BALI, INDONESIA
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ABOUT BALI OUR VISIT TO BALI
Bali is the most visited place in Indonesia.  The island is famous as an "exotic tropical paradise island" with majestic volcanoes, spectacular terraced rice fields, golden beaches, and a rich and colorful history.  The island, which is the western most island of the chain that makes up the Lesser Sundas, is one of Indonesia's smallest provinces.  It is located immediately East of Java and is separated from it by the narrow Bali Strait; a shallow body of water.  To the East of Bali is the Island Lombok separated by the Lombok Strait, a deep body of water.   
 
Bali is 2,147 square miles (5,561 sq. km) and rises from the sea in a series of volcanic peaks, the highest is 9,843 feet (3,00 meters).  Bali is predominately Hindu and it is filled with thousands of temples, which can be found where ever one travels.  The people believe they are the guardians of the land and must protect  and preserve it.  
 
Several coastal areas have become major tourist destinations for their beauty and the night life offered.  These areas, primarily in the Southeastern part, are fairly well populated.  The capital of Bali Province is Denpasar, located in this area.  The international airport is here.  The well known beach resorts of Kuta and Sanur are near by, and further South on the Bukit Pennisula is the resort area of Nusa Dua.  North of Denpasar is Ubud, the artistic and cultural capital of the island.  In this general area, lying between Denpasar and Ubud, are small villages, many of which are well known for traditional crafts which have been carried down for generations.  The traditional dance and crafts are often "Wayang" school.   In these villages can be found fine wood carving, weaving, silver smiths, painting, puppet making, etc.
We arrived in Denpasar airport November 24, 2008, after a short flight from Surabaya, East Java.  (Click here for photos of Java and here for photos of Candis Prambanan and Borobudur)  Upon arrival we drove North to Ubud where we stayed several days at our resort hotel.  During this period we met friends we first met in a restaurant in Buenos Aires a few years ago.  We had a pleasant time together.  They were in Bali for two months.  We had Thanksgiving dinner together, with turkey and all the associated food at a pleasant restaurant well populated by expats.  
 
While in Ubud, we visited several major sights and also went north to see several important temples and Mt. Batur and its famous crater.  Many of the the following photographs are of this side trip.  
 
We left Ubud and went south to Sanur Beach where we stayed for about a week.  While here we visited the museum in Denpasar and the markets nearby.  We also visited temples.  A very special evening was spent with a person I had come to know via the Internet who lives and works in Bali.  Originally from Holland, he and his family built a home East of Kuta on the coast.  We had dinner and then returned to our hotel late in the evening.
 
We spent a day driving north along the new East coast road visiting black sand beaches, watching sea salt being purified, touring Klungkung with its beautiful Kerta Ghosa (Hall of Justice, 18th century) and adjoining Bale Kembang (Floating Pavilion) both containing superb Wayang murals, and ending the day seeing a performance of the Kecak and Fire Dance, Batabulan Village.  Other days we spent reading and walking among the many shops and markets.  From Bali we traveled for two days to Komodo National Park (see photos) via plane and ship.  We flew from Denpasar December 9, 2008, to Kuala Lumpar international airport where we were picked up and driven to our hotel in Melaka.  (Melaka photos)
Map on left shows most of where we traveled; briefly described above in the right column.  The relief map - view of Bali from the North to the South - gives a good sense of the volcanic islands.