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Bali Travel Guide
Bali has long been equated with an exotic paradise, a picturesque vision of green rice fields and plantations, soaring volcanoes, cool lakes and rushing rivers, lush forests and palm fringed beaches. It is Indonesia's number one tourist destination and as a result suffers from commercialisation and overcrowding, but this is confined to a few main areas. The original charm of the 'Island of the Gods' and its smiling people is still very much in evidence, especially in the many small rural villages and fascinating places of the fertile interior.
What makes it distinctive from the rest of Indonesia is the prevalence of Balinese Hinduism, which incorporates the ancient Indonesian animist conviction that natural objects are inhabited by good or bad spirits into every aspect of local life on the island. Scattered around the island are thousands of Hindu temples and places of worship. The island's religious beliefs are evident in their ceremonies, daily rituals and attitudes, in the offerings of flowers and food that adorn the roadsides, the charms hung inside taxis, and the numerous vibrant festivals that occur throughout the year. It is perceptible in their reverence for the Holy Mountain, the soaring volcanic cone of Gunung Agung, which is the spiritual centre of the Balinese universe. Art is also an integral part of daily life and every village has its artists, from the internationally acclaimed painter to the aspirational young cow herder. Ubud, the cultural centre, with its streets lined with art and crafts shops, also has performances of traditional Balinese dance and music. Art, together with tourism, is an important source of revenue for the island.
With its fine beach, the popular resort of Kuta is the most visited destination, but there are numerous other beach resorts around the island, and many more peaceful settings on the east coast at Candidasa, Sanur, and the fishing village of Padang Bai, and on the northern coast at Lovina. There are a number of good diving sites and reef snorkelling close by.
Despite the shock of terrorist attacks a few years ago, Bali is still a tropical paradise with a rich and intriguing culture, and beautiful land and seascapes, that attracts those in search of an idyllic vacation; however, visitors are still advised to contact their foreign office for the latest travel advice before travelling to Indonesia, and Bali in particular.
Bali Tourism Authority, Bali: +62 (0)361 222 387 or
Indonesian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 775 5200.
Indonesian Embassy, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Republic of Ireland): +44 (0)20 7499 7661.
Indonesian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 724 1100.
Indonesian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6250 8600.
Indonesian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 342 3350.
Indonesian Honorary Consulate, Dublin, Ireland: +353 852 491 465.
Indonesian Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 475 8697/8/9.
United States Embassy, Jakarta: +62 (0)21 3435 9000.
British Embassy, Jakarta: +62 (0)21 2356 5200.
Canadian Embassy, Jakarta: +62 (0)21 2550 7800.
Australian Embassy, Jakarta: +62 (0)21 2550 5555.
South African Embassy, Jakarta: +62 (0)21 574 0660.
Irish Embassy, Singapore (also responsible for Indonesia): +65 6238 7616.
New Zealand Embassy, Jakarta: +62 (0)21 2995 5800.
Emergencies: 110 (Police); 118 (Ambulance).