From Wikipedia and other sources:
The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees 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 (3,031 m), known as the “mother mountain” which is an active volcano. Mountains range from center 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.
The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 491,500 (2002).
The rich coral reefs around the coast, particularly around popular diving spots such as
Tulamben, Amed, Menjangan or neighboring Nusa Penida, host a wide range of marine life, for instance Hawksbill Turtle, Giant Sunfish, Giant Manta Ray, Giant Moray Eel, Bumphead Parrotfish, Hammerhead Shark, Reef Shark, barracuda, and sea snakes. Dolphins are commonly encountered on the north coast near Singaraja and Lovina.
The population of Bali was 3,891,428 (at the 2010 Census). There are an estimated 30,000 expatriates living in Bali.
Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Balinese percussion orchestra music, known as gamelan, is highly developed and varied. Balinese performing arts often portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, gong keybar, and kecak (the monkey dance). Bali boasts one of the most diverse and innovative performing arts cultures in the world, with paid performances at thousands of temple festivals, private ceremonies, or public shows.
Kaja and kelod are the Balinese equivalents of North and South, which refer to ones orientation between the island’s largest mountain Gunung Agung (kaja), and the sea (kelod). In addition to spatial orientation, kaja and kelod have the connotation of good and evil; gods and ancestors are believed to live on the mountain whereas demons live in the sea. Buildings such as temples and residential homes are spatially oriented by having the most sacred spaces closest to the mountain and the unclean places nearest to the sea.
Most temples have an inner courtyard and an outer courtyard which are arranged with the inner courtyard furthest kaja. These spaces serve as performance venues since most Balinese rituals are accompanied by any combination of music, dance and drama. The performances that take place in the inner courtyard are classified as wali, the most sacred rituals which are offerings exclusively for the gods, while the outer courtyard is where bebali ceremonies are held, which are intended for gods and people. Lastly, performances meant solely for the entertainment of humans take place outside the walls of the temple and are called bali-balihan. This three-tiered system of classification was standardized in 1971 by a committee of Balinese officials and artists in order to better protect the sanctity of the oldest and most sacred Balinese rituals from being performed for a paying audience
Bali Kintamani Volcano, Ubud and Barong Dance Full-Day Tour (description of the tour I took)
The perfect introduction to Bali’s fascinating culture and handicrafts, picturesque rice paddy fields, traditional villages and a spectacular lake and volcano. Your journey takes you to Batubulan, known for its stone carving and ornate temples, here you will see the exciting Barong Dance. A traditional dance that portrays the eternal struggle between good and evil, the religious and the profane and with a dramatic ending.
Continue on through the woodcarving village of Mas. Watch artisans chipping intricate designs from wood blocks. Then visit the fantastic 11th century Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) before moving into the cool mountains of Kintamani. View Mount Batur an active volcano with its ribbons of black lava running down its peak to the valley below. Beside lies the shimmering lake of Batur.
Enjoy lunch in a restaurant providing wonderful views. On the return back you will stop at the Holy springs which are believed to have magic curative powers. Visit Ubud the artistic heart of Bali and Celuk the gold and silver making center on route.