At a Glance
When to Go
Ngurah Rai International Airport is the only airport in Bali. It's located in Tuban, next to the tourist hub of Kuta, and about 15 to 20 minutes from the resorts of Nusa Dua and Jimbaran. The town of Ubud is about an hour away depending on traffic and time of day, but a new toll road opened in 2013, and it shaves off about 20 minutes, if your driver uses it.
Bali has become an island packed full of motorbikes and cars. Only recently has the government introduced public buses, but the system isn’t of much use to tourists, as the buses only go up and down the main bypass. The best ways to get around are to rent a motorbike or hire a driver with a car. A motorbike should cost no more than about $3 a day, and a car with driver will cost about $40 for a whole day. If you do choose to ride a motorbike, wear a helmet and be aware that many of Bali's drivers don't take road laws all that seriously.
Food and Drink
Offerings are laid daily in the morning and evening to appease the gods and spirits that the Balinese believe exist in every part of nature. In addition to the numerous village temples, each house has its own temple. Dance, music, painting, and carving are important arts, practiced the same way they have been for centuries. Some say the island’s culture is being watered down by tourism, but in every part of Balinese life, community—meaning temples and ceremonial duties—continue to come first before all else.
Bali is an island constantly buzzing with ceremonies and festivals. Not a day goes by when you don’t see people in their temple clothes carrying offerings somewhere. The most important festival is Galungan, held every 210 days. On this day the gods descend to check that everyone is behaving and then ascend 10 days later on Kuningan. Temples are adorned and piled high with offerings, and the streets are lined with penjor (tall bamboo poles decorated outside each house). Balinese New Year, or Nyepi, which usually falls in March, is also a very important day.
What the Locals Know
Born in New York, raised in Virginia and the Isle of Man, Hannah was never destined to stay in one place. After studying fine art at university she moved to New York to pursue a career in magazine art direction but decided after a couple of years the tropics were calling. She moved to Bali in 2005 to teach art and English to primary school kids. She now lives in a village in Bali with her husband and 2 children… and 20 other family members. Freelance writing, translating, and blogging keeps her busy.