10 BEST THINGS IN BALI
Our 10 Best Things to Do in Bali take you straight to the ‘can’t miss’ cultural treasures and famous landscapes found all around the magical island of Bali. There are innumerable temples, historical sites, and spots of natural beauty spread across eight regencies. This narrowing-down of choices will get you discovering the best of Bali in no time. Go east to see the majestic ‘mother temple’ of Besakih or travel to the heartland where rice paddies offer scenic photo opportunities. From scenic vistas to cultural performances, there is something for everyone.
1. Tanah Lot Temple Tabanan
Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important landmarks, famed for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops. An ancient Hindu shrine perched on top of an outcrop amidst constantly crashing waves; Tanah Lot Temple is simply among Bali’s not-to-be-missed icons. The onshore site is dotted with smaller shrines alongside visitors’ leisure facilities that comprise restaurants, shops and a cultural park presenting regular dance performances. The temple is located in the Beraban village of the Tabanan regency, an approximate 20km northwest of Kuta, and is included on most tours to Bali’s western and central regions.
Legend of Tanah Lot Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java who travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism, arrived at the beautiful area and established a site honouring the sea god, Baruna. Here, he shared his teachings to Beraban villagers, only to face opposition from the village chief who soon gathered his loyal followers to dispel Nirartha. The priest resisted, incredibly shifting a large rock he meditated upon out to sea while transforming his sashes into sea snakes to guard at its base. The rock’s original name, Tengah Lod, means ‘in the sea’. Acknowledging Nirartha’s powers, the humbled chief vowed allegiance. Before setting off, Nirartha gifted him a holy kris dagger, which is now among the sanctified heirlooms of the Kediri royal palace. Pilgrims bring these relics each Kuningan day by foot on an 11km pilgrimage to the Luhur Pakendungan temple, the priest’s former meditational site.
Tanah Lot Highlights and Features After centuries of large waves persistently crashing at its rock base, Tanah Lot faced the constant threat of erosion, reaching a significant decline in 1980. The authorities carried out preservation efforts to Tanah Lot and other historical sites island-wide with aid from the Japanese government. Fully restored, a third of the present Tanah Lot is actually artificial rock. At high tide, waves flood the causeways making it impossible to cross. At low tide, you may cross to view the rock base where the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes dwell in crevices around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain. This natural spout is the source of holy water for all the temples in the area. Priests at the fountain bless visitors by sprinkling holy water over their heads. You can cup your palms and take a sip to prove it is amazingly fresh water. Onshore temples include the Penyawang, a spiritual proxy to Tanah Lot that hosts pilgrims when the main offshore temple is inaccessible during high tide. Other smaller temples around the site host prayer sessions for various aspects of the villagers’ agrarian life, from good rice harvests to rites of passage. North of Tanah Lot is Batu Bolong, similarly built on a rock formation with a ‘hollow’ overpass linking to the mainland. Convenient pathways and well-kept tropical gardens line the grounds from Tanah Lot to Batu Bolong, with resting spots offering shades and good viewpoints to both outcrops. Art shops selling souvenirs and curios of all sorts line the pathway from the parking area to the temple, also with peddlers selling traditional snacks such as jaja kelepon –yummy, must-try palm sugar-filled gelatinous balls rolled in grated coconut.
Good to Know and What Not to Miss Although you cannot enter the temple grounds, the panoramic views and cultural offerings are highlights to enjoy. On the holy day of Kuningan, five days prior to the temple’s anniversary date, the heirloom pilgrimage is one of Bali’s festive parades worth witnessing. Tanah Lot’s piodalan falls on every Wednesday that follows each Kuningan on Bali’s 210-day Pawukon calendar. Dress and act respectfully as on any temple visit in Bali. Following are the corresponding dates for future ‘piodalan’ temple anniversaries at Tanah Lot: 13 June 2018 9 January 2019 7 August 2019 4 March 2020 30 September 2020. Large waves near the rocks are hazardous, therefore always take extreme care and obey warning signs. For further safety measures, members of the Balawista lifeguards take shifts to lend a watchful eye at several key points along the coast. Entrance tickets and parking coupons include insurance coverage. On combined day tours, try reaching Tanah Lot in the early afternoon to explore the site, then head on to the Surya Mandala Cultural Park’s grand open stage near Batu Bolong to see the sunset Kecak ‘fire dance’ performances (held daily from 18:30 onwards), then stay on for dinner at one of the restaurants on Sunset Terrace. Here you can enjoy Western and Asian selections, as well as Bali’s favourite spicy sauced grills and seafood – paired with an ice-cold beer and 15m high views over the temple.
2. ULUWATU TEMPLE
Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. This temple also shares the splendid sunset backdrops as that of Tanah Lot Temple, another important sea temple located in the island’s western shores. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is definitely one of the top places on the island to go to for sunset delights, with direct views overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean and daily Kecak dance performances. Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, and ancient sculptures add to Uluwatu Temple’s appeal.
Without a doubt, what makes Uluwatu Temple spectacular is its cliff-top setting at the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean. ‘Ulu’ means the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese. Several archaeological remains found here prove the temple to be of megalithic origin, dating back to around the 10th century. There are two entrances to Uluwatu Temple, from the south and the north. A small forest lies at the front and hundreds of monkeys dwell here. They are believed to guard the temple from bad influences. The serpentine pathway to the temple is fortified by concrete walls on the cliff side. It takes about an hour to get from one end to another as there are several fenced points along the way to stop. The views from the bottom of the water surging up against rocks and the ocean horizon are remarkable. The Balinese Hindus believe that the three divine powers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva become one here. That belief results in making Uluwatu Temple a place of worship of Siva Rudra, the Balinese Hindu deity of all elements and aspects of life in the universe. Pura Uluwatu is also dedicated to protect Bali from evil sea spirits.
History Inscriptions mention that Uluwatu Temple was instigated by Mpu Kunturan, a Majapahit monk who also participated in establishing several other important temples in Bali such as Pura Sakenan in Denpasar, about 1,000 years ago. A holy priest from eastern Java, Dhang Hyang Dwijendra, then chose Uluwatu Temple to be his spiritual journey’s final worshiping place. Balinese Hindu devotees believe that he reached the highest spiritual point of oneness with deities by a strike of lightning and completely disappeared. Legend, however, says that Dhang Hyang Dwijendra (also frequently referred to by name as Danghyang Nirartha) was the architect of Uluwatu Temple and several other temples in Bali, Lombok, as well as Sumbawa. Until 1983, Pura Uluwatu was hardly accessible and a lightning strike in 1999 set some parts of the temple on fire. The temple has had some restorations since it was first built. Highlights and Features Behind the main shrine in one of the courtyards of Uluwatu Temple lies a Brahmin statue facing the Indian Ocean, considered as a representation of Dhang Hyang Dwijendra. The two entrances to the temple area are split gates with leaves and flowers carvings. In front of each of them are a couple of sculptures shaped like a human body with an elephant head. A heritage of the 10th century is the one-piece winged stone gate to the inside courtyard of Pura Uluwatu. Winged gates are not commonly found on the island. An addition to Pura Uluwatu in the 16th century is Pura Dalem Jurit. There are three statues in it, one of them is of Brahma. There are two stone troughs in the temple area. If both of them are joined, they create a sarchopagus (Megalithic coffin). Uluwatu Beach, below the cliff, is one of Bali’s best internationally-known surfing spots. Good to Know about Uluwatu Temple Every six months according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon cycle, big temple anniversary celebrations are held at the temple. The temple’s keeper, the royal family of Jro Kuta from Denpasar, are patrons for the event. Precautionary signs warn visitors of the monkeys grabbing attractive items such as sunglasses and cameras. However, they can be calmer when approached with peanuts or bananas, lending an opportunity to retake stolen possessions. There hasn’t been any significant erosion on the shoreline underneath the temple’s towering cliff. Believers regard it as a manifestation of the divine power that protects Pura Uluwatu. Public facilities are available, but not in the temple area. Unlike some other tourist destinations in Bali, Uluwatu Temple area has limited amounts of hassling vendors. Visitors must wear a sarong and a sash, as well as appropriate clothes common for temple visits. They can be hired here. The best time to visit is just before sunset. A Kecak dance is performed everyday at the adjacent cliff-top stage at 18:00 to 19:00. Visitors are charged a nominal fee. What makes it the most favourite venue to watch a Kecak dance is the sunset background of the performance. There’s no public transportation to get here and going back in to town will be difficult without any prearranged ride or taxi. A guide is not necessary, though helpful. The service offered is hassle-free at very minimum prices.
Highlights and Features
Highlights and Features Behind the main shrine in one of the courtyards of Uluwatu Temple lies a Brahmin statue facing the Indian Ocean, considered as a representation of Dhang Hyang Dwijendra. The two entrances to the temple area are split gates with leaves and flowers carvings. In front of each of them are a couple of sculptures shaped like a human body with an elephant head. A heritage of the 10th century is the one-piece winged stone gate to the inside courtyard of Pura Uluwatu. Winged gates are not commonly found on the island. An addition to Pura Uluwatu in the 16th century is Pura Dalem Jurit. There are three statues in it, one of them is of Brahma. There are two stone troughs in the temple area. If both of them are joined, they create a sarchopagus (Megalithic coffin). Uluwatu Beach, below the cliff, is one of Bali’s best internationally-known surfing spots.
Good to Know about Uluwatu Temple Every six months according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon cycle, big temple anniversary celebrations are held at the temple. The temple’s keeper, the royal family of Jro Kuta from Denpasar, are patrons for the event. Precautionary signs warn visitors of the monkeys grabbing attractive items such as sunglasses and cameras. However, they can be calmer when approached with peanuts or bananas, lending an opportunity to retake stolen possessions. There hasn’t been any significant erosion on the shoreline underneath the temple’s towering cliff. Believers regard it as a manifestation of the divine power that protects Pura Uluwatu. Public facilities are available, but not in the temple area. Unlike some other tourist destinations in Bali, Uluwatu Temple area has limited amounts of hassling vendors. Visitors must wear a sarong and a sash, as well as appropriate clothes common for temple visits. They can be hired here. The best time to visit is just before sunset. A Kecak dance is performed everyday at the adjacent cliff-top stage at 18:00 to 19:00. Visitors are charged a nominal fee. What makes it the most favourite venue to watch a Kecak dance is the sunset background of the performance. There’s no public transportation to get here and going back in to town will be difficult without any prearranged ride or taxi. A guide is not necessary, though helpful. The service offered is hassle-free at very minimum prices.
Uluwatu Temple Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00. As a place of worship however, it is open 24 hours daily. Location: Pura Uluwatu is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta sub-district, Badung regency, about 25km south of Kuta and it usually takes around one hour to get to and from there. How to get there: Take the bypass main road to Nusa Dua and to Jimbaran and then follow the ascending road up to Uluwatu.
3. Besakih Temple
Besakih Temple, known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’ for over 1,000 years, sits 1,000 metres high on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung. Besakih is an artistic and unique complex that comprises at least 86 temples which include the main Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State) and 18 others. Besakih is the biggest and holiest of the island’s temples and is surrounded by breathtaking and scenic rice paddies, hills, mountains, streams, and more.
To the Balinese, visiting the temple sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. Mount Agung’s high location gives it an almost mystical quality. Many stairs lead up to the sacred mountain, leading to the many temples that vary according to types, status, and functions. Pura Besakih features three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity. Pura Penataran Agung in the centre has white banners for Shiva, the destroyer; Pura Kiduling Kreteg on the right side is with red banners for Brahma, the creator; and Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. You can visit other temples in Pura Besakih, but many of their inner courtyards are closed to the public as they’re reserved for pilgrims. Pura Besakih is the only temple open to every devotee from any caste groups. This is because of its nature as the primal centre of all ceremonial activities.
History of Besakih Temple Pura Batu Madeg, containing a central stone, indicates that the area of Pura Besakih was already regarded a holy place since ancient times. In the 8th century, a Hindustani monk had revelations to build homes for people during his isolation. Throughout the process, many of his followers died due to illness and accidents. On its completion it was called ‘Basuki’, referring to the dragon deity ‘Naga Besukian’, believed to inhabit Mount Agung. The name eventually evolved into ‘Besakih’. Other shrines were gradually built and Pura Besakih was made the main temple during the conquering of Bali by the Majapahit Empire in 1343. Since then, Pura Besakih has had several restorations as earthquakes in 1917 and Mount Agung’s series of eruptions in 1963 damaged the complex. The lava flow passed by Pura Besakih and it is believed to be a miraculous signal from the deities that they wanted to demonstrate their power without completely destroying the holy complex their devotees had built for them.
Besakih Temple Highlights and Features The largest temple in the complex, Pura Penataran Agung, has different areas representing seven layers of the universe, each with their own shrines. Pura Pasimpangan on the downstream side (on the east of the main street) and Pura Pangubengan upstream are approximately three kilometres apart. Located on higher ground, the closest to Mount Agung’s peak, Pura Pangubengan has great vistas and it’s about a 30-minute walk from the main Pura Penataran Agung. Around 10 minutes to the east of Pura Pangubengan is Pura Batu Tirtha. It is where holy water is sourced for the ‘karya agung’ ceremonies at Pura Besakih and Pekraman villages. Four temples in the complex reflect four forms of God at compass points: Pura Batu Madeg in the north, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to the south, Pura Gelap in the east, and Pura Ulun Kulkul in the west. ‘Batu ngadeg’, literally ‘standing stone’, is found in the shrine of Meru Tumpang Sebelas at Pura Batu Madeg. This is where Vishnu is believed to descend. Still in the courtyard of Pura Batu Madeg, in front of Meru Tumpang Sebelas is the Pesamuan shrine (quadrangle-shaped with two lines of 16 poles) as a symbol of how Vishnu’s power interrelates with the world. At least 20 minutes to the northwest from Pura Batu Madeg, down the footpath to the valley and along the river, is Pura Peninjoan – erected on a tiny hill. The beautiful views from here include all the shrines of Pura Penataran Agung, beaches and southern Bali in the distance. On the west is Pura Ulun Kulkul, famous for the main and most precious ‘kulkul’ (Balinese wooden slit gong) on the island. Kulkul is a signaling device to summon or convey special messages. On the northern side of Pura Ulun Kulkul is Pura Merajan Selonding where the ‘Bredah’ inscription mentions a king in Besakih, and a set of ancient gamelan called ‘Selonding’ are kept. Pura Gua, located on the eastern side of the main street, is the home of the dragon deity. There’s a big cave at the canyon of the river on the east that has its mouth closed due to erosion, but people still sometimes practise yoga there. Pura Jenggala, southwest of Pura Penataran Agung, is also often called Pura Hyang Haluh by the local devotees. The ‘Setra Agung’ burial grounds is south of the temple. Here are sacred ancient stone statues in the form of the mythical garuda bird. Pura Basukian Puseh Jagat is located southeast of Pura Penataran Agung, the main foundation of Pura Besakih.
Good to Know about Besakih Temple Pura Besakih was nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1995, but as yet remains unvested. There are at least 70 ceremonies or religious celebrations held each year here, as each shrine has its own anniversary, plus the big holidays based on the 210-day Balinese Hindu calendar system. Pura Basukian, Pura Penataran Agung, and Pura Dalem Puri are the mother of all village’ temples, namely Pura Puseh, Pura Desa, and Pura Dalem. Their shrines contain religious literature referring how a temple must be built. During the daytime Besakih becomes a crowded tourist trap, with self-professed ‘temple guards’, touts, hawkers, and more. Bear in mind that you should wear a proper top, a sarong, and a sash. The best visiting times of the day are in the early morning and in the evening as the complex is much quieter during these hours. The official guides are easily identifiable with their symmetrically patterned traditional Batik shirts. The service is not free, though not expensive at all either considering how big the complex is. There’s no obligation to hire a guide for tours around the complex. Sarongs and sashes are available for rent. They’re also available for purchase at the many stalls outside, and bargaining is recommended. Women on their periods are forbidden entry. Don’t forget to change money in the more urban areas as the rates here are not reliable.
Besakih Temple Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00, but it is actually open 24 hours as it is a place of worship Location: in Besakih Village, Rendang Sub-district, Karangasem District Remarks: Taking along local companions outside the official hours is highly recommended How to get there: From Sanur, take the Kusamba Bypass to Klungkung. Head north through Klungkung and take the right-hand turn at Menanga to get to Besakih. The journey from Sanur shouldn’t take longer than two-and-a-half hours.
4. Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud is famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving the subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system), which according to history, was passed down by a revered holy man named Rsi Markandeya in the eighth century. Tegallalang forms the three most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud’s shared region, with the others being in the villages of Pejeng and Campuhan. The Tegallalang rice terraces alone offers a scenic outlook that spreads down before you and away to the rice paddies on the slopes across the valley. The high roadside location is cool and breezy and it is a well-known spot for tourists to stop and take photos. Painters and nature lovers also enjoy visiting this spot, and there are numerous art kiosks and cafes near the ledge offering their ware. Tegallalang rice terraces offer a perfect Bali photo opportunity with its dramatic views. The vista sprawls down and away to the rice terraces on the slopes across the valley. A local elder, a farmer who owns the land invites visitors to sample his green coconut drink, as well as to purchase woven hats that he makes from coconut leaves as well as posing with visitors for a small fee. This ancient valley has a timeless quality whether there are tourists there or not. The small village of Pakudui, a craftsman’s dominion located in Tegallalang, is a journey of witnessing the splendour of local talent at its best. Here you will find an extraordinary variety of ornamental woodwork and various carvings. The villagers here are avid Balinese craftsmen and have taken up different forms of sculptures, either handed down through generations or as a result of an ever-growing creative process using the most natural of all media – wood. But through your village tour in Pakudui you will notice the recurring presence of one particular mythical Balinese figure – the Garuda. Amongst the carved mythical lions, horses, human figures, dogs, dragons, vases, frogs, kangaroos, cats, ornate totems, panels, doors, windows, tables and the many brilliant forms of creativity – extending even to large-scale dinosaurs – the Garuda seems to be majestically ever present amongst the creations.
Good to Know about Tegallalang Rice Terraces Some souvenir sellers and the old farmer will seem occasionally pushy, but there are no fixed prices, so have those bargaining skills at hand or best still, remind yourself that you are just there for the picture. A ‘modest fee’ for the posing farmer is at your own discretion. While the rice terraces serve as a highlight photo-op in the Tegallalang area, souvenir shopping options abound along the roadsides, and the trip to Pakudui village is worth its while. Pakudui is reachable after a right turn up from the famed rice paddy outlook. Find magnificent carvings and wooden art forms lined up along the small and winding village road
Tegallalang Rice Terraces Location: north of Ubud How to get there: Tegallalang is half an hour’s drive north of Ubud. From the main Ubud art market, head east to the large statue intersection and head further up north.
5. Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, is one of Ubud’s most popular attractions; a natural forest sanctuary that is home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques. The site is well preserved thanks to a community-based management program. The forest is also conveniently positioned near Ubud Town Centre, and within easy walking distance from guesthouses and resorts along the main roads of Jalan Hanoman and the namesake Jalan Monkey Forest. Besides watching playful monkeys in their natural habitat, swinging through canopies, lazing along pathways or feeding on bananas, the site offers cool walks along paved pathways through a leafy nutmeg forest. Beautiful ancient temples with guardian statues covered in moss also feature throughout the forest. Those staying outside of Ubud and coming for a day tour usually have the Ubud Monkey Forest as a must-visit, combined with sightseeing highlights at the Ubud Royal Palace and shopping sprees through the expansive Ubud Art Market, all only a 10-minute drive away.
What to See in Ubud Monkey Forest
Deep inside the forest lies the 14th century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal. Another site of interest is the Pura Prajapati, which is dedicated to village funerals. Most mossy relics and statues are under dense foliage with little sunlight, giving these smaller sites their mysterious and ancient feel. Banyan tree roots hanging over shadowy dragon staircases offer exotic photo opportunities. You can also discover an ancient bathing temple, located northwest of the main Ubud Monkey Forest grounds, known as Pura Beji, accessible down a flight of stairs and next to a stream
Good to Know About Ubud Monkey Forest Ubud Monkey Forest has local guides and staff ready to assist you during your visit. The Wenara Wana staff may also try in assisting you with retrieval of any ‘items’ stolen by monkeys. Guides are also a great source of information about the cultural and historical significance about the sites and temples within the sanctuary grounds. As with any holy site in Bali, women during their periods aren’t allowed to enter any of the temple grounds.
Ubud Monkey Forest Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 08:00 – 18:00 Location: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud Tel: +62 (0)361 971 304
6. Ubud Art Market
The Ubud Art Market, locally referred to as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’ is located opposite the the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and is open daily. Here you can find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, handmade woven bags, baskets or hats; statues, kites and many other hand-crafted goods. Most of the goods found at the Ubud Market are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. The location of the Ubud Art Market which is centred among the art producing villages, and being just opposite the royal palace which is a centre point to Ubud itself, make it a strategic shopping place for Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs. The Ubud market also serves as a setting for the Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love, which shows a scene where actress Julia Roberts opposite a male character strolling through the stalls which are frequently visited by foreign and domestic visitors in real life. Naturally, bargaining is essential.
Ubud Market Highlights A holiday in Bali always calls for some sort of shopping for souvenirs or memorabilia of the trip, and the best place to make the search would be in the artistic central region of the island, namely Ubud and its Ubud Art Market. Bali art markets in general are always on itinerary lists especially as the various items sold are typically Balinese, unique and some unavailable elsewhere. In Ubud’s case, most visitors’ favourite leisure includes easy strolls to the heart of the town, made possible by footpaths that virtually pass every aspect of Balinese culture and life. Ubud Art Market is one among the laid-back strolls, reachable from the Wanara Wana Monkey Forest Sanctuary just down south, an approximate kilometre from the market. ‘Shopping’ here is not always about an actual purchase. Viewing the various items on display from one stall to another is a highlight on its own, showing the craftsmanship and the artistry of the Balinese. Admiring all the shops and stalls usually cannot be accomplished in one day. So if you spot an item of your interest, you might come back another day to bargain or settle the deal. Compared to art markets in Bali’s other main tourism destinations such as Kuta, the Ubud Art Market can be considered to feature higher quality items and a larger mixture. Although beach cloths and shirts printer with “Bali” on them, and ikat woven skirts, Balinese style paintings, woodcarvings and woven baskets can be found almost everywhere on the island, items ranging from quadruple-coloured bohemian skirts of satin, Moroccan-style oil lamps, quilt-stitched batik camisoles and brass Buddha statuettes, are somewhat the staple, typical Ubud Art Market curios.
Good to Know about Ubud Market
The Ubud market offers not only exemplary Balinese items, but rather a universal and international assortment, catering to visitors of all tastes. The items found here also tend to of a higher artistic value compared to other art markets such as Kuta. Prices vary, depending on your bargaining skills. Haggling is expected and indeed encouraged as part of the fun of shopping, but do so politely and with a smile. It is often helpful to decide upon the most you want to pay for an item before you start bargaining. Unlike the various shops aligning the Monkey Forest Road, most stalls at the Ubud Art Market bear no barcode or set price, so start bargaining which is a customary. Start at about half the asking price and go up till a compromise is reached. Refrain from buying anything if it is the first day of your holiday. Do a little survey while you’re enjoying your first day and get accustomed with the prices. The market is open daily from 08:00 to 18:00, and some of the stalls are even open until late at night. The market is divided into two main allotments. The western block is the main art market, and an eastern block is a traditional market serving daily groceries and necessities.
Ubud Market Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00
7. Kintamani and Mount Batur
A Bali volcano can be a sightseeing highlight on your next trip to Bali’s highland region. The Kintamani volcano or Mount Batur, in particular, is a very popular trek. The captivating Mount Batur surrounds the 13-square kilometre Batur caldera lake. Those with a penchant for adventure can take a winding road down to the lake shore. This leads you to Toya Bungkah, Ulun Danu Batur temple, and a collection of hot springs. The Kintamani area consists of three main villages, namely Penelokan, Batur, and Kintamani. There are also some old Balinese villages around Batur Lake, often referred to as Bali Aga villages. Penelokan is a popular stopover. It serves as a vantage point at the southernmost part of the crater rim. From here, you can enjoy the sweeping views over the magnificent Bali volcano.
Penelokan serves as the best site to enjoy the panoramas. You can view Batur’s rugged features of dark lava slopes and black molten rocks from the village’s roadside. The lush green vegetation and the blue-green coloured lake serves as a stark contrast. Mount Batur is popular for climbing. You can observe the sunrise from the ridges of this Bali volcano on early morning treks. From high, you can enjoy the vista overlooking the large and beautiful Batur caldera to its northwest. Lake Batur is on the southeastern side of the volcano. The lake is 16 kilometres wide and is a popular fishing spot. Batur’s village of Toya Bungkah has hot lakeside hot springs, known for its curative mineral water. It is a popular choice among trekkers to spend the night before hiking up Mount Batur in time to watch the sunrise. West of the adjacent Mount Abang is the secluded old Balinese village of Trunyan. It’s a place that’s known for its ancient burial traditions using an open graveyard. The Pancering Jagat Temple is an interesting site here. Its name is derived from a four metre-tall statue, ‘Ratu Gede Pusering Jagat’.
Good to Know about Kintamani
The fertile Kintamani area is a top producer of fruit and vegetables in Bali. This highland area is at approximately 400 metres above sea level. Kintamani is also known as the largest bamboo producer on the island. The giant ‘petung’ type of bamboo harvested here is widely used for making traditional furniture items. Lake Batur is the main source of irrigation water for most of Bali. Locals also breed freshwater fish here. The water temperature at the Toyabungkah hotsprings can reach up to 45 degrees Celcius. Kintamani is in Bangli, the only district on the island without a shoreline. Enjoy the best panoramic views from this Bali volcano from 10:00 to 15:00. Hiking up Mount Batur usually takes three hours. Official guides are recommended. ‘Mountain guides’, however, are self-titled and have a reputation for being rather pushy. You can book climbs from our tour options above. Like Mount Agung, Mount Batur is active. Be sure to check its volcanic activity alert levels before planning a trek.
8. Bali Safari and Marine Park
Bali Safari & Marine Park offers a fun day out, and serves as one of the island’s largest and most visited animal theme parks which opened its gates in 2007. The Bali Safari & Marine Park was established by Taman Safari Indonesia; covering 40 hectares of land in the Gianyar regency. It is home to over 60 species, all of which roam free in large enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. Enjoy riding on a safari bus to visit the animals, watching fascinating elephant talent shows, get cuddly with baby orangutans, and view baby sharks at the aquarium. Families travelling with children will have a blast together at the adjacent water and amusement parks.
In Bali Safari & Marine Park’s collection are 80 species and around 400 specimens from three regions – Indonesia, India and Africa, including spotted deers, Himalayan bears, nilgai, black bucks, African hippos, zebras, camels, ostriches, baboons, blue wildebeests, and lions. The most epic on display are the legendary Indian white tigers. Guests board safari buses to travel through different areas of the park. Bali Safari & Marine Park’s signature Safari Journey takes visitors through the manmade habitats of Indonesia, India and Africa on modified safari trams, providing the opportunity to see the wildlife collection living naturally all together in the open range regions and to take as many photos as they like, all from the comfort and safety of the air-conditioned safari tram with their very own personal guide. Key exhibits in Bali Safari and Marine Park include Ranthambore, a replica of an ancient Indian fort in the city of Rajasthan where majestic white tigers roam; Kampung Gajah (Elephant Village), a sanctuary for retired working elephants; and the showcase of the komodo dragons. There are also fun close-up photo opportunities with some of the animals. Also, check out the various free live animal shows as well as the new Bali Theatre onsite, with the currently-running magnificent Bali Agung Show.
Good to Know about Bali Safari and Marine Park
A visit to the Bali Safari and Marine Park will take up a full day to enjoy all that the park has to offer. It is best to get there at opening time as there is so muchBali Safari and Marine Park to see and do. Best have your own transport instead of taxi, or at least a return transfer back to your hotel. The climate here can be rather hot so keep hydrated throughout the day. Make good use of the free attractions and photo opportunities found throughout the park and have a free map of the park handy to explore all corners of site. The location is quite far-flung, so it’s a good idea to plan some stopovers on the way to, or from the park. Bring a change of clothes, towel and swimwear if you want to take a dip and have fun with the kids at the nearby water park.
9. Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Jatiluwih rice terraces pretty much cover the region of the namesake upland village in West Bali, most famous for its landscapes that are both dramatic and truly exotic. The site is one of the island’s must-see natural panoramas on par with Mount Batur and the caldera of Kintamani. The cool highlands and the breathtaking scenery of this village at the foot of Mount Batukaru makes for wonderful photo opportunities, and serves as a soothing retreat away from the island’s crowded south. Once a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site candidate, Jatiluwih rice terraces comprises over 600Ha of rice fields that follow the flowing hillside topography of the Batukaru mountain range. These are well-maintained by a traditional water management cooperative known as ‘subak’, which dates back to the 9th century. The cooperative itself eventually won recognition as a dominant factor in Bali’s ‘cultural landscape’ entry on the heritage list.
Located at about 700m above sea level in the Penebel district of the Tabanan regency, the journey up to these highlands from the main southern areas such as Kuta and Denpasar takes an approximate two-hour drive. Full-day tour itineraries usually include Jatiluwih as a main attraction alongside other prominent highlights within the region, such as Batukaru Temple and the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest nearby, together with the picturesque Tanah Lot sea temple at the end of the day, just in time for the striking sunset backdrops and dinner shows. You will find the largest and most picturesque expanse of paddies in Bali and perhaps the whole of Indonesia here. Another sister area with similar views is the village of Pupuan, also in Tabanan. Lush green views will already come into view upon approaching the region, while the main vantage point lies further up in the village. Entrance to the main area requires a fee that goes to the local village cooperative fund, and which is usually covered by tour operators. Halfway up, the view is truly impressive, with 180 degrees of gently sloping terraces as far as the eye can see
Several restaurants serving international and local cuisine line the small road overlooking the Jatiluwih rice terraces; most tour itineraries stop here for lunch. One of the restaurants offering the best vantage point is Billy’s Terrace Café, which serves local selections and buffets, and Warung Jatiluwih 259 further down the slope. While most travellers on tailored tours normally enjoy the scenery by day, the rice fields are equally impressive at sundown, complete with fireflies and the sound of nature that emerge and become more apparent into the evening.
10. Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah’s name is slightly misleading, lending the impression that it’s a gigantic dwelling full of elephants. Nevertheless, Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave’ is an archaeological site of significant historical value that makes it a special place to visit. Located on the cool western edge of Bedulu Village, six kilometres out of central Ubud, you do not need more than an hour to descend to its relic-filled courtyard and view the rock-wall carvings, a central meditational cave, bathing pools and fountains.
Goa Gajah dates back to the 11th century, built as a spiritual place for meditation. The main grounds are down a flight of steps from the roadside and parking area, which is lined with various art and souvenir shops and refreshment kiosks. Upon reaching the base you will come across a large ‘wantilan’ meeting hall and an assortment of large old stone carvings, some restored to their former full glory. The pool, excavated in 1954, features five out of supposedly seven statues depicting Hindu angels holding vases that act as waterspouts. Various structures reveal Hindu influences dating back to the 10th century, and some relics feature elements of Buddhism dating even earlier to the 8th century. The cave is shallow; inside are three stone idols each wrapped in red, yellow and black cloths. Black soot lines the cave’s walls as result from the current-day incense burning. Several indentations show where meditating priests once sat. The northern side of the complex is dominantly Buddhist while south across the river it’s mostly Shivaite. At the southern end are beautiful rice fields and small streams that lead to the Petanu River – another natural site entwined in local legends. Goa Gajah was built on a hillside and as two small streams met here forming a campuhan or ‘river junction’, the site was considered sacred and was built for hermetic meditation and prayers.
What’s in the name?
Even though the site’s name translates into ‘Elephant Cave’, you won’t find any pachyderms here. Various theories suggest the origin of the name, such as back in time the Petanu River was originally called ‘Lwa Gajah’, meaning the ‘River Gajah’, before it came to be called Petanu River. Other sources state that the ‘Gajah’ or elephant aspect came from the stone figure inside the cave depicting the Hindu lord Ganesh, who is characterised by an elephant’s head. Ancient inscriptions also allude to the name Antakunjarapada, which roughly translates to ‘elephant’s border’. The cave’s entrance shows a menacing giant face with its wide open mouth as the door. Various motifs depicting the forest and animals are carved out of the outer rock face. The giant face was considered to be that of an elephant’s.
When to visit The complex is open daily 08:00 – 16.00. As with any temple in Bali, women during their periods are forbidden entrance and wearing a sarong and waist sash is a must. These are available for rent at the entrance. Goa Gajah temple celebrates its ‘piodalan’ temple anniversary on an ‘Anggara Kasih Prangbakat’ Tuesday on the Balinese 210-day Pawukon calendar, corresponding to different dates on the Gregorian calendar each year (consult a local). Entry tickets are 15,000 rupiah for adults and 7,500 for children.
Goa Gajah Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 16.00 Location: Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh, Gianya
SOURCE INFORMATION BY : http://www.bali-indonesia.com/attractions/top-ten.htm