20 Interesting Facts About Bali Indonesia to Know Before You Go

Nothing Familiar Bali Travel Facts

Ready to travel to an amazing island full of temples, partying, and some of the best surfing beaches in the world? Well, there are some interesting facts about Bali Indonesia everyone should know before they go! Join us as we dive into the history, nature, and culture of Bali island to find out why it’s become such a popular destination. 

20 Interesting Facts About Bali Indonesia

1. Island of Bali

Typically when you think of an island, you’d expect something walkable or just a bicycle ride away. Not Bali! This beautiful Indonesian island is massive and covers an area of 2,200 square miles.

It’s comparable in size to neighboring Brunei, but it would take you days to circle the island in a car or motorbike. Most tour companies offer day trips that will take 9-10 hours to drive just to the north and back.

Facts about Bali

2. Getting Wet

Before you travel to Bali Indonesia you should know it has two seasons, wet and dry. Dry season stretches from May to September when you can expect sunnier skies.

However, between October and April you’ll likely experience daily rain showers with sporadic thunderstorms mixed in. Weather in the tropics is tough to predict, but it’s one of the Bali facts you should consider while planning your trip.

Bali Weather

3. Facts About Bali Religion

Although Indonesia is primarily a Muslim country, the main religion in Bali is Hindu. Christian and Muslim religions do exist, but Hinduism covers around 84% of the population. As you explore the island of Bali, you’ll see many Hindu temples, decorations, and offerings displayed everywhere you look.

Facts About Bali

4. Garuda Wisnu Statue

While we’re on the topic of religion in Bali, let’s check out the worlds largest Hindu statue! Unveiled in 2018, the Garuda Wisnu statue stands at a towering 396 feet (120 meters) and took over 20 years to build!

The giant sculpture pictures Lord Vishnu riding the mythical bird Garuda, and can be seen for miles at different points on the island. In comparison, the USA’s Statue of Liberty is only 306 feet tall. So it’s safe to say the new piece of art work has already etched its name into Bali history!

Indonesia

5. Active Volcano

Mount Agung is an active volcano on Bali which has already erupted multiple times in the last few years. Also accounting for the highest point in Bali, Mount Agung sits a staggering 9,994 feet and can be seen from almost everywhere.

Nothing catastrophic has happened yet, but recent eruptions have spewed ash into the air and grounded flights. These events left hundreds of thousands of people stranded in Bali Indonesia.

Bali Volcano

6. Black & White Sand Beaches

Another of the facts about Bali that will blow your mind is that it features both black and white sand beaches. While we’ve been to black and even pink sand beaches in countries like Greece and Costa Rica, Bali has some of the most unique we’ve ever seen! Can you imagine swimming under a volcano with black sand and jungle all around you? 

→ Uluwatu Beach Guide: 6 Unique Bali Beaches You Can’t Miss

Bali Beaches

7. Penjor 

Penjor are tall decorative polls that can be seen outside Balinese homes during certain religious holidays. They’re built as offerings to the gods, and to symbolize good over evil. During certain times of the year, you’ll see these hanging proudly and beautifully above every main street.

Bali Penjor 

8. Danger on the Main Road

One of the facts about Bali we didn’t love was the traffic congested main road. Unlike many smaller Indonesian islands, cars drive freely around only further clogging the tight roads.

For example, in 2015, over 500 people died in traffic accidents on Bali roads. Just something to think about if you’re considering renting a motorbike on your trip!

Is Renting a Scooter in Bali Worth it? 10 Tips to Know First

travel to bali indonesia

9. Monkeys Run Bali Island

You can’t travel to Bali Indonesia without running into these furry and adventurous animals. Thousands of monkeys call the island of Bali home, with 700+ monkeys living in the Ubud Forest Sanctuary alone! 

One of the more known Bali Indonesia facts is that some of these monkeys are naughty, not nice. If you go to the monkey forest or Uluwatu Temple, make sure to watch out for your belongings.

Are the Monkeys in Bali Friendly or Dangerous? (Our Experience)

Religion in Bali

10. Temples in Bali Facts

It’s important to visit the major temples when exploring religion in Bali, but you won’t have to look far to see them in general. Temples serve as shrines for almost every island home and village, with the larger ones showcasing the wealth of each owner.

What really makes some of these temples unique is the water features. At places like Tirta Empul you can bath in holy water, or even walk on water at the koi fish pond!

→ Kecak Fire Show & Dance: Why It’s a Must See in Uluwatu Bali!

Island of Bali

11. Bali History

The history of Bali is deep and ranges from Majahapit Empire to Dutch colonialism. People have inhabited the island of Bali since 2000 BC, but the first European contact was made by the Portuguese and Dutch at the end of the 16th century.

Bali was then absorbed into the Dutch East India Company and subsequent colonialism for the next 300+ years. After many years of fighting both in battles and politically, the Balinese finally gained their independence in December of 1949.

History of Bali

12. Subak Irrigation

Before reading these interesting facts about Bali two things probably came to mind. Beautiful beaches and jaw dropping rice paddies! Unsurprisingly, these tremendous rice paddies don’t just grow overnight! The intricate Subak irrigation system was developed in the 9th century, and ties deeply into both Bali history and religion.

Each village on the island of Bali meets once a year to discuss a plan of action for this valuable life source. In addition, the water itself actually starts at the temples and then runs down into the stair-like rice fields below. Honestly, the Bali irrigation system is involves so much detail we may have to write a separate blog just to fully explain it!

Tegallalang Rice Terrace

13. Become a Yogi

After traveling to Bali Indonesia it’s safe to say this is the yoga mecca of Southeast Asia. With a high concentration of studios in towns like Ubud, it’s a fun way to disconnect and take in the ancient art of stretching. From full scale retreats to quick one hour sessions, Bali has all the downward dog you’ll need to have fun!

14. Facts About Bali Tourism

In 2019, over 6 million tourists visited Bali which accounted for a staggering 40% of all tourism in Indonesia. While one can argue the positive and negative effects of tourism in Bali, what can not be understated it’s the economic impact. The tourism sector makes up around 80% of Bali’s economy!

Bali History

15. Baliwood

If you haven’t seen the classic Julia Roberts movie Eat, Pray, Love, you’re seriously missing out! It pictures the the scenic Ubud region in all it’s glory, and may be singlehandedly responsible for driving a portion of tourism to Bali.

Although that is the most popular of the movies shot here, there has been many others using the awesome jungle beach scenery on the big screen. Something tells us Hollywood isn’t done with this magical island yet!

Bali Beach

16. Warung Buffets

Did you think we were going to complete this list without any food facts about Bali Indonesia? While many amazing restaurants are available all over the island, the one that immediately caught our eye was the buffet style dining.

Food is displayed in windows at “warungs” all across the island. This allows you to pick out whatever you want for extremely cheap prices. We preferred the veggie warungs, and never paid more than $2 USD for a meal!

You can check out more of Bali’s best restaurants in the town of Uluwatu. Here’s our 17 favorite places to eat including fun digital nomad cafes and warungs.

→ Bali Warung: How to Eat Healthy & Cheap in Bali Indonesia

Bali Warung - What to Eat in Bali

17. Arak Attack

Arak is the local liquor made in Bali and other Indonesian islands. This homemade moonshine is cheap, but can be lethal if you get a bad batch. Methanol poisoning in Bali has lead to many deaths in recent years, and can even cause you to go blind.

Anytime you’re messing with an unregulated liquor there’s going to be some risks attached, but this is one to avoid 100%. It’s best to stick to beer in Bali if you’re indulging in alcoholic beverages. We prefer Bintang! 

Bingtang Beer

18. Aussie Tourists

Did someone say party? Over one million Australians travel to Bali Indonesia every year. They edged out Chinese tourists slightly by the numbers, but their presence can be felt all around the island.

Australians come to jam out to music on Kuta Beach, surf big waves, and take in the good vibes. Only being a few hours flight from the Aussie homeland, it doesn’t look like this will slow down anytime soon!

Thomas Beach

19. Instafamous

Bali is changing as we know it. Yes, the scene is moving from a spiritual journey to you guessed it… Instagram! Just jump on your app right now. I bet you’ll see people bathing in flower baths and standing on cliffs overlooking the magnificent Bali beaches.

Now this may be a sign of the overall travel landscape and not a momentous change in Bali history. Yet you have to wonder if this insanely popular app is responsible for some of the tourism you see today.

20. Surfers Paradise

We’ve talked at length about the spiritual side of the island, but there is one religion in Bali we failed to mention. Surfing in Bali is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle!

Featuring some of the most epic breaks in the world in Uluwatu, it’s every surfers dream to ride the big one in. However, you may want to be careful before you get in the water. The most legendary spots are reserved for locals and professionals!

Surfboards

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own interesting facts about Bali Indonesia?

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Indonesia Travel Planning 

 Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Singapore to Bali for $60 USD, and Bali to Surabaya for less than $40! 

 Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Transportation: 12Go is where we look first in Asia for ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! From speed boats to the Gili Islands and bus transfers around the country. 

Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Bali. We recommend taking a sunrise Mount Batur hike with breakfast, an authentic cooking class in a local village, and the Ubud waterfall tour

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Indonesia Travel

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12 Comments

  1. August 4, 2023 / 9:10 am

    While Kandui Left is the main attraction, the Mentawai Islands offer a wide range of other surf breaks nearby, catering to surfers of different skill levels.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      August 4, 2023 / 9:14 am

      Good to know! Thanks for the tip

  2. Bev Gauthier
    February 9, 2022 / 1:14 pm

    I just love Bali it is so beautiful and the people are amazing. It is a magical island for sure. Steeped in culture and modern day luxuries I just cant say enough about it <3 Bali stole my heart.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      February 9, 2022 / 11:00 pm

      We feel the exact same way! Can’t wait to be back in Bali someday (-:

  3. Steve
    May 6, 2021 / 12:01 am

    Just love Bali. I went back in 2019 which was the first time in 41 yrs. The most incredibly friendly, beautiful country. Great food, hospitality & scenery. Hangin to get back asap

    • Brigitte & Jake
      May 6, 2021 / 5:47 am

      Yes it’s such a beautiful island! That must of been an amazing experience returning after so many years. We can’t wait to go back someday (:

      • Steve
        August 16, 2021 / 2:12 am

        Just amazed at the changes. Just really looking forward to returning when it’s safe & possible to do so. We do miss being there

        • Brigitte & Jake
          August 16, 2021 / 8:36 am

          We miss it so much, too!

  4. Erin
    July 19, 2019 / 8:14 pm

    Hello, can you share how I obtain an international tourist dL in Bali for a scooter. I keep getting conflicting info.
    Thanks for any help

    • Brigitte & Jake
      July 21, 2019 / 7:30 am

      Hi Erin! The only thing we’re certain of for obtaining the license is to do it before leaving your home country. We were told once you’re in Bali you have to go to the police station and register… Unfortunately, we don’t have any real insight on how that process works because we didn’t do it ourselves. We know a lot of people get there’s online, but from what we remember they require a hard copy in Bali. Hope that helps!

      • Victoria
        January 15, 2020 / 2:10 am

        You don’t need one chances of there being an issue remote but you will have to produce yr DL from your home country when hiring. Currently about $5 per day Ubud December 2019.

        • Brigitte & Jake
          January 15, 2020 / 7:55 am

          Thanks for the insight Victoria. We traveled through Bali for a month and never had a problem. However, our friends were stopped twice during their visit and had to pay fines on the spot!

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