Between April and October is the best time to visit Bali for the weather is dry and cooler as compared to the rest of the year, when it is humid, cloudy and punctuated by frequent rainstorms.
Speaking of tourist traffic, July, August and early September are the busiest months, with tight accommodation and higher prices. The season between Christmas and the end of January also sees a fair share of traffic. At all other times, there are very few tourists so you can avail of empty hotel rooms and free tables at restaurants.
January: The annual Galungan Festival, Balis major, 10-day- feast, held throughout the island.
April: Nyepi the major festival in which people stay quietly at home, making no noise. They use no lights and do not cook, with the purpose of fooling evil spirits into believing that Bali is uninhabited.
Beaten Track :
This region has some of Balis most ancient monuments and relics. It is set at the bottom of a lush green valley and surrounded by terraced rice paddies. The 10 impressive rock-cut shrines of Gunung Kawi are carved out of the rock face in imitation of actual statues – exactly like the rock-cut temples of Ajanta and Ellora in India. Nearby are the rock carvings at Yeh Pulu, the Pura Samuan Tiga temple and Goa Gajah (the elephant cave).
Taman Nasional Bali Barat
Occupying around 20,000 hectare of the western tip of Bali, not to mention 7000 hectare of coral reef and coastal waters is the Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park). Most of the trees in the park are deciduous and become bare in the dry season. More than 200 species of flora, and fauna including macaques, leaf monkeys, black monkeys, Java deer, barking deer, sambar, mouse deer, squirrels, wild pigs, buffaloes, iguanas, pythons,m and a majority of the islands 200-odd species of birds, including the Bali Starling, inhabit the park. Guided treks, hot springs and Deer Island which offers great diving opportunities are among the main attractions of the park.
The park is headquartered out of Cekik near Gilimanuk port and there are frequent bemos and buses between these two places. From Gilimanuk, you can go to Denpasar by bus
This ancient village can be reached only by motorbike or on foot. Its a walled village, busy with unusual customs, festivals and practices. A centre for the weaving of the little-seen double ikat cloth, its nearby towns of Amlapura and Tirtagangga are known for their decaying palaces, centres of power of the former Balinese rajahs.
The earliest written historical records in Bali are inscriptions on a stone pillar near Sanur dating from around the 9th century AD. Hindu Java began to spread its influence into Bali in the first half of the 11th century, when the rock-cut memorials at Gunung Kawi were sculpted.
The Javanese Singasari dynasty conquered Bali in 1284. But it collapsed shortly afterwards and Bali regained its autonomy. The Pejeng dynasty then rose to great power. In 1343, the Pejeng king was defeated by the Majapahit dynasty. Bali once again returned to Javanese influence. Islam took hold in Java in the 15th century and the Majapahit kingdom collapsed.
The first Europeans to set foot on Bali were Dutch seamen in 1597. By the early 1600s the Dutch had established trade treaties with Javanese princes. They had also wrestled control of the spice trade from the Portuguese. In the early 18th century, as local rule in Bali began to fracture, the Dutch began muscling in. Within a century, the entire island came under Dutch control and became a part of the Dutch East Indies. Common people noticed very little difference between rule by the Dutch and rule by the rajahs. Despite the long prelude to colonization, Dutch rule over Bali was short-lived; Indonesia soon fell to the Japanese in WW II.
At the end of WW II, Indonesian leader Sukarno proclaimed independence. But it took four more years to persuade the Dutch that they were not going to get their colony back. A Balinese resistance group was wiped out in the Battle of Marga in 1946. In 1949, the Dutch finally recognised Indonesias independence. In 1965, an attempted coup blamed on communists led to Sukarnos downfall. General Suharto suppressed the coup and emerged as a major political figure.
The Communist Party was outlawed and a wave of anti-communist reprisals followed. On Bali, local communists were perceived as a threat to traditional values and the caste system because of their calls for land reform and an end to social repression. Religious traditionalists took advantage of the post-coup hysteria and led a witch hunt against communist sympathisers. Mobs rounded up suspected communists and clubbed them to death.
The Chinese community was particularly victimised before the army stepped in and restored order, but no-one on Bali was untouched by the killings. An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people were killed, at a time when the islands population only totaled two million.
Suharto established himself as president. Under his government Indonesia looked to the West for alliances and investments.IOn Bali, economic growth and dramatic improvements in infrastructure were achieved by hugely expanding the tourist industry. This also resulted in the displacement of local populations and disruption of many traditional communities.
Balinese attitudes to tourism are ambivalent. On the one hand, many Balinese feel that locals have too little control over its growth. On the other, they recognise the importance of the industry to the health of the local economy.
Getting There :
Most international visitors fly into Bali, either directly or via Jakarta. Flights from the US often go via Japan, Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong. There are also direct flights from all Australian cities. A ferry shuttles between the western Balinese port of Gilimanuk and Ketapang in eastern Java. Boat/bus combination tickets between Denpasar and Javanese cities can be purchased.
Getting Around :
You can take taxis from Ngurah Rai international airport, 2.5 km south of Kuta. Those without much luggage can also stroll along the beach for some time and reach Kuta. Cheap buses make up the main form of public transport in Bali. You can also rent a car, motorcycle or bicycle. Tourist shuttle buses run between the major tourist centres. They are more expensive than public transport but are also more comfortable and convenient.
Located in the southern part of Bali, its capital Denpasar is also one of its fastest-growing cities. It is full of pleasant, tree-lined streets and gardens. Among its major attractions is the Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali which consists of an attractive series of separate buildings, including examples of both palace and temple architecture. There are many arts and crafts items on display. Modern painting and woodcarving exhibits are on show at the Taman Wedhi Budaya Arts Center.
Located in northern Bali, the volcanic cone of Gunung Batur and the lake that fills half of the surrounding area form a picturesque landscape. One of the highlights on the itinerary of most tourists is climbing the 1,717 metres high Batur to catch the sunrise.
In the southern part of Bali is Kuta Bay, one of the major tourist attractions over the last 30 years. It has two beach sites, Kuta and Legian, and is known for cheap accommodation, Western food, wonderful shopping areas, surf, sunsets and an active nightlife. The surf at Kuta breaks over sand instead of coral. There is a big choice of places to eat. Visitors come from Java to ogle at the topless bathers, and from other resorts to tut-tut at the tackiness of it all. Away from the main touristy areas Kuta at heart remains a village with quiet compounds and narrow alleys.
In the hills 20km north of Denpasar is Ubud, the cultural nerve center of Bali. In recent years, Ubud has grown to include many nearby villages although these have retained their individuality. Starting from Ubud, walk in any direction, and it is easy to stumble upon a secluded hamlet or a rice paddy field or even the thick Monkey Forest, which is south of the town center.
Within Ubud, the Puri Lukisan Museum has on display, multiple schools of Balinese art. The Neka Gallery has the work of some western artists while the Agung Rai Gallery has a small but important permanent collection. The homes of western artists such as Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet, who transformed Balinese art from decorative to much more, can be seen here. Overall, Ubud is the place for enjoying Balinese music and dance and houses some of the finest restaurants
Indonesia Tourist Visa Requirements
Documents Required –
1. Two Visa application forms to be filled in with two photographs (colored) affixed.
2. Covering letter from SOTC addressed to The Consul General, Indonesian Consulate General, Mumbai, requesting the Consulate to issue visa.(Two copies)
3. 2 Original Covering letter (typed) from the passenger addressed to The Consul General, Indonesian Consulate General, Mumbai, requesting the Consulate to issue visa.(Two copies) Applicant/passenger should mention his/her Company details in their respective countries and profession.
4. Foreign Travel Scheme endorsement on passport with two copies thereof. (Minimum US$1000) or any International credit card with two photocopies thereof.
5. Onward and Return ticket with two copies thereof
Indonesia Consulate, Mumbais Jurisdiction – All over India passports except passports issued in Delhi
Address of Indonesia Consulate, Mumbai –
19, Altamont Road, Cumballa Hill,
Mumbai – 400 026
Visa Fees – INR 2250 + CVT Service Fees – INR 250 = Total SO Amount – INR 2500 per passenger
Processing Time – 3 Working days
Visa on Arrival –
Passport should be valid for 6 months from date of exit
Confirmed return air ticket
Visa Fees -USD 30 days for 30 days visit