Fascinating Facts about Bali

Fascinating Facts about Bali

While we are embarked on a journey around the world, we are sharing facts about the countries and places we visit- that way we learn and are more knowledgable about the places we are staying. We also get to know the culture, people and traditions.

Bali is a culturally diverse and rich island of Indonesia. It attracts a lot of people- it is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. When we were there – and then we left Bali – it felt like we went to another country. truly. It is so different from other islands of Indonesia.

Here are some fascinating facts about Bali:

  1. Island of the Gods Bali is often referred to as the “Island of the Gods” due to its rich Hindu culture and numerous temples. There seems to be a temple for each house built in Bali.

2. Unique Calendar System The Gregorian calendar is widely used in Bali, but like many societies, it also has a lunar-based one, called the Saka calendar. The lunar year begins on Nyepi and has 12 months, but each starts the day after the new moon. It’s 78 years behind the Gregorian calendar, making it 1946 in Bali today.But Bali also uses a third calendar, called the Pawukon Calendar. It has just 210 days, so it really doesn’t correspond to the Gregorian or lunar calendar. The first day of the year is the first day of ten simultaneous weeks of differing lengths. The Pawukon calendar also doesn’t have a year – it’s just a cycle that repeats again and again.

3. Rice Terraces Bali is famous for its stunning rice terraces, particularly in Ubud and Jatiluwih, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. we explored them and they are so worth visiting- 100 shades of green and so so stunning.

4. Volcanic Island The island of Bali is dominated by Mount Agung, an active volcano that last erupted in 1963. It is considered sacred by the Balinese people. Mt Batur is also an active volcano.

5. Nyepi Day Nyepi, or the Balinese New Year, is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. It is a unique cultural experience where the entire island shuts down for 24 hours (in 2024 it is March 11). Even the airport shuts down and there are no flights coming in or coming out.

6. Traditional Dance and Music Bali is renowned for its traditional dance and music performances, such as the Barong dance and the Gamelan orchestra.

7. Spiritual Retreats and Yoga Bali is a popular destination for spiritual retreats and yoga, attracting practitioners from all over the world to its serene and picturesque surroundings.

8. Ubud Monkey Forest This sacred sanctuary is home to over 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys and is a popular tourist attraction in Ubud.

9. Cultural Capital Ubud is considered the cultural heart of Bali, known for its traditional crafts, art galleries, and vibrant cultural scene. While we did see a lot of crafts and arts, but it such a busy area. the traffic is nuts.

10. Balinese Cuisine Balinese cuisine is characterized by its rich flavors and diverse influences, including Indian, Chinese, and Indonesian flavors. Must-try dishes include Babi Guling (suckling pig) and Bebek Betutu (slow-cooked duck). We we tried a few but loved Urab, Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur the best.

11. Diving and Snorkeling

Bali offers some of the best diving and snorkeling spots in the world, with vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and numerous wreck sites to explore.

12. Tanah Lot Temple

This iconic sea temple is perched on a rock formation and is one of Bali’s most photographed landmarks, especially during sunset.

13. Art and Handicrafts

Bali is renowned for its traditional arts and handicrafts, including woodcarving, silver jewelry, batik textiles, and intricate stone carvings. We have seen so may beautiful home decor pieces and truly would love to bring so many items as a present to others because it is so beautiful.

14. Healing and Wellness

Bali is home to numerous wellness retreats, spas, and healing centers offering traditional Balinese massages, yoga, meditation, and holistic therapies.

15. Surfing Paradise

Bali is a paradise for surfers, with world-class waves suitable for all levels of experience. Kuta Beach, Uluwatu, and Canggu are popular surfing spots on the island.

16. The world’s most expensive coffee comes from Bali.

The most expensive coffee in the world comes from poop. Yes, really.

In Bali and some other parts of Indonesia, a cat-like critter called the luwak eats coffee cherries and then (of course) excretes them, at which point they’re collected and then roasted, ground, and brewed. Known as kopi luwak, a cup of this special (and supposedly less acidic) coffee can run you $35 or more.

17. Thursdays in Bali are traditional – it’s the law

During one of our trips to Bali, I noticed one day that almost everyone was dressed in traditional Balinese clothing. Apparently, the governor had issued a decree requiring people to wear traditional clothing and speak only Balinese on Thursdays, in an effort to preserve the island’s heritage.

18. Balinese families traditionally have four children.

You might have heard people say that there are only four first names in Bali – and by the time you meet your tenth person named Wayan, it definitely feels that way.

Balinese children are named according to the order of their birth, and there aren’t male or female first names for the most part. The Balinese traditionally had four children, so there are four common names: Wayan, Made, Niyoman, and Ketut. Those with bigger families would start over again, naming the fifth child Wayan.

You’ll definitely encounter people with other names, though, since there are a few alternates, and some Balinese people use different names that denote their caste. Still, most people on the island have one of ten or so names.

19. The Netherlands colonized Bali (and the rest of Indonesia).

The Dutch began colonizing parts of what is now Indonesia as early as the 1700s, but Bali was one of the last areas to come under colonial control. In fact, it took the Dutch multiple attempts before finally conquering Bali in the early 1900s and making it part of the Dutch East Indies. Colonization is a very small part of Balinese history, though, since Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands less than 50 years later.

Another short piece of Bali history: The island, along with the rest of what’s now Indonesia, was occupied by Japan for three years during World War II.

20. The capital of Bali is Denpasar.

A crowded metropolis home to a quarter of Bali’s population, Denpasar is the provincial capital and by far the largest city on Bali. But the more popular town of Ubud is considered to be the island’s cultural capital.

21. The main religion in Bali is Balinese Hinduism.

This is one of the most surprising facts about Bali to most people, both because Indonesia is predominantly Muslim and because Hinduism isn’t the majority anywhere else outside India and Nepal. About 87 percent of Balinese people are Hindu.

All of Indonesia was once mostly Hindu, but when Islam began to spread in the 15th century, many Hindus from Java and elsewhere fled to Bali. The island has largely maintained its particular blend of Hindu and animist beliefs ever since.

22. An island of many Waterfalls

The geographical and climatic conditions in Bali are ideal for waterfalls,. Bali has a tropical climate with plenty of rain, and a diverse topography full of lush vegetation, which creates a perfect environment for waterfalls to thrive. There are more than 75 waterfalls found on the island. 

Waterfalls hold deep cultural significance in Bali, largely due to the influence of Balinese Hinduism. For the Balinese, waterfalls are a place of spiritual purification and a sacred dwelling place of gods and spirits. The Indonesian word for waterfall is ‘air terjun’, meaning water (air) + terjun (to dive from a height).

These facts definitely gave us a perspective about Bali from a different angle. And we are very grateful- it helped us better understand people, behaviors, culture, traditions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *