Bali is an Indonesian island located at 8°25′23″S 115°14′55″E Co, the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 33.0 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.
With a population recorded as 3,151,000 in 2005, the island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia’s small Hindu minority. 93.18% of Bali’s population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.
The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and is approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; it’s land area is 5,632 km². The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains cover centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active; an eruption 30,000 years ago was one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth.
In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. The longest of these rivers, Sungai Ayung, is also the longest on the island (approx. 75 km).
The principal city is the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 300,000. Bali’s second-largest city is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, which is located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people. Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar’s urban area; and Ubud, which is north of Denpasar, and known as the island’s cultural centre.
There is a coastal road surround the island, as well as three major two-lane arteries that cross the central mountains at passes reaching to 1,750m in height (at Penelokan). Minor roads branch off of these major highways. The Ngurah Rai Bypass is a four-lane expressway that partly encircles Denpasar and enables cars to travel quickly in the heavily populated south. Bali has no railway lines.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, they are not yet used for significant tourism.
To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.
Bali has around 280 species of birds, including the critically endangered Bali Starling. The only endemic high-level predator of the island, the Bali tiger, became extinct in the 1930s.
The Bali Barat National Park, located on the north western side of the island, is a refuge for wildlife such as the Sunda Pangolin, Indian Muntjac, Mouse-deer, Leopard Cat, Black Giant Squirrel, and several species of macaque and leaf monkey.