If you are
going to Bali to watch the sunset and waves on
the beach, you will have lots of fun. An increasing number of
visitors want to see more than Kuta or Nusa Dua, and no doubt
Bali has an abundance of cultural and historical places to
visit, the following are the better known and famous ones:
One of the
villages on the main road north from Denpasar
(towards Ubud) that is known for its fine crafts. Batubulan is
acknowledged throughout Bali for its Barong dance and its
fine stone carving. It is home to three famous Barong troupes
who perform five times each week. Also many great furniture
shops and terracotta pots.
To see the
rainforests, Mt.Batukaru area will interest you,
it dominates the entire area around Tabanan.
If you want to get off the beaten track, drive up the southern
slopes to the village Jatiluwih, where you can take in the
stunning views or relax in the mossy shade of Pura Luhur
temple, which has served as sanctuary since ancient times.
Along the way you'll encounter towering trees, bubling hot
springs, fern-laden grottos and incredible serenity.
When the heat
and humidity finally get to you, the place to
escape is Bedugul, Bali's highland retreat, tucked into the
crater of an extinct volcano, 1400 meters above sea level.
Here, three lakes provide everything from recreation to the
water for the springs, river and rice fields below. Lush pine
forests seem to create a freshness in the air. Bedugul is
known for the quality for its fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Another perfect place to play golf as well. Visit the
home to the most important and sacred of Bali's
many temple. Sighted on the high slopes of Gunung Agung, the
highest and most significant volcano in Bali, Besakih enjoys
spectacular views to all of southern Bali. Pura Besakih is not
a single temple, but rather a sprawling complex of shrines and
compounds, united through ancient rituals into a sanctuary
unmatched importance in Balinese culture. Badly damaged in the
1963 eruption of Gunung Agung, the temple has been fully
city and Blahbatuh you'll find Bona, where you
can see every variety of bamboo furniture imaginable - and at
reasonable prices. Bona is also famous for its dances,
especially for the fire dance, which is staged regularly for
represents one of the fast developing tourist
destinations in east Bali, though it still offers an escape
from the hassels of the more populated tourist areas. You'll
find lot's of hotels, losmens and restaurants here. You can
also hire boats for a day snorkeling. Relaxing and stimulating
for some, not eventful enough for others, ok granted there are
no discos here.
of Denpasar, Celuk is the Balinese Centrex for gold
and silver jewellery. Almost every shop has a large team of
jewellers at work out back, filling orders for other shops or
export orders. There's many shops to choose from, bring some
time to filter the quality shops from the ones with "standard
mass designs" Quite often the shops with the largest space
parking busses display the most uneventful collections. For
artistic quality and design try the smaller galleries.
visitors to Bali make the mistake of skipping
Denpasar in their tour of the island, but there's really lots
to see and do in this ancient city, rebuilt after the puputan
massacre of 1906, when the royal families of Denpasar
committed suicide rather than surrender to the invading Dutch
Denpasar today is a bustling city of some 600,000 inhabitants
and more vehicles per capita than Jakarta. There's an
excellent art centre, a museum and a colorful (and cheap)
market in Jalan Sulawesi, also popular to buy gold jewellery.
There are also several department stores. Early mornings are
recommended as the midday sun can be draining. If you are new
to Balinese traffic, don't come with your rented car, hire a
driver or taxi.
North of Mt.
Batur, overlooking the Petanu river, is Goa
Gajah, site of an intriguing archeological mystery. The man-
made caves found here date from the eighth century and feature
Buddhist inscriptions and carvings, even though Buddhists are
not known to have ever lived in Bali. Above the entrance to
the cave is a giant head, with floppy ears, thought by many to
be an elephant of which there is also no record in Bali. This
is a special place, especially if you can avoid the crowds.
On the western
side of the Bukit, Bali's southern peninsula,
lies once sleepy fishing village of Jimbaran, now the site of
international 5 star resorts.
Take a walk along the beach, perhaps a sunset drink at one of
the big hotels, which all welcome visitors, and have a fish
dinner at one of the beach restaurants. A must. An offshore
reef offers protection from the wave action, providing
excellent swimming waters. Jimbaran is known for its
spectacular sunsets and numerous original seafood restaurants.
mountainous region around Kintamani - with its
deep crater lake and bubbling hot springs makes this region a
must on any Bali itinerary. Lake Batur is the largest lake in
Bali and the region offers some of the most spectacular views
to be found anywhere on the island. Lake Batur also provides
water for an underground network streams and springs across
the southern slopes of the mountain. This district is the
earliest known kingdom in Bali, dating from the 10th century.
The evenings can get cool up here but it's well worth the stay
overnight to climb and watch the sun rise.
town was once home to Bali's illustrious line
of kings. The remains of this kingdom can be seen today at the
Kerta Gosa Hall of Justice. Most of Bali's royal families are
descended from the old Klungkung dynasty, for it was here that
the Majapahit empire gathered in exile in the 16th century as
their kingdom in Java crumbled. It was the centre of the
"Golden Age" of Bali when the Gelgel dynasty held power
over 300 years and the art flourished. In Klungkung itself,
visit the Kerta Gosa court house with its richly painted
ceiling and the Bale Kambang (floating pavilions). The nearby
village of Kamasan specializes in traditional paintings, the
origin of which can be traced back for 5000 years.
18th century Kuta has served as the entry point for
foreigners visiting southern Bali. In the 1830s Kuta was a
thriving slave market, attracting a wide variety of
international "lowlife" and some would say that nothing
changed. Since its rediscovery by hippies and surfers in the
1960s, Kuta and Legian have expanded so rapidly that the
district is now one of the busiest tourist areas in the world.
Hundreds of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops provide for
all tastes and budgets. Recently one also could notice a
movement "back to Kuta" of visitors living in luxury
hotels visiting Kuta at least for sunset and afternoon tea or
dinner. Love it or hate it, but not visiting for a while makes
us unsure if we are still in Bali, since most foreigners
started their Bali experience here one way or another.
West of Singaraja
on Bali's northern coast is a beach resort
spread across four adjacent villages. Lovina is for those who
like still waters (no surf). You may even encounter some local
dolphins. Many cheap losmens and hotels are available right on
the beach. Visit the Singsing waterfalls. Lots of day trips
available from the local travel shops.
Some 20 kilometers
north of Denpasar lies the woodcarving
centre of Mas, a village of high caste Brahman families. Mas
has a special place in Balinese history but today this village
is home to many shops with excellent examples of Balinese wood
carving and furniture.
The most recent
of Bali's resort centres, Nusa Dua located
on the island's most southern tip, is quite unlike anything
else in Bali. A dreamland of coconut palms, five-star hotels
and perfect beaches. A great place to relax in the sun and be
Just an hour
away from Bali by boat, Nusa Lembongan is an
idyllic escape offering beautiful coral and sand beaches,
crystal clear waters and relaxed atmosphere. It is also home
to several world class surf breaks. The views of Gunung Agung
and east Bali are spectacular.
beach resort, Sanur is a place of many high class
hotels and restaurants and also villas of foreign residents
can be found here. More organic than Nusa Dua, a lot more
relaxed than Kuta.
This is home
to some of the most spectacular views in Bali.
Sayan is in fact, little more than a ridge, just west of Ubud,
which has been chosen by many foreigners as home, a place
where the dramatic views - of rice paddies sculptured into
hillsides - can be appreciated. Steps lead down to the river,
which is fast following and clean enough to bathe in.
SELAT & ISEH
was chosen as the home of world-famous artist Walter
Spies who settled here in 1930's. These are also some the most
beautiful areas of Bali, with fertile soils and the ever-
present powerful Gunung Agung in the background. It is
also an area that suffered badly from the 1963 eruption of
In the time
of the Dutch occupation, Singaraja was Bali's main
port. But now the traffic has moved south, leaving the area in
peace. Clean, quiet and culturally distinctive, Singaraja
still retains a colonial feel to its streetscape.
region offers a wide range of landscapes, from
volcanic mountains to rich rice plains. This is the rice bowl
of Bali, with higher yields of rice than anywhere else. From
the deserted, black sand beaches to the tropical rainforests,
Tabanan is an area rich with visual offerings. Visit the 17th
century royal palace in nearby Krambitan to capture the rich
past of royal Balinese life. Just headup into the hills for
breathtaking views of southern Bali.
This is another
village famous for its wood carving and craft
skills. The water here are believed to have curative powers
and the local villagers have been enjoying this sacred spring
water for over than a thousand years. The Tirta Empul temple
is worth a visit, with its surrounds covered in green moss.
On the coast,
west of Denpasar, is Pura Tanah Lot, a temple
simple in its construction but dramatic in ocean front
location and one of the most important temples to be found
anywhere in Bali. The temple is built on a small promontory
which is only accessible by foot at low tide. Take a scarf
and dress with respect. Poisonous snakes live in the nearby
caves to "guard" the temple and contribute to the temple's
Sunset is the best time to visit Tanah Lot, when the golden
red skies frame the temple and the waves crash into the rocks.
Try to avoid the tourist crush here as it can be severe.
west of Candi Dasa is the village of Tenganan,
and a visits here is trip back in time. This is one of the
home of Bali Aga (original Balinese), the first inhabitants of
Bali. The Tengananese believe they have been chosen to honor
the royal descendants with offerings, sacrifices and rituals,
and by administering the surrrounding lands. Only recently has
this society opened itself up to outsiders, although strict
rules still apply, especially concerning marriage to
"foreigners". The area features wonderful fabrics, including
the world famous Gringsing double wave ikat cloth.
This the site
of a beautiful water palace, built by the last
king of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut, in 1947. Much
of the structure of the palace was destroyed by the volcanic
eruption of Gunung Agung in 1963, however the famous bathing
pools remain intact. This the place of great peace, and an
excellent stopover when touring east Bali.
One of the
lake Batur's villages, Trunyan is inaccessible
except by boat. At the lake side village you'll be met by a
greeting party of locals wanting money. The Trunyan people
believe they are Bali Aga, a part of the original inhabitants
of Bali. Hidden away here is the largest statue in Bali, the
Pura Gede Pancering Jagat. Cremation is not practiced in
Truyan, the dead are simply placed against a sacred tree by
the lake, which stops the decomposing body from smelling.
Some 25 kilometers
north of Denpasar, Ubud has become known
worldwide as a centre of and heaven for the arts. With a
spectacular setting among lush rice paddies and the stunning
hillsides of central Bali, Ubud offers a special atmosphere.
Here you'll find wonderful palaces and temples, two museums,
dozens of shops and excellent restaurants. There are almost
nightly performances of traditional dances and plenty of
hotels to stay at.
landmark on Bali's southern peninsula, the Bukit,
is the Uluwatu temple, a classic expression of ancient Bali in
a spectacular setting, high above the crashing waves. This is
one of the oldest and most important temples in Bali, one of
the six original "Sad Kahyangan" (territorial) temples
island. Uluwatu has, in recent years, become equally known as
the site of a renowned surf break which offers real challenges
(experienced surfers only) in the water, and spectacular views
from the warungs (restaurants) perched on the cliff.