History and Culture
Geographically, Bali lies between the islands of Java and Lombok. Bali is small, stretching approximately 140 km from east to west 80 km from north to south. The tallest of a string of volcanic mountains that run from the east to the west, is Gunung Agung, which last erupted in 1963. Lying just 8 south of the equator, Bali boasts a tropical climate with just two seasons (wet and dry) a year and an average annual temperature of around 28C. The wide and gently sloping southern regions play host to Bali's famed rice terrace among some of the most spectacular in the world. In the hilly, northern coastal regions, the main produce is coffee, copra, spices, vegetables, cattle and rice.
Historically, Bali was a collection of independent kingdoms, before being brought under Dutch colonial control in the 19th century and incorporated into what was then the Dutch East Indies. In 1948, shortly after WWII, Bali, along with the rest of the country, achieved independence from Holland and become a part of Indonesia.
The island has a population of approximately three million people, over 90% of which subscribe to a particular offshoot of the Hindu religion. This differentiates Bali from the rest of Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim. Religion plays a major role in the daily life of the Balinese. Colorful religious ceremonies are frequent at the numerous temples, large and small, dotted all over the island; and it is rare for a visitor to Bali not to see at least one during their stay. Every home contains a small temple for devotions, and offerings to the Gods are visible wherever one goes.