Bali, the well- known Island of the Gods, located just south of the equator, mesmerizes you with its captivating culture, immense beauty, and brilliant beaches. Its diverse landscape of hills and mountains, sandy beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides are all a treat to one’s eyes. Filled with cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, you will surely experience the zenith of tropical living without an effort in this place. Its culture and its beaches draw travelers from all over the world to this minuscule Indonesian Island, making it one of the world’s most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. It is often said that God lives in the Himalayas, and it is anything but natural to feel that he vacations in Bali. Here are a few places that you cannot afford to miss while travelling to the beautiful island of Bali.
- Gunung Kawi Temple
The holy Pakersian River flows through the centre of Gunung Kawi Temple, a collection of ten candi, which constitutes of two rows of antique royal tombs on the banks of the Pakerisan River. The river flows deep in a canyon overlooked by terraced rice-fields, thereby separating the site into two separate sections with a bridge to unite one side to the other. It is believed the holy waters of the Pakerisan sanctify Gunung Kawi, and the splendour of the place stirs up a tranquil and undisturbed atmosphere created to evoke the manifestation of temple fronts and planned to provide a home for the souls of ancient kings. The historic touch and the amazing atmosphere make it one of the most desired destinations of Bali Tourism.
- Fire and Trance Show
No Bali tourist guide would be complete without seeing some of the island’s most colourful and traditional dances, the Fire Dance and the Saghyang Dance. The fire dance is where the dancer becomes absorbed and is able to dance on hot coal without sensing any pain. The saghyang trance dance on the other hand is a traditional dance performed as an exorcism to encourage health and harmony within the village.
- Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah is located on the western edge of Bedulu Village, six kilometres out of central Ubud. Its relic-filled courtyard, a central meditational cave, the rock-wall carvings, bathing pools and fountains are a treat to the eyes. Several relics feature elements of Buddhism dating to the 8th century and a variety of structures reveal Hindu influences dating back to the 10th century. Goa Gajah was built on a hillside and as two small streams met here forming a campuhan or a ‘river junction’. The site was considered sacrosanct and was built for hermetic meditation and prayers. The cave is shallow with three stone idols each wrapped in red, yellow and black cloths inside. The cave’s walls are lined with black soot due to the incense burning. The northern side of the complex is dominantly Buddhist while the southern side of the river is mostly Shivaite. The southern end also features stunning rice fields and small streams that lead their way to the Petanu River, a natural locate intertwined in local folklore, making it a yet another desirable destination to visit in Bali.
- Monkey Forest, Ubud
Overseen by the Padangtegal village, the Ubud Monkey Forest lies on the periphery of the Ubud main centre. Although there are many monkey forests in the area, the Ubud monkey forest is a unique and an integral part of the Bali tourism because of the various temples it houses. Within the forest resides the historic Pura Purana temple which was built in the mid-14th century and the Pura Dalem which is among the three key village temples. The stone pathways are mostly shaded by gigantic trees and relics and statues are all covered in moss, giving the place an unnatural and antique feel. Interestingly, crematory and gravesite temples associated with the Hindu god Shiva can also be found here. Another out of the ordinary place within the forest is an ancient bathing temple, located next to a stream at the north- western borders of the Monkey Forest.
- Besakih Temple
Besakih is the largest and the holiest of the island’s temples and is surrounded by remarkably beautiful and picturesque rice paddies, mountains, streams, hills and more. Pura Besakih features three temples devoted to the Hindu trinity. On the right side, you can see the Pura Kiduling Kreteg, with red banners for Brahma, the creator. Pura Penataran Agung in the centre has white banners for Shiva, the destroyer; and Pura Batu Madeg on the left side characterizes Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. It also features various other temples although many of the temples’ inner courtyards are closed to the public as they are set aside for pilgrims. Another interesting fact about the Pura Besakih temple is that it is the only temple open to every devotee from any caste groups because of its nature as the primordial hub of all traditional activities, making it a famous destination to visit in Bali.
- Ubud Art Market
Just like no holiday can ever be complete without shopping for souvenirs, the Bali tourist guide cannot be complete without the Ubud Art Market. The innermost region of the island, the Ubud Art Market is definitely the best market to buy souvenirs. Locally referred to as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’, the Ubud Art Market is located opposite the the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and is open every day. Fun fact for the movie buffs: The Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love, features a scene that was shot here where the actress Julia Roberts is strolling through the stalls with an opposite character which are frequently visited by foreign and domestic visitors in real life. You can find handmade woven bags, baskets or hats, gorgeous silk scarves, lightweight shirts, statues, kites and many other hand-crafted goods.
- Mount Batur
Mount Batur, also known as Kintamani volcano, has been the most favourite tourist destinations of Bali in the central mountains area of Bali. It lies up in a highland in the East of Bali. A hiking trip to the summit of this active volcano that is 1700 meters high is an exceptional experience for many active travellers. The sunrise hike starts from 4am which is most certainly a definitive experience. Heading out on the correct time ensures that you reach in time for the sunrise. This hike is reasonably simple and the treks are quite well marked. The peak of the mountain, offers the best views and the volcanic Mount Batur and adjacent lake offer a suitable setting for a stunning scale to the summit. It is advised that you bring a jacket and be careful at the summit. With the magnificent view of its caldera, the view is the main reason to come here.
- Tanah Lot Temple.
Renowned for its inimitable offshore locale and sunset backdrops, the Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important landmarks, Tanah Lot. Located in the Beraban village of the Tabanan regency, which is approximately 20km northwest of Kuta, the temple is included on most of the Bali tourist guides. Smaller shrines in combination with visitors’ leisurely services that include restaurants, shops and a cultural park presenting regular dance performances are situated on the onshore site, making it one of the most enjoyed destinations of Bali.
- Nusa Dua
The name Nusa Dua is derived from the two small islands to the east. It is the most developed area in Bali, and yet it still houses many temples, a museum, and lots of other attractions. This is a place which is blessed with private immaculate beaches for you to leisurely enjoy the sun and the sea. A perfect destination for people looking for a personal and comforting retreat as well as an ultimate destination for honeymooners as well those who come for a vacation here with their entire family, Nusa Dua is an extremely important to the Bali tourism. Planned to be an ‘all-inclusive’ kind of tourist destination, this place houses the Bali Tourism Development Centre’s (BTDC’s) immaculate complex of world-class hotels, shopping complex with well-maintained facilities, a plush 18-hole golf course, white-golden sandy beaches and much more. In fact, if you want to live life King style, head towards the Nusa Dua beach, which is lined with higher end hotels for you to spend extravagantly.
- Tegalalang Rice terraces.
One of the biggest attractions of the Bali tourism, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud is renowned for its gorgeous landscapes of rice paddies involving the subak which is the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system. Tegallalang features the three most impressive terraced sceneries in Ubud’s united region, with the others being in the villages of Pejeng and Campuhan. The high roadside location is nippy and windy and it is a well-known spot for tourists to stop and take a lot of photos. Painters and nature lovers also enjoy visiting this place a lot and there is a variety of art kiosks and cafes near the ledge willing to offer their ware.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead! Pack your bags and travel to the breath- takingly beautiful island of Bali. Happy Holidays!