Natamagazine.co – Island of Gods Bali is one of the most evocative and popular tourist islands of the entire Indonesian archipelago. Spirituality adds yet another layer to Bali’s allure, and seeing the magnificent temples and sacred Hindu ceremonies are top things to do in Bali. A visit here sparks the senses. The intoxicating fragrance of incense hangs in the thick tropical air. Petal-strewn offerings smolder on busy sidewalks, and traditional gamelan music jangles against the buzz of mopeds. Despite the clamor and chaos of the main tourist areas, the island is rich in natural beauty, with attractions for every kind of traveler.
Surfers come for the legendary swells, hikers can trek up jungly volcanic peaks to misty waterfalls, and cyclists can bike through lush landscapes bristling with rice terraces and traditional villages. The island’s rich arts scene is another top draw, and if relaxation is your top priority, the shopping in Bali and spa treatments are fabulous and affordable. . Since the famous book and film Eat, Pray, Love spotlighted this enchanting island, the tourist throngs have undeniably swelled, but you can still experience old Bali if you stray off the beaten track. Find the best places to visit and some of the island’s hidden gems with our list of the top amazing attractions in Bali.
1. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple.
Located in Tabanan, on a small island along the western shore of Lake Bratan, in the cool highlands of central Bali, the 17th-century Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is one of Bali’s most picturesque temple complexes. Set against the imposing backdrop of Gunung Bratan, the thatched temples reflect on the lake, and when the water levels rise, they seem to float on its surface. Lake Bratan is one of Bali’s main sources of irrigation and drinking water, and the temple complex is dedicated to Dewi Danu, goddess of the sea and lakes. An unusual feature is the Buddhist stupa on the left of the entrance to the first courtyard, with figures of Buddha meditating in the lotus position in niches on the square base.
The stupa reflects the adoption of Buddhist beliefs by Balinese Hindus. This sacred Hindu temple complex is best seen in the soft morning light, before the tourist buses arrive, when cool mist sometimes cloaks the lake and the mountains beyond. You can also hire a canoe and paddle out on the lake to explore the meru (thatched shrines) at close range. Not far from the temple complex, the Bali Botanic Garden (Kebun Raya Bali) is also worth a visit, with its beautiful bamboo forests, begonias, orchid collection, and medicinal plants. Within its grounds, the Bali Treetop Adventure Park is fun for kids, with ziplines, Tarzan swings, and suspension bridges.
2. Tanah Lot Temple.
From Kuta, it’s about 20 kilometers to Pura Tanah Lot (“Pura” means temple in Balinese) is one of Bali’s most iconic temples. Its spectacular seaside setting, on a rocky islet surrounded by crashing waves wows all who visit. For the Balinese people, it is one of the most sacred of all the island’s sea temples. (The largest and holiest Hindu temple in Bali is Pura Besakih, but recently local hagglers have been harassing visitors.) Every evening, throngs of tourists from Kuta, Legian, and Sanur find their way through a labyrinth of lanes lined by souvenir sellers to watch the sun setting behind the temple. Pura Tanah Lot was built at the beginning of the 16th century and is thought to be inspired by the priest Nirartha, who asked local fishermen to build a temple here after spending the night on the rock outcrop. Although foreigners can’t enter any of the temples, you can walk across to the main temple at low tide, and it’s fun to wander along the paths taking photos and soaking up the magnificent setting.
After viewing the various temples and shrines, save time to relax at one of the clifftop restaurants and cafés here and sample the famous Kopi Luwak (civet coffee). In some of the cafés, friendly civets snooze on the tables, offering fun Instagram-worthy photo ops. From Tanah Lot, you can stroll along tropically landscaped pathways to beautiful Batu Bolong, another sea temple perched on a rock outcrop with an eroded causeway connecting it to the shore. When visiting any temples in Bali, be sure to dress respectfully, and wear a sarong and sash.
3. Uluwatu Temple.
Presiding over plunging sea cliffs above one of Bali’s best surf spots, Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) is one of the island’s most famous temples, thanks to its magnificent clifftop setting. In Balinese, “Ulu” means “tip” or “land’s end” and “Watu” means rock, a fitting name for the location of the temple on the Bukit Peninsula, along the island’s southwestern tip. Like Pura Tanah Lot, sunset is the best time to visit, when the sky and sea glow in the late afternoon light.
Archaeological finds here suggest the temple to be of megalithic origin, dating from around the 10th century. The temple is believed to protect Bali from evil sea spirits, while the monkeys who dwell in the forest near its entrance are thought to guard the temple from bad influences (keep your belongings securely stashed away from their nimble fingers). A scenic pathway snakes from the entrance to the temple with breathtaking viewpoints along the way. Only Hindu worshippers are allowed to enter the temple, but the beautiful setting and the sunset Kecak Dance performances that take place here daily are more than worth the visit. The temple lies about 25 kilometers from Kuta.
4. Sacred Monket Forest Sanctuary, Ubud.
Only 10 minutes’ walk south of the town center in Ubud, Bali, the Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is one of the top things to do in Ubud. It’s also one of the best places to visit in Bali if you’re an animal lover or photographer. Besides the entertaining troops of grey long-tailed macaques that make their home here, a large part of the appeal is the evocative jungle setting where the monkeys roam free. Paved pathways lead through thick forests of giant banyan and nutmeg trees, where moss-covered statues and ancient temples loom through the dense foliage, imparting an almost mystical feel.
The forest is intended to represent the harmonious coexistence between humans and animals. It also conserves rare plants and is used as a location for researching macaque behavior, particularly their social interaction. On the southwest side of the forest is one of the three temples found here, the 14th-century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, where hundreds of monkeys swing through the trees and clamber over the walls. In the northwest of the forest, an ancient bathing temple, Pura Beji, nestles next to a cool stream and makes a beautiful backdrop for watching the monkeys’ antics. While visiting the forest, make sure to secure your belongings and avoid direct eye contact with the animals (and smiling), as this can be interpreted as a sign of aggression. It’s also a good idea not to bring any food into the area. Official site: http://monkeyforestubud.com/
5. Tirta Empul Temple, Ubud.
Dating from around AD 960, Tirta Empul Temple (Pura Tirta Empul) in the lush tropical forest of Central Bali, offers a glimpse into a sacred purification ritual. This important temple complex, a national cultural heritage site, is divided into three courtyards. The focal point is the large, rectangular pool, fed by a holy mountain spring, where locals come to pray and soak in the healing waters that gush from a series of sculpted spouts.
If you wish to join the locals in the cleansing ritual, it’s best to ask an experienced guide first to make sure you respect the customs. You must enter the water fully clothed, wearing a sarong and sash, and it’s best to explore the temple complex first, as you are not allowed to drip water in the courtyards. To avoid the tourist buses, early morning and late afternoon are the best times to visit the temple.
6. Kuta Beach.
It’s crowded and persistent hawkers stalk the beach, but this famous stretch of sand, along with neighboring Legian, Double Six, Seminyak, Batubelig Beaches just to the north, is one of the most happening places in Bali. You’ll have a fun day out here especially if you’re a beginner surfer or you just want to soak up the scene. You can book surf lessons and rent surfboards, boogie boards, sun loungers, and umbrellas directly from vendors set up on the sand, and plenty of cafés and restaurants border the beach.
Beach vendors are easily dissuaded with a polite “no thank you,” but an icy cold coconut sloshing with juice served directly to your sun lounger can be a blessing on a sultry day. For a more peaceful slice of coast on the island, head to the soft sands of Sanur, Jimbaran, or Nusa Dua (Geger Beach here has public access). Surfers should check out Dreamland, Canggu, Balangan, Padang-padang, Bluepoint, Nyang-nyang, Binging or the cliff-fringed hidden coves of Uluwatu.
7. Penataran Agung Lempuyang (Lempuyang Temple).
Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang is a Balinese Hindu temple or pura located in the slope of Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem, Bali. Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang is considered as part of a complex of pura surrounding Mount Lempuyang, one of the highly regarded temples of Bali. The temples of Mount Lempuyang, represented by the highest pura at the peak of Mount Lempuyang, Pura Lempuyang Luhur, is one of the Sad Kahyangan Jagad, or the “six sanctuaries of the world”, the six holiest places of worship on Bali.
At the lowest temple, a fantastic “gateway to heaven” greets visitors. Looking through the gate on a clear day reveals Mount Agung framed within its sides. Beyond the gate, three beautiful nāga-lined staircases lead up to the lowest temple. Pura Lempuyang Luhur is one of the oldest and holiest sites on the island and is thought to predate most Hindu temples there. considered the most sacred places of worship on Bali.
8. Taman Ujung ( Ujung Water Palace), Karangasem.
Ujung Water Palace is a former palace in Karangasem Regency, Bali. Now, this palace also known as Ujung Park or Sukasada Park. It is located approximately 5 kilometres from Amlapura, Karangasem. In the Dutch East Indies era, this place known by the name Waterpaleis. The palace three large pools. In the middle of the pool, there is the main building named Gili Bale, connected to the edge of the pool by bridge. Ujung Water Palace is located in Ujung Countryside lies at Tumbu village, south part of Karangasem regency or about 2, hours from Bali’s International Airport .
From Denpasar Town, take the highway of Ida Bagus Matra’s Street and go to the east part of Bali accrossing Tirta Gangga Water Palace also known locally as Tirta Gangga, until arrive at Karangasem town, about 5 kilometres from Karangasem, near Abang. Tirta Gangga is a former water palace of Karangasem empire which one of east Bali’s most famous sights which feature 1.2ha of pools, ponds and fountains surrounded by tropical gardens. Ujung Water Palace is right located in the costal side with beautiful old building and the right place to visit during your vacation in Bali.
9. Sidemen Valley.
About 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Ubud, the emerald-hued Sidemen Valley evokes the feel of Old Bali, before the tourist throngs descended on the island. Sleepy villages snuggle in the valley amid cascading rice terraces, and cloud-capped Mount Agung looms in the background like a benevolent sentry. A highlight of a visit here is strolling around the small villages, surrounded by farmland and rice paddies, where the locals still tend to their traditional activities.
You can also hike through the countryside to the summit of Mount Agung or trek through the rice fields and lush countryside past cocoa and coffee plantations. Other popular things to do here include rafting the rivers; yoga retreats; and taking part in cultural activities such as dancing, carving, or traditional weaving. Homestays and Bed & Breakfast are particularly popular in this area, but you’ll also find some luxury villas overlooking the rice fields.
10. Menjangan Island.
Located in West Bali National Park, you can cross over to this small island by boat from the port of Labuhan Lalang near Pemuteran Beach in North Bali. The island spans approximately 3,800Ha, with savannahs home to the rare Javan rusa deer. There are also some pockets of dense mangrove forests. In the north of the park is an obvious north jutting peninsula called Prapat Agung. Around this peninsula are long stretches of protected beach and offshore coral reefs as well as a small offshore island called Menjangan with a very popular diving destination.
Menjangan Island is a small island, located 5 miles to the north-west of Bali island and is part of the Indonesian archipelago. “Menjangan” in Indonesian means “Deer”. The name was given by the local population observing wild deer herds swimming to the island every spring and covering a distance of approximately 1.2 miles. One hundred and sixty species of birds have been recorded in the park, including the near extinct Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi), Bali’s only endemic vertebrate species,the fauna icon of Bali. (Nm).
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