Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest
biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone, over 500
reef-building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is
about 7 times as many as in the entire Caribbean. Most recently,
Bali was the host of the 2011 ASEAN Summit, 2013 APEC and Miss World
Bali is the home of the Subak irrigation system, a
Heritage Site. It is also home to a unified confederation of
kingdoms composed of 10 traditional royal Balinese houses, where each
house rules 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 have been operational
since their establishment prior to Dutch colonisation.
1.2 Portuguese contacts
1.3 Dutch East Indies
1.4 Independence from the Dutch
5.1 Plastic pollution
6 Administrative divisions
9.1 Ethnic origins
9.2 Caste system
12 Heritage sites
13 Beauty pageant
14 International partnerships
16 See also
19 Further reading
20 External links
Main article: History of Bali
Bali was inhabited around 2000 BC by
Austronesian people who migrated
originally from Southeast Asia and
Oceania through Maritime Southeast
Asia. Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are closely
related to the people of the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, the
Philippines and Oceania. Stone tools dating from this time have
been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.
In ancient Bali, nine
Hindu sects existed, namely Pasupata, Bhairawa,
Siwa Shidanta, Waisnawa, Bodha, Brahma, Resi, Sora and Ganapatya. Each
sect revered a specific deity as its personal Godhead.
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
Sivaism were practiced
simultaneously. Mpu Sindok's great-granddaughter, Mahendradatta
(Gunapriyadharmapatni), married the
Bali king Udayana Warmadewa
(Dharmodayanavarmadeva) around 989, giving birth to
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.:129,144,168,180
Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese, and
Hindu culture, beginning around the 1st century AD. The
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 practiced today can be traced to this
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. A mass Javanese immigration to
Bali occurred in
the next century when the
Majapahit Empire fell in 1520.: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.
Kandapat Sari statue in Semarapura, one of the old settlements in
Balinese art and culture is born and based in this
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 usually traveled along the coasts of the
Bali was also mapped in 1512, in the chart of Francisco
Rodrigues, aboard the expedition. In 1585, a ship foundered off
Bukit Peninsula and left a few Portuguese in the service of Dewa
Dutch East Indies
In 1597, the Dutch explorer
Cornelis de Houtman
Cornelis de Houtman arrived at Bali, and
Dutch East India Company
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 (see Dutch East Indies).
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. In the late 1890s, struggles
between Balinese kingdoms in the island's south were exploited by the
Dutch to increase their control.
In June 1860, the famous Welsh naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace,
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 has been found to be a boundary between species. In his travel
memoir The Malay Archipelago, Wallace wrote of his experience in Bali,
of which has strong mention of the unique Balinese irrigation methods:
I was both astonished and delighted; for 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.
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. Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 200
Balinese killed themselves rather than surrender. In the Dutch
intervention in Bali, a similar mass suicide occurred in the face of a
Dutch assault in Klungkung. Afterward the Dutch governors 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,
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. 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". Under the looser version of the
Haynes 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. The film, which mostly consisted of scenes of
topless Balinese women was a great success in 1932, and almost
Bali into a popular spot for tourists.
Bali bombings monument
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
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 Senoer [Senur]. The island was quickly
During the Japanese occupation, a Balinese military officer, Gusti
Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese 'freedom army'. The harshness of
Japanese occupation forces made them more resented than the Dutch
Independence from the Dutch
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. The first governor of Bali, Anak
Agung Bagus Suteja, was appointed by President
Sukarno in 1958, when
Bali became a province.
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
Indonesian Communist Party
Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and the Indonesian Nationalist
Party (PNI), with tensions and ill-feeling further increased by the
PKI's land reform programs. An attempted coup in
Jakarta was put
down 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. With no Islamic forces
involved as in
Java and Sumatra, upper-caste PNI landlords led the
extermination of PKI members.
As a result of the 1965-66 upheavals, Suharto was able to manoeuvre
Sukarno out of the presidency. His "New Order" government
reestablished relations with western countries. The pre-War
"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. 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 to the island.
List of bodies of water in Bali and List of mountains in
Mount Agung, the highest peak on Bali
An islet just south of
Bali made of pillow basalt. Much of
made of volcanic rock.
The island of
Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is
approximately 8 degrees south of the equator.
separated by the
Bali Strait. East to west, the island is
approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and spans approximately
112 km (69 mi) north to south; administratively it covers
5,780 km2, or 5,577 km2 without
Nusa Penida District,
its population density is roughly 750 people/km2.
Bali's central mountains include several peaks over 2,000 metres
(6,600 feet) in elevation and active volcanoes such as Mount Batur.
The highest is
Mount Agung (3,031 m (9,944 ft)), known as
the "mother mountain" which is an active volcano rated as one of the
world's most likely sites for a massive eruption within the next 100
years. As of late 2017
Mount Agung has started erupting and large
numbers of people have been evacuated, the airport in
Bali has been
closed. The extent of the eruption is as of November 2017 impossible
to predict. See Mount Agung, 2017 seismic activity and eruption.
Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, with
Mount Agung the
easternmost peak. Bali's volcanic nature has contributed to its
exceptional fertility and its tall mountain ranges provide the high
rainfall that supports the highly productive agriculture sector. South
of the mountains is a broad, steadily descending area where most of
Bali's large rice crop is grown. The northern side of the mountains
slopes more steeply to the sea and is the main coffee producing area
of the island, along with rice, vegetables and cattle. The longest
river, Ayung River, flows approximately 75 km (see List of rivers
The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to
have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand.
Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by
small sampan boats.
Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh
are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of
Tanah Lot, they are not yet used for significant tourism.
Subak irrigation system
The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, near the
southern coast. Its population is around 491,500 (2002). Bali's
second-largest city is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, which is
located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people.
Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is
practically part of Denpasar's urban area, and Ubud, situated at the
north of Denpasar, is the island's cultural centre.
Three small islands lie to the immediate south east and all are
administratively part of the
Klungkung regency of Bali: Nusa Penida,
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These islands are separated from
Bali by the Badung Strait.
To the east, the
Lombok Strait separates
Lombok and marks
the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan
ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The
transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel
Wallace, who first proposed a transition zone between these two major
biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali
was connected to
Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and
shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the
continued to keep
Lombok Island and the Lesser Sunda archipelago
Being just 8 degrees south of the equator,
Bali has a fairly even
climate year round. Average year-round temperature stands at around
30°C with a humidity level of about 85%.
Day time temperatures at low elevations vary between 20–33°C
(68–91°F), but the temperatures decrease significantly with
The west monsoon is in place from approximately October to April, and
this can bring significant rain, particularly from December to March.
During rainy season there is comparatively fewer tourists seen on
Bali. During the Easter and Christmas holidays the weather is very
Outside of the monsoon period, humidity is relatively low and any rain
is unlikely in lowland areas.
Bali myna is found only on
Bali and is critically endangered.
Bali lies just to the west of the Wallace Line, and thus has a
fauna that is Asian in character, with very little Australasian
influence, and has more in common with
Java than with Lombok. An
exception is the yellow-crested cockatoo, a member of a primarily
Australasian family. There are around 280 species of birds, including
the critically endangered
Bali myna, which is endemic. Others include
barn swallow, black-naped oriole, black racket-tailed treepie, crested
serpent-eagle, crested treeswift, dollarbird,
Java sparrow, lesser
adjutant, long-tailed shrike, milky stork, Pacific swallow, red-rumped
swallow, sacred kingfisher, sea eagle, woodswallow, savanna nightjar,
stork-billed kingfisher, yellow-vented bulbul and great egret.
Until the early 20th century,
Bali was home to several large mammals:
the wild banteng, leopard and the endemic
Bali tiger. The banteng
still occurs in its domestic form, whereas leopards are found only in
neighbouring Java, and the
Bali tiger is extinct. The last definite
record of a tiger on
Bali dates from 1937, when one was shot, though
the subspecies may have survived until the 1940s or 1950s.
Monkeys in Uluwatu
Squirrels are quite commonly encountered, less often is the Asian palm
civet, which is also kept in coffee farms to produce Kopi Luwak. Bats
are well represented, perhaps the most famous place to encounter them
remaining is the Goa Lawah (Temple of the Bats) where they are
worshipped by the locals and also constitute a tourist attraction.
They also occur in other cave temples, for instance at Gangga Beach.
Two species of monkey occur. The crab-eating macaque, known locally as
"kera", is quite common around human settlements and temples, where it
becomes accustomed to being fed by humans, particularly in any of the
three "monkey forest" temples, such as the popular one in the Ubud
area. They are also quite often kept as pets by locals. The second
monkey, endemic to
Java and some surrounding islands such as Bali, is
far rarer and more elusive and is the Javan langur, locally known as
"lutung". They occur in few places apart from the
Bali Barat National
Park. They are born an orange colour, though by their first year they
would have already changed to a more blackish colouration.[citation
Java however, there is more of a tendency for this species
to retain its juvenile orange colour into adulthood, and a mixture of
black and orange monkeys can be seen together as a family. Other rarer
mammals include the leopard cat,
Sunda pangolin and black giant
Snakes include the king cobra and reticulated python. The water
monitor can grow to at least 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in length and
50 kg (110 lb) and can move quickly.
The rich coral reefs around the coast, particularly around popular
diving spots such as Tulamben, Amed, Menjangan or neighbouring Nusa
Penida, host a wide range of marine life, for instance hawksbill
turtle, giant sunfish, giant manta ray, giant moray eel, bumphead
parrotfish, hammerhead shark, reef shark, barracuda, and sea snakes.
Dolphins are commonly encountered on the north coast near Singaraja
Giant manta ray in Bali
A team of scientists conducted a survey from 29 April 2011 to 11 May
2011 at 33 sea sites around Bali. They discovered 952 species of reef
fish of which 8 were new discoveries at Pemuteran, Gilimanuk, Nusa
Tulamben and Candidasa, and 393 coral species, including two new
Padangbai and between
Padangbai and Amed. The average
coverage level of healthy coral was 36% (better than in
Raja Ampat and
Halmahera by 29% or in
Kaimana by 25%) with the highest
coverage found in Gili Selang and Gili Mimpang in Candidasa,
Among the larger trees the most common are: banyan trees, jackfruit,
coconuts, bamboo species, acacia trees and also endless rows of
coconuts and banana species. Numerous flowers can be seen: hibiscus,
frangipani, bougainvillea, poinsettia, oleander, jasmine, water lily,
lotus, roses, begonias, orchids and hydrangeas exist. On higher
grounds that receive more moisture, for instance around Kintamani,
certain species of fern trees, mushrooms and even pine trees thrive
well. Rice comes in many varieties. Other plants with agricultural
value include: salak, mangosteen, corn, kintamani orange, coffee and
water spinach.
Rice terraces in Bali
Some of the worst erosion has occurred in Lebih Beach, where up to
seven metres (23 feet) of land is lost every year. Decades ago, this
beach was used for holy pilgrimages with more than 10,000 people, but
they have now moved to Masceti Beach.
From ranked third in previous review, in 2010
Bali got score 99.65 of
Indonesia's environmental quality index and the highest of all the 33
provinces. The score measured three water quality parameters: the
level of total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved oxygen (DO) and
chemical oxygen demand (COD).
Because of over-exploitation by the tourist industry which covers a
massive land area, 200 out of 400 rivers on the island have dried up
and based on research, the southern part of
Bali would face a water
shortage up to 2,500 litres of clean water per second by 2015. To
ease the shortage, the central government plans to build a water
catchment and processing facility at Petanu River in Gianyar. The 300
litres capacity of water per second will be channelled to Denpasar,
Gianyar in 2013.
Bali received nearly 5.7 million tourists, according to the
regional government. In late 2017 officials declared a “garbage
emergency” in response to the covering of 3.6 mile stretch of
coastline in plastic waste brought in by the tide, amid concerns that
the pollution could dissuade visitors from returning.
Indonesia is one of the world's worst plastic polluters, with some
estimates suggesting that the 260 million-population, 3,000-mile-wide,
17,000-island archipelago is the source of around 10 per cent of the
world's plastic waste. Indonesia’s capital city
several huge rubbish dumps and it is common to see swathes of plastics
bobbing on the city's few waterways.
The province is divided into eight regencies (kabupaten) and one city
(kota). These are:
0.816 (Very High)
In 1970s, the Balinese economy was largely agriculture-based in terms
of both output and employment. Tourism is now the largest single
industry in terms of income, and as a result,
Bali is one of
Indonesia's wealthiest regions. In 2003, around 80% of Bali's economy
was tourism related. By end of June 2011, non-performing loan of
all banks in
Bali were 2.23%, lower than the average of Indonesian
banking industry non-performing loan (about 5%). The economy,
however, suffered significantly as a result of the
bombings 2002 and 2005. The tourism industry has since recovered from
Wood carving in Bali
Although tourism produces the GDP's largest output, agriculture is
still the island's biggest employer. Fishing also provides a
significant number of jobs.
Bali is also famous for its artisans who
produce a vast array of handicrafts, including batik and ikat cloth
and clothing, wooden carvings, stone carvings, painted art and
silverware. Notably, individual villages typically adopt a single
product, such as wind chimes or wooden furniture.
The Arabica coffee production region is the highland region of
Kintamani near Mount Batur. Generally, Balinese coffee is processed
using the wet method. This results in a sweet, soft coffee with good
consistency. Typical flavours include lemon and other citrus
notes. Many coffee farmers in Kintamani are members of a
traditional farming system called Subak Abian, which is based on the
Hindu philosophy of "Tri Hita Karana". According to this philosophy,
the three causes of happiness are good relations with God, other
people, and the environment. The Subak Abian system is ideally suited
to the production of fair trade and organic coffee production. Arabica
coffee from Kintamani is the first product in
Indonesia to request a
As of 2016
Canyoning in Gitgit Waterfall, Bali, Indonesia
Tirta Empul Temple draws tourists who seek its holy waters.
Pura Taman Ayun, another temple which is a popular tourist destination
Ulun Danu Temple, located in Bratan Lake
In 1963 the
Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur was built by Sukarno, and
boosted tourism in Bali. Prior to it, only three hotels existed on the
island. Construction of hotels and restaurants began to spread
throughout Bali. Tourism further increased on
Bali after the Ngurah
Rai International Airport opened in 1970. The Buleleng regency
government encouraged the tourism sector as one of the mainstays for
economic progress and social welfare.
The tourism industry is primarily focused in the south, while
significant in the other parts of the island as well. The main tourist
locations are the town of
Kuta (with its beach), and its outer
suburbs of Legian and
Seminyak (which were once independent
townships), the east coast town of Sanur (once the only tourist hub),
Ubud towards the center of the island, to the south of the Ngurah Rai
International Airport, Jimbaran, and the newer developments of Nusa
Dua and Pecatu.
United States government lifted its travel warnings in 2008. The
Australian government issued an advisory on Friday, 4 May 2012, with
the overall level of this advisory lowered to 'Exercise a high degree
of caution'. The Swedish government issued a new warning on Sunday, 10
June 2012 because of one tourist who died from methanol poisoning.
Australia last issued an advisory on Monday, 5 January 2015 due to new
Kuta Beach is a popular tourist spot in Bali.
An offshoot of tourism is the growing real estate industry. Bali's
real estate has been rapidly developing in the main tourist areas of
Seminyak and Oberoi. Most recently, high-end 5-star
projects are under development on the Bukit peninsula, on the south
side of the island. Million dollar villas are being developed along
the cliff sides of south Bali, with commanding panoramic ocean views.
Foreign and domestic (many
Jakarta individuals and companies are
fairly active) investment into other areas of the island also
continues to grow. Land prices, despite the worldwide economic crisis,
have remained stable.
In the last half of 2008, Indonesia's currency had dropped
approximately 30% against the US dollar, providing many overseas
visitors value for their currencies. Visitor arrivals for 2009 were
forecast to drop 8% (which would be higher than 2007 levels), mainly
due to the worldwide economic crisis which has also affected the
global tourist industry.
Bali's tourism economy survived the
Islamists terrorist bombings of
2002 and 2005, and the tourism industry has in fact slowly recovered
and surpassed its pre-terrorist bombing levels; the longterm trend has
been a steady increase of visitor arrivals. In 2010,
2.57 million foreign tourists, which surpassed the target of 2.0–2.3
million tourists. The average occupancy of starred hotels achieved
65%, so the island still should be able to accommodate tourists for
some years without any addition of new rooms/hotels, although at
the peak season some of them are fully booked.
Bali received the Best Island award from
Travel and Leisure
Travel and Leisure in
Bali won because of its attractive surroundings (both
mountain and coastal areas), diverse tourist attractions, excellent
international and local restaurants, and the friendliness of the local
people. According to
BBC Travel released in 2011,
Bali is one of the
World's Best Islands, ranking second after Santorini, Greece.
In August 2010, the film
Eat Pray Love
Eat Pray Love was released in theatres. The
movie was based on Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir Eat, Pray,
Love. It took place at
Ubud and Padang-Padang Beach at Bali. The 2006
book, which spent 57 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the New York Times
paperback nonfiction best-seller list, had already fuelled a boom in
Eat, Pray, Love-related tourism in Ubud, the hill town and cultural
and tourist center that was the focus of Gilbert's quest for balance
through traditional spirituality and healing that leads to love.
In January 2016, after music icon
David Bowie died, it was revealed
that in his will, Bowie asked for his ashes to be scattered in Bali,
Buddhist rituals. He had visited and performed in a
Southeast Asian cities early in his career, including
Bangkok and Singapore.
China has displaced
Japan as the second-largest supplier
of tourists to Bali, while
Australia still tops the list. Chinese
tourists increased by 17% from last year due to the impact of ACFTA
and new direct flights to Bali. In January 2012, Chinese tourists
year on year (yoy) increased by 222.18% compared to January 2011,
while Japanese tourists declined by 23.54% yoy.
Bali reported that it welcomed 2.88 million foreign tourists and 5
million domestic tourists in 2012, marginally surpassing the
expectations of 2.8 million foreign tourists.
Based on a Bank
Indonesia survey in May 2013, 34.39 percent of
tourists are upper-middle class, spending between $1,286 to $5,592,
and are dominated by Australia, France, China,
Germany and the US.
Some Chinese tourists have increased their levels of spending from
previous years. 30.26 percent of tourists are middle class, spending
between $662 to $1,285. In 2017 it is expected that Chinese
tourists will surpass Australian tourists as the most visited in Bali.
I Gusti Ngurah Rai
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport
One of the major forms of transport in
Bali is the scooter.
Ngurah Rai International Airport
Ngurah Rai International Airport is located near Jimbaran, on the
isthmus at the southernmost part of the island. Lt.Col. Wisnu Airfield
is found in north-west Bali.
A coastal road circles the island, and three major two-lane arteries
cross the central mountains at passes reaching to 1,750m in height (at
Penelokan). The Ngurah Rai Bypass is a four-lane expressway that
partly encircles Denpasar.
Bali has no railway lines.
In December 2010 the Government of
Indonesia invited investors to
build a new Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal at Karangasem,
Bali with a
projected worth of $30 million. On 17 July 2011 the first
cruise ship (Sun Princess) anchored about 400 metres (1,300 feet) away
from the wharf of Tanah Ampo harbour. The current pier is only 154
metres (505 feet) but will eventually be extended to 300 to 350
metres (980–1,150 feet) to accommodate international cruise ships.
The harbour here is safer than the existing facility at Benoa and has
a scenic backdrop of east
Bali mountains and green rice fields.
The tender for improvement was subject to delays, and as of July 2013
the situation remained unclear with cruise line operators complaining
and even refusing to use the existing facility at Tanah Ampo.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by two ministers, Bali's
Governor and Indonesian Train Company to build 565 kilometres (351
miles) of railway along the coast around the island. As of July 2015,
no details of this proposed railways have been released.
On 16 March 2011 (Tanjung) Benoa port received the "Best Port Welcome
2010" award from London's "Dream World Cruise Destination"
magazine. Government plans to expand the role of Benoa port as
export-import port to boost Bali's trade and industry sector. The
Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has confirmed that 306 cruise
liners are heading for
Indonesia in 2013 – an increase of 43 percent
compared to the previous year.
In May 2011, an integrated Aerial Traffic Control System (ATCS) was
implemented to reduce traffic jams at four crossing points: Ngurah Rai
statue, Dewa Ruci
Jimbaran crossing and Sanur crossing.
ATCS is an integrated system connecting all traffic lights, CCTVs and
other traffic signals with a monitoring office at the police
headquarters. It has successfully been implemented in other ASEAN
countries and will be implemented at other crossings in Bali.
Bali Mandara toll plaza
On 21 December 2011 construction started on the Nusa Dua-Benoa-Ngurah
Rai International Airport toll road which will also provide a special
lane for motorcycles. This has been done by seven state-owned
enterprises led by PT Jasa Marga with 60% of shares. PT Jasa Marga
Bali Tol will construct the 9.91-kilometre-long (6.16-mile) toll road
(totally 12.7 kilometres (7.89 miles) with access road). The
construction is estimated to cost Rp.2.49 trillion ($273.9 million).
The project goes through 2 kilometres (1 mile) of mangrove forest and
through 2.3 kilometres (1.4 miles) of beach, both within 5.4 hectares
(13 acres) area. The elevated toll road is built over the mangrove
forest on 18,000 concrete pillars which occupied 2 hectares of
mangroves forest. This was compensated by the planting of 300,000
mangrove trees along the road. On 21 December 2011 the Dewa Ruci
450-metre (1,480-foot) underpass has also started on the busy Dewa
Ruci junction near
Kuta Galeria with an estimated cost of Rp136
billion ($14.9 million) from the state budget. On 23
September 2013, the
Bali Mandara Toll Road
Bali Mandara Toll Road was opened, with the Dewa
Ruci Junction (Simpang Siur) underpass being opened previously.
To solve chronic traffic problems, the province will also build a toll
road connecting Serangan with Tohpati, a toll road connecting Kuta,
Tohpati and a flyover connecting
Kuta and Ngurah Rai
The population of
Bali was 3,890,757 as of the 2010 Census; the latest
estimate (for January 2014) is 4,225,384. There are an estimated
30,000 expatriates living in Bali.
A DNA study in 2005 by Karafet et al. found that 12% of Balinese
Y-chromosomes are of likely Indian origin, while 84% are of likely
Austronesian origin, and 2% of likely
Melanesian origin. The study
does not correlate the DNA samples to the Balinese caste system.
Main article: Balinese caste system
Bali had four castes, as Jeff Lewis and Belinda Lewis
state, but with a "very strong tradition of communal decision-making
and interdependence". The four castes have been classified as
Soedra (Shudra), Wesia (Vaishyas), Satrias (Kshatriyas) and Brahmana
The 19th-century scholars such as Crawfurd and Friederich suggested
that Balinese caste had Indian origins, but Helen Creese states that
scholars such as Brumund who had visited and stayed on the island of
Bali suggested that his field observations conflicted with the
"received understandings concerning its Indian origins". In Bali,
Shudra (locally spelled Soedra) have typically been the temple
priests, though depending on the demographics, a temple priest may
also be from the other three castes. In most regions, it has been
Shudra who typically make offerings to the gods on behalf of the
Hindu devotees, chant prayers, recite meweda (Vedas), and set the
Balinese temple festivals.
Main article: Balinese Hinduism
Bali (2010 census)
Other, not stated or not asked
The Mother Temple of Besakih, one of Bali's most significant Hindu
Ngaben procession for the cremation ceremony
Unlike most of Muslim-majority Indonesia, about 83.5% of Bali's
population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, formed as a combination of
existing local beliefs and
Hindu influences from mainland Southeast
Asia and South Asia. Minority religions include
Christianity (2.47%), and
The general beliefs and practices of Agama
Hindu Dharma are a mixture
of ancient traditions and contemporary pressures placed by Indonesian
laws that permit only monotheist belief under the national ideology of
panca sila. Traditionally,
Indonesia had a
pantheon of deities and that tradition of belief continues in
Indonesia granted freedom and
flexibility to Hindus as to when, how and where to pray. However,
officially, Indonesian government considers and advertises Indonesian
Hinduism as a monotheistic religion with certain officially recognised
beliefs that comply with its national ideology.
Indonesian school text books describe
Hinduism as having one supreme
being, Hindus offering three daily mandatory prayers, and
having certain common beliefs that in part parallel those of
Islam. Scholars contest whether these
Indonesian government recognised and assigned beliefs reflect the
traditional beliefs and practices of Hindus in
Indonesia gained independence from Dutch colonial rule.
Hinduism has roots in Indian
Hinduism and Buddhism, that
arrived through Java.
Hindu influences reached the Indonesian
Archipelago as early as the first century. Historical evidence is
unclear about the diffusion process of cultural and spiritual ideas
Java legends refer to Saka-era, traced to 78 AD. Stories
Mahabharata Epic have been traced in Indonesian islands to
the 1st century; however, the versions mirror those found in southeast
Indian peninsular region (now
Tamil Nadu and southern
Bali tradition adopted the pre-existing animistic traditions of
the indigenous people. This influence strengthened the belief that the
gods and goddesses are present in all things. Every element of nature,
therefore, possesses its own power, which reflects the power of the
gods. A rock, tree, dagger, or woven cloth is a potential home for
spirits whose energy can be directed for good or evil. Balinese
Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual. Ritualising states
of self-control are a notable feature of religious expression among
the people, who for this reason have become famous for their graceful
and decorous behaviour.
Apart from the majority of Balinese Hindus, there also exist Chinese
immigrants whose traditions have melded with that of the locals. As a
result, these Sino-Balinese not only embrace their original religion,
which is a mixture of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism,
but also find a way to harmonise it with the local traditions. Hence,
it is not uncommon to find local Sino-Balinese during the local
temple's odalan. Moreover, Balinese
Hindu priests are invited to
perform rites alongside a Chinese priest in the event of the death of
a Sino-Balinese. Nevertheless, the Sino-Balinese claim to embrace
Buddhism for administrative purposes, such as their Identity
Balinese and Indonesian are the most widely spoken languages in Bali,
and the vast majority of
Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual.
The most common spoken language around the tourist areas is
Indonesian, as many people in the tourist sector are not solely
Balinese, but migrants from Java, Lombok, Sumatra, and other parts of
Indonesia. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most
Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common
Balinese. The usage of different Balinese languages was traditionally
determined by the
Balinese caste system
Balinese caste system and by clan membership, but
this tradition is diminishing. Kawi and
Sanskrit are also commonly
used by some
Hindu priests in Bali, as
Hindu literature was mostly
written in Sanskrit.
English and Chinese are the next most common languages (and the
primary foreign languages) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements
of the tourism industry, as well as the English-speaking community and
huge Chinese-Indonesian population. Other foreign languages, such as
Japanese, Korean, French, Russian or German are often used in
multilingual signs for foreign tourists.
See also: Balinese art, Music of Bali, and Balinese cuisine
A kecak dance being performed at Uluwatu, in Bali
Dancer, Bali, c. 2007
Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as
painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts.
Balinese cuisine is also distinctive. Balinese percussion orchestra
music, known as gamelan, is highly developed and varied. Balinese
performing arts often portray stories from
Hindu epics such as the
Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence. Famous Balinese dances
include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, gong keybar, and kecak
(the monkey dance).
Bali boasts one of the most diverse and innovative
performing arts cultures in the world, with paid performances at
thousands of temple festivals, private ceremonies, or public
A scene in
Bali on Nyepi, the
Hindu festival of silence. Everything is
deserted, human footprint minimised.
Throughout the year, there are a number of festivals celebrated
locally or island-wide according to the traditional calendars.
Hindu New Year, Nyepi, is celebrated in the spring by a day of
silence. On this day everyone stays at home and tourists are
encouraged (or required) to remain in their hotels. On the day before
New Year, large and colourful sculptures of ogoh-ogoh monsters are
paraded and finally burned in the evening to drive away evil spirits.
Other festivals throughout the year are specified by the Balinese
pawukon calendrical system.
Celebrations are held for many occasions such as a tooth-filing
(coming-of-age ritual), cremation or odalan (temple festival). One of
the most important concepts that Balinese ceremonies have in common is
that of désa kala patra, which refers to how ritual performances must
be appropriate in both the specific and general social context.
Many of the ceremonial art forms such as wayang kulit and topeng are
highly improvisatory, providing flexibility for the performer to adapt
the performance to the current situation. Many celebrations call
for a loud, boisterous atmosphere with lots of activity and the
resulting aesthetic, ramé, is distinctively Balinese. Often two or
more gamelan ensembles will be performing well within earshot, and
sometimes compete with each other to be heard. Likewise, the audience
members talk amongst themselves, get up and walk around, or even cheer
on the performance, which adds to the many layers of activity and the
liveliness typical of ramé.
Cremation in Ubud
Kaja and kelod are the Balinese equivalents of North and South, which
refer to ones orientation between the island's largest mountain Gunung
Agung (kaja), and the sea (kelod). In addition to spatial orientation,
kaja and kelod have the connotation of good and evil; gods and
ancestors are believed to live on the mountain whereas demons live in
the sea. Buildings such as temples and residential homes are spatially
oriented by having the most sacred spaces closest to the mountain and
the unclean places nearest to the sea.
Most temples have an inner courtyard and an outer courtyard which are
arranged with the inner courtyard furthest kaja. These spaces serve as
performance venues since most Balinese rituals are accompanied by any
combination of music, dance and drama. The performances that take
place in the inner courtyard are classified as wali, the most sacred
rituals which are offerings exclusively for the gods, while the outer
courtyard is where bebali ceremonies are held, which are intended for
gods and people. Lastly, performances meant solely for the
entertainment of humans take place outside the walls of the temple and
are called bali-balihan. This three-tiered system of classification
was standardised in 1971 by a committee of Balinese officials and
artists to better protect the sanctity of the oldest and most sacred
Balinese rituals from being performed for a paying audience.
Tourism, Bali's chief industry, has provided the island with a foreign
audience that is eager to pay for entertainment, thus creating new
performance opportunities and more demand for performers. The impact
of tourism is controversial since before it became integrated into the
economy, the Balinese performing arts did not exist as a capitalist
venture, and were not performed for entertainment outside of their
respective ritual context. Since the 1930s sacred rituals such as the
barong dance have been performed both in their original contexts, as
well as exclusively for paying tourists. This has led to new versions
of many of these performances which have developed according to the
preferences of foreign audiences; some villages have a barong mask
specifically for non-ritual performances as well as an older mask
which is only used for sacred performances.
Balinese society continues to revolve around each family's ancestral
village, to which the cycle of life and religion is closely tied.
Coercive aspects of traditional society, such as customary law
sanctions imposed by traditional authorities such as village councils
(including "kasepekang", or shunning) have risen in importance as a
consequence of the democratisation and decentralisation of Indonesia
Other than Balinese sacred rituals and festivals, the government
Bali Arts Festival to showcase Bali’s performing arts and
various artworks produced by the local talents that they have. It is
held once a year, from second week of June until end of July.
Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium, the home of
Bali United F.C.
Bali is a major world surfing destination with popular breaks dotted
across the southern coastline and around the offshore island of Nusa
As part of the Coral Triangle, Bali, including Nusa Penida, offers a
wide range of dive sites with varying types of reefs, and tropical
Bali was the host of 2008 Asian Beach Games. It was the second
Indonesia hosted an Asia-level multi-sport event, after Jakarta
held the 1962 Asian Games.
Bali is home to the football club
Bali United, which
plays in the Liga 1. The team was relocated from Samarinda, East
Kalimantan to Gianyar, Bali. Harbiansyah Hanafiah, the main
Bali United explained that he did the name change and
moved the homebase to
Bali because there were no representative from
Bali in the highest football tier in Indonesia. Another reason
was due to local fans in
Samarinda prefer to support Pusamania Borneo
F.C. more than Persisam.
In June 2012, Subak, the irrigation system for paddy fields in
Bali was enlisted as a Natural
Bali was the host of
Miss World 2013
Miss World 2013 (63rd edition of the Miss World
pageant). It was the first time
Indonesia hosted an international
Garuda Wisnu Kencana
Garuda Wisnu Kencana park
Detailed relief of a pura, near Kuta, Bali
Stone carvings in Ubud
Statue of Bhima, Nusa Dua
Balinese stone guardian at
Hand-carved temple guard
Sculptural detail from the Temple at Lake Batur
The Ogoh-Ogoh Festival at Ubud
Mushroom Beach, Nusa Lembongan
Bali Zoo entrance at Sukawati
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Sunset view from The Rock Bar at Ayana Resort,
Kuta Beach, Bali
Tourism in Indonesia
Culture of Indonesia
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