Even though I am Indonesian, I must admit that I haven’t explored Indonesia as much as I’ve explored the rest of the world. Indonesia is big and for somebody who likes to travel, I have only explored Indonesia within very limited places, namely, the province of South Sumatra, passing by province of Lampung and most parts of Java, Madura and the island of Bali.
The Indonesian map here shows where I’ve been. Statistically, Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands, I have only been to 6 islands: which is only 0.034% of the total Indonesian Archipelago. However, as Indonesia consists of 33 provinces, I have been to 10 of these, which is 30.0%. Not too bad, but there is a lot more of Indonesia still to visit, and if one asked me about Bali, well I only know Bali as good as any other tourist.
Now that I live as an expat outside Indonesia, I don’t know what to recommend to friends who want to visit Bali, not to mention Indonesia. However, I think it’s not a bad idea if I refresh my memory about facts we should know about Bali prior visiting Bali:
- The island is approximately 153 km (95 miles) wide and spans approximately 112 km (69 miles) north to south; its land area is 5,632 km², which is only a tiny bit of Indonesia, but compares to the country of Bahrain which is 750 km² with no water source at all or Singapore of only 710 km2. I would also compare it to Malta, with land area of 316 km2. Or comparison to Qatar, which is 11,437 km2, Bali is half the size of Qatar.
- But unlike Qatar, it has mountains like The Mount Agung, which reaches as high as 3,142 m(the highest in Bali), known as the “mother mountain” which is an active volcano. Mountain ranges from centre to the eastern side of Bali, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Bali’s volcanic nature has contributed to its exceptional fertility and its tall mountain ranges provide the high rainfall that supports the highly productive agriculture sector. South of the mountains is a broad, steadily descending area where most of Bali’s large rice crop is grown. The northern side of the mountains slopes more steeply to the sea and is the main coffee producing area of the island, along with rice, vegetables and cattle. The longest river, Ayung River, flows approximately 75 km.
- The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 491,500(2002). Bali’s second-largest city is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, which is located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people. Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar’s urban area; and Ubud, which is north of Denpasar, and is known as the island’s cultural centre.
- Population recorded as 3,891,000 in the 2010 census,the island is home to most of Indonesia’s small Hindu minority. In the 2000 census about 92.29% of Bali’s population adhered to Balinese Hinduism while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Bali, a tourist haven for decades, has seen a further surge in tourist numbers in recent years.