Everybody knows Bali. The problem is not all of them know where it is located. Some simply say Bali is located beside Phuket, while the others think that Bali is an independent country, situated close to Australia. Such disparate answers make me want to open up my map and newspaper, and make sure Bali didn't recently get independence from Indonesia.
Despite the annoyance that I feel anytime I hear such an innocent answer, I fully understand that most people loathe learning geography and remembering about what is where and which is which on a huge world map. We Indonesians often slip up whenever somebody asks us ‘What is the capital city of Australia?’ for example, as we ignorantly answer ‘Sydney', or ‘What is the capital city of the United States?’ and some confidently will claim ‘New York!’ So, those are just common mistakes.
Frankly speaking, Bali is still part of Indonesia. So, whenever you need to fly to Bali, you still need to use Rupiah (local currency), they still speak Bahasa Indonesia (although they do speak Balinese), and you need to pass through Indonesian immigration. Those who would like to stay in Bali longer than 1 month are required to apply for a Social Cultural Visa at the Embassy of Indonesia in their countries. Or, go somewhere nearby and fly back to Bali to get a new stamp on your passport.
Bali is pretty big, but still not as big as our big 5: Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Papua. So, why do tourists decide to spend their time in Bali? There are a handful of reasons that I can mention, whether they are true or not. They are just information and opinions I have collected from many different people with different points of view. (First of all, I apologize if some of them sound unpleasant)
What is there in Bali?
Not just beaches with balmy sand where you can soak your stress away, or where you can soak in the sun, Bali offers you a quite wide range of nature activities, such as bicycling around a paddy terrace, hiking, water sports and so forth. For those who don't like doing activities under the sun and prefer to do more sedentary activities, they can choose yoga classes, spa treatments, cooking classes or art classes (dance, painting, etc.).
Which one should I choose, North Bali, South Bali, East Bali or West Bali?
It depends on your purpose. Most surfers and beach bums suggest going to Southern Bali. They have perfect waves for surfing and clean water. But, if you are a diving freak, you can visit the western part of Bali, such as Amed, which is famous for its dive sites. And if you plan to travel around Bali, you can plan your journey from north to east and then west before you move to the south, or anywhere you'd like.
Renting a car with or without a driver is suitable for a long journey or a full day trip. The price ranges from 30 USD to 100 USD depends on the type of car you choose (they normally also have mini buses for groups of people). Also, Asia would not fully be Asia without the existence of motorcycles! You can find motorcycle rentals almost everywhere, even in hotels/hostels/guest houses where you stay.