Bali – Indonesia
“I had dreamed of visiting Bali for many years and because I had an extended family of Balinese friends in Los Angeles, I felt connected.
The island is so peaceful and the smiles are constant.”
– Carolyn Murphy
The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. Bali and Java are separated by the Bali Strait. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and spans approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; administratively it covers 5,780 km2, or 5,577 km2 without Nusa Penida District, its population density is roughly 750 people/km2.
Bali’s central mountains include several peaks over 3,000 metres in elevation. The highest is Mount Agung (3,031 m), known as the “mother mountain” which is an active volcano rated as one of the world’s most likely sites for a massive eruption within the next 100 years. Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, 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 island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, they are not yet used for significant tourism.
Subak irrigation system
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, situated at the north of Denpasar, is the island’s cultural centre.
Three small islands lie to the immediate south east and all are administratively part of the Klungkung regency of Bali: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These islands are separated from Bali by the Badung Strait.
To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed a transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok Island and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.
Some of the worst erosion has occurred in Lebih Beach, where up to 7 metres of land is lost every year. Decades ago, this beach was used for holy pilgrimages with more than 10,000 people, but they have now moved to Masceti Beach.
From ranked third in previous review, in 2010 Bali got score 99.65 of Indonesia’s environmental quality index and the highest of all the 33 provinces. The score measured 3 water quality parameters: the level of total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved oxygen (DO) and chemical oxygen demand (COD).
Being just 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali has a fairly even climate year round.
Day time temperatures at low elevations vary between 20-33⁰ C although it can be much cooler than that in the mountains. The west monsoon is in place from approximately October to April and this can bring significant rain, particularly from December to March. Outside of the monsoon period, humidity is relatively low and any rain unlikely in lowland areas.