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Bali is one of the worlds most celebrated holiday destinations, geographically, Bali is at the centre of the Indonesian Archepelago. This is a vast chain of islands stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.

It lies across the ancient trade routes between Europe, the Middle East, India and China, and has subsequently absorbed influences from each of these cultures.

When the first European sailers came across this paradise, most jumped ship and it apparently took the captain over 2 years to round them all up again.These days almost a million visitors arrive on Bali every year, heading for the white beaches or to its temples.

It is the culture that impresses most tourists the most; the fleeting sence of spiritual calm and the Balinese religion somehow seems to survive and thrive despite the air of increasing commercialism.

Bali is a province within the Republic of Indonesia, with its provincial capital at Denpasar. It is mainly a rural society despite urbanisation in the 1980's and 1990's, with facilities such as electricity and television only coming to most places in the last quarter of the 20th centuary.


Although it is relatively small compared to the other two favourite Indonesian holiday destinations Sumatra and Java, Bali most certainly did not escape the Indonesian lover’s attention. Whereas one can find great extended areas of densed forests on Sumatra and Buddhist centres (such as the one at Borobodur) and vulcanoes on Java, Bali has a lot of the same kind - and maybe even of a prettier kind. However, everything is on a smaller scale, because Bali is not only small in size but also has a high density of population.

Mount Bromo on Java has found a serious competitor in the 3142 metres' high Gunung Anang. On the side of this volcano, you can find one of the most important temple complexes on Bali, the Pura Besakih. Climbing the volcano offers a good day-trip and lends you the opportunity to get a lot closer to the smouldering beating heart of this volcano than you’d probably ever dreamt of. When the smell of sulpher makes you gasp for breath and you want to catch some fresh air, take a few days’ hike in the forest or check out the vulcanic lakes, such as Lake Bratan and Bratur, and their surrounding sawahs.

You can still see true Balinese culture in one of the remoter villages that strech out into the inland. However, it is the international travel culture that rules and prevails in and around Kuta. This city (and it surroundings) is well-known for its beaches. The place is swarmed with hotels, restaurants, shops and clubs and you can participate in anything, ranging from diving and surfing lessons to bungee-jumping or just lying in the sun. Everything relating to sun, sea and sand, you’ll come across in this former hippies’ paradise. When you've had enough of it, you can always head for the capital Denpasar, Ubud or one of the other lesser explored areas.


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