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The Geography of Bali

 

THE GEOGRAPHY OF BALI

Bali

The island of Bali has an area of only 5,632 square kilometers (2,175 square miles) and measures just 55 miles (90 kilometers) along the north-south axis and less than about 90 miles (140 kilometers) from East to West.

Located only two kilometers east of Jawa, Bali's climate, flora and fauna are quite similar to its much larger neighbour. The island is famous for its beautiful landscape. There are lush tropical forests, pristine crater lakes, fast flowing rivers and deep ravines, picturesque rice terraces, and fertile vegetable and fruit gardens. The beaches in the South consist of white sand, beaches in other parts of the island are covered with gray or black volcanic sand.

Bali

A chain of six volcanoes, between 1,350 meters and 3,014 meters high, stretches from west to east. 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.

In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain.
The principal cities are the northern port of Singaraja, the former colonial capital of Bali, and the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the southern coast. The town of Ubud (north of Denpasar), with its art market, museums and galleries, is arguably the cultural center of Bali.

There are major coastal roads and roads that cross the island mainly north-south. Due to the mountainous terrain in the island's center, the roads tend to follow the crests of the ridges across the mountains. There are no railway lines. Fortunately, due to it’s small in size, it's no problem to explore the island on day tours. You can go wherever you want on the island and return to your hotel or villa in the evening.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both: the main beach and the secret beach have white sand and the south beach and the blue lagoon have much darker sand. Pasut Beach, near Ho River and Pura Segara, is a quiet beach 14 km southwest of Tabanan. The Ho River is navigable by small sampan. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, this is not yet a tourist area.

BALI FLORA

Bali

The wide variety of tropical plants is surprising. You'll see huge banyan trees in villages and temple grounds, tamarind trees in the North, clove trees in the highlands, acacia trees, flame trees, and mangroves in the South. In Bali, there are a dozen species of coconut palms and even more varieties of bamboo.

And there are flowers, flowers everywhere. You'll see (and smell the fragrance of) hibiscus, bougainvillea, jasmine, and water lilies. Magnolia, frangipani, and a variety of orchids are found in many front yards and gardens, along roads, and in temple grounds. The heavenly smell of Frangipani at Balinese numerous Puras (temples) tends to relax and gives the visitors a heady feeling unique only to Bali. Flowers are also used as decorations in temples, on statues, as offerings for the gods, and during prayers. Dancers wear blossoms in their crowns, and even the flower behind the ear of your waitress seems natural in Bali.

Bali

Ann got caught up with the act of tucking a flower behind her ear and was applauded by the locals when they saw her sporting one during our excursions. As we had mentioned before, to really be a part of Bali, you have just act like a Balinese....!

BALI FAUNA

Bali

Elephants and tigers don't exist any more in Bali since early this century. They were either all killed or became extinct due to natural causes, no one knows. Wild-life, however, includes various species of monkeys (lots of them), civets, barking deer and mouse deer, and 300 species of birds including wild fowl, dollar birds, blue kingfishers, sea eagles, sandpipers, white herons and egrets, cuckoos, wood swallows, sparrows, and starlings. A few of the monkeys can even steal your belongings unaware. Their favorite is sunglasses and could even be persuaded to return them to the rightful owners by offering them their favorite local fruit, bananas.

What they lack above ground is surely made right underwater. Bali has abundant marine life that will surely mesmerize a person who has the chance to see them. You can watch schools of dolphins near Lovina, Candi Dasa, and Padangbai. Divers will see many colorful coral fish and small reef fish, moray eels, and plankton eating whale sharks as well as crustaceans, sponges, and colorful coral along the east coast and around Menjangan Island near Gilimanuk.

BALI CLIMATE

Bali

Expect pleasant day temperatures between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. From December to March, the West monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but usually days are sunny and the rains start during the night and pass quickly. From June to September the humidity is low, and it can be quite cool in the evenings. During this time of the year, you'll have hardly any rain in the coastal areas.

It’s often very windy in the evenings and the local kids favour kite flying along the beaches especially at Nusa Dua. You can even get their help to teach you to fly one. Just smile and approach them in a friendly manner. We did and it was simply superb!

Bali Bali Bali

Even when it rains in most parts of Bali you can often enjoy sunny days on the "Bukit", the hill south of Jimbaran Beach. On the other hand, in Ubud and the mountains you must expect cloudy skies and showers throughout the year (this is why the international weather reports for "Denpasar" or "Bali" mention showers and rain storms during all times of the year).

Bali

In higher regions such as in Bedugul or Kintamani you'll also need either a sweater or jacket after the sun sets. It’s best to have a jacket on hand ready to be used around Kintamani area especially after the rain as the temperature drops and may leave unsuspecting visitors shivering in the cold (girls especially).

 

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