In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. There are major coastal roads and those that cross the island mainly north-south. Due to the mountainous terrain in the island’s center, the roads tend to follow the crests of the ridges across the mountains. There are no railway lines.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand.
To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.
Encompassing three different vegetation zones; namely, the Asian, Australian and intermediate zones, The Indonesian archipelago, which also includes Bali, is rich with diverse flora and fauna.
The archipelago has the most number of species of butterflies, fifth for amphibians in the world, and ranks seventh in the world for flowering plants. Added to its wonders are more than 30,000 plant species that are found here and some of them are endemic. The bird population covers almost a fifth of the world’s bird species. The archipelago is also home to a third of the world’s known fish species, which number more than 7,000. Being part of Asia, Bali was once a natural haven for large carnivorous mammals, but unfortunately, Bali’s last tiger was shot in 1937. Roaming in small numbers in Bali’s jungle are panthers and leopards, which are getting seriously endangered. Other large herbivores found here are deer and wild buffaloes. Also unique to Bali is the tamed wild ox, called banteng. The untamed version ox can only be spotted in the National Park. Volcanoes have played a major role in shaping Bali’s geology. As a result of the continual discharge of minerals and chemicals, large tracts of the land have been made fertile; others, barren, as in Karangasem. A central chain of volcanic mountains divides the island into two. Lake Batur and another great body of water are found north of the divide. These lakes, together with monsoons from the Indian Ocean, contribute to the high level of humidity in Bali. Some areas are still covered by rainforest, although much has disappeared during the last century. Wild orchids, ferns, mosses and other plants requiring a high degree of humidity are found in the mountain areas. The temperate mountain weather also allows pines to flourish. The river banks have a rich bird life, such as the Kepodang (Oriole birds), Kipasan (Fan-tails) and Kutilang. Many species are excellent singers; sometimes, they join in the noisy chorus of crickets. The agricultural heartland of Bali lies at the foot of the central mountain range. The southern region, sloping gently down to the sea, is the source of most of Bali’s rice harvest.
The paddy fields are a favourite habitat for birds. Herons arrive at the planting season, while the Java Sparrow, Parrot Finch and Java Munia turn up when the grain appears. Although these birds are threatened by the extensive use of pesticides, they can still be seen flocking around the yellowing rice paddies. Now and then a falcon hovers in the sky, looking for prey.
Bali consists of about three million people, nearly all of whom practice the Balinese Hindu religion. Bali Hinduism, which has roots in Indian Hinduism and in Buddhism, adopted the animistic traditions of the indigenous people, which inhabited the island around the first millennium. This influence strengthened the belief that the gods and goddesses are present in all things. Every element of nature, therefore, possesses its own power, which reflects the power of the gods.
Balinese and Bahasa Indonesia are the most widely spoken languages in Bali, and like most Indonesians, the vast majority of Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common Balinese. The usage of different Balinese languages was traditionally determined by the Balinese caste system and by clan membership, but this tradition is diminishing. English is a common third language (and the primary foreign language) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements of the tourism industry.
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 dances portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence.
Immigration from other parts of Indonesia, especially Java, is changing the ethnic composition of Bali’s population.
Bali has a tropical climate with the average temperature hovers around 30°C (mid-80s°F) all year. Direct sun feels incredibly hot, especially in the middle of the day. In the wet season, from October to March, the humidity can be very high and oppressive. The almost daily tropical downpours come as a relief, then passes quickly, leaving flooded streets and renewed humidity. The dry season (April to September) is generally sunnier, less humid and, from a weather point of view, the best time to visit, though downpours can occur at any time.
There are marked variations across the island. The coast is hotter, but sea breezes can temper the heat. As you move inland you also move up, so the altitude works to keep things cool – at times it can get chilly up in the highlands, and a warm sweater or light jacket can be a good idea in mountain villages
How to get there
Bali is well connected with rest of the part of the world by air. The tourist can take a flight to the Ngurah Rai International airport or the Denpasar Airport which is located in Denpasar, the capital of Bali. You will get flight from this airport for all the major cities of Indonesia, Asia, Europe, America and Australia
Getting to Bali by Ferry is a convenient and efficient and a fast way of transport. Bali Ferry Service is available between East Java’s Ketapang harbour and Bali’s Gilimanuk harbour at the western tip of the island, and also between Lombok’s Lembar harbour and Padang Bai harbour of eastern Bali. Those are regular passenger ferries.
Getting to Bali by bus is also a convenient and cheap way. There are regular bus departures from Bali’s neighbouring islands(Java & Lombok) to Bali’s capital city.
Best time to travel
If you don’t want rain to ruin your holiday, best time to come is between April and October. But many also love to come during wet season, not too hot and vegetation will be more green, and also because of wet season doesn’t mean rain falls all days, we still could see the sunshine. So anytime is good time to visit the island.