34 Fun Facts About Bali (2024 Guide)

written by local expert Catrin Lynn

Catrin is a history enthusiast based in Wales. Her passions are her animals, exploring the Welsh mountains with her husband, wellness, and traveling to different European cities.

Looking for some fun facts about Bali? Think you’ve got the province all figured out? Well, our collection of facts might just surprise you.

Bali isn’t just any tropical paradise; it’s a mosaic of stunning traditions, jaw-dropping landscapes, and one-of-a-kind cultural gems that have enchanted travelers from all corners of the globe. Ready to take a deep dive into the heart of Bali and discover the magic that makes this island truly spellbinding? Let’s go!

1. No Newborns On the Floor

In Bali, newborns are considered sacred. They’re not allowed to touch the ground until they are three months old. This belief stems from the idea that the ground is unclean, and thus, babies are lovingly passed from one pair of arms to another, ensuring they remain pure and untouched by the earth.

A newborn baby in Bali, Indonesia
A newborn baby in Bali, Indonesia

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2. Bali’s Sky-High Tributes to the Divine

During significant religious celebrations, the Balinese decorate their surroundings with ‘penjor’ – tall, ornately decorated bamboo poles. These beautiful decorations are offerings to the gods, symbolizing victory over evil, and can be seen outside homes and temples, reaching heights of up to 10 meters.

3. The Mischievous Long-Tailed Macaques

Bali is home to over 700 long-tailed macaques, especially in the Ubud Monkey Forest. Known locally as ‘monyet’, these playful primates are a common sight across the island. 

They’re often engaging in their favorite pastime – stealing food from unsuspecting tourists so hold on to your hats and snacks! Regardless, seeing these unique animals is one of the best things to do in Bali.

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4. Dutch Courage And Balinese Spirit For Independence

Bali became part of the Dutch East Indies in the early 20th century, following the Dutch invasion. Despite this, Bali maintained a degree of local autonomy, showcasing the island’s resilience and unique cultural identity.

There’s even a festival ‘Festival Semarapura’ to celebrate the resistance against Dutch colonial occupation. The festival showcases traditional art performances with over 650 participants! It’s a great reason to visit Indonesia.

floating palace in semarapura, bali
Floating palace in Semarapura, Bali

5. The Impact Of World War II

The Japanese occupation during World War II marked a challenging period for Bali. Initially welcomed for the promise of independence from Dutch rule, the Japanese soon became resented for their harsh governance. 

This era ended with Japan’s surrender in 1945, shortly followed by Indonesia’s declaration of independence.

6. Arak: Bali’s Spirited Brew

Arak, Bali’s traditional liquor, is a must-try for visitors. This delicious homemade coconut palm wine can be a delightful experience. Just take care, as poorly made batches can lead to methanol poisoning. Enjoy with caution!

A great place to try this unique drink is at one of Canggu’s many amazing restaurants.

7. Bazaar Bliss

Bali’s weekend markets, like the Love Anchor Market Bazaar and Samadi Market, offer a fantastic shopping experience. From fresh produce to artisanal crafts, these markets are a testament to Bali’s rich culture and community spirit. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons to visit Bali instead of Thailand.

dream catcher hanging in love anchor market
Dream catchers for sale at a market in Bali

8. Warung Way to Dine

For a taste of local life, dine at a ‘warung’ – small, family-owned eateries serving traditional Balinese dishes. These humble establishments are the heart of Bali’s culinary scene, offering authentic flavors and a glimpse into the island’s way of life.

9. The Day Of Silence

Nyepi, the Balinese Day of Silence, is a unique Hindu celebration focused on self-reflection and fasting. For 24 hours, the island comes to a standstill – no flights, no businesses, and minimal light, offering a moment of peace and introspection. 

As if Bali needed more reasons to be a paradise!

10. A Land Of Two Seasons

Bali’s tropical climate is characterized by two main seasons. The dry season from May to September is ideal for visiting, especially if you want to go surfing or join a yoga camp.

However, the wet season from October to April is marked by tropical downpours and higher humidity.

weather vane in bali
A weather vane in Bali

11. Bali’s Peak Of Piety And Power

Mount Agung, an active volcano and the highest peak in Bali, is known as a sacred site. Balinese Hinduism regards it as a replica of Mount Meru, the central axis of the universe and the abode of the gods, establishing a profound connection between the divine and the earthly. 

Its eruption in 2017 vividly reminded everyone of Bali’s ever-changing and powerful nature, adding to its sacred importance.

12. The Island Of Hinduism

Unlike the predominantly Muslim Indonesia, Bali stands out with its Hindu majority. This unique blend of Hinduism and local animist beliefs forms the foundation of Balinese culture and traditions.

13. A Dance Of Blended Cultures

The famous Kecak dance, based on the Hindu epic Ramayana, was actually developed by a German artist in the 1930s. This fusion of traditional Balinese ritual and artistic innovation is a testament to the island’s cultural adaptability.

kecak fire dance
A kecak fire dance

14. The Unique Tail Of Kopi Luwak

Bali offers the chance to try Kopi Luwak, one of the world’s most expensive coffees, made from beans that have passed through a civet cat. This unique process results in a highly prized brew, despite its unusual origin.

15. A Diverse Marine Ecosystem

Bali’s waters are home to a rich array of marine life, including over 500 species of reef-building corals, manta rays, sunfish, and numerous species of fish. The island is a diver’s paradise, offering stunning underwater landscapes to explore.

16. A UNESCO-Recognized Irrigation System

Bali’s Subak irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient and complex network reflecting the island’s commitment to environmental sustainability and community collaboration.

Essential for rice cultivation, Subak shapes Bali’s iconic terraced landscapes, showcasing the locals’ profound bond with nature and their innovative approach to ecological harmony.

bali rice paddy fields with subak irrigation
Rice paddy fields in Bali

17. The Contrast Of Black Sand Beaches

While Bali is famed for its white-sand beaches (which are great for surfing), the island’s north and west coasts boast stunning black-sand beaches, a result of volcanic activity. These unique landscapes offer a different kind of beach experience, with the black sand absorbing more heat.

18. The Island Of the Gods

Bali is affectionately known as Pulau Dewata, or ‘Island of the Gods’, a name that reflects the island’s spiritual essence. With over 20,000 temples and shrines, Bali is a place where the divine is woven into the fabric of everyday life.

19. The Challenge Of Plastic Waste

Bali faces significant environmental challenges, particularly with plastic waste. With a pioneering ban on single-use plastics and a wave of community clean-ups, the island is on a mission to preserve its paradise status for generations to come. Dive into a cleaner, greener Bali where sustainability is the new norm.

plastic waste in bali
Bali is on a mission to become more sustainable

20. A Thriving Economy Fueled By Tourism

Tourism is the backbone of Bali’s economy, contributing to approximately 80% of the island’s income. Despite setbacks from past events, Bali remains one of Indonesia’s wealthiest regions, drawing visitors from around the globe.

It’s no surprise that there are now many places to stay in Bali. From family-friendly accommodation to villas with private pools, Bali has you covered. Check out this post for a guide on where to stay in Canggu.

21. David Bowie’s Final Wish

The late music icon David Bowie, known for his boundless artistic exploration, found a spiritual haven in Bali. He chose this island paradise, a place that touched his soul deeply, as his final resting place, requesting his ashes be scattered by Bali’s serene Buddhist rituals.

Bowie’s legacy, much like Bali’s own cultural heritage, continues to inspire and resonate, blending the artistic with the spiritual in a timeless harmony

22. A Sanctuary Of Spas And Wellness

Bali is renowned for its extensive array of spas and wellness retreats, offering everything from traditional Balinese massages to modern holistic therapies. The island’s focus on health and well-being is evident in its numerous spas, which cater to all preferences and budgets, ensuring that visitors can find relaxation and rejuvenation.

spa in bali
Flower baths are very popular in Bali

23. Australian Affinity

Bali is a favorite holiday destination for Australians, thanks to its proximity and the affordable luxury it offers. From vibrant nightlife to world-class surfing spots, Bali provides the perfect escape for Australian tourists, making them one of the largest groups of visitors to the island.

24. The Bali Myna: An Endemic Treasure

The Bali myna, also known as the Bali starling, is a critically endangered bird species native to the island. With fewer than 100 believed to exist in the wild, conservation efforts are crucial to prevent the extinction of this beautiful bird, which is a symbol of Bali’s unique biodiversity.

25. The Lost Bali Tiger

The Bali tiger, once a majestic inhabitant of the island, was declared extinct in the 1950s, with the last known tiger being killed in 1937. This tragic loss serves as a reminder of the importance of wildlife conservation and the need to protect Bali’s remaining natural inhabitants.

lost bali tiger
A lost Bali tiger

26. A Unique Calendar System

Bali operates on the Pawukon calendar, which is only 210 days long. This system divides the year into six months, with each month consisting of 35 days. The Balinese also use the Sasih calendar, a 12-lunar month system.

27. Abandoned In Plane Sight

Bali is home to several abandoned airplanes, including a Boeing 737 in South Kuta and others near Pandawa Beach and in West Bali. These intriguing sites have become unconventional attractions, sparking curiosity and speculation about their origins and purpose.

28. The Artistic Village Of Ubud

Ubud is often considered the cultural heart of Bali, known for its thriving arts scene, including painting, dance, and music. This artistic enclave attracts creatives from around the world, contributing to its reputation as a hub for traditional and contemporary arts.

In fact, Ubud is the perfect holiday spot for those looking for artistic inspiration offering a wealth of things to do and unique activities.

There are also many beautiful places to stay in Ubud such as stunning Balinese villas, luxury hotels, and budget-friendly spots.

ubud monkey forest
Ubud is known for being popular with artists and creative people

29. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is not only a nature reserve but also a significant spiritual site for the local community. The forest is home to three Hindu temples, dating back to the 14th century, emphasizing the harmonious coexistence of wildlife and spirituality in Bali.

30. The Gates Of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple

The Lempuyang Temple, one of Bali’s oldest and most revered temples, features the iconic “Gates of Heaven.” This picturesque spot offers a stunning view of Mount Agung through the temple gates, creating a mesmerizing and highly Instagrammable scene.

31. Bali’s Traditional Dress

The traditional Balinese dress, worn during religious ceremonies and festivals, is a vibrant display of Bali’s rich cultural heritage. Men typically wear a sarong, a sash, and a headband, while women wear a kebaya blouse and a sarong, often adorned with intricate patterns and bright colors.

balinese dress
Traditional outfits in Bali

32. Non-Stop Festivals

Bali is known as the “Island of a Thousand Puras (Temples)” and, correspondingly, the “Island of a Thousand Festivals.” Almost every day, there’s a celebration in some part of the island, ranging from temple anniversaries to elaborate ceremonies like Galungan and Kuningan, which celebrate the victory of good over evil.

33. Bali’s Volcanic Lakes

Bali is home to several stunning volcanic lakes, including Lake Batur and Lake Bratan. These lakes offer unique and breathtaking natural beauty. They are important cultural sites, with temples like Pura Ulun Danu Bratan beautifully situated on the shores, creating a serene and picturesque setting.

34. The Bali Aga People

The Bali Aga, or “original Balinese,” live in several ancient villages that predate Hindu influence on the island, such as Tenganan and Trunyan. These communities maintain a traditional way of life, with unique customs, architecture, and textiles, offering a glimpse into Bali’s pre-Hindu past.

bali aga
Bali, Indonesia

And there you have it—a glimpse into the many fun facts about Bali, an island where every grain of sand tells a story and every sunset paints a new masterpiece. From its sacred rituals and vibrant festivals to its lush landscapes and warm, welcoming people, Bali has it all. 

You could opt to visit the creative town of Ubud, the breathtaking beaches and region of Uluwatu, or the islands of Nusa Dua. Alternatively, you may consider activities such as surfing in Medewi, quad biking across the island, or white water rafting. No matter what, you’ll need to check out this Bali packing list.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or dreaming up your next adventure from home, we hope these facts have sparked your curiosity and maybe, just maybe, have you picturing your own Bali escapade.

Until then, keep the spirit of the island alive in your dreams, and remember, the Island of the Gods is waiting to embrace you with open arms!

Looking for other fun facts? Check out some of our other guides:

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