Climate in Bali
The dry season is between April and October with the coolest months of May, June and July having an average temperature of 28C. Rainy season is between November and March, with sudden downpours interrupted by periods of sunshine. Tourist High Season is July and August for Europeans and Americans, and December and January for Australians.
Wherever you are in Bali, there are plenty of restaurants offering good quality, reasonably priced food. In the Kuta area you can find the usual restaurant types you would expect in any popular tourist place, such as Italian, Seafood, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Asian, local Indonesian, as well as western fast food restaurants. The Seminyak area (between Legian and Kerobokan) has become an area with an abundance of good restaurants and bistros. Well-known restaurants and eateries include La Lucciola (on the beach), Ultimo and Mykonos (in Oberoi street), Antique and TorTor resto in Dhyana Pura street.
The People of Bali
The island’s population is approximately 3,551,000 (2009) of which 94% are of Balinese Hindu religion and are classed as ethnic Balinese. The majority of the other 5% are from other parts of Indonesia, mainly Java. The Balinese have a traditional caste system, but as 90% now belong to the main caste, its role is declining to that of religious roles and language. Unlike Indian society, there are no untouchables in the Balinese caste system.
The local religion is Agama Hindu-Dharma, and centres on five ritualistic pillars of gods and ancestors, demons, the stages of human growth, the dead, and the consecration of priests. Essential to these rituals are offerings of food, flowers, and palm-leaf figures. The offerings are consecrated by priests with holy water, incense and sacred mantra incantations. The belief is of one god, but in many forms including the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa, but also deified kings, saints, ancestors and elemental spirits.
The Balinese New Year is known as Nyepi Day (day of silence). On this day, the Balinese believe that they have to fool evil spirits that no-one is actually on Bali – hence the need for silence. If this can be achieved, then it is believed that the evil spirits will go looking elsewhere for their prey and leave Bali island alone for another year. Balinese people are very religious and life is full of ritual – Nyepi is one of the most important days in their calendar. Police and security are on hand to make sure that everyone abides by the rules. Note that on Nyepi day, the airport is closed, cars and even people are not allowed on the streets, and at night, lights and sound must be kept to a minimum. The rules apply to tourists also, although some activity is allowed in hotels. The date changes each year, as the Balinese follow a traditional lunar new year. The date for 2010 will be March 16th.
Public transport in Bali is inexpensive and regular. Most public transport is provided by bemo, or minibus, and involves a connection at one of the terminals in Denpasar. This can make any journey time consuming and inconvenient. Add to this the tendency of bemo drivers to sometimes overcharge tourists, and you’ve got a good reason to look for alternative means of transport. There are many shuttle bus services operating between the major tourists areas. These you can book at any travel desk, and they’ll even collect you from your hotel.
Alternatively, you can hire a taxi. These are still relatively cheap as they are subject to fixed price control with meters. Do not get in a taxi with a broken meter. If you are prepared to get out of the vehicle, you will often find that the meter has suddenly fixed itself… A final option is to rent your own vehicle. For this you will need an international driving license, a copy of the vehicle registration papers.
Bali lies 3.2 km east of Java and approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km wide and 112 km north to south (95 by 69 miles, respectively), with a surface area of 5,632 km. The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains cover centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active. About 30,000 years ago it experienced a catastrophic eruption — one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth.
Just 8 south of the equator, Bali has a tropical climate, which is hot all year.
The average temperature hovers around 28C (mid-80sF) year-round, but the humidity can make the heat feel very oppressive. Direct sun feels hot, especially in the middle of the day. There are dry and wet seasons – dry from April to October and Wet from October to March – but it can rain at any time of year and even during the wet season rain is likely to pass quickly. In general, the best months are April to September, when humidity is lower and the rain is light and infrequent. Overall, the climate is gently tropical, but there are marked variations across the island: around the coast, sea breezes temper the heat, and as you move inland you also move up, so the altitude works to keep things cool.
In fact, sometimes it can get very chilly up in the highlands, and a warm sweater or light jacket would be a good idea to bring with you in mountain villages like Kintamani and Candi Kuning – Bedugul, The northern slopes of Gunung Batur always seem to be wet and misty, while a few kilometres away, the east coast is nearly always dry and sunny. Air-conditioning is not always necessary in Bali. A cool breeze always seems to spring up in the evening, and the open bamboo windows, so common in Balinese architecture, make the most of the lightest breeze.