Denpasar is Bali's capital city. Although the modern centre of government departments, international banks, and many other offices, it still retains its unique Balinese personality. This is strongly felt and clearly seen in its many temples, universities and pleasant gardens, which still maintain their presence and influence. Denpasar has the Pura Jagatnatha, a temple dedicated to Bali's Supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi. There are interesting statues of a turtle and two mystical dragons in the temple, signifying the foundation of the world. The Pura's awesome architecture resembles that of Balinese palace. It has now been converted into a museum housing a fine collection of prehistoric and modern art. The famous 4th century Pura Maospahit, is right next to Pura Jaganatha.
There is also an interesting place like; the government-supervised art centre, Sanggraha Kriya Hasta, which also home to a tremendous variety of handicraft and works of art. Taman Wedhi Budaya, meanwhile, is an arts centre with occasional exhibits of paintings, crafts and carvings, and holds traditional dances every evening. It is also the host of the annual Bali Arts Festival in June to July, with performances, exhibitions, art contest, and other activities of artistic nature.
The main street of Denpasar start with Gajah Mada Street in the west, Surapati Street in the centre, followed by Hayam Wuruk Street and ends as Raya Sanur Street in the east. There are many things of history and culture to see. The Puputan Square, with its heroic Catur Mukha, fondly commemorates the Balinese's suicidal stand against the Dutch. Until today, it is touchingly, a popular meeting place for locals in the evenings.
Bali's smallest district Klungkung is located between Gianyar and Karangasem, and includes the island of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan. Klungkung itself is a bustling town. Based on the decree of the Governor of Bali Province on 1993 number 528, Nusa Penida in one of with also fixed as a tourist resort in Bali. And then base of the Regency of Klungkung Government on 1996 decree number 284 there are 18 tourist object in the regency inclusive Nusa Penida. On reaching the town centre. Klungklung was the base of the ancient Javanese Hindu Kingdom in Bali, from where the Balinese royalty of today draws its bloodline. It is the oldest kingdom in Bali, with a most exalted Kings. The famous Kertha Gosa or Royal Court of Justice was built in Klungklung in the 18th century, displays one of Bali's masterpieces. It has a wonderfully made ceiling displaying one of Bali's masterpieces (murals portraying the punishment of hell and the rewards of heaven, and elaborated in thousands of panels of puppets) all on the ceiling. Klungklung's golden glory is forever captured in its floating pavilion, elaborate garden, and charming lotus ponds. Klungklung satisfies one's wish of returning to the glory of the ancient past.
Klungkung has played a most important role in Bali's history. It was the seat of rule of Bali's history. It also seat of rule of Bali's most powerful dynasty of rajas, Dewa Agung, under whom the island was united during a glorious period of rich cultural influence. Gajah Mada, head of Majapahit, pacified and united Bali towards the end of the 13th century, incorporating the island into the Majapahit Empire. He set king Kepakisan, the first Dewa Agung "Great Deity". To rule over the island from his court at Samprangan, near the present town of Klungkung. Several generations later this seat of
power was removed to nearby Gelgel, where it established much authority and prestige under the fourth succeeding Dewa Agung.
The villages of Kintamani and Penelokan provide a great view of the still active Mount Batur and its fantastic lake. Seven miles in diameter and sixty feet deep, Batur caldera is simply astounding. From Penelokan, take the road Kedisan on the shores of the lake where boats can be rented to cross over to Trunyan. The spectacular mountainous region around Kintamani with its deep Crater Lake and bubbling hot springs, make this region a must to visit. Batur Lake is the largest lake in Bali and the region offers some of the most spectacular views to be found anywhere on the island. Batur Lake also provides water for an underground network of streams and springs across the southern slopes of the mountain. Kintamani is really great for day trips, trekking or simply for getting away from it all for a few days.
The district is the earliest known kingdom in Bali, dating from the tenth century. The evenings get cool up here but it's well worth the stay overnight to climb the volcano and watch the sunrise. Many cheap cottages are available here.
Kintamani can run through Payangan or from Denpasar through the Sangeh monkey forest, Plaga and Lampu, arriving to the north of Kintamani. Bemos to Kintamani are available from Ubud via Sakah (notable for its huge "Baby" statue). They also run via Tampaksiring and Bangli. From Denpasar bemos leave for Kintamani from the Batubulan terminal until late afternoon.
Tour to Kintamani is a very impressive experience where Kintamani Area have very beautiful panorama located in plateau and also encircled by mountain atmosphere with the windblast from Mount Batur. Carpet of Batur Lake seen far below and also there are local resident house beside of Batur Lake. Beside of that, Mount Batur which to date still be active growing its beautiful for Kintamani Area.
Ubud is Bali's cultural heart. This area is located in the cool mountains, just one hour's drive north of the airport and the resorts of southern Bali, this traditional country town is the home of the Balinese Royal family and a flourishing arts centre. Most of Bali's museums and galleries are centered in Ubud, but culture and history rich Bali is peppered with museums and galleries. These museums and galleries offer paintings, woodcarvings, textiles and all kinds of souvenirs for viewing and also purchase. Puri Lukisan Museum in centre of Ubud, Neka Museum in Campuhan, Seniwati Gallery and Agung Rai Museum in Pengosekan is a must, to see the difference between creative art and more commercial products.
Inspired by vibrant green rice paddies, mountains and colorful Balinese festivals, the elite artistic colony that began in the 1930's with eminent European painters, writers and musicians has now grown into a thriving arts centre, drawing increasing numbers of visitors. Ubud is also a flourishing crafts centre. Around Ubud the surrounding villages like Camphuan, Penestanan, Peliatan and Batuan specializing in crafts and woodcarving which are sold all over the island. There are hundreds of shops selling antiques, woodcarvings, crafts, textiles, paintings and jewelry as well as some of the best art museums in the country, dozens of art studios, an excellent local craft market, and galleries selling local and international art.
Ubud's role as the epicenter of Balinese culture makes it the perfect place to see traditional Balinese dance and drama. From the early 1920's the royal family ensured that most talented teachers of dance, music and drama were brought to Ubud to entertain the King and pass on their knowledge. Dances like Legong, Ramayana, Baris, Kecak and Sanghyang (the fire dance) are performed nightly in Bona village, just 15 minutes drive from Ubud. Bali's most accomplished dancers, musicians, painters and carvers live in just 10 square kilometers.
Balinese Hinduism remains stronger in Ubud than elsewhere in Bali, cremation ceremony or celebration of some kind. Balinese Hinduism is distinct from that of India and has absorbed the animism of Bali's pre-Hindu ancestors - inspired by the extraordinary beauty of Bali's landscapes - rice fields, mountains, river gorges, villages and ancient temples.
Visit Ubud Monkey Forest, a natural forest reserve popular with both locals and tourists. Inhabited by wild monkeys who will steal the camera, bananas, handbags, toupees, etc. These mischievous monkeys provide lots of entertainment. Interesting meandering paths lead to charming places like the bathing temple surrounded by lush remnants of ancient forest. Just off the main square a lovely arched stone bridge leads to the Hindu elephant-headed Lord Ganesh overlooking a small, square, moss-covered pool where several koi swim at his feet.
Bedugul is the name of both a small city and a mountain-lake resort area, which Balinese have long used for weekend retreats. Bedugul is located on the main north-south road between Denpasar and Singaraja in cool damp mountain country, an excellent base for walking trips around the lakes and surrounding hills. Bedugul is located in a high plateau at the center of the Island. Cool air and mists are natural for the place. Bedugul is a resort in Bratan Mountains, famous for its golf course; and also the Ulun Danu. Ulu Danu is an amazing temple, which seems to have risen out of Bratan Lake 1,200metres above sea level. There are many water sports available here are boating, water skiing, and parasailing. When the heat and humidity are get, why not escape to Bedugul. Bali's highland retreat has tucked into the crater of an extinct volcano 1400 meters above sea level. Here three lakes provide everything from recreation to the water for springs, rivers and rice fields below. Lush pine forests seem to create freshness in the air. Bedugul is known for the quality of its fruit, vegetables and flowers. There are several places to stay near the lake and there is also an interesting temple, botanical gardens, an excellent golf course and a variety of activities on Lake Bratan itself.
Bedugul is a favorite place for Balinese family for weekend picnic. Bedugul is also a center of horticulture. We'll find plenty of fruits and vegetables here. Here we find 3 of Bali 4 lakes, Bratan, Buyan, and Tamblingan. Bratan, the largest of the three is perfect place for water sports such as para sailing, motor boating, jet skiing, water skiing, canoeing, etc. Bedugul fertile soil also produced abundance of plants and trees, some of them formed rain forests with their exotic birds, monkeys, and other creatures.
Tenganan, northwest of Candidasa, is situated about 5km from the main road. Tenganan is a symmetrically laid out Bali Aga village with a walled homes and unique crafts. Bali Aga was the original inhabitant of Bali, before the arrival of Hindu Javanese. Tenganan retains its ancient pre-Hindu customs through a strong code of non-fraternization with outsiders, further enforced by the protection of its surrounding walls.
Tenganan is charming and has some very fascinating authentic traditional festival (ritual dances and gladiator) like Bali Aga of Tenganan often holds the battle between local youths. The people of Tenganan are skilled in the unique technique of weaving, called the 'double ikat', where the belief in the magical power of the fabric is essential in bringing out the beauty of the ikat cloth.
There are some versions of story telling us the history of Tenganan village. Some say that the word Tenganan was derived from the word "tengah" or "ngatengahang" which means, "move to the inner area". This derivation of word was having a relation with the movement of the villagers from the seaside to a rural area, in which the position of this village is in the middle of hills, which are western hill (Kauh Hill) and eastern hill (Kangin Hill). Another version reveals that the people of Tenganan came from Peneges village, located in Gianyar, precisely near Bedahulu. Based on the folklore, once upon a time Bedahulu King lost one of his horses. The people looked for it to the east and the horse was finally found dead by Ki Patih Tunjung Biru, the King's right hand. For his loyalty, the King finally gave Ki Patih Tunjung Biru an authority to govern the land as far as the aroma of the carrion of the horse can be smelled. Ki Patih was an intelligent person, so he cut the carrion into pieces and spread it as far as he could. Thus he received a quite large area.
Visitors will feel comfortable when visiting this area, for some facilities are available here, like food stalls, good toilets, arts shops and a quite large parking area. If we wish to have meal in restaurants or to spend the night near this area, we can go to Candidasa, which is only 3 km from this village. To get to Tenganan, get a lift up from the main road by ojek; and have a pleasant walk back down to the main road contemplating the intricacies of the Bali Aga culture. There is no entrance fee to Tenganan but a small donation is requested as we enter the village.
Trunyan is another ancient village inhabited by people who call themselves the “Bali Aga” or old Bali who live in ways that are vastly different from other Balinese. The Bali Aga's temple in this village is named Puser Jagat, meaning Navel of the Universe. Its architecture is highly unusual, and stands in the protective shade of a massive banyan tree.
The Bali Aga has a strange way of burial. Instead of cremating their corpses, the Bali Aga simply places them under this banyan tree. The odor is mysteriously masked by a special arboreal fragrance emitted by the banyan tree.
The village of Trunyan is squeezed tightly between the lake and the outer crater rim of Batur, an almighty volcano in Kintamani. This is a Bali Aga village, inhabited by descendants of the original Balinese, the people who predate the arrival of the Hindu Majapahit kingdom in the 16th century. It is famous for the Pura Pancering Jagat temple, but unfortunately visitors are not allowed inside. There is also a couple of traditional Bali Aga-style dwellings, and a large banyan tree, which is said to be more than 1,100 years old. At Kuban sub-village close to Trunyan is a mysterious cemetery that is separated by the lake and accessible only by boat, there is no path along the steep walls of the crater rim.
Unlike the Balinese people, Trunyan people do not cremate or bury their dead, but just lay them out in bamboo cages to decompose, although strangely there is no stench. A macabre collection of skulls and bones lies on the stone platform and the surrounding areas. The dead bodies don't produce bad smells because of the perfumed scents from a huge Taru Menyan tree growing nearby. Taru means 'tree' and Menyan means 'nice smell'. The name of Trunyan was also derived from these two words. The women from Trunyan are prohibited from going to the cemetery when a dead body is carried there. This follows the deeply rooted belief that if a woman comes to the cemetery while a corpse is being carried there, there will be a disaster in the village, for example a landslide or a volcanic eruption. Such events have been frequent in the village's history, but whether women had anything to do with it is a matter of opinion.
Amlapura is east Bali's major transport terminal and so, well connected to all parts of Bali. It was known as Karangasem until 1963, when the mighty Agung volcano unfortunately, erupted with spectacular force and even more spectacular damage. So, Karangasem underwent a name change and was "reborn" as Amlapura to rid itself of any "unlucky" association, which might provoke a much-feared recurrence. The old Puri Agung Karangasem Palace was once the seat of the past King of Karangasem. The visitors can walk around the old palace. The ruins of the Taman Ujung water Palace are conveniently located 3km south of Amlapura. When visiting Amlapura, it is best to stay at Tirta Gangga, not because of any spectacular eruptions, but for the sake of comfort and luxury.
The main attraction of Amlapura is its traditional palaces or puri. There is a western, a northern, a southern and an eastern puri as well as several others, all still occupied by members of the royal family. Of these, only the Puri Kangin (the eastern palace) on the main road to the market is easily visited. This is worth a look, as it gives a vivid impression of how local royals used to live. The palace buildings themselves are in fact an eccentric blend of Chinese and European details set in what is essentially a traditional Balinese compound with several pavilions and room surrounded by pools and connected by walk ways. The main hall is called the "Bale London" and the furniture curiously bears the crest of the British royal family. One can even rent rooms here the perfect accommodation for the aspiring aristocrat.
The former capital of Bali, Singaraja is located in north Bali, in the Lovina area, away from the more popular tourist areas and a scenic three hours drive from the airport. Singaraja has a black sand beach and is the main town for the Lovina area, famous for its dolphins. Close by are the Yeh Panas (hot springs) and the Air Sanih (a natural freshwater pool).
The Old Dutch capital of Bali during the colonial era, Singaraja is a quiet town with some quaint Old Dutch warehouses on the waterfront. It's easily reached from the south via Bedugul or Kintamani or from Candidasa in the east. There is some accommodation here but we would be better to stay at the nearby Lovina Beach only a few kilometers to the west. Lovina has had a recent spruce up and the gravel beach is now pristine clean. The town has plenty of accommodation from basic to good quality and some adequate restaurants.
Lovina Beach is the name. Lovina is really a string of coastal villages to the west of Singaraja. Escape from the hustle and bustle of Kuta to Lovina Beach located in north Bali, about 100 kilometers from southern tourist hotspots. It is well known as an excellent site for sunset watching, snorkeling, and diving. Darkly beautiful, Lovina offers quiet and calm, and is popular Asian tourists and those avoiding the hustle and bustle of the southern beaches. A number of coves offer tranquil, protected waters and Lovina is one of them. Although the sand is grey, it is quiet and peaceful, and popular among those who shun the glitzier beach resorts of the south. It is a popular place for dolphin watching; dolphins play in the water off Lovina. Famous for its early morning dolphin-watching boat trips, Lovina also offers good snorkeling and diving, and trekking in the nearby mountains. Diving off Menjangan Island, part of the Bali Barat National Park, is generally regarded as the best in Bali. Boats are readily available to take divers over to the island, where there are no residents or hotels.
Nightlife activities are also abound, as well as chartered boats to go out into the sea. If we like what Kuta offers but do not like the crowd. With a wonderful variety of hotels, restaurants and bars located on or very near the calm beach, Lovina offers something for everyone. It is also a good base to take day trips to the nearby attractions of north and west Bali.
It was a centre and being the administrative centre of the islands during the years of Dutch colonialism up to 1953, (now the capital is in Denpasar, in the south of Bali). We will remains during Dutch period, there being influence of Chinese and Muslims. 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 retains a colonial feel.
Sukawati area is known for its art market that become 'a must see' place by tourists especially the local ones from Jakarta or other area in Java. Huge number of small stalls occupied the two stories building offer a lot of cheap souvenirs. Almost any kind of Bali's souvenirs can be found in here either painting, woodcarving, clothes, temple umbrellas and other temple accessories, leather puppet, wind chime, jewelries and others. The souvenirs choices are has huge quantity and available in various choices.
Sukawati road-facing market located in_Gianyar Regency has a strategic position, as it is passed through during the tour to some destinations to the east. Sukawati art market is close to Celuk village, the center of gold & silversmiths. We can drop in after watching barong and Kris dance performance in the morning. It cans be accessed through bemo transport, tour bus or taxi.
Two hundred meters toward west from the Sukawati Art Market, on the right side of the road, there is another market called 'Pasar Seni Pagi' or 'the morning Art Market' which only open very early in the morning until around 7 AM. The crowd of souvenirs retailers from other part of Bali will come here to get semi-finished product with a very low price. Many of Bali's most established puppeteers live in Sukawati. In line with this fact, Sukawati is also the center of Shadow puppets production center. The leather puppet, 'wayang kulit' are made either of cow or buffalo hide.
Sanur is one of Bali's biggest traditional villages but it's also one of the most established tourist areas. Sanur was Bali's first beach resort but still retains its Balinese character and old style village ambiance. On the southeastern side of Bali, Sanur beach is easily reachable from Denpasar, about a 5 to 10 minute drive. Sanur is an excellent site to watch the sun rises, as we jog along the white sandy beach. Being one of the first resorts developed in Bali, Sanur maintains its traditions. Only a stone thrown away from the beach, ancient temples stand as solemn as they have been in centuries past.
Palm-lined beach, facing the Indian Ocean towards the east, Sanur is an excellent place to see the sun rise in the morning. "Bali is the morning of the world", it is the right sentence for Bali if we has visited Sanur. Offshore reefs protect the beach against the waves, and make it popular for windsurfing, boating, and other water sports. It is one of the first areas where one can find good hotels, restaurants, shops, and other tourist facilities.
It's also the place for some of Bali chic fashion shops, hot hotels and well-known restaurants. It is a good location to explore the rest of Bali. Fine hotels, restaurants and modern entertainment venues complement traditional village activities like drama and dance, so it's a good place to enjoy the delights of a tropical island and gain a real appreciation of Balinese culture and local life. Gradual and early development has meant that Sanur has grown alongside the village, with hotels located right next door to local meeting halls and Brahmanic temples. Many hotels have expansive gardens that face the ocean in a picturesque unbroken seaside promenade.
Once a lonely little village on the road from Denpasar to Bukit Peninsula, Kuta is now the tourist Mecca of Bali, popular mainly among the young and adventurous. Kuta beach is one of the first favorite beaches discovered by tourist. Coconut trees line the sand beach as far as the eyes can see towards the north stopped by the runway of Denpasar's airport far in the west. The sunset in Kuta is most breathtaking. On the south, the beach is fenced by the airport's runway, which gives the visitors a breathtaking landing experience. Kuta Beach bustles with tourists' vendors and locals. It's the most popular beach in Bali and the island's number one party zone. The beach stretches as far north as the eyes can see. As short walk away north, the waves will invite to surfing. Rapid development and an influx of visitors haven't kept the surfers away and Kuta still remains one of Bali's best surfing beaches and a great place to enjoy a beach lifestyle.
While the surfers are still part of the Kuta scene, it's the shopping, nightlife and party vibes that attracts thousands of visitors. There's a huge choice of accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. The accommodation in Kuta range from a modest home stay for a few dollars a night to luxurious, five star, international hotels costing several hundred to several thousand dollars a night. Legian Street, situated directly behind the row of hotels that face the beach, is lined with shops of all varieties. We can find any Balinese handicrafts here, from the least expensive to the most exquisite; or unique stores such as the leather store staffed by two young Balinese men that will perfectly sculpt a leather jacket. (They are all extremely talented artists). _At night, Kuta is alive with night life. Western influences create discotheques, dance clubs, and pubs. Gastronomical demands inspire a multitude of restaurants, serving traditional Indonesian and Balinese food to various ethnic meals from Japan, Switzerland, etc. As if these were not enough, various Balinese dance performances are staged in Kuta every night. One of the best Kecak performances is found in Kuta.
Close to the Kuta action but far enough for some down time, Legian is less hectic than downtown Kuta but still has a funky nightlife zone. Legian is a no-holds barred beach where locals, expatriates and tourists mingle, bargain with the best, play paddle ball and football, indulge in a massage and manicure, catch up on reading, meditate, exercise. Legian and Seminyak were small villages a few years ago a short distance from Kuta.
Over the last few years, accommodation has expanded around Legian with many simple family-owned guest houses upgraded; complemented by boutique style hotels and first class hotels. Kuta is literally five-minute taxi ride away. Sunset is peak time at Legian Beach, when the beach bars fill up, the football field is at its busiest and the locals knock off work and wade fully clothed, skirts swirling, into the waves. Now part of the greater Kuta area, both offer quieter alternatives and a more sophisticated nightlife scene focusing on dining-out and socializing rather than full-on partying.
Jimbaran is directly south of the airport, on the way from Denpasar towards Nusa Dua. Jimbaran village is the narrow neck of Bali Island, and thus it has two remarkably different beaches. On the west, Jimbaran Beach faces the Jimbaran Bay, recently lined by new luxurious resorts. On the east, the beach faces the body of water sheltered by Benoa Harbor. Jimbaran is a sleepy cove where fleets of fishing boats color the scene. Formerly a relatively quiet area, its image has improved dramatically with the opening of the beautiful Four Season's Resort and the Inter-Continental. The last couple of years, it has become even busier still with grilled seafood restaurants going up at a rapid pace along the beach, attracting local families and tourists in droves.
Located on Bali's west coast, Jimbaran offers a small-secluded beach area, where tranquility and perfect peace is the perfect antidote to a stressful world. The land gently slopes away from the beach revealing exclusive celebrity haunts hidden under a canopy of leafy tropical forest. A popular spot for windsurfing and sailing small craft, which are available for rent, Jimbaran's grey sand and calm waters are attracting more people but the beach still has a sleepy feeling. A day at Jimbaran is made even more popular because of the all the wonderful options to eat. Choose from simple local food, the freshest fish or 5-star luxury. It is also a popular spot for sunset.
Bali's most prestigious resort area, Nusa Dua is where the tourists will find international world, class luxury hotels elegantly lining beautiful white sands. Located on the Bukit peninsula, in the southern part of Bali, approximately 10 km from the international airport. It is quiet and exclusive with superb facilities.
Crystal clear water and stretches of white sandy beach of Nusa Dua makes Nusa Dua a perfect spot for luxurious resorts to which exhausted the bodies, after a Barong performance at Batubulan and a long climb of the steps of the Mother Temple Besakih, will want to rest. Some of the most sumptuous and luxurious hotels in the world find their home in Nusa Dua Bali. We can tee off into the sunset, while watching the gentle waves come from the blue sea and caress the banks surrounding the luscious greens. Tranquil swimming pools under the coconut trees seem to be one with the distant blue sea. Art galleries and numerous shops surround them.
Nusa Dua is really about taking it easy and relaxing in total luxury. As most of the hotels are 5 stars, every comfort is at our disposal as well as a gorgeous white sand beach. Nusa Dua was designed for the luxury conscious with a heavy concentration of big name hotels lining the beautiful white sand beach. The kind of activities on offer gives a flavor of Nusa Dua. The Bali Golf and Country Club, an immaculately landscaped 18 holes ocean view course. The Bali International Lawn Tennis & Lawn Bowls Club next to the Galleria Nusa Dua a spacious shopping mall with boutiques and up market restaurants. Close by Chandra Koka Amphitheatre provides a venue for traditional entertainment including arts festivals like the Nusa Dua Arts and Culture Festival. Stroll to the northern end of Nusa Dua for parasailing, jet skis, snorkeling/diving trips or better still, head for Tanjung Benoa.
Some of the resorts have private beaches but most areas are accessible. The stretch past the Hilton Resort has been a public beach and during the wet season, the outer reef there is a popular surf break. At present we will find some simple warungs selling good food at cheap prices along this beautiful stretch of white sandy beach that offers excellent swimming conditions in a protected lagoon.
Located 85 km north-east of the airport, Candidasa is a relaxing beach area close to cultural treasures like Pura Besakih ("Bali's Mother Temple") While the beach is not one of Bali's best, the tranquility of Candidasa has attracted a number of exclusive hotels like the Amankila and the Chedi. Candidasa is most often compared to Kuta as Kuta was some 20 years ago. The comparison has some merit -Candidasa is a small village with few inhabitants on the beach with a several- mostly inexpensive hotels that cater to the more adventurous tourists looking for a more laid back atmosphere to explore the cultural heritage of Bali. Being some 85 km from the airport ensures some tranquility, however as more people discover that there is quite a bit to see and do in Candidasa the area is developing rapidly with many first class hotels now sprouting up.
It was a calm small fishing village, but since five years ago, it built with a dozen of losmen (house to stay), hotels and restaurants, and many travelers prefer Candidasa, calmer than Kuta, cheaper than Sanur, and the best place to stay and to explore the oriental part of Bali. It is especially popular among the submarines but the main problem is the beach has erosion as quickly as the new hotels were built.
Tanjung Benoa, or the Benoa peninsula just north of Nusa Dua has become much busier over the years and has a wide range of accommodation including prestigious resorts like 'The Conrad'. Benoa peninsula is a scenic 5 kilometers of coconut palms and fine sand. The area is the almost exclusive home of luxury hotels, private villas, fine restaurants, open-air cafes and water sports facilities. The resort has become busier over recent years with more hotels Bali Resort and Spa joining impressive resorts like the Aston Bali. The shape of the beach, also makes Tanjung Benoa perfect for water sports with no shortage of shops catering to marine sports enthusiasts.
Right at the tip of the peninsula is the quiet port of Tanjung Benoa, with its village like alleyways and rows of traditional fishing boats and yachts. Offshore "Turtle Island" is the site of a sacred sea temple. Tanjung Benoa has something for everyone -especially if we are a water sport fun. Snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, water skiing, powerboats, banana boats and reef fishing. (The reef is just 200 meters from the shoreline at the northeastern tip)
Nusa Lembongan, a small island between Bali and Nusa Penida in Badung Strait, is the perfect holiday hideaway with few visitors and pristine un-spoilt beaches. A low, protected island about 11 km southeast of mainland Bali, measuring only four by three km and ringed with mangrove swamps, and palms and white sandy beaches. Inland the terrain is scrubby and very dry, with volcanic stonewalls and processional avenues crisscrossing the small cactus-covered hills. Overlooking Sanghiang Bay with its clear blue waters, the Nusa Lembongan Resort offers a panoramic view of eastern Bali and the majestic silhouette of Mount Agung. Known for its great surf, the excellent crystal-clear waters also make it a perfect place for snorkeling and diving. It's still a basic place, but interesting, and there are some lovely places to stay.
The island is small enough to explore on foot, offering pristine beaches and coves, majestic views of Mount Agung, unique Balinese architecture, and the friendliness of a simple country folk. With a lack of arable land and a severe shortage of tourist attractions, the island's economy is limited to its underwater wealth-seaweed. A secondary occupation is catering to visiting surfers. Between Nusa Lembongan and the adjacent of Nusa Ceningan Island, the population is only 60,000.
There are just two villages on Nusa Lembongan, the large, spread out administrative center of Lembongan Village, and Jungut Batu village. Surfers and backpackers hang out in the latter, about 150 per month, for an average stay of three to five days. The only other visitors are European, Japanese, and Australian day-trippers on excursion boats. Jungut Batu offers the island's best accommodations and water sport opportunities. There's motorcycle traffic between the two villages and it's easy to get a lift. Both villages are heavily involved in the cultivation of seaweed. Before government-supported commercial seafood production in 1980, the people of the island lived on maize, cassava, tuber, beans, and peanuts. Today most everyone is involved in one way or another with cultivation of "sea vegetables," and the air is permeated with its smell.
Visit the seaweed gardens at low tide; they look like gigantic underwater botanical gardens. Two kinds are grown, the small red pinusan and the large green kotoni. Almost the entire crop is exported to Hong Kong for use in the cosmetics and food processing industries. After harvesting, gatherers leave a floating offering of rice and flowers that gently drifts away on the outgoing tide.
Life on Nusa Lembongan is very relaxing, with cool breezes, little traffic, no big hotels, no pollution, no stress, no photocopy machines, and hardly any telephones. Best of all, there are almost no pedagang acung (pushy vendors) and few thieves. Jungut Batu's charming "tree house" bungalow-style accommodations with outdoors open-air 'mandi', rickety wooden furniture, sand floor restaurants and offices are reminiscent of Kuta Beach 20 years ago. Crops are meager, and the only fruit available is melon. All other food must be imported from the market in Denpasar or from the neighboring island of Nusa Penida.
BATUR LAKE/DANU BATUR
Batur Lake is the old crater of Mount Batur, a still active volcano next to it. It is located on the northern part of Bali. The largest lake overshadowed by the active volcano is located in Bangli Regency, at the northeast of Bali. Batur Lake is the widest lake in this island. It lies down in the feet of Mount Batur and Mount Abang. The lake is classified as a "neutral-dilute" lake because there is no known underlying hydrothermal activity, and the abundant rainfall more than quenches any such activity. There is a hot spring right by the lake. We can enjoy the spectacular scenery of Batur Lake from Kintamani. Across the lake, only reachable by boat, lies Trunyan village, where the Bali Aga people live. The surrounding of the lake is a favorite place for picks self up. At Batur Lake we can see the scenic view and feel cool atmosphere. Bangli's mountainous region center is around the spectacular volcanic crater (or caldera) of Batur. Mount Batur adjacent to the volcano is the large crescent-shaped Batur Lake, all surrounded by the high walls of the crater rim. The place is a great day trips, trekking or just to get away from the daily activity.
Mount Batur itself is actually just a small volcano, but sets in the heart of a huge crater 14km in diameter. Adjacent to the volcano is the large crescent-shaped Batur Lake, all surrounded by the high walls of the crater rim. As the road rises steadily from Bangli or Tampaksiring, nothing in the surrounding gray landscape of bushes and garden plots suggests the presence of a volcano. But over one more small ridge a dizzying view awaits the ayes, encompassing the crater and beyond. From Panelokan, the main road runs right round the rim towards Kintamani, the panorama shifting as we circle around the crater. One very interesting excursion in Batur is the climb down the inside of the crater from Penelokan to Kedisan. We can then drive around the smaller Mount Batur, through Songan. From Toya Bungkah, boats cross the lake to a Bali Aga village called Trunyan. This place is notorious for its mortuary traditions. Instead of cremating the dead, as Balinese do throughout most of the island, the Trunyan communities leave the bodies to decompose naturally in a special cemetery.
DANU BRATAN /BRATAN LAKE
Bratan Lake is located next to Mount Bratan and Mount Catur. It is the second largest lake in Bali. Filling the crater of the inactive volcano Mount Catur, Bratan Lake sits at over 1,200 meters above sea level. The important temple of Pura Ulun Danu solemnly guards the lake. The resort area of Bedugul offers excellent views of the lake, as well as a number of water activities. Providing a cool retreat from the hot and humid regions of Bali, its shores provide the traveler with hotels and restaurants and its cool waters offer parasailing, water-skiing, banana-boat rides and other water sports. Some Japanese caves across the lake were dug during World War II. While in the area hike to the beautiful shrines that dot the lakeshore and forested hills around the lake or visit the beautiful Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
Not far from here are Buyan Lake and Tamblingan Lake, two of the four large lakes on Bali, which can also be worth a visit. Bratan has an altitude of about 1.000 meters, the climate is quite comfortable, at nights we may even need some warm cloths. The area round the lake is well equipped to cater for visitors, with facilities for various water sports (motorboats, water-skiing, bathing) and a good restaurant.
Mount Agung is Bali's biggest trekking challenge. The most revered and the highest peak in Bali, Mount Agung stands tall at over 3100 meters. Fortunately, Bali's highest and most revered mountain is not difficult to climb. The tip is to start well before dawn, armed with a strong flashlight, water, food, and warm and waterproof clothing. The best time for a climb is during the dry season of April through October. But climbing is not permitted when major religious events are held at Pura Besakih, which is most of April. The shortest and most popular route up Mount Agung is from Selat or Muncan; involving the least walking due thankfully to serviceable roads from both Selat or Muncan town to the Pura Pasar Agung, or Agung Market Temple. From the temple, we can climb to top in as little as 2 short hours.
Still an active volcano Mount Batur sits 1,500 meters above sea level and takes about an hour's drive northeast of Denpasar. Smoking and rumbling takes place periodically at this mountain. Two eruptions occurred in 1917 and 1926 and more recently in 1994. A crater lake was formed about 30,000 years ago after a major eruption. Many vantage points offer spectacular views of the area. Hiking tours start at 3a and end at 6a when one reaches the summit to view a beautiful sunrise.
The Balinese consider Mount Agung to be the center of the world. All temples in Bali point towards Mount Agung. The Mother Temple of Besakih, with its uncountable steps, solemnly wait for the arrival of the gods and the goddesses, for when they step down from heaven, they come to Besakih by way of Mount Agung.
SANGEH/MONKEY FORES T
It is located near to Sangeh village; the renowned 6 hectares of Bali Sangeh Monkey Forest are filled with giant nutmeg trees capable of growing as high as 40m. Sangeh Monkey Forest near the village of Sangeh, in southwestern Bali, has six hectares of forestland with giant nutmeg trees. The main attractions here are the hordes of funny yet wise Balinese monkeys inhabiting both the trees and the temple, Pura Bukit Sari, found in the heart of the forest. The monkeys of the forest are believed to be sacred and indeed will approach anyone paying respects at the temple. But visitors should be aware that these monkeys are attracted to shiny objects, so cameras and jeweler should be left behind or kept well hidden under clothes or in a bag when exploring Sangeh Bali.
Near Sangeh village, about 20 km north of Denpasar. This forest of approximately 6 hectares is filled with giant nutmeg trees that can grow up to 40m high. The main attractions are the hordes of Balinese monkeys that inhabit the trees and the temple, Pura Bukit sari, located in the heart of the forest. The temple, Pura Bukit Sari, was originally built around the 17th century as an agricultural temple and has been restored several times, most recently in 1973. In the central courtyard, a large statue of Garuda, an old carving of uncertain date, symbolizes freedom from suffering and the attainment of amerta, the elixir of life. The forest of nutmeg trees in which it lies was presumably planted deliberately a long time ago, for it is unique in Bali.
BESAKIH TEMPLE/MOTHER TEMPLE
Over a thousand years old, Besakih Temple is known as the "Mother Temple of Bali" Perched on the slopes of Mount Agung, at a lofty 1,000 meters (3,000 feet). Besakih is the biggest and holiest of all the Balinese temples. Bali's mother temple stands against a stupendous mountain backdrop on the southeastern slopes of Mount Agung. Named after the Dragon God believed to inhabit the mountain, it's said to be the only temple where a Hindu of any caste can worship.
Eighteen separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups surround the three main temples dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. To the Balinese, visiting the temple sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. The mountain top setting gives it an almost mystical quality. The largest on the island, this massive complex of 35 small temples attracts staggering numbers each year, being the main point of pilgrimage for Balinese Hindus. Steps ascend through split gates to the main courtyard where the Trinity shrines, dedicated to Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, are wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings. There are number of temples but many of their inner courtyards are closed to visitors. Tracing its origins to prehistoric times, the complex was untouched by the great 1963 eruption of Mount Agung, which wiped out surrounding villages. The complex also houses the oldest remaining gamelan instrument in Bali called selonding. The temple ceremony (odalan) falls on the 10th month of the Balinese calendar, in April. If traveling, try to reach Pura Besakih before 9am, when many tourist buses start to arrive, so that we can take in the lovely temple in the quiet Balinese morning.
TANAH LOT TEMPLE /SUNSET
Tanah Lot is located about 12 kilometers from Tabanan City and 20 kilometers from Denpasar. The area comprises a wondrous mixture of natural beauty and sheer human effort. Here lies an idyllic white sand beach with crashing waves, complemented by a small yet majestic temple. This temple, known as Pura Tanah Lot, juts out to sea on a rocky background. Tanah Lot attracts throngs of both locals and tourists daily. Most come here longing to catch a glimpse of the romantic Tanah Lot sunsets, a regular occurrence during the dry season (April to November).
The royal Taman Ayun temple was built by one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java in the 16th century. The temple stands on the top of a huge rock, surrounded by the sea and is one of Bali's most important sea temples. Tanah Lot pays homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Ancient rituals pay homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found in the caves at the base of the rocky island are believed to be guardians of the temple, standing Virgil against evil spirits and intruders. At the base of the rocky island are poisonous sea snakes believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. The best time to see Tanah Lot is in the late afternoon when the temple is in silhouette.
GUA GAJAH /ELEPHANT CAVE
Pura Tirta Empul is the temple of Tampak Siring, built around a sacred spring. Tampak Siring is an inscription dates the spring all the way back to 926AD; and there are fine carvings and Garudas on the courtyard buildings. The temple and its two bathing spots have been used by the Balinese for over a thousand years for good health and prosperity; as the spring water really does have the power to cure. Regular purification ceremonies also take place here.
A little off the main road in Tampaksiring is GUNUNG KAWI with its group of large stone memorials cut into cliffs on either side of a picturesque river valley. It is believed to date from 11th century; one is of Bali's most impressive sights. Tampak Siring artists produce marvelous bone and ivory carvings. Both sites open daily. By public transport from Ubud, catch a bemo north to Tampaksiring from the junction in Bedulu, which is southeast of Ubud.
An archaeological complex lies on gorge of Pakerisan River. To reach the complex visitors must walk about 600 meters from the parking area to the ticket counter than walked down on 315 stone steps. Before take a cross on the bridge at the bottom of the valley make a turn to the left to see the first stone monument. Another group of stone monument is located on the left side of the main temple across of the river.
The monuments are hewn in relief on a solid rock hill commonly called candi (temple). There are shaped like burial towers found all over Central and East Java. However, there are many theories telling identity of the royal personages honored here. One very credible theory suggests the five temple in the main group were built for King Udayana, his Javanese queen Gunapriya, his concubine, his illustrious eldest son Airlangga who ruled over East Java, and his youngest son Anak Wungsu. Reigning over Bali from AD 1050 to 1077, Anak Wungsu is believed to have given up his kingdom to become a religious hermit.
In the right of the main ensemble of temples is a cloister with five cells carved out of rock. The cloister inmates most likely were caretakers of the temple. There's a second hermitage near the main cloister, consisting of niches around a central courtyard, which might have served as sleeping quarters for visiting pilgrims. To get into this part of the temple visitors must take of their shoes. A walk up north of the temple complex could be a short nice walking along the rice field and river stream. The path leads to a small waterfall after 800 meters away and about 1,5 kilometers to Mengening Temple.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of Bali's kayangan jagat (directional temples) and guards Bali from evil spirits from the SW, in which dwell major deities, in Uluwatu's case; Bhatara Rudra, God of the elements and of cosmic force majeures. Bali's most spectacular temples located high on a cliff top at the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean. Uluwatu lies at the southern tip of Bali in Badung Regency. Dedicated to the spirits of the sea, the famous Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple is an architectural wonder in black coral rock, beautifully designed with spectacular views. This is a popular place to enjoy the sunset. Famous not only for its unique position, Uluwatu also boasts one of the oldest temples in Bali, Pura Uluwatu. Most of Bali's regencies have Pura Luhur (literally high temples or ascension temples) which become the focus for massive pilgrimages during three or five day odalan anniversaries. The photogenic Tanah Lot and the Bat Cave temple, Goa Lawah, is also Pura Luhur. Not all Pura Luhur are on the coast, however but all have inspiring locations, overlooking large bodies of water.
Pura Uluwatu is located on the cliff top close to the famous surf break on the SW of the Bukit peninsula. Empu Kuturan, a Javanese Hindu priest who built the tiered meru, founded the temple in the 10th century and a shrine here as well as at other key locations longs the Balinese coast. In the 15th Century the great pilgrim priest Dhang Hyang Dwijendra, who established the present form of Hindu-Dharma religion, chose Pura Uluwatu as his last earthly abode: history records that Dwijendra achieved moksa (oneness with the godhead, in a flash of blazing light) while meditating at Uluwatu. The temple is regarded, by Brahman's island wide, as his holy 'tomb'. Legend also tells us that Dwijendra was the architect of the beautiful temple, as well as many other major temples on Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. In the 17th century Niratha also from Java came to Bali and built temples, adding to Uluwatu.
Behind the main pagoda of Pura Uluwatu's small inner sanctum, a limestone statue of a Brahman priest surveys the Indian Ocean-it is said the statue represents the founding priest Dwijendra. Another shrine within the complex represents the boat on which Dwijendra traveled from, then, Hindu Java. According to legend he arrived at Pura Peti Tenget, north of Kuta.
Uluwatu Beach is known for its surf and, in nearby hostelries, its full moon rage parties. It rages at the temple too but in an orderly way, thanks to the royal house of Puri Agung Jero Kuta, Denpasar, who are the temple's hereditary pangemong (custodians). Hundreds of nobles from this family, and many 'devotees' (pengayah) and village pemangku priests from nearby hamlets, ensure that every seven months (on Anggar Kasih Medangsya by the Wuku Calendar, to be exact) the festival is run efficiently, and most elegantly. The palace is proud of its ancestral role: it manages the awesome logistics with fitting dignity.
Being a popular surfing spot for the very experienced, Uluwatu offers a wonderful vantage point to view a spectacular sunset. Warungs or small restaurants perched on the cliff offer a comfortable spot to survey the vast Indian Ocean beyond and below the 100-meter-high cliffs with panorama on three sides. Monkeys inhabit the temple and cliff face hoping for a banana or some peanuts from the visitors.http://www.kunang-kunangbalitour.com/contacts.php?page=Contacts