Welcome to the Gateway of a Unique Island Paradise

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ANYONE who landed in Bali, which is directly show the beauty of nature and hospitality of the people. Bali is not a foreign destination, but there is always the feeling relieved when we arrived to the Island of Dewata. Feeling separated from the routine day-to-day in Jakarta, while free from pressure of work that we stress. Everyday in Bali is a holiday, man!Bali, a small island 140km long (east-west) and 80km (north-south), seems have magical charms. The beautiful natural scenery, cultural arts and unique, and Hindu religious ceremonies held most of the population, community and hospitality, have a distinctive charm, which make tourists want to go back and return to Bali. Although Bali had bombed two times (12 October 2002 and 1 October 2005), not create sprawl Bali. Icon Indonesian tourism industry continues to stretch. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, foreign tourists visiting Bali is always growing. A global institution called Bali as the Island’s best in the world. 

The rapid growth of development in tourism has had a big impact and influences to Balinese tradition and lifestyle. Interestingly, Balinese culture is still as what it was, along with the growing globalization. It is the Balinese civilization what makes the island different from other destination.

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.

The province of Bali is divided into nine regencies (eight regencies and one municipality) with its own capital: Buleleng, Jembrana, Karangasem, Badung, Denpasar, Gianyar, Klungkung, and Bangli.

If the phrase “God created the land Parahiyangan a smile,” certainly applies to the Bali. Fertile land, beautiful beaches, a vast lake, the beautiful natural panorama, is the evidence.

The topography of Bali is formed by a mountain chain that stretches from west to east splitting the island into two parts. Some of the Peaks are active volcanic, including Mount Agung, 3142m, the tallest point above sea level, and mount Batur 1717m. Peaks include some barren mount Merbuk, Patas, Seraya, Prapat Agung, Klatakan, Sanghyang, Mesehe, Musi, Lesung, Tapak, Adeng, Pengiligan, Chess, Writing and mount Abang. The north side of the mountain is fairly steep slopes, creating narrow lowland along the coastal area. Meanwhile, the south slopes are much leaner, forming a fertile plain that becomes the main center of Balinese culture. Some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches are in the south, including Sanur Beach, Kuta and Nusa Dua. The south slope is also home to four lakes, i.e. Lake Buyan (367 hectares), Lake Tamblingan (115 hectares), Lake Beratan (376 hectares) and Lake Batur (1605 hectares).

Entertainment and night life in Bali is also interesting. There are many pubs, bars or discos in Bali. Some quite popular places in Sanur are the Borneo Trophy Pub and the Pub, however, close around 1:00 am The Jazz Grilles, located at the by-pass, attracts tourists and locals alike with live bands, a smallish menu, and a billiard table upstairs. Wayang in the same area has life music with a good local band and jam sessions with foreign guests every Friday – no wonder it’s very popular with many residents. Janger is currently the only disco in Sanur. Most tourists and even the expats living in Sanur prefer to go to “Kuta” if they look for some fun.

The discos and pubs in Nusa Dua’s 5-star hotels are often rather empty. They are mostly frequented by those visitors who stay in-house and are too tired to make the 30 minute drive to Kuta. Everybody looking for some action and fun in the evening goes to Kuta which means Nowadays the area extending about 4 miles or 7 kilometers North from the original village of Kuta and now includes Legian, Seminyak and even Basangkasa. Here are most of the better entertainment places offering everything single male or female visitors as well as couples might be looking for.

Closer to the center of Kuta you find the Bounty Ship with a noisy, over-air-conditioned disco in the basement and the re-built Paddy’s. Much more “in” nowadays the newer M-Bar-Go feature really good music and a crowd better than most other places. Sky Garden is also on the main road and an interesting place to go. The menu is huge but the food is often disappointing. When most places close around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, night Owls of all kinds continue drinking at nearby Mama’s until sunrise.

You’ll find a large and quite popular Hard Rock Cafe right at the beginning of Kuta’s beach road with live music. Expect to find many singles of all kinds here looking for company. If you think this is too noisy, too crowded, or the air-conditioning too cold for you, try the Center Stage at the Hard Rock Resort located in the back of the Cafe.

Seminyak is the best place to have a drink and some fun at night. Life music, reasonably priced cocktails, a surprisingly good wine list, and a menu offering local, Mexican, and Japanese dishes as well as a choice of pizzas around the clock and the friendly service attract many visitors until the early hours.

One of the hottest venues in Bali Ku De Ta is right on the beach adjacent to the Oberoi hotel. This is the place to see and be seen, and from late afternoon on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there is a DJ providing entertainment rather noisy for Bali’s beautiful people.

It’s not difficult to get to Bali. With the increasing number of direct flight to Bali from some other parts of the world, it makes it easier to go to the Island. From Bali, flight to Jakarta is about 1.5 hours, to Singapore and Perth (Australia) 2.5 and 3 hours, to Hong Kong about 4.5 hours, and to Sydney or Melbourne about 5.5 to 6 hours, with various airlines offering their services. Are you ready to fly? (Ely Alvaro Gibran)

Jakarta Globe, May 6, 2009

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