Facts about Bali

21 Interesting Facts About Bali

The Indonesian island of Bali is the holiday destination of choice for millions of people from all over the world. It’s not hard to see why, either, when it boasts world class surf, amazing scenery, beaches to die for, and people that are among the friendliest in the world. But how much do you actually know about it? With this list of 21 interesting facts about Bali, hopefully you might learn just a little bit more!

Having spent a couple of years in Bali at the time of posting this list, I have learnt a lot of things that I never knew before. Some of these are facts that made my time here a lot easier. Others allowed me to understand so much more about the wonderful Balinese people, and the amazing island that they call home. Then there are some facts about Bali that are just fun to know!

So, let’s take a look.

Table of Contents

#1 – Bali is not a country

This is interesting, not so much as it is true, (because it is), but because I actually have to put it in here at all!

The fact remains though, that many, many people around the world just do not realize that Bali is only one island in the 17,000+ that make up Indonesia. It may be the most popular and well known island, but it is still just an island.

Bali is not a country
Bali is located in Indonesia

What this also means, is that when you visit Bali, your visa will allow you to visit other islands in Indonesia. Try heading to Java, and visiting such amazing places as Yogyakarta, or Mount Ijen and Mount Bromo. You could even take a boat across to Lombok, and the beautiful Gili Islands!

#2 – Bali is made up of 4 Islands

Another of the little known facts about Bali, is that it is actually made up of 4 islands. It is not just one single island, which many visitors believe.

The main island of Bali is the place that most people visit, and they never leave that island during their stay. This is understandable, as it covers the bulk of the Bali real estate. What they are missing out on, though, is some of the most gorgeous scenery that Bali has to offer!

Bali is made up of Four Islands
Bali is made up of Four Islands

Indeed, the other 3 islands are the smaller Nusa Islands off Bali’s South East Coast. They are Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembongan. Many are surprised to find that most of the stunning and famous beach photos that they see in Bali, are actually on Nusa Penida!

It is easy to get to the Nusa Islands from Bali. Just take a fast boat, and book a night or two accommodation out there. For more information on all of the islands, check out THIS guide.

#3 – Bali has 2 active volcanoes

That’s right. TWO!

Bali, and the entire Indonesian archipelago, sits right on top of the Pacific ring of fire. As a result, Bali and her surrounding islands are all home to active volcanoes. In Bali’s case, two of them.

The two volcanoes in question are Mount Agung, the most dominant sight in Bali, and the holiest mountain to the local people. The second is Mount Batur.

facts about Bali volcanoes
There are two active volcanoes on the island of Bali

You can climb both of these mountains, and actually experience being on top of a live volcano, although both are completely different experiences. Mount Batur can be conquered by nearly anyone with a basic level of fitness, and is very popular for sunrise climbs. Mount Agung, on the other hand, is a LOT tougher, and a fair bit more dangerous!

Check HERE for my article on one of the times that I climbed Mount Batur. It really is worth the effort.

#4 – Bali is home to the most expensive coffee in the world

There is a coffee produced in Bali that is unique to the island. Luwak Coffee, or Kopi Luwak, is made with the very special assistance of a small native mammal called the Civet.

Luwak Coffee
Luwak Coffee is one of the most expensive coffee’s in the world

The Civet, a catlike creature that was once seen as a pest in Asia, eats the coffee beans. During the digestive process, the beans are broken down and much of the acidity is removed. The excrement from the Civet is then collected, and Luwak coffee produced.

What results is a very smooth coffee that sells for as much as $80 a cup in the United States!

#5 – Monkeys are not always cute

This is one of the fun facts about Bali that is very dear to my heart. Because it is SO true.

You can go many places in Bali to see monkeys, and it is a “must-do” for many tourists that come from countries that don’t have their own monkeys. But beware, because they are very, very mischievous, and sometimes nasty.

Talk to anyone who has been to Bali numerous times, or expats who live here, and they will tell you the best places to see monkeys. The obvious places to see them are the Monkey Forest in Ubud, and the Monkey Forest in Sangah. The other place is Uluwatu Temple.

Monkeys are not always cute
Watch those glasses!

Beware though, that in all three of these places, the monkeys will steal anything that is not held onto tightly. Cameras, sunglasses, phones, will all disappear into the tree tops unless you are careful. They can even open zips on backpacks! The monkeys in Ubud are very adept at this, no matter what the staff there say.

This aside, even after living in Bali for a long time, I still love seeing monkeys, and slow down on the scooter when I see them beside the road. They are still cute…most of the time.

#6 – Bali was part of the Dutch East Indies

The Dutch began colonizing Indonesia way back in the 1700’s. The island of Java has a lot of Dutch influence that can be seen everywhere. Even the capital city of Jakarta was once named Batavia, and was the headquarters for the Dutch East India Company in those days.

One of the interesting facts about Bali, is that Bali was also conquered by the Dutch, and eventually colonized by them. It took the Dutch several attempts, however, and they didn’t manage to succeed until the early 1900’s. Indonesia declared independence less than 50 years later anyway, so the Dutch influence in Bali was very miniscule in comparison to the rest of Indonesia.

#7 – Bali is Hindu – not Muslim

Even though Indonesia is a mostly Muslim country, it was not always so. Hindu was once the primary religion, until Islam began to spread in the 15th Century.

Balinese are primarily Hindu
Balinese are primarily Hindu

At this time, many people that wished to remain Hindu fled to Bali. The island maintained its beliefs, and to this day the majority of the population of Bali are Hindu. This influence can be seen all over the island, and is one of the things that really sets Bali aside from the rest of Indonesia.

#8 – Bali has its own language

This is one of the facts about Bali that really surprised me. The Balinese really DO have their own language.

Indonesian, or Bahasa Indonesia, is spoken all over Indonesia, and in most places it will get you by. But there are pockets of Bali where they don’t know it, and still only speak Balinese. It is rare, but it actually can be interesting when you come across it.

I have personally encountered it on numerous occasions. Usually a long way from large towns, and even away from the remote villages. So when you are hunting for a remote waterfall, or a little known Bukit out in remote Kintamani, (Bukit Mende was one place this happened to me) then be ready to break out the sign language, even if you are a native speaker of Indonesian!

#9 – 80 percent of the economy comes from tourism

This is almost one of those facts about Bali that is hard to believe, but it is true. At least, right up until the pandemic, when tourism dropped right off for a couple of years. It is rebounding strongly though, and will be a fact once again.

Tourism is vital to the Bali economy

For those that drive around Bali and see the insane amount of agriculture, in particular rice paddies, that are on the island, it is hard to believe that SO MUCH of the economy relies on tourism. But it does. So book that tour you have been thinking about, because the Balinese really rely on it!

#10 – There are only 4 names in Bali

This is one of the facts about Bali that visitors tend to notice, but not really understand.

In Balinese culture, there are only 4 names. This is unusual, but certainly explains a few things that many tourists will notice as they move about on the island. Every second store, warung , or tour company is named “Nyoman’s tours” or “Made’s Warung”.

There are only really 4 names in Bali
There are only really 4 names in Bali

There is a simple reason for this, and that is that there are so many people in Bali with those names. So Nyoman is NOT rich, and doesn’t actually monopolize the tourism industry, like many think.

When a first born baby is born, it is named Wayan. The second born is Made. The third is Nyoman, and the fourth born is Ketut. This doesn’t vary, and when a fifth child is born, they go back to Wayan, and the cycle simply continues!

#11 – Babies are carried everywhere

Babies in Bali are considered little angels, and when they are born, they are still protected by the spirits. To continue that protection, they are carried everywhere for the first few months of their lives. Their feet not touching the ground keeps the “protection” intact.

After a few months, a big ceremony is held during which the baby is allowed to touch the ground for the very first time.

#12 – In Bali, North doesn’t always mean North

This is one of the strange facts about Bali that is surprisingly true. North sometimes doesn’t mean North.


It depends upon where you are on the island. Basically, if you are in the South, then North actually means North. Anywhere else, though, it could mean something totally different!

north doesnt always mean north in Bali
“North” usually means “towards Agung”

The reason for this is that the Balinese see “North” as “up”. Then, combine that with the fact that so much of their culture revolves around Mount Agung, the Holy Mountain, and that it is the literal center of all of their beliefs. Agung is the high point of the island, and therefore, “North” and “Up” pretty much refer to Mount Agung. Once you are North of Mount Agung, and it is in the South, a Balinese will tell you that “South” is actually “North”. Make sense?

The best way to get directions in Bali is to use the old fashioned way. Point!

#13 – Many beaches in Bali are black sand beaches

Most of the photos you see of Bali beaches will be beautiful white or golden sands. These beaches are amazing, but can only really be found in a couple parts of Bali.

The rest of Bali, and the majority of the island, has black sand beaches. These result from the volcanic eruptions that have occurred over the years. Take a trip up to East Bali, where you are close to Mount Agung, and you will find some VERY black beaches. They are quite different to what you would expect, and make for good photo opportunities.

Many of Bali's beaches are black sand beaches
Many of Bali’s beaches are black sand beaches

In the southern parts of Bali, the beaches are not quite as black. They aren’t particularly white either, with a sort of greyish color. Even on the popular Kuta Beach.

To see really white sand in Bali, head out to the Bukit. Nusa Dua and Uluwatu both have beautiful white beaches. The most beautiful golden sands are arguably on Nusa Penida island, however.

#14 – The irrigation system is UNESCO World Heritage Listed

Bali has an irrigation system called “subak” that is over 1000 years old and is UNESCO Heritage listed. This is the system that you will see in place around all the famous rice paddies across the island. It is not overly practical, but is very interesting when you see how it runs.

The irrigation system is UNESCO Heritage Listed
The irrigation system is UNESCO Heritage Listed

All around the Balinese rice paddies you will see temples. These small structures are set in place at nearly every juncture in order to bless the water as it continues along its way.

#15 – You can swim with Manta Rays in Bali

The Manta Ray is a magnificent creature, and can be seen in many places out and around the Nusa Islands. Right near to the popular Broken Beach on Nusa Penida, there is a bay called Manta Bay. From the coastline you can see the Manta’s below you, swimming lazily in the warm coastal waters as they feed on the plankton.

facts about Bali dive with Mantas
You can dive or snorkel with Manta’s in Bali

Organize a tour, and you can snorkel or dive with these magnificent creatures. It really is a unique experience, and one that you should do if you ever visit the Nusa Islands!

#16 – Bali is David Bowie’s final resting place

David Bowie was a lover of Indonesia, and in particular Bali island. He visited on many occasions, and in his final will asked that his family bring his ashes back to Bali.

There is no proof that it was done, but it is commonly believed that his wishes were granted, and that he now permanently resides on Bali island.

When it comes to facts about Bali, this is more a fun thing to know, than an ACTUAL fact!

#17 – There is a villa made out of a plane on top of a cliff

Out in Uluwatu there is a recent new attraction. A plane on a cliff top!

This plane was one of many abandoned planes that are scattered across the island of Bali. It was originally located in a paddock near Pandawa, where it was placed by the owner after being purchased from Surabaya. A failed venture saw it sitting for years, before it was recently snatched up by a Russian investor.

Nyang Nyang Plane
The Nyang Nyang Plane

He has now placed the plane on the cliff tops high above Nyang Nyang Beach in Uluwatu. The plane became a tourist attraction for quite some time, and the locals flocked out to see this unique sight.

Now, the owner has converted it into a world class villa, with views to die for! You can sit out on the wing of the plane and enjoy the sunrise, in a location that has to be seen to be believed.

The “villa” can be located at THIS location, and at time of writing, should be open soon.

#18 – There are millions of dogs in Bali

For anyone that visits Bali, this is one of the first things that they will notice. Balinese love dogs, and even the hundreds of thousands of street dogs are pretty well looked after.

This is not typical to Indonesia as a whole, mostly due to the fact that the country is predominantly Muslim. But it is different in Bali. Everywhere you go, there are dogs! Even along Kuta Beach, there are many dogs that simply live on the beach. They are fed and looked after by the beach workers that ply their trade up and down the beach. In villages, stray dogs are looked after by families who put out left over rice for them at dinner time.

facts about bali dogs
There a many dogs in Bali

There is even an officially recognized Balinese dog breed from Bali. The Kintamani Dog is a beautiful medium sized dog that is bred in the mountains of central Bali.

In short, the Balinese simply love dogs!

#19 – There is a “day of silence”

The Balinese New Year, according to their calendar, falls in March. If you are ever visiting Bali in March, this is important to know.

Because to celebrate the New Year, the Balinese have a “day of silence” called Nyepi. The timing of the day is set by the moon, and is typically right after the full moon in March.

On this day, you must adhere to the customs for Nyepi. All businesses are closed, as is the airport, restaurants and warungs. No vehicles are allowed on the streets, everyone stays at home, and at night time there are no lights turned on inside or outside of your house, hotel or villa. It is an amazing thing to see and witness, and everyone on the island adheres to the rules.

#20 – Flying kites is part of their religion

Whenever you visit Bali, you will be bound to notice the abundance of Kites in the sky. You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a child’s past time, much like in western society. But you would be very wrong.

Kite flying in Bali initially began as a part of their Hindu religion. They would fly kits over the rice paddies and fields to ask the Gods to bless their harvest.

Kite Flying is part of the religion
Kite Flying is part of the religion

A lot of detail goes into the kites of Bali. They are much larger than the typical kites you will find in western society, and often it takes up to 5 or 6 people working in unison to get one into the air. Once they are in place, a hypnotic warbling sound can often be heard, coming from the bamboo bow structures.

Kite flying is so deep seated in the culture that it becomes a family affair. Fathers and sons work together to compete against others in the community. There is even a massive Kite contest every year that has to be seen to be believed!

#21 – There is a statue that is taller than the Statue of Liberty

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue is located on the southern Bukit of Bali. It is 120.9 meters high, which makes it taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York!

facts about Bali GWK
Garuda Wisnu Kencana is taller than the Statue of Liberty

This incredible structure was completed in 2018, and depicts the Hindu God Vishnu, riding upon his mount Garuda, the great mythical bird. The statue is located within its own park, on a piece of land that covers 60 hectares.

To say that the statue dominates the skyline would be an understatement. It can easily be seen by planes flying into Bali, and anyone on the southern beach areas. On a clear day, I have even seen it from distant Mount Batur, and many bukits in East Bali!


I hope you have enjoyed my list of facts about Bali. There are many more, but these have been some of my favorites. Do you know any more? Let me know in the comments below!

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