The island of Bali lies about 3 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is just south of the equator. Bali and Java are separated by the Bali Strait. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and spans approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; its land area is 5,632 km².
Bali's central mountains include several peaks over 3,000 metres in elevation. The highest is Mount Agung (3,142 m), known as the "mother mountain" which is an active volcano. Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Bali's volcanic nature has contributed to its exceptional fertility and its tall mountain ranges provide the high rainfall that supports the highly productive agriculture sector. South of the mountains is a broad, steadily descending area where most of Bali's large rice crop is grown. The northern side of the mountains slopes more steeply to the sea and is the main coffee producing area of the island, along with rice, vegetables and cattle. The longest river, Ayung river, flows approximately 75 km.
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. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. There is white water rafting on some other rivers in Bali: Ayung river near Ubud, as well as the Telaga Waja and Unda rivers.
The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 500.000. 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 is known as the island's cultural centre.
Three small islands lie to the immediate south east and all are administratively part of the Klungkung regency of Bali: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These islands are separated from Bali by the Badung Strait.
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 a 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.
In the mountainous area on the island of Bali, pine trees grow verdantly because of the high humidity. Banyan trees (Ficus Elastica) and Pule trees (Alstonia Scholaris) are the sacred trees of Bali. Pule trees are the main material for carving the sacred masks. Those trees can be easily found in the center of every village or at temples. Nowadays, Ebony trees or Pangge Baya are rarely found because these trees are the best material for wood carving. Bamboo is a multi purpose building material, and also used for craft and household materials. Long thatch grass is woven with bamboo pipes to produces thatched roofs for Balinese house. Most villages have bamboo groves, where it grow along the rivers and streams. Colorful coral reefs and sea weeds are the habitat for marine life. Sea weeds are commonly use to produce jelly and for the purpose of medicine. Sea weeds soup is a popular dish at some sea shore villages.
Bali is an agricultural land, fertile for rice harvesting. Verdant rice terraces pampered mostly in all over the mountains' slopes. Copra and coffee are the main export crops of Bali. Clove plantation in the highlands also support the crops trading.
On Bali, flowers and fruits are very important for offering to the gods. Beautiful flowers such as Allamanda, Lotus lilies and Bougainvillea are mostly used to give color in landscape. Frangipani, Kenanga and Sedap Malam (Night fragrant) flowers are particularly used for ritual and dance purposes. Flamboyant Kasia flowers are generally planted on the street side to give shade to the road. Jasmine flower is the national flower of Indonesia, its pure white color symbolize of the purification. Variety species of Orchid are the favorite of garden and in-house flowers. Import flowers like Roses and Margriet are also available in the flower shops, sell in a high price.
In the monsoon season, most of the tropical fruits on Bali are coloring the markets: sweet Orange, sweet-sour Salak (Snake fruit) Bali, Papaya, Passion fruit (Balinese grape), local Grape, Water Melon, Melon, Wani (Balinese mango), Banana, Apple (the famous "Manalagi" are imported from Batu highland - East Java). Some seasonal fruits are rarely found if not in season: Rambutan, Durian, Mango, Manggis.
Black pepper and hot chili peppers are used to put a special taste and smell for food and leave you with a sweaty forehead and teary eyes. If you find your mouth on fire because of these two spices, try to eat or drink hot tea or cucumber, or eat krupuk (shrimp or fish crackers). Cloves, ginger, cinnamon, laos, coriander, tamarind and tumeric are other important ingredients for tasty meals, and herbal medicine called jamu
Founded in 1959 for the study of the mountain flora of West Nusa Tenggara (The western part of the Lesser Sunda Islands). Located at Candi Kuning on the slopes of Mt. Pohen in Bali, it covers an area of 50 hectares (125 acres) at an altitude ranging from 1,250 to 1,450 m above sea-level.
Attached to the garden are three tracts of nature reserve covering an area of about 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres).