No Comments

Bali : “An Ideal Retreat For Beaches, Temples And Rice Terraces”

Bali, Indonesia’s most famous island, is located to the west of Java in the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is world-renowned for its scenic rice terraces, fragrant cuisine, stunning beaches and a galore of culture and tradition. With its elaborate temples, endless coastline, some of the world’s best coral reefs, waterfalls and retreats, Bali combines leisure and adventure, spiritual awakening and hard-partying all into one island that people from all over the world come to lose themselves in.

The island boasts some of the best sunsets and sunrises, enough to captivate and entice you into never leaving this place. Home to the coral reefs of Tulamben, the mountain peaks of Kintamani, the beaches and scenic routes of Seminyak and Kuta, with ancient temples and traditional village life of Ubud, Bali’s charm is boundless, as are its opportunities for fun.

Don’t forget to stop by one of the many terraced rice fields, a feature that only adds to the diversity of Bali’s beautiful landscape. Tourists may enjoy an idyllic day at the beach, surf, dive, take a casual boat ride to gaze at the dolphins, explore the many beautiful temples, the local markets and the waterfalls, or go to the silent yoga retreats – there is something for everybody here. Bali has been the subject of so many travel journals and has been famously alluded to in many works of literature, as a place of true beauty, and yet words always fail to capture the captivating magic of ‘The Island of the Gods’.

Pura Tanah Lot

Pura Tanah Lot

About 20 kilometers northwest of Kuta, Pura Tanah Lot (“Pura” means temple in Balinese) is one of Bali’s most iconic temples thanks to its spectacular seaside setting on a rocky islet surrounded by crashing waves. 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, you can relax at one of the clifftop restaurants and cafes here and even sample the famous Kopi luwak (civet coffee), while friendly animals snooze on the cafe’s tables.

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.

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, you can relax at one of the clifftop restaurants and cafes here and even sample the famous Kopi luwak (civet coffee), while friendly animals snooze on the cafe’s tables.

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.

Mount Batur

Mount Batur at sunrise

Every day in Bali’s predawn darkness, hundreds of visitors begin the trek up the 1,700-meter summit of Mount Batur to watch the sun rise above the lush mosaic of mist-shrouded mountains and the caldera far below. This sacred active volcano lies in Kintamani District in Bali’s central highlands, about an hour’s drive from Ubud, and the hike to the summit to watch the sunrise has long graced the list of top things to do in Bali. The hike along the well-marked trails is relatively easy and usually takes about two to three hours. Guided treks typically include a picnic breakfast, with eggs cooked by the steam from the active volcano. On a clear day, the views are spectacular, stretching all the way across the Batur caldera; the surrounding mountain range; and beautiful Lake Batur, the island’s main source of irrigation water.

Sturdy hiking shoes are essential, and it’s advisable to wear layers, as the temperature can be cool before sunrise. You can also combine a trip here with a visit to one of Bali’s most important temples, Pura Ulun Danu Batur, on the lake’s northwest shore, and a therapeutic soak in hot springs at the beautiful village of Toya Bungkah on the banks of Lake Batur.

Uluwatu Temple

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.

Location: 25 kilometers from Kuta

Ubud Art & Culture

Ubud art & culture

Made famous by the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud is also the epicenter of Balinese art and culture. This is where the modern Balinese art movement was born, with the surrounding royal palaces and temples acting as the main patrons. Today, several excellent local museums and galleries celebrate its evolution and traditions. Art gazing is particularly rewarding here, as many collections are housed in traditional Balinese buildings surrounded by serene tropical gardens.

For an overview of Balinese art, your first stops should be Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) and the Neka Art Museum, which lie within a short stroll of the Ubud Monkey Forest. Both span traditional to contemporary works, including kris (ceremonial daggers), photography, and classical wayang (puppet-figure) paintings. Other worthwhile art galleries and museums in the Ubud area include Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets featuring ceremonial masks from Asia and beyond; Museum Puri Lukisan, spanning a range of Balinese artistic styles; and the Don Antonio Blanco Museum, at the artist’s former home and studio.

If shopping for art is more your style, don’t miss the the Ubud Art Market. This labyrinth of stalls brimming with carvings, sculptures, jewelry, sarongs, paintings, and homewares is one of the top tourist attractions in town. Bargaining is essential, and a good rule of thumb is to counter with half the asking price and barter upwards from there, always with a smile. Opposite the market, the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace is also worth a visit and hosts traditional Balinese dance performances during the evenings.

If you’re a budding artist or have children in tow, one of the popular things to do here is to sign up for an art workshop at a local village, which can include traditional painting, mask-making, and jewelry making.

Kuta Beach

kuta beach

Yes, it’s crowded and persistent hawkers stalk the beach, but this famous stretch of sand, along with neighboring Legian and Seminyak Beaches just to the north, is still a fun day out, 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 cafes 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 sunlounger can be a blessing on a sultry day.

For a more peaceful slice of coast on the island, head to the soft sands of SanurJimbaran Beach, or Nusa Dua (Geger Beach here has public access). Surfers should check out DreamlandCangguBalanganBinginPadang-Padang, or the cliff-fringed hidden coves of Uluwatu.

You might also like

More Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Menu