Bali is the center of tourism for Indonesia. Java is to the west and Lombok to the east. To the south is the Indian Ocean, and to the north is the Java Sea. Bali has world famous beaches, including Kuta Beach, Nusa Dua, and Sanur. In addition to the beaches, Bali is known for its arts, including traditional dance and music, painting, metalworking, and batik.
Bali is unique in that over 93% of the population is Hindu. Bali is called “the Island of the gods.” In ancient Bali, there were nine Hindu sects. Each one had a specific deity as its godhead. The Balinese culture has been highly influenced by Indian and Chinese culture. The Dutch came in 1597 but didn’t colonize the island until the 1840’s. They met with much opposition, and there were two massacres in 1906 and 1908. (Wikipedia)
Tourism began in the 1930’s. It had a break during World War II, when the Imperial Japanese Army occupied Bali. When the Dutch came back after the war to re-instate their colonial rule, the Balinese fought back with the weapons the Japanese had left behind. Unfortunately, the Balinese lost. The Dutch made Bali one of the 13 districts in the State of East Indonesia. Bali finally received its full independence with the rest of Indonesia on December 29, 1949. (Wikipedia)
Bali is surrounded by coral reefs, and as a result is a popular spot for divers and for surfers. The wildlife on Bali is more like the Western part of Indonesia than the Eastern part. The Bali Starling is only found on Bali and is critically endangered. Monkeys are quite common in Bali, especially in the “monkey forests,” including a popular one in Ubud. Cobras, pythons, and Water Monitors also abound in Bali. Numerous fish and other sea creatures in the ocean around the island are unique to this area. In 2011, eight new fish species and two new coral species were discovered. (Wikipedia)
As has already been stated, Hinduism is the dominate religion in Bali. The majority of the people who practice Hinduism are the Balinese, who make up 89% of the population on the island. The rest of the population is Javanese, Loloan, and Madurese (Wikipedia). These ethnic groups are typically Muslim. The Loloan are native to Bali, but their villages look very different from the Balinese villages. Because of this and because of their religion, they are ostracized by the Balinese.
The influence of Hinduism is seen everywhere in Bali. Every neighborhood has a dadia (communal shrine). Most of the village’s interactions are centered around Hindu worship. Although tourism is good for Bali, a key challenge of the tourism is maintaining the integrity of the Balinese culture. Well-conceived and well-executed laws would help preserve the beauty and culture of Bali.
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