The Lesser Sunda Islands are a group of islands that are politically part of Indonesia and have around 13 million inhabitants. This archipelago in the Indian Ocean includes six larger islands, such as Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, the Solor and Alor archipelago and Atauro. There are also numerous smaller islands, such as the well-known island of Komodo with its famous Komodo dragon, the largest living lizard species on earth.

The Lesser Sunda Islands border the Indonesian island of Java in the west and the state of East Timor in the east.

All islands in the archipelago are of volcanic origin with constantly increasing activity. The highest point in the entire archipelago is Rinjani on Lombok at 3,726 meters.

The Lesser Sunda Islands are rich in mineral resources and have significant deposits of petroleum, copper, manganese and iron. The most important agricultural products include coffee, corn, cassava and rice.

The most famous of the Lesser Sunda Islands is Bali with around 4.5 million inhabitants. The island of Bali is very mountainous with a north-south extension of almost 100 kilometers, while the distance from west to east is just over 140 kilometers.

The highest point in Bali is the Gunung Agung volcano at 3,142 meters. Most of the volcanoes in Bali are still active today and sometimes cause significant problems.

The largest and most famous cities in Bali include Denpasar, Kuta, Nusa Dua, Legian, Seminyak, Sanur, Ubud, Tulamben, Singaraja, Padang Bai, Gilimanuk, Jimbaran, Kerobokan and Tenganan.

Like the other Sunda Islands, Bali has a warm tropical climate and most residents are Hindu. Balinese and Indonesian are spoken as official languages on the island.

The capital and largest city of Bali is Denpasar with almost 700,000 inhabitants. The city is the political, economic and cultural center of the most famous Sunda Island.

The most important industry on the island of Bali is tourism, with almost seven million visitors every year. Important tourist attractions are the many white beaches, the temple festivals and cremations, cultural temple complexes, the extensive diving areas and the unique volcanic landscapes.

The most important sights in Bali include the Batur and Agung volcanoes, the Mother Temple, the Gitgit Waterfalls, the Sea Temple, the inland rice terraces, the Bat Cave, the mountain lake with the sea temple “Danau Bratan”, the Ubud Artist Center, the Water Palace of Karangasem, the elephant cave, the various hot springs and geysers, countless impressive waterfalls, breathtaking long sandy beaches and the “Monkey Forest” in Ubud.

I have already visited the island of Bali twice. The first time was a long time ago in 1994 and the last time was in January 2018. The big change in Bali was clearly visible after so many years. Road traffic has increased dramatically in recent years; my journey from the airport to the hotel took almost two hours. In addition, prices in bars and restaurants on the island have increased dramatically. Unfortunately, this inexpensive and paradisiacal holiday island no longer exists.

The island of Bali is still a very exciting and interesting holiday destination, but unfortunately it is no longer as beautiful as it once was.