Nature of Bali
Bali is a part of Indonesian archipelago; lying 3.2 km east of Java and 24 west of Lombok, compare with some of the Indonesian archipelago’s giant islands, Bali is quite small with an area of 5,632 square kilometers The island is approximately 135 km wide east to west and 90 km north to south. The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) and the lowest is the beaches all over the island (sea level, 0 m). Located approximately 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali has warm tropical climate with plenty of rain and agreeable dry season.
Bali is noted for the beauty and variety of the landscapes from coastal lowland to the exhilarating high mountain lakes, barren limestone plateaus to thick monsoon forests. A west-to-east volcanic chain divides the island in half. Bali’s mountains covered in tall rainforest stand in contrast to the wild and rugged beauty of volcanic craters, some of which are still active. Crater lakes are found at Batur in the east and Bratan, Buyan and Tamblingan in the rich submontane rainforest area around Bedugul. Fast flowing rivers, deep ravines, rugged saddles, and alluvial slopes score the surface of the island.
The south-central plain of Bali is intensively cultivated. Terraced rice fields dominate the landscape. As you leave the heavily cultivated southern plains ascend to the north, the landscapes change from cascades of rice fields to gardens of vegetables, onion and coffee plantations thriving in cooler climate. The mountainous highlands of Bali are field with streams, rainforests which house prehistoric tree-ferns, wildflowers, creepers, orchids, leeches, butterflies, birds and monkeys, while tall pines and cypress grow high above the mountain villages of Kintamani, Penelokan and Bedugul. Far in western part of Bali, an unspoiled, under-populated marine and forest wilderness are converted into West Bali National Park.
Far in the north, there is a sharp drop from mountain to narrow strip of fertile coastal plain around Singaraja. The lowland coastal fringe of the north is narrow and the absence of rivers makes the land dry and less suitable for rice cultivation. Clusters of palm trees, and tall grasses dominate the north Bali’s landscape give distinctly savannah appearance.
Bali has 460 km coastline but only about eight percent of the beaches consist of white sand, and they are found mostly in the resorts of Sanur, Nusa Dua, Kuta, Uluwatu, and Tanjung. The rest of the beaches feature gray-black sand. the coast from Sanur to Benoa Bay is long and sheltered, lined with 1,400 hectares of natural mangrove forest and mudflats.
Bali six volcanic peaks, all exceeding 2,000 meters trap rain clouds that swell the rivers rushing down from the highlands through deep narrow gorges overgrown with lush tropical vegetation to the astonishingly rich coastal plain of south. The pie-shaped realms of south Bali are always aligned north to south along the ravines rather than east to west. Because of this difficult topography most of highways carry traffic north and south.
The climate and topography of Bali’s fringes and offshore island differ drastically from the lush lowland plains. The far eastern peninsula of Bali, in the areas of Seraya, Amed and Ujung, are arid and hot with difficult land to cultivate. The plateau of Bukit on south peninsula of Bali is hot and dry with scarce of water and bushy thickets. The western and southern shores of this barren plateau are lined with rugged limestone cliffs and deep caves.
The island of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan which are separated from the mainland by a deep strait are as hot and dry as Bukit. The topography of these islands are combination of poor rocky soil, limestone hills, scrubby vegetations, and open grassland, but they are blessed with spectacular reef and clear water which are excellent for diving
Bali lies over two major tectonic plates, the rigid Sunda plate to the north and Indo-Australian plate to the south. These two plates grid over one another producing frequent geologic instability; put Bali under constant threat of earthquake.