Find your attractive Spots in Bali
Bali is the most well known of Indonesia’s islands, and remains the number one tourist destination in the archipelago. One of the biggest attractions Bali has to offer is its culture, which despite the intrusion of the outside world has been preserved in unique arts and ceremonies. Considering its relatively small size, Bali is truly an island of great contrasts. Bali is divided by a range of impressive volcanoes running almost through the center of the island. The main volcano is the sometimes explosive Gunung Agung, which is considered sacred among local people as the center of the universe, while the cradle of Balinese civilization is in the southern lowlands. Art and culture are strongly bonded to Ball’s unique form of Hinduism called “Hindu Darma”. The life of the Balinese revolves around the village and the temple, and rituals are a daily occurrence, all with the aim of keeping the balance of the cosmos intact. It is impossible to separate art from religion or life in Bali. Textiles are much more than beautiful pieces of cloth, and they serve both sacred and ritual functions. Traditional painting has a long and illustrious history on Bali, and is by no means a static form, with important innovations and schools emerging right up to the present day.
The Balinese have been more exposed to international tourists and generally speak more English than people in other parts of the Indonesian archipelago. As a result of spectacular economic growth, Bali has one of the highest average income levels in all of Indonesia. Balinese culture has been neither destroyed nor revived by tourism, but instead has continued to evolve by incorporating new influences into a precious heritage, continuing to make Bali one of the most beautiful and interesting travel destinations the world has to offer.
SUN AND SAND AT SANUR
Palm-lined Sanur Beach curves from the Grand Bali Beach Hotel toward the south, offering one and a half kilometers of excellent hotels, restaurants and shops. Offshore reefs protect the beach and make it popular for windsurfing, boating and other watersports. Despite this modern veneer, Sanur is one of the few remaining villages in Bali controlled by members of a priestly caste, and is famous throughout the island for its black and white sorcery. Just behind the string of hotels lie a series of ancient temples, the destination of some of the finest ritual processions to be found on the island.
NUSA DUA IS TOP OF THE RANGE
The Nusa Dua tourist resort is on the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali and has a drier climate than the rest of the island. Among Ball’s newest resort complexes, the development of the area was carefully planned by the Indonesian government, and a siring of world class five star hotels are landmarks of a new Balinese architecture. The resort is known for its clean while beaches and clear waters. The surf is gentle along the northern side of the peninsula, bigger along the south.
GET KOOL IN KUTA
On the road from Denpasar toward the Bukit Peninsula, Kuta was once a sleepy fishing village. Originally ‘discovered’ for mass tourism by backpackers, surfers, and world travelers, Kuta is now a thriving tourist resort. There is little resemblance today to the Kuta of the 1960s, but it still boasts one of the best beaches in all of Asia. Accommodation ranges from international five star hotel resorts to intimate home-stays. The ‘village’ abounds with restaurants, shops, and discotheques. It has become a cross-cultural international meeting spot unlike any other in the world, with a night life scene unrivaled in Indonesia. While it may not be the soul of the island, a night in Kuta is a must for anyone traveling to Bali.
THE TEMPLE OF TANAH LOT
On the east coast is the sea temple of Tanah Lot. Just twenty kilometers to the west of Denpasar this one of Bali’s most important temples. Built by one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java in the 16th century, Tanah Lot serves to pay homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. It is located on top of a huge rock surrounded on all sides by the sea and is truly spectacular at sunset. Poisonous sea snakes found at the base of the rocky island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. The area near Tanah Lot has been developed as the residential properties, a stunning golf course and a luxury hotel complex.
AN ARTIST’S RETREAT
Once an important source of medicinal herbs and plants, Ubud is the center of Balinese arts and crafts. The Neka Museum has a wide collection of paintings by Indonesian as well as foreign artists who used to live in Bali. The Puri Saren Palace and royal family temple, the Pura Pamerajaan Sari Cokorda, are side by side at the main crossroads in town and traditional music and dance performances are frequent. Across the street is Monkey Forest Road, which winds past a thriving restaurant, handicraft, hotel industry and, naturally, leads to a forest full of monkeys!
SILVER AND GOLD
On the way to Ubud, northeast of Denpasar the village of Celuk has become a center for silver and gold smiths. Once a cottage industry involving nearly every home in the village, it has grown to the point where many of the products have entered the export market. Along the main road between Batubulan and Celuk there are over forty shops selling not only silver and gold, but masks, statues and. textiles.
WOODCARVERS OF MAS
About six kilometers before Ubud, Mas is a village of woodcarvers. Many of Bali’s old masters still live here, with galleries exhibiting some of their best works. Visitors can wander through the Balinese-style houses to view carved wooden pillars and the artists instructing apprentices. The tools are still axes, chisels and hand drills made by local blacksmiths.
Set high in the central mountain range in west Bali, Lake Bratan has sparkling blue waters set against lush green hills. At 1,400 meters above sea level, it experiences a much cooler climate than the coastal plains. On the shore of the lake is the temple complex of Pura Teratai Bang, associated with different aspects of Ball’s creation. Hotels around the lake offer a variety of water sports and the nearby Bali Handara Country Club is one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. The botanical garden at Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bali has good trails and wonderful hiking through tropical rainforest, with over four hundred and fifty varieties of wild and propagated orchids and six hundred and fifty species of trees.
THE MOTHER TEMPLE
High on the slopes of Mount Agung, is the Balinese centre of the universe – home to the biggest and holiest temple in Bali, the “Mother Temple”, the sanctuary of Besakih. Over a thousand years old, it is not a single temple, but rather a sprawling complex of over twenty temples, shrines and compounds. Mount Agung, at 3,124 meters, is also Ball’s highest mountain, and the central focus of divine power in the Balinese cosmos. The largest annual festival is the ‘Bhatara Turun Kabeh’, falling on the night of the full moon in the tenth lunar month in March or April. This is when the gods of all the temples on Bali gather in the main shrine at Besakih, and tens of thousands of people from all over the island come to worship.
THE NORTH COAST
The largest, city on Ball’s north coast, Singaraja was once the center of Dutch commerce on the island, and is the district capital today. It is also the site of one of Bali’s only Chinese temples. The area is famous for its silk textiles, and beautiful replicas of antiques at the Pertenunan Berdikari factory. There is an active night market at Pasar Buleleng and a good arts center at Sasana Budaya. While a pleasant place to visit in its own right, Singaraja is also an important gateway for destinations to both east and west along Bali’s less visited north shore.