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Bali and the Komodo Islands Planning Tips and Fast Facts

Embrace the Exotic, the Enchanting, and the Most Welcoming People in the World… But Don’t Kiss the Dragon

Our Expert Opinion

This was one of the best and most magical yacht charter vacations that I have had – crystalline waters teeming with fish; exotic culture; welcoming people; fresh, spicy and healthy cuisine; isolated beaches; and creepy Komodo dragons. The people and the crew touched my heart like no others.

What is Destination Known For?

Spectacular dive sites, colorful local celebrations, diverse cultures, breath taking scenery, ancient temples, everyday offerings to the gods, majestic beauty, and isolated beaches

Location and Size

Having a total area of 735,358 sq. miles (1,904,569 sq. kms.), Indonesia is an archipelago situated in the continent of Asia. With 17,000 islands (11,000 of them inhabited), the country's coastline stretches 34,000 miles (54,716 kms). It is the 15th largest nation in the world. The islands of Bali and The Komodos are a part of Indonesia.

History

Bali. The Austronesian people who originally migrated from Taiwan were the first inhabitants of Bali – around 2000 BC. The island came under Buddhist and Hindu influence around the 1st century AD, following which, a Balinese colony was founded by the Hindu Majapahit Empire in eastern Java in 1343. Towards the 15th century, the empire in Java was beginning to decline. This led to a mass departure of intellectuals, artists, priests, and musicians from Java to Bali, and this heritage is still very much alive in today’s culture.

The arrival of Europeans into Bali began with the Portuguese in 1585, when the ship they were traveling in foundered off the Bukit Peninsula. However, the Portuguese made no attempts to colonize the region, unlike the Dutch, who came next, beginning with the explorer Cornelis de Houtman in 1597. After establishing the Dutch East India Company in 1602, the Dutch succeeded in gradually taking over the administration of Bali. However, the local culture remained intact. Bali attained independence from Netherlands and became a part of Indonesia on December 29, 1949.

The Komodo Island. Very little is known about the early history of the Komodo Islands. It is believed that the original settlers on the island were subjects of the Sultanate of Bima, Manggarai, South Flores and South Sulawesi. This included

people from the Bajau and Ata Modo tribes, who were mainly fishermen. The Komodo islands are distinguished for its resident 'dragons' – giant sized members of the lizard family. The Komodo National Park, which was established in 1980, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting There

Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport, in Bali is the main port of entry. The region is well connected to Australia with a number of direct flights. Connecting flights also operate between Bali and different parts of the EU, New Zealand, the US & UK.

Best Time to Go

Though the islands are quite alluring year round, April-September is the best time of the year to go to Bali & the Komodo islands.

Local Customs to Observe

Bali is primarily a Hindu population, and the people welcome you to join and observe their ceremonies which happen almost daily throughout the island. As a courtesy, both men and women should wear a sarong that covers them from the waist down. Women should wear conservative tops that do not expose too much skin. Selma pagi and selamat malam are used to say 'good morning' & 'good evening' respectively

Helpful Fast Facts

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah.

Time Zone: Indonesia Central Time Zone (UTC+08:00).

Local language: Balinese is widely spoken in Bali. Various local languages are used by different communities that make up the population of Bali & the Komodo islands. English is also used in tourist areas and along the coasts.

Population: The population of Bali is 4,225,000 as of January, 2014. Komodo has a population of over 2000.

Airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS).

Entry Requirements: All nationals require a valid passport to enter the islands. A 30-day, non-extendable visa is issued upon arrival to citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US. A 60-day (non-extendable) visa can also be applied from the home country. Onward or return tickets are a must.

Departure tax: Rp200,000.

Legal Drinking Age: The legal drinking age in Indonesia is 18.

Smoking Regulations: Smoking is banned in all enclosed and public spaces.

Staying in touch: Network connectivity is good on Bali. Coverage is unreliable in many of the remote islands; check satellite availability on your yacht

Medical Information: BIMC Hospital in Bali is the premier medical facility. Several clinics exist across the Komodo islands.

Public Holidays: Jan 1 - New Year's Day; Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Sunday & Monday; May 1 - Labor Day; June 13 - Queen's Birthday; July 23 - National Remembrance Day; August 26 - National Day of Repentance; September 16 - Independence Day; December 25 - Christmas Day; December 26 - Boxing Day.

Tourist Office: For details on Bali tourist places and Indonesia tourism, visit http://www.bali-tourism-board.org/ & http://www.indonesia.travel/.

Shopping Information: Bali is famous for its arts & crafts, antique & semi-antique furniture, carved jewelry, paintings, dyed & woven fabrics, masks, wood & stone carvings. Souvenirs, handicrafts, clothes, jewelry, silverware & carvings are a must buy in the Komodos. Several duty-free shops exist at the airports.

Top Ten "Must Do's"

  • Swim & snorkel in the crystalline waters of Sabolon
  • Come face-to-face with the mighty Komodo Dragon on Rinca Island
  • Visit one of the world's seven pink-hued colored beaches – Pantai Mera
  • Learn about sambals and satays at Cafe Wayang in Bali or from your onboard chef
  • Hire a local guide in Bali for a tour through the rice fields and a visit to a local Hindu celebration
  • Stay in Ubud for a few nights before your yacht charter, shopping for lovely local arts and crafts; take a solitary early morning walk in the Monkey Forest
  • Ask you guide to accompany you on a walk through the local village life on Komodo Island
  • Discover the unique and rich underwater life at the Liberty wreck in Tulamben
  • Transform Happy Hour into Fishing Hour and troll for your catch of the day at sunset
  • Figure out how to have a massage a day in this land of spas and scents
  • Say “yes” when your crew invites you to a specially staged evening of song, spirit, dance, native costumes, and local cuisine on your own candlelit private beach

Major Local and Regional Events

  • Bali Spirit Yoga Festival – the festival marks the presence of musicians, dancers & yoga enthusiasts from around the world
  • Bali Kites Festival – annual celebration of the Balinese cultural icon, the traditional Balinese kite

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