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The island of gods is famous for its beautiful landscapes and seabed ....

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Bali, the heart of Indonesia

 

Bali, a unique destination

A dream destination for a long time, "the island of the gods" remains a piece of paradise, halfway between Southeast Asia and Oceania. Easy to access, fascinating, and undoubtedly healthy, it is accessible to all ages and budgets

 

 

bali map

bali map

1) Indonesia: "Diversity in unity"

Located in southeast Malaysia and Singapore, southwest Philippines and northwestern Australia, Indonesia is an archipelago of 13,677 islands stretching over five thousand kilometers for a total area of 1,913 000 km2. You surely know the main islands; Java home to Jakarta, the country's capital, Sumatra, Kalimantan (much of Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), Maluku, Papua (formerly Irian Raya), West Timor, Flores, Sumba, Lombok and finally Bali. The others are smaller, 6,000 are uninhabited and some boil down to a big rock.

The 210 million Indonesians are grouped into 360 ethnic groups speaking 250 languages, some of which include several dialects. However, since Indonesia's independence in 1946, Bahasa Indonesia has become the official language. In big cities and tourist places, a lot of Indonesians know English ... at a more or less good level. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, with nearly 170 million believers, alongside Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities. However, animism still alive tends to nuance all these religions, ancestral beliefs and customs keeping a large place.

 

bali

 

Indonesia is a democratic republic, whose independence, after more than 300 years of colonialism under the yoke of the Dutch, was officially proclaimed on August 17, 1945 by Sukarno, but the unification and independence of the country did not actually been effective only in 1949 after the departure of the last Japanese, English and Dutch. Before that, each island functioned more or less independently with its own Sultans and Princes, whose kingdoms sometimes intersected.

In 1999 and after 30 years of domination of President (dictator) Suharto from 1968 to 1998 and one year of acting of Habibie, a straw man of the previous government, Indonesia elected its fourth president in the person of Abdurrahman Wahid, Gusdur said. From this moderate and consensual Muslim, associated with Megawati, daughter of the "Father of Indonesia" Soekarno, whom he appointed as Prime Minister, the Indonesians were waiting for economic, political and social reforms allowing them to leave the country definitively. crisis and finally take the place they should occupy both in Southeast Asia, and at the global level. Cases of corruption (notably the Japanese Gate) and Abdurrahman Wahid's inability to solve his country's ethnic, religious and political problems prematurely precipitated his downfall.

 

bali

 

On Monday, July 23, 2001, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), meeting in extraordinary session, dismissed President Wahid unanimously with 590 votes for "violation of fundamental principles of the state" and named Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri (last word which means "the daughter of Soekarno") to the post of fifth chief of the Indonesian state. At the head of the PDI (Indonesian Democratic Party) since 1993, Megawati had become one of the symbols of the struggle for democracy in her country and she alone could pretend to gather around it and to a common policy the different geographical layers , ethnic and religious of Indonesia ....

On September 20, 2004, more than 150 million Indonesians (Indonesia has 212 million inhabitants) were called to the polls to elect for the first time by universal suffrage their new president and this is another candidate who emerged and prevailed in the last election: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) .. Megawati thus pays the growing disappointment of Indonesians over the lack of reforms regarding corruption and the economy in a country where unemployment and poverty are very high.

 

bali

 

2) Bali, a special enclave within Indonesia

In a predominantly Muslim Indonesia, Bali, with its 95% Hindu population of 4 million, is a world apart. Its geographical location in the heart of Indonesia is a good starting point for the discovery of this country. Easily accessible from its national and international airport as well as by its naval connections and its road infrastructure, it has many assets and is an Eden for both tourists and locals for whom it often proves to be a land of peace. 'Home.

With 5,630 km2 (140 km long and 80 wide) crossed by a volcanic mountain range, the highest of which rises to 3,142 m, the majority of the population is concentrated around its capital Denpasar, where the governor of Bali sits , and 7 other cities, capitals of the 7 corresponding prefectures.

The multitude of paddy fields with sometimes tri annual yield, phenomenon unique in the world and the tourist windfall make of Bali the richest island of the country (per capita). She knows however in the middle of the modernism which pursues it, to preserve its ancestral culture and this island with a thousand faces does not finish to reveal all its secrets.

bali

 

 Presentation

Located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, Bali has a surface of 5633 Km² for about 4 million inhabitants. The island of gods, as we like to call it, is a real paradise that is always fascinating to discover.

With a unique culture, sumptuous rice paddies and a warm and welcoming people, Bali attracts more than a million visitors every year. The tourist boom of the past 30 years, however, has not turned Balinese away from their culture and religion.

 

 Geography

Bali is one of the smallest islands of the archipelago but enjoys a great geographical diversity thanks to its volcanoes and mountains. Rising to more than 3100 meters, Mount Agung is the highest point of the island. Mount Bautur (1717 m) meanwhile is still active and its caldera offers a magnificent view of the lake of the same name. The interior of the land is dominated by mountains and volcanoes with many rice terraces.

The coasts enjoy beautiful beaches of white or volcanic sand with a sea often agitated with some famous surf spots but also many dive sites with seabed rich in fish and corals.

 

 Climate

Bali enjoys a hot and humid climate throughout the year. Near the coast, the temperature varies from 27 ° C (dry season) to 32 ° C (rainy season). In the mountains, it is around 20 to 25 ° C depending on the altitude. The dry season runs from March to October and the rainy season from November to April with more precipitation from December to February. However, there may be showers even in the dry season but short-term and mainly at the end of the day.

 

 Religion

The Balinese are mostly Hindu with ancient animist traditions still very much alive. Very close to nature, they devote a great deal of time to offerings and prayers dedicated to the gods and other deities. We can see a multitude of altars placed near a tree, a river or at the intersection of a crossroads to appease evil spirits. The temples, meanwhile, are innumerable since each house has one. The most important ones are Besakih, Uluwatu and Tanah Lot.

The ceremonies, rites and Balinese festivals punctuate the life of every day. Every Balinese goes through different rites of passage such as the filing of teeth, marriage and cremation which gives rise to magnificent processions.

 

bali culture

 

 Economy

Bali lived mainly from rice cultivation until the middle of the 20th century, when the government encouraged the diversification of the production of export goods such as coffee, vanilla, tobacco and cloves. Maritime resources have been little exploited and fishing remains an activity reserved for the poor. The island has not experienced any real industrialization except in the South where there are some small textile or furniture companies. The craft industry is also a dynamic activity, mainly for tourists and for export. But for thirty years, it is tourism that accounts for a large part of the Balinese economy with almost two-thirds of the island's resources.

 

 Culture

Art, like painting or music, was formerly only for secular use. Many Western artists who frequented the island at the beginning of the century played a determining role in the development of Balinese art. Among the most influential visitors are Walter Spies, a German painter and musician of the 1930s, and the Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet. You will find, below, a link selection on Balinese culture.

 

bali culture

 

 To do and see

The main interest of a visit to Bali is to discover this very rich and still very lively culture. Ceremonies and other religious holidays are very common and Balinese spontaneously invite foreigners to attend. It is however preferable to move away from tourist centers to find more authenticity. Among the most visited temples are Besakih, Ulawutu, Tanah Lot, Taman Ayun in Mengwi or Bratan Temple. Other historical sites are also worth visiting, such as Yeh Pulu bas-reliefs or Gunung Kawi's burial chambers. Finally, dance shows, music or puppets are essential for those who love refinement.

 

bali landscape

 

The landscapes are also beautiful with sumptuous terraced rice fields and impressive volcanoes like Batur or Agung. The beaches are not idyllic but are very pleasant, Kuta or Nusa Dua are among the most beautiful. Most other beaches are volcanic sand (gray) and swimming is sometimes dangerous.

The activities that can be practiced in Bali are multiple. Very nice dive sites are accessible, including for surface diving. The most famous are Tulamben, the small island of Menjongan or Lembongan Island. Surfing is a common practice in Bali with some of Indonesia's most popular surf spots. Kuta Beach is ideal for beginners while Bukhit Peninsula spots are reserved for the more experienced. You can also practice rafting and a multitude of other water sports (jet-ski, windsurfing, sailing ...). And of course, the seaside resorts offer all possible activities such as golf, tennis ...

The hike is an ideal way to discover the beautiful landscapes of the island and get in touch with the Balinese. The region of Ubud offers beautiful walks and for the more athletic, the ascent of Mount Batur and Mount Agung reserve magnificent views of Bali and the surrounding islands.

Finally, Bali is more and more famous for shopping and crafts. There is a wide selection of items (paintings, jewelry, sculptures, batiks, clothes ...).

 

bali landscape

 

 

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