Bali, the sparkling jewel in the Indonesian archipelago is one of 14,000 islands that are there to be explored. Bali has been a part of the travelers circuit for decades and its magical mix of Balinese culture, Hindu religion, tropical weather, island way of life mean it still is a great place to add to your agenda.
Geographically, Bali sits 8 degrees south of the equator at longitude 115 degrees east. For the traveler, this means temperatures do not vary much over the course of a year and that Bali is 8 hours ahead of London and 16 hours ahead (or 8 hours behind and a day ahead if you prefer it) than San Francisco.
Getting to Bali from other parts of Asia is relatively easy as it is 4 hours from Perth, Australia, 4 from Bangkok and 5 from Hong Kong. The international airport at Denpasar means travelers can fly in directly without stopovers in Jakarta.
Indonesia is part of the ‘Ring of Fire’ that circles the Pacific. Bali has its own volcanoes which run along the north of the island along an east-west axis from one end to the other.
Most of the tourist stuff (luxury hotels, resorts, etc) is located in the southern part of the island in Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua. Out in Padangbai and Candi Dasa are tourist / traveller oriented businesses (guest houses, warangs, jet ski rental etc.) which are more affordable and less exclusive.
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On the north coast is Lovina which has a grey volcanic sand beach and an array of guest houses.
The area between Denpasar and Ubud has seen a lot of new development during the last few years but you can still find small villages where the locals will stop and stare, that’s kind of cool!
The western half of the island doesn’t have too much tourist development at all and if you want to hang with the locals in a much different scene than Kuta, this is the part of the island for you.
Recently, areas on the east coast such as Lipah and Amed have become popular with travelers who appreciate a quieter scene. These spots offer wonderful snorkeling and diving.