Travel to Bali & Indonesia

Bali & Indonesia Bali & Indonesia Bali & Indonesia Bali & Indonesia Bali & Indonesia
Bali & Indonesia

Wild rainforests, countless tropical beaches, misty volcanoes and a melting pot of fascinating cultures; Indonesia is the ultimate destination, and the largest archipelago in the world. Measured from east to west, Indonesia is roughly the same distance as New York to Los Angeles. There are over 17,508 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited.  Currently, over 80% of tourists to Indonesia go only to the small island of Bali which makes it, touristically speaking, just the tip of the Indonesian iceberg.

Across Indonesia, languages, culinary traditions, and religions can shift dramatically. Indonesia has a surprising variety: you might hear the morning call to prayer in Yogjakarta but wake up to church bells on Flores, or enjoy the twinkling waters around the laid back Gili Islands before meeting orangutans in Sumatra.

BALI

The word Bali conjures up images of paradise; a lush volcanic island ringed by golden sand beaches and turquoise waters. Kuta is forever the party beach. Seminyak, Nusa Dua and Sanur are preferred by honeymooners, families and those seeking relaxation. Legian Beach splits the difference. Suffice it to say, there is a beach, and perfect accommodation choice, for every type of traveler.  While for many Bali is all about enjoying aquatic fun, the heart of Bali is Ubud, where the spirit and culture of the island are most accessible. Hillside temples, rice paddies, antiquities, plus the world’s highest concentration of artists!

Kuta –where the party has been happening for half a century. If you’re into a year round spring break type of destination, Kuta Beach is the place for you. Nightclubs, people zipping around on small motorbikes, and beach touts selling everything from mood altering substances to knock off designer wear; what’s not to love!  The thing about Kuta that is appreciated by all is its amazing sunsets. Worth a visit to watch the sun set, even if you don’t party until sunrise.  Legian Beach, adjacent but north of Kuta is slightly quieter for those want to be on the fringes of the action, walking distance away.

Seminyak – north of Legian Beach,  is fashionable and upscale. Hotels are generally 4 and 5 star, and local shops cater to a more well-heeled clientele.  Gourmands will find fine dining here.

Sanur – is almost 3 miles long, and, due to offshore reef, rarely sees more surf than gentle, lapping waves. Located on the eastern side of the isthmus, Sanur was Bali’s original tourist destination. A former fishing village heavy on charm and favored by Europeans, Sanur is a calmer area than Kuta, perfect for families and those who prefer peace and quiet. 

Nusa Dua – Nusa Dua, which means two islands, is a gated beach development.  Purpose-built to cater to travelers who prefer to completely avoid Kuta Beach’s engaging chaos and touts peddling their wares on the beach, Nusa Dua has many large resorts with spas, gift shops and Balinese arts and crafts demonstration programs. 

Ubud – the cultural heartbeat of Bali retains its charm due to the large numbers of artisans who live there. Sitting at a cafe people watching, or strolling the back streets, reveals a town that is busy but somehow serene. At night, after day visitors leave, Ubud is pure magic.

Lombok – The island for those who like eco experiences and outdoor activities.  Home to Indonesia’s second highest volcano and epic surf breaks, there is no shortage of hiking and water fun to be had.  Development is low key, no hustle bustle here, just the happy hum of people enjoying life and the natural world simply.

Gili Islands –a speedboat ride away from Bali are three vehicle-free islets fringed by white sand beaches and swaying coconut trees. Sound like paradise? It is! Gili Trawangan – nicknamed Gili T. – is chic and cosmopolitan. Gili Meno is a desert island getaway and Gili Air is the least developed of the three islands, suited to those who revel in being pampered, but remote.

OTHER INDONESIAN DESTINATIONS

Island of Flores - offers an array of natural and cultural sights. The most famous attraction in Flores is the Kelimutu volcano caldera, which has three lakes fed by volcanic gas that change color according to the amount of oxidation in the water. Flores also has a growing eco-tourism industry, where travelers can visit traditional villages, stay with local families and join in activities such as bird watching and trekking.

Komodo National Park - Encompassing both Rinca Island, Komodo Island and a number of smaller islets, the Komodo National Park is world famous as the habitat of the Komodo Dragons, giant carnivorous monitor lizards that can reach up to 10 feet in length. The reptiles roam freely over the islands, and visitors rely on experienced tour guides for sightings and to keep them safe. Komodo National Park is also famous as a world-class scuba diving destination.

Island of Java- Java combines well with neighboring Bali, which is reached easily via a short ferry ride. In fact, some travelers make Java a two night side trip from Bali, although we recommend staying longer if possible. As the most populated Indonesian island, Java has the liveliest character. City streets whirl with cyclists, tuk-tuks and motorbikes, while its many cultural sights are visited by domestic and international tourists alike. East of Jakarta,  you will find the real Java, an island packed with mystical temples and mist-swirled volcanoes. Watch dawn break over the giant Buddha statues of Borobudur in the jungle, hike to milky crater lakes and even take a wildlife safari over the hidden savannah of the east. With smoky calderas scattered across the horizon, Java a place of mystery and contrast. On Java you can stay in tiny villages nestling at the foot of volcanoes, stroll along black sand beaches and amble between endless green rice paddies in the hills.

Yogjakarta, Java - is a bustling town of some 500,000 people and the most popular tourist destination on Java, where visitors can revel in the remains of two great kingdoms of two different religion – Buddhism and Hinduism. “Jogja” as it is often called, is home to countless palaces and heritage buildings, as well as two of the most mesmerizing temple complexes in all of Southeast Asia: the Hindu temples of Prambanan, and the largest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur.  The Sultan’s Palace, the seat of Indonesian royalty, is a must see. The city of Jogja itself is a center of art and education, offers good shopping and has a wide range of tourist facilities. Explore the main street and the narrow alleys in search of silversmiths, puppet makers, street arts and food vendors, soaking in the culture, people and food of Indonesia as it has always been.
Wonderful tranquility is found in places like Lembang, situated among rolling green hills and tea plantations. Java also has two of the most impressive volcanoes in Indonesia. The views of Mt. Bromo in East Java are stunning, with volcanic craters creating a lunar-like landscape. The sulfur-spewing Ijen volcano in turn is unique in the world as it glows blue at night—a sight you’ll not forget.

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Java - is best known for its awesome scenery of a vast, ancient volcanic crater and a host of picturesque volcanoes that have emerged from it. The park is named after two mountains, Mount Semeru and Mount Bromo, and the Tengger people who inhabit the area. Semeru is the highest mountain in Java as well as one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. The smouldering cone of Bromo stands in a sea of volcanic sand, surrounded by the towering cliffs of the crater’s edge.

Island of Sumatra - nearest to Malaysia and Singapore. It is a nature and wildlife lover’s paradise. Think jungles, elephants, orangutans and castaway beaches. Sumatra pairs well with a trip to bustling Java and beachy Bali. Sumatra It is one of Indonesia’s less visited islands, though it also holds some of the most rewarding experiences for the more intrepid traveler who seeks a roads-less-traveled experience. With untamed jungles and more than 10 national parks, visitors have many chances to spot different species of monkeys, tropical birds, and other exotic animals. 

Islands of Bangka-Belitung - are just off the coast of Sumatra. These islands are a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for some of the best beaches in the world. Many of the beaches are miles long, largely uncrowded and boasting pristine white sand along with clean, clear water. You can also explore some of the many Dutch lighthouses, most from the 19th century, that were constructed when the islands were part of a much larger trade route. Dutch colonial buildings throughout the islands also hint at the region’s past.

Island of Kalimantan -  has no volcanoes and is protected from tsunamis which has allowed its ancient forests to grow towering trees that house some of the world’s most memorable species.  It is an adventurous paradise begging to be explored. Dive into a melting pot of cultures in bustling cities before heading into the wilderness.

Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan- is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. Wildlife in the park includes gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, pythons, crocodiles and – most famously – orangutans.  Kalimantan’s indigenous people, collectively known as Dayak, have long lived in concert with this rich, challenging landscape. Their longhouses dot the banks of Kalimantan’s many waterways, creating a sense of community unmatched elsewhere in Indonesia.  Stay in a longhouse or jungle lodge, marvel at the sounds of hornbills and distant whoops of gibbons, or hike above the clouds. Come face to face with indigenous tribes, meet the orange-haired orangutans and unforgettable proboscis monkeys, and end your trip with a stunning tropical beach.

Island of Sulawesi – is the 11th-largest island in the world, and one of Indonesia’s most fascinating. Sulawesi is tied physically and historically to the sea, and ringed with teeming waters and reefs; its interior is mountainous and cloaked in dense jungle interspersed with towering terraces of emerald green rice paddies. Here, rare species such as nocturnal tarsiers and flamboyantly colorful maleo birds survive, as do proud cultures, isolated by impenetrable topography, who guard their customs against the onslaughts of modernity.
Visitors come to meet the Toraja highlanders, famous for their massive peaked-roof houses known as tongkonan and spectacular but gruesome funeral rites. 

Island of Bunaken - off the far northeastern tip of Sulawesi is home base for those who want to explore the Bunaken National Marine Park. This marine park is home to a staggering 70 percent of all the fish species in the Pacific Ocean. After a day of activity, be sure to try the local liquor, a form of distilled white wine served with lemon and known as Cap Tikus.

 

 

Almost everyone knows the name Bali, and that it is an idyllic Indian Ocean island featured in many romance movies.  What comes as a surprise once visitors arrive, is how rich a destination Bali is. Thanks in part to its Hindu history, and an early influx of artisans and intelligentsia from the rest of Indonesia, Bali has so much more to offer than pretty beaches. This diversity makes Bali a rewarding choice for travelers from any demographic. Toddlers, teenagers, adults, groups, families and solo travelers…Bali will enchant all who visit.

People

Population is approximately 4.5 million. Of those, about 85% are Hindus, in contrast to Indonesia’s primarily Muslim population. Some believe that this is why Bali exudes such a serene and peaceful vibe – Hinduism is a tolerant and laissez faire religion.

Language

Balinese and Indonesian are the primary languages of Bali, but English is widely spoken in the tourist trade.

History

Rock paintings and stone tools dating from 3,000 BC have been found in northern Bali, indicating that the island was populated then. With the spread of the Bronze Age from China, southeast asian influence on Bali started around the 7th century.

Hinduism arrived from India around the 9thth century via traders. Java and Bali became linked when the mother of a Javanese king moved to Bali, but Bali remained largely independent through 1343 when it fell under Javanese rule.  Many intelligentsia and artisans relocated to Bali and the island experienced a cultural explosion. 

Dutch seafarers were the first Europeans to fall in love with the island and many elected to jump ship. In later years, the Dutch were interested primarily in profit and ignored Bali until 1846 when they used shipwreck claim disputes to land military forces on Bali. Battles ensued for years thousands of Balinese died trying in vain to retain a hold on their homeland. Eventually Bali became part of the Dutch East Indies.

During World War II, Bali was ruled by the Japanese, but after the war, Bali fought for independence, which it gained in 1949.

Currency

The Indonesian Rupiah is the currency of Indonesia. The currency code for Rupiahs is IDR, and the currency symbol is Rp. USD notes that are post 2006 and in mint condition are accepted widely, but rupiahs are often required in small restaurants and at markets.  A mix of both is recommended.

Best Time to Travel

With a tropical climate, Indonesia has two seasons; the dry season (April to October), and the monsoon season, (November to March) and enjoys hot and humid temperatures all year. As this period is generally wet in north Asia, Bali makes an excellent choice for US summer holiday travel.

Bali lies just 8 degrees south of the equator, and has a fairly even climate all year round.  Day time temperatures at the beach range from 70 – 90 degrees F.  Ubud, in the mountains, is cooler.

Health Requirements

Travelers arriving from the US are not required to have any shots or medications. Please check with your travel clinic for their recommendation based on your personal health history.

Visa Requirements

US nationals are eligible for a free 30 day visa on arrival. You will be required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of return and at least 2 blank visa pages.  This is subject to change without notice.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is expected and appreciated. Tipping guidelines will be provided with your final documentation packet.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted at high end shops, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels, American Express less so.  Cash is needed for shopping at street markets. ATMs are easily found.

Electrical Appliances

Indonesia uses 230V and frequency of 50 Hz. Power sockets are type c or F.  For more information on plugs and voltage, please visit http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

Water

Bottled water is widely available, reasonably priced and highly recommended. Tap water is not potable. 


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Bali & Indonesia

Related Destinations

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India
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