Tropical sun, dense rainforests, active volcanoes, cascading waterfalls and black sandy beaches that lead up to an otherworldly view of the sea – it is almost impossible to believe that all this enchanting beauty can be found in just one tiny island, but a visit to Bali defies all doubt. Home to a unique history, culture and natural beauty, the island of Bali is a place like nowhere else in the world. Here are some of the most interesting sites that you can visit in Bali.
1. Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most important places of worship in Balinese culture. Built in the 16th Century on a picturesque rock formation in the middle of the sea (Tanah Lot literally means Land [in the] sea), the temple is one of the seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. The story goes that the Shaivite saint Nirartha reached the southern coast of Bali during his travels and was mesmerized by the island’s beautiful setting. Some fishermen saw him and brought him gifts. Nirartha slept there and asked the fishermen to build a shrine on the rocks for he felt a spiritual presence over there. This shrine has now become Tanah Lot. Located in Tabanan, around 20 kilometers from the capital city of Denpasar, the temple area is surrounded by winding paths and tiny cafes serving the famous local coffee known as Kopi Luwak. The temple is close to the serene and beautiful rocky outcrop of Batu Bolong.
Located in the southern-central part of Bali, the region of Ubud is home to the art and culture of the island. The Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace is located here along with the famous Ubud Art Market which is right across. Here you will find traditional Balinese fare, from hand woven shirts, scarves, bags, baskets, hats and sarongs. Most of the goods found in the market are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. Apart from the market, art lovers will find the Agung Rai Museum of Art and the Neka Art Museum especially enchanting. Both museum showcase traditional and contemporary works of art including the famous wayang paintings. Ubud is also the best place to sign up for workshops such as painting, bamboo weaving, basket making and jewellery making from the local masters of the craft.
3. Uluwatu Temple
Located in the southernmost tip of the Bukit Peninsula, Uluwatu literally means the rock at the land’s end. Known as one of the most important guardian temples of Bali, Pura Uluwatu is located on the edge of a steep precipice overlooking giant swells. The region of Uluwatu was ‘discovered’ by surfers in the 70s and has now become one of the most important surf spots in the world, owing to its legendary breaks. Once the protector of the island, today the Uluwatu Temple watches over surfers risking their lives in the Balinese sea.
4. Mount Batur
Along with the rest of Indonesia, Bali is located in the so called Pacific Ring of Fire – known as the most volcanically active region on earth. As a result, the island of Bali has a few volcanoes of its own. The 1700 meter tall Mount Batur is perhaps one of the most well known. Its first documented eruption was in 1804, while it also erupted in as recently as 2000. A well marked trail leads to the top of Mount Batur, and the best time to take it early in the morning before sundawn. This way you reach the top of the volcano by sunrise and overlook the otherworldly landscape basking in the fresh sun from the vantage point. Another added excitement is the true breakfast of champions – eggs cooked on volcanic steam – that you will find on the summit. The initial eruption of the volcano was so forceful that it caused the top of the mountain to collapse. This part is called a caldera, and today it lies beneath a beautiful lake called Lake Batur.
5. Sacred Monkey Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary can be found in the Ubud region of Bali. Located and owned by the village of Padangtegal, the forest is an important spiritual, economical, educational and conservation center of the island. Spanning the area of around 27 acres, the forest is home to more than 605 crab eating macaques, also known as Balinese long tailed monkeys. The monkeys live in five tribes spread across the forest, and interact with the thousands of visitors that come to there. There is also a small herd of Timur rusa deer in the forest. Other parts of the forest include three ancient and sacred shrines and many beautiful stone sculptures of animals like monkeys, cows and komodo dragons.
6. Tegallalang and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
One of the most revolutionary inventions on the island of Bali has been its Subak irrigation system. For the Balinese, irrigation is not just providing water to the roots, but constructing an incredibly complex artificial ecosystem on the sloping mountainside to cultivate crops. The system of running water that feeds the rice terraces of Jatiluwih and Tegallalang serves not just a utilitarian, but also a spiritual purpose. Traditionally, water management would be the job of priests who would serve in the so called water temples that route the hallowed waters from the volcanic Lake Batur into the rice terraces of the neighbouring villages. It is one of the most amazing experiences to visit the picturesque villages of Tegallalang and Jatiluwih and learn about this way of life.
7. Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan is a small island off the southeastern coast of Bali. It offers a rhythm of life that is vastly different from the much faster paced south Bali – the island is devoid of crowds, hawkers and traffic. Instead, you will find the waters of the clearest azure color, powder white sand and immense tranquility. Only 8 square kilometers in size, the whole island can be traversed on foot in around 3 to 4 hours. Along with Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan, it forms the Nusa group of islands that are fast becoming a favourite among travellers to the region. The two main beaches on the island are Jungut Beach and Mushroom Bay, while the lesser known beaches like Devil’s Tear, also known as Dream Beach and Sunset Beach are famed to be some of the most beautiful in the whole of Indonesia. Nusa Lembongan is especially a treat for diving enthusiasts, with vast coral reefs and exotic underwater life waiting to be discovered in its depths.
This is just a sample of places that you can visit in Bali. The real fun is to get lost within the island to find yourself. To know more about Bali and for assistance in planning your trip, get in touch with TripFactory and book your Bali holiday package @INR 39,999/- now!