Hearing the name "Bali" often brings images of a tropical paradise to mind. Although Bali is, in fact a tropical paradise, where exactly is it and what is so unique about it?
is one of 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) in the archipelago that make up the country of Indonesia. It is 145 km (90 miles) long and 80 km (50 miles) wide. As shown on the map below, Bali is situated just east of the island of Java and west of Lombok.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation with 231 million people; interestingly, most of Bali's 3 million people are Hindu. Although many of the islands that make up Indonesia are beautiful and appealing, Bali is particularly attractive. Much of the island is surrounded by beautiful beaches with clear water. Mount Agung, an active volcano, towers 3,142 m (10,308 feet) above the terrain in the center of the island. Hindu temples dot the landscape and the fertile island overflows with green rice paddies.
Bali also has a fascinating cultural tradition. Ubud, in the center of the island, is known for arts and crafts including woodcarving, batik-making and painting. Balinese dance and Gamelan orchestra performances are common. Small artistic touches are evident throughout much of the island in the form of small offerings presented to Hindu Gods.