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Make the most of the cultural and natural richness of Bali & Lombok with this comprehensive and up-to-date guide. The full-colour introduction takes a stunning look at many of the islands’ highlights, from the dramatic cliff top temples to the sparkling white-sand beaches. There are new features on Balinese pop music, volcanic landscapes, traditional and modern performing arts and coverage of the islands’ chic side with fashionable spas, designer boutique hotels and exceptional shopping, plus family-friendly ...
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Make the most of the cultural and natural richness of Bali & Lombok with this comprehensive and up-to-date guide. The full-colour introduction takes a stunning look at many of the islands’ highlights, from the dramatic cliff top temples to the sparkling white-sand beaches. There are new features on Balinese pop music, volcanic landscapes, traditional and modern performing arts and coverage of the islands’ chic side with fashionable spas, designer boutique hotels and exceptional shopping, plus family-friendly destinations and activities. Whatever kind of traveller you are, from beach comber to eco-tourist, on a budget or money’s-no-object, you’ll find the accommodation, restaurants and experiences that are right for you. Extras include advice on where to dive, how to arrange treks up the island’s volcanoes and the top surf breaks. The Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok gives you all the practical advice you’ll need for a great adventure.
The best time to visit is outside the monsoon season, from April through till September, though monsoons are, like most other events in Indonesia, notoriously unpunctual. However, the prospect of a daily rainstorm shouldn't put you off coming to the islands altogether. Rain rarely lasts all day in the monsoon season, and you're far more likely to get an hour-long downpour than day-long drizzle. In addition, the landscape is at its most verdant during this time, and the rivers and waterfalls at their most dramatic (mountain-climbing, however, is both unrewarding and dangerous at this time of year). You should also be aware of the peak tourist seasons. Resorts on both islands get packed out between mid-June and mid-September and again over the ChristmasNew Year period, when prices rocket and rooms can be fully booked for days if not weeks in advance.
PART ONE BASICS
Getting There from Britain and Ireland
Getting There from the USA and Canada
Getting There from Australia and New Zealand
Getting There from Southeast Asia
Visas and Red Tape
Travellers with Disabilities
Costs, Money and Banks
Information and Maps
Eating and Drinking
Post, Phones and the Media
Police, Trouble and Emergencies
Opening Hours, Holidays and Festivals
Entertainment and Sport
Travelling with Children
Gay Bali and Lombok
PART TWO THE GUIDE
CHAPTER 1: THE SOUTH
CHAPTER 2: UBUD AND AROUND
CHAPTER 3: THE EAST
Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida
CHAPTER 4: THE NORTH AND THE CENTRAL VOLCANOES
Pura Ulun Danu Batur
CHAPTER 5: THE WEST
Sangeh Monkey Forest
Bali Barat National Park
CHAPTER 6: LOMBOK AND THE GILI ISLANDS
The Gili Islands
PART THREE CONTEXTS
Traditional Music and Dance
Arts and Crafts
The Impact of Tourism
LIST OF MAPS
Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa
Ubud and around
Ubud and neighbouring villages
Pura Penataran Agung
Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan
Bedugul and Bratan Area
Bali Barat National Park
Tetebatu and around
Balinese temple plan
Balinese house compound
The islands of Bali and Lombok are part of the Indonesian archipelago, a 5000-kilometre-long string of over thirteen thousand islands, stretching between Malaysia in the west and Australia to the east. Located just east of the island of Java, Bali has long been the primary focus of Indonesia's flourishing tourist industry and, in recent years, its eastern neighbour, Lombok, has also grown in popularity. Both islands are small (Bali extends less than 150km at its longest point, Lombok a mere 80km), volcanic, and graced with swathes of extremely fertile land, much of it (particularly on Bali) sculpted into terraced rice-paddies. Sandy beaches punctuate the dramatically rugged coastlines and world-class surf pounds both shorelines. Culturally, however, Bali and Lombok could hardly be more different. Bali remains the only Hindu society in Southeast Asia, and exuberant religious observance permeates every aspect of contemporary Balinese life; the Sasak people of Lombok, on the other hand, are Muslim, like the vast majority of other Indonesians.
Until the nineteenth century, both Bali and Lombok were divided into small kingdoms, each domain ruled by a succession of rajas whose territories fluctuated so much that at times, parts of eastern Bali and western Lombok were joined under a single ruler. More recently, both islands endured years of colonial rule under the Dutch East Indies government, which only ended with hard-won Independence for Indonesia in 1949. Since then, the Jakarta-based government of Indonesia has tried hard to foster a sense of national identity among its extraordinarily diverse islands, both by implementing a unifying five-point political philosophy, the Pancasila, and through the mandatory introduction of Bahasa Indonesia, now the lingua franca for the whole archipelago. Politically, Bali is administered as a province in its own right, while Lombok is the most westerly island of Nusa Tenggara province which stretches east as far as Timor.
The tiny island of Bali (population three million) attracts by far the most tourist attention in Indonesia, drawing in more than one and a half million foreign visitors every year, plus around a million domestic tourists. As a result, the island has become very much a mainstream destination, offering all the comforts and facilities expected by better-off tourists, and suffering the predictable problems of congestion, commercialization and breakneck Westernization. However, Bali's original charm is still very much in evidence, its stunning temples and spectacular festivals set off by the gorgeously lush landscape of the island interior. Meanwhile, Lombok (population 2.3 million) plays host to only 300,000 foreign visitors annually (and up to 200,000 domestic tourists), and boasts only a handful of burgeoning tourist resorts, retaining its reputation as a more adventurous destination than its neighbour. While there are established resorts on the coast and in the hill villages, Lombok still has extensive areas that have yet to be fully explored by visitors to the island.
Bali's most notorious resort is Kuta beach, a six-kilometre sweep of golden sand, whose international reputation as a hang-out for weekending Australian surfers is enhanced by its numerous attractions restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. Travellers seeking more relaxed alternatives generally head across the southern peninsula to Sanur or, increasingly, to peaceful Candi Dasa, further east, or the black, volcanic sands of Lovina on the north coast. On Lombok, the Senggigi coastline offers the widest range of accommodation on the island, while the nearby, and rapidly developing, Gili Islands have long been a favourite with backpackers. All these resorts make comfortable bases for divers and snorkellers within easy reach of the islands' fine reefs; Bali also boasts an unusually accessible wreck dive. Surfers on Bali head for the famed south-coast swells, particularly around Uluwatu, and the offshore island breaks of Nusa Lembongan. There¹s also plenty of surfing potential off Lombok's south coast.
Despite the obvious attractions of the beach resorts, most visitors also venture inland to experience more traditional island life. On Bali, the once tiny village of Ubud has become something of a cultural centre, a still charming but undeniably commercialized place, where traditional dances are staged every night of the week and the streets are full of arts and crafts galleries. Tetebatu on Lombok occupies a similarly cool position in the foothills although, like the island as a whole, it lacks the artistic heritage of Bali. In general, the villages on both islands are far more appealing than the towns, but Bali's capital, Denpasar, its former capital Singaraja, and Lombok's Ampenan-Mataram-Cakranegara-Sweta conurbation are all worth a day trip for their museums, markets and temples.
Bali's other big draw is its proliferation of extremely elegant Hindu temples particularly the spectacular island temple of Tanah Lot and the extensive Besakih complex on the slopes of Gunung Agung. Temple festivals are also well worth attending: held throughout the island and at frequent intervals during the year, most are open to tourists.
Both islands also hold a number of hiking possibilities most of them up volcanoes. The best of these is undoubtedly the climb up to the crater lake of Lombok's Gunung Rinjani, though the ascent to the summit of Bali's Gunung Batur is less arduous and therefore more popular. Bali's sole national park, Bali Barat, has relatively few interesting trails, but it is a rewarding place for birdwatching, as is the area around Lake Bratan in the centre of the island.