There is a legend told of an island east of Java. It was a beautiful island, but its fertile plains and palm fringed shores rocked and were unsteady. The gods conferred. Thery decided the answer lay in placing a mountain upon the island, to balance, calm and soothe it. And so they did.
Happiness then reigned on the island and all was at peace. The mountain was called Great Mountain -
GUNUNG AGUNG - ( Click for postcard )and the island is BALI,
"The Morning of the World", a magical island full of legends and mystical tales set amid the thousands of islands that are INDONESIA.
Bali is one of the 17,508 islands which make up of the archipelagic Republic of Indonesia. It is easily one of Indonesia's most popular tourist destinations known throughout the world as a paradise isle set in the southern seas with its story-book setting of sun-drenched beahes, rooling surf, rustic villages, fertile plains and sculptured rice terraces. Bali is also graced by colourful temple festivals accompanied by spritely music and dance watched by the local populace, tourists, and the unseen gods from their dwelling places perched on majestic mountains. Located near the eastern-most tip of Java island across the narrow Straits of Bali, this 'Isle of the Gods' is peopled by the friendly Balinese who are more exposed to international tourists than many people in other parts of Indonesia.
Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport is one of Indonesia's main tourist gateways and is served by the national flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, on its internatinal and domestic routes as well as by 12 international airlines on scheduled services and charters.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is situated in the south of the island, not far from the resorts of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur. Taxi fares from the airport ranges from 4500 rupiahs to Kuta, 10,000 rupiahs to Denpasar, 12,000 rupiahs to Sanur and Nusa Dua, and 34,000 rupiahs to Ubud.
From Singapore, there are daily direct flights on Indonesia's national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, and Singapore Airlines.
From Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), both MAS and Garuda operate direct flights and similarly, from Hong Kong with Garuda and Cathay Pacific.
From Bangkok, Thai International and Qantas fly to Bali direct. While Royal Brunei flies to the island from Bandar Sri Begawan. There are also direct fights from Paris with UTA, from Amsterdam via Medan with KLM, from Japan and Taiwan with Garuda and from the Australian cities of Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Adelaide with Garuda and Qantas.
From the United States, Garuda Indonesia serves Los Angeles/Honolulu/Biak/Bali and vice versa. Bali also has feeder services to other eastern and northern destinations. There are daily flights to Ujung Pandang (gateway to Toraja land) and to the eastern Nusa Tenggara islands of Lombok and further afield. Garuda has several flights daily connecting Bali with Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Sempati Air flies to Bali from Jakarta, Yogya, Solo, Semarang, Surabaya and Ujung Pandang
By road or rail from Java
Garuda Office in Denpasar Jl Melati 61 Tel: 22028, 27825 Branch Offices Bali Beach Hotel Tel: 88511
Sanur Beach Hotel Tel: 89135
Nusa Dua Hotel Tel: 71444
Kuta Beach Hotel Tel: 51179
Merpati Office Denpasar Jl. Melati 57 Tel 99RGA
Land transport from Java, both rail and road, stops at Banyuwangi from where a ferry service operates 24 hours a day, bringing cars and passengers across the Straits to Gilimanuk in Bali. Buses carry passengers from Gilimanuk to Denpasar.
Java - Bali overland packages are available.
Two of Bali's four sea ports are used by international cruise ships and yachts. Benoa is a small port relatively close to the airport, while Padangbai is used by larger and luxury cruise ships.
A ferry service runs twice daily from Lombok's port of Lembar to Padangbai and a hydrofoil service operates from Benoa harbour to Lembar.
On the north coast, the harbour of Singaraja is used by Bugis schooners and smaller craft serving the lines between Java and north Bali.
IMMIGRATIONAll travellers to Indonesia must be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months after arrival and must show proof (tickets) of onward passage.
Visas are waived for nationals of 39 countries for visits of no more than two months (non-extendable). The countries are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco (entries only through the airports of Jakarta, Medan and Bali), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.
Entry and departure must be made through the airports of Medan, Batam, Pekanbaru, Padang, Surabaya, Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta), Bali, Manado, Ambon, Biak, Kupang (Timor), Balikpapan (East Kalimantan) and Pontianak (west Kalimantan) and/or the seaports of Medan, Batam, Tanjung Pinang (Riau Islands), Jakarta (Tanjung Priok), Surabaya, Semarang, Bali (Benoa and Padang Bai), Ambon and Manado.
Taiwan visitors with passports coded "MFA" or "M" issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei, whose point of departure is Taipei international airport are allowed visa free entry through the airports of Jakarta, Medan and Bali and the seaport of Batam Island only within one week of leaving Taipei airport to enter Indonesia.
For other ports of arrival and departure, visas are required. Visas are also free for registered delegates attending a conference which has received official approval.
For those who are not nationals of the above-stated countries and who arrive and/or leave from non-designated ports, tourist visas can be obtained from any Indonesian Embassy or Consulate. Two photographs are required and a small fee is charged.
OUT OF BALI
Bali is also the departure point for trips to Lombok, the neighbouring island that people are beginning to discover.
Ferries, hydrofoils and shuttle flights fly back and forth daily.
The Nusa Tengara islands and Sulawesi are also easily accessible from Bali with boats and flights.
POLICE & THE LAW
There are police stations called Resort Polisi in every major town. The Traffic Police Office is at Jln. Gajah Mada, Denpasar and its office hours are 8.00 am to 12.00 noon from Mondays to Saturdays. A special tourist police force has been formed.
NARCOTICS All narcotics are illegal in Indonesia. The use, sale or purchase of narcotics result in long terms in prison and huge fines or even the death sentence.
LOST PASSPORTS Report its loss immediately to the nearest police station and ask for a letter of reported theft/loss Without this letter, required negotiations with immigration can be difficult. New passports or letters of travel can be obtained through consuls or embassies.
DRIVER LICENCES you may drive your car or rent a car if you have an international driving licence or driving licence of one of the Asean countries. To obtain an Indonesian motor bike or car licence, an application is made through the KOMDAK LALULINTAS (Traffic police) in Jalan Seruni. A driving test is compulsory.
POSTAL & PARCEL SERVICES
Major hotels handle mail service, telegrams and telexes. The Central Post Office is located in Denpasar.
CENTRAL POST OFFICE
Jl. Raya Puputan, Renon, Denpasar 80235. Tel: 23565. Open from
Monday to Thursday : 08.00 a.m. - 02.00 p.m.
Friday: 08.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon.
Saturday: 08.00 a.m. - 01.00 p.m.
Poste Restante facilities are available at the Central Post Office and at the following post offices:
- Sanur Post Office
Banjar Taman, Sanur, Denpasar 80277
- Kuta Post Office
Jl. Raya Tuban, Kuta, Denpasar 80361
- Utud Post Office
Banjar Taman, Ubud, Gianyar 80571.
- Singaraja Post Office
Jl. Gajah Mada, Singaraja 81100.
SHOPPINGBali's extraordinary range of merchandise makes it a shopper's paradise and a treasure trove of exciting purchases just waiting to be made. Here the usual junky tourist handicrafts scarecely exist, only exciting and well made authentic crafts.
The innovative Balinese are continually coming up with wonderful new concoctions to tempt the serious shopper. Even those with little spare cash will find plenty to indulge themselves with and even ten dollars can go a long way. Modern and traditional batiks and brightly coloured woven cloth are cheap and make wonderful gifts for friends back home. Silver jewellery is another Balinese speciality. Rings, ear-rings, brooches, pins bangles and bracelets are of a high quality at almost ridiculously low prices.
An island of artists, Bali produces fine stone and wood carvings, superbly carved wooden masks, finely painted and beautiful enough to decorate any wall. Woven blankets from Bali and other nearby islands where traditional crafts are still practised make distinctive wallhangings ,tasteful pottery and ceramic wares are available in studio shops in Sanur and Kuta.
TOURSMost travel agents run daily bus tours, with well informed multi-lingual guides. Generally, these tours can be booked in the lobby of your hotel. Prices range from US$20 for a half way trip to Ubud or Sangeh, to US$30 for a full day's trip across the island to Kintamani or Besakih. This includes a barong dance at Batubulan, lunch and several stops at shops and temples.
Alternatively, it is possible to plan your own guided tour in an air-conditioned car with a chauffeur/guide, so you can stop where you choose and stay for as long as you want. This costs between US$50 and US$80. There are also some excellent diving spots. check with dive operators/travel agents. There is also excellent golf at the scenic Bali Handara Golf course at Bedegul overlooking Lake Batan.
ENTERTAINMENTBali offers a wide range of entertainment from traditional Balinese dances, which are staged nightly by many of the larger hotels, to discos and pubs. Kuta has the liveliest nightlife, with watering holes and discos all along Jalan Legian and Jalan Buni Sari, some of which stay open till dawn. The best way to see traditional dances, wayang kulit and gamelan orchestras, is to attend a village temple festival. These are going on somewhere on the island almost daily.
DINING OUTHotel restaurants in Bali generally offer guests a wide variety of excellent dishes to satisfy every taste - Indonesian, European and even "nouvelle-Bali". If you feel like venturing out for a meal, there are dozens of good, reasonably priced restaurants to be found in Sanur, Kuta and Ubud, many of them offering menus that mix Indonesian, Chinese and European dishes.
Here is a sample of some restaurants to try: Tanjung Sari Hotel Restaurant, Jln. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Excellent rijsttafel served in great comfort. Kul Kul Restaurant, Jln. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Western, Indonesian and Chinese cuisine. Beach Market, Jalan Segara Ayu, Sanur. Indonesian with Balinese specialities. Trattoria Da Marco, Jln. Banjar Semawang, Sanur. Offers some of the best Italian fare in Bali. La Marmite, Seminak. Balinese "nouvelle cuisine" served in the open air by the beach. Made's Warung, Jalan Pantai, Kuta. One of the "in" places to eat and to be seen. Great food from an eclectic menu. Poppies, Kuta. Another Kuta institution which serves great food in an idyllic garden setting. Murni's Warung, Ubud. Excellent Western and Chinese food at reasonable prices. Cafe Lotus, Puri Saraswati, Ubud. Delicious Western and Balinese food.
For Chinese food, try: Golden Lotus at Bali Dynasty Resort, Jln. Kartika Plaza, Kuta. Telaga Naga, which is operated by Bali Hyatt Hotel at Jln. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Golden Palace at Jln. Kuta Raya, Kuta, opposite Gelael Supermarket.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATIONAlthough many visitors to Bali like to rely on tour companies, there is really nothing like setting off to explore on your own.
Arm yourself with a map and trusty guide book and head off in a hotel taxi, a hire car with or without a driver, or motor bike. Gather a group of friends or family and hire a microbus. Bali is at your fingertips.
Those looking for adventure can try the local "bemos" You never know who will end up sharing the car with, but it could be ducks, chickens, women off to the market to sell their produce or a group of boys going to perform at a dance. Bemos are fun, frequent and above all, very cheap.
For a change of pace, negotiate a 'dokar' the local horse and carriage that can carry three or four passengers. In Denpasar and Singaraja the carts ply up and down the streets taking passengers to market and around town. Their harness bells jingle as they make their colourful way through the streets. The tiny horses seem to be amazingly strong for their size.
One of the most popular (and most dangerous) ways to get about in Bali is to take a motor bike. Cheap and practical, they can be great fun. But be warned. Many westerners are not prepared for the seeming chaos of Balinese roads and drivers have to watch for everything while zooming about. Bikes can be rented in Kuta, Denpasar and Sanur for very reasonable prices by the day or the week. Drivers need a valid International Diver's Licence and helmets are compulsory.
Perhaps the best way to get about is by bicycle. The friendly Balinese love to stop for a chat, and a bicycle is just the right speed.
Business offices are open either from 8.00am to 4.00pm or 9.00am to 5.00pm. Government office are from 8.00am to 3.00pm from Mondays to Thursdays, 8.00am to 11.30am on Fridays and 8.00am to 2.00pm on Saturdays.