Bali is a province in the country of Indonesia. The island is located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island. The province covers a few small neighbouring islands as well as the isle of Bali.
Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. 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 kebyar, and kecak. 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 shows. Apart from its rich of culture, Bali is also renowned for its nature. Mountains, beaches, terraced rice fields are one of the main reason for tourist to visit Bali. The most famous beach in Bali is Kuta, located near the airport, stretching to north. This beach also popular among surfer.
Bali has a long chain of history from the ice-age era (pre-historic time) to modern, global civilization era. With a dynamic characteristic indicating selectivity and flexibility, the Balinese culture initially reflects a configuration of an expressive culture dominated by religious, solidarity and aesthetic values. Nowadays, it develops along with the adoption of foreign values especially in the aspects of the economic, science and technology, as a result of the global modernization.
In general, the history of Bali is divided into three different eras including the pre-historic, the Hindu-Buddhist era and the modern culture.
People and Life
Bali’s population of over 3,000,000 souls spread over the whole island, including those in the smaller islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, Serangan and Menjangan Island. The overwhelming majority of Balinese are Hindus, with the increasing number on non-Hindu migrating from the closest neighboring islands of Java and Lombok.
The coastal areas in the south are the most populous area with over 370,000 people living in various professions in the capital of Denpasar. Farming has been the primary way of living in Balinese life. Where else fishing, trading and craftsmanship are also in fashion from generation to generation. Yet with the fast growing of tourism since past few decades, young people start to build up a new touch in their living culture.
Life in Bali is very communal under the organization of villages. Temple ceremonies, marriage, cremation, farming and even the creative art festivals are decided by the local community institution called “Banjar”. The responsibilities in the day-to-day life are normally administered by both the Banjar and the government. The local government mostly responsible for schools, health clinics, hospitals and roads, and Banjar is responsible for all other aspects of life. There is another association exists in the banjar named “Subak” that concerns to the production of rice and organizes the complex irrigation system. Every family who owns a rice field must be a member of their local Subak, which then ensures that every member gets his fair distribution of water. A banjar consists of an average of 50 to 150 family members, owning a meeting venue called the Bale Banjar, which is used for regular gatherings and a center for local gamelan orchestras and drama groups.
Major Festivals And Holy Days In Bali:
Galungan and Kuningan : Ten day festival that takes place every 210 days to celebrate the creation of the universe and the victory of Dharma against evil Adharma. The last day of the celebrations, known as Kuningan, is also the most important and is the Balinese All Saints Day. The entrances to most houses are decorated with bamboo poles (penjor) with coconut leaves and flowers, fruits and other offerings.
Nyepi : Nyepi, (literally, day of silence) is strictly observed on the Island of Bali and is the Balinese new year Icaka, taking place in March or April. It is believed that evil spirits comes to Bali on Nyepi day and Balinese people believe that if it is quiet, evil spirits believe no one is on Bali and will go somewhere else.
Evening celebrations include a parade of ogoh-ogoh (giant monsters created by the local banjarssymbolising evil spirits) in the streets. Duuring Nyepi day, shops are closed, and activities such as travelling and entertainment are prohibited. The airport and the harbours are closed and television broadcasting is stopped. Police and pecalan (community security patrols) are the only ones on the streets to ensure that people follow the rules.
Major events in Bali:
Bali Spirit Festival: Five day festival taking place in Ubud, celebrating cultural and spiritual diversity with yoga, dance and music events. The festival generally takes place in March.
Bali Arts Festival: One month festival held between June and July in Denpasar. The event features local, national and international artists performing traditional Balinese songs and dances. Highlights of the event include dance performances and parades, handicraft exhibitions, cultural events and food stalls.
Bali Kite Festival: Annual four-day event in July in Padang Galak close to Sanur Beach. The festival attracts tourists and kite flyers from around the world and features traditional giant kites. The kites, some measuring four by ten metres, are flown in competitions led by teams from the villages around Denpasar. The event has religious origins, with the intent to send a message to Hindu gods for an abundant harvest.
Bull Races: Bulls are ridden by jockeys around a one track course; races start around 07:00 every Sunday between July and October. The event also features a bull parade and food fairs. Held in Perancak, close to Negara in West Bali.
Sanur Village Festival: Inspired by marine life, this festival includes traditional arts, culture and dance performances, as well as music, water sports and a food festival. On Sanur Beach over five days in August
Nusa Dua Festival: Themed festival, with a different theme each year and featuring dance performances and parades, handicraft exhibitions, art, drama and music. The aim of the festival is to highlight Bali’s rich traditions and culture. The one-week festival takes place in Nusa Dua in August or September.
Kuta Karnival: The Kuta Karnival is a “Community” and “Recovery” initiative of the Kuta Small Business Association (KSBA) for the island of Bali. The Kuta Karnival is officially endorsed by the Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, Government of Bali, Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Government of the Badung Regency. Usually held around September or October
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival: Every October writers from Bali, Indonesia and from around the world gather in Ubud for this annual festival. Each year, the festival has a different theme and includes workshops, special events, book launches and a programme for children.
Bali International Jazz Festival: Jazz enthusiasts and performers from Indonesia and around the world get together for three days every November for this annual jazz event.
Best Time to Visit Bali
Bali has a tropical climate appropriate to its proximity to the equator. Year round temperatures averaging 31 degrees Celsius. High humidity can be expected during the Wet Season between the months of October – April. The Dry Season between the months of May – September have also the lowest humidity. The Wet Season brings daily rain and quiet overcast days with the most rain recorded between December – February. Occasionally rainfall can also be expected during the dry season but usually at night or very early morning. June – August there is usually a very refreshing cool breeze all day long. The central mountain area is typically cooler than the lower coastal areas mainly especially at night.
Climate & Weather
With sunshine shining throughout the year, Bali has a tropical monsoon climate, with pleasant day temperatures between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainy season starts from October to March, when the West monsoon brings heavy showers and high humidity. June to September is considered the driest season, with low humidity and it can be fairly cold in the evenings, the best time for any outdoor activities.
Something unique can be found about climate in Bali. Even when it rains most times in the most parts of Bali you can often enjoy sunny days on the “Bukit”, the hill south of Jimbaran. On the other hand, you may expect cloudy skies and drips throughout the year in Ubud and the mountainous areas. Most interestingly perhaps, the international weather reports for “Denpasar” or “Bali” mention showers and rain storms all times of the year. In higher regions such as in Bedugul or Kintamani you’ll expect to wear either a sweater or jacket when evening falls.