Sights in Bali

 

PADANG PADANG BEACH

If you love water and enjoy swimming, this place is magic.  The beach is famous for it is golden sand, and clear aqua waters with a rock formation exploding out of the water.  The walk down through the concreate stairs built in between the limestone cliff face was interesting.  The small cave can only be comfortably crossed by one adult and the other visitors have to queue, to take turns to go through the cave.  Beware of the many playful and mischief monkeys on the way down to the beach.  Make sure to secure your glasses and hat, otherwise those primates will steal it from you.

At the beach, there are stalls selling colorful sarongs and plaited friendship bracelets, guys hiring out a range of different surfboards including paddleboards, and a bunch of warungs selling fresh coconuts, cold drinks and freshly caught seafood if you are hungry.  The place has a rustic feeling and best to enjoy if you have time to spend without hurrying to go somewhere.   The best part is…….. Definitely less crowded than Kuta beach and less intrusion from hawkers who try to sell  you things. It cost Rp. 10,000 (around usd 0.71) per person to enter the beach.

 

ULUWATU TEMPLE

It is highly recommend going to this temple for sunset view.  The red velvet of colour is amazing. The back drop of the cliff will make the best sunset photos.   Surely this place is one of my favourite place in Bali.  The temple located at the edge of the rock, overlooking the sea as if it is on guard.  Balinese people believe, and pray at this temple, so they can be protected from any evil spirits around them.  It is a sight to behold.  To wonder around it is compound. To take beautiful pictures and to hold a long lasting memory.   Before you go into the temple ground, you need to purchase a ticket which cost Rp. 30,000 (around usd 2.50) per person.  The entrance is through an archway decorated with statues of the Hindu elephant deity Ganesha.  Once inside the temple, you can walk on your own to admire the mighty cliff and to explore the garden. The temple has a well preserved stone carvings and it is under restoration when I visited in Jul 2017.  Access to the inner temple is for Hindu worshippers only.    Beware of the mischiefs monkeys and keep your belonging close to you.

The “Kecak and Fire Dance” at the temple is a must see to experience the Balinese culture.  The ticket cost Rp. 100,000 (around usd 7.50) per person.  The dance and music was interesting and we can see the beautiful sunset, as it is an open air arena.    Kecak dance known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, performed by a circle of at least 30 performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting “Chark-a, chark-a, chark-a, chark-a,  and moving their hands and arms like in a trance, depicts a battle from the Ramayana.  The story is about a woman who is stolen from her husband (a prince) by a demon. The narrative follows the challenges and tasks the young prince and his brother must overcome to rescue her.   At the end of the dance, the monkey burns the demon and rescues the woman.

 

JIMBARAN BEACH RESTAURANTS

The restaurant is best known for a romantic dinner with freshly caught sea food.  The setting, the soothing sound of the ocean, and the twinkling lights make a perfect night to remember.  In addition, you can see the Balinese dance performance and learn the dance if you like.  The many flights coming and going through the airport which is close by another attraction in itself.  Even though the airport is close by, you would not hear the flight engines while sitting at the restaurant.  Make sure you know which restaurant to go, as some driver will bring guests to their own relatives and charge an enormous amount for below average seafood experience.  I find the Teba Mega Café is reasonable in price and popular with many expat.   For all cost, avoid “Caviar Café” in Jimbaran beach.  The food is below average and they charged us Rp. 1,200,000 (around usd 90) for two people when we dine there.  If you do not have a car, you can call the restaurant and ask to be pick up.  It is usually free of charge if you spend minimum Rp. 350,000 (usd 25).

 

PURA TAMAN AYUN

It cost Rp. 15,000 (just over usd 1) per person, which is worth the money spent. The place is beautiful and picturesque with a big garden and water featuring lotus and fish ponds.  The temples were built circa 1634 by the ruler of the Mengwi kingdom Tjokerda Sakti Blambangan with Chinese architectural inspiration.   The temples are bordered by broad canals.  It can only be enter via a bridge leading to a richly ornamented candid bentar, the gate which gives access to the outer courtyard of the temple.  The temples has different roof tier which determine the importance of each temple. The most holy temple has eleven tiered meru’s (roof).  It is a very nice stroll inside the temple and not many people inside, so you can take pictures freely.

 

CANDI KUNING VILLAGE

It is free to enter.  The place is good to see the traditional market in Indonesia.  Plenty of interesting fruits which are not available in European countries.  The market sells many things, from trinket to Indonesian spices and herbs.  Prepare to bargain if you fancy buying something.

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Fruits market

 

ULUN DANU TEMPLE (BEDUGUL)

I love this place.  It is such scenic and relaxing.  Feel very peaceful.  Away from the hassle and bustle of city life.   The greenery garden is a feast to the eyes.  The amazing temple is beautiful sight to behold.  The temple located at the crater of an extinct volcano and it seems to have risen out of Beratan Lake, 1,200 metres above sea level.   You can wonder around it is ground or stand still to admire the temple.

There are many water sports available such as boating, water skiing, and para sailing, if you fancy exploring the lake.   I like the boat experience, where I can drive the boat itself and pretend to be the rich and famous, as the boat driver will take my photos.   It cost Rp. 50,000 (usd 3.60) per person to enter the temple, and the boat ride cost extra around Rp. 300,000 (usd 22).

There is one nice restaurant inside the garden near the temple and the other is opposite the entrance gate called “De Danau Lake View Restaurant”, which serves good food at reasonable price.  The best thing about De Danau restaurant is the view from the third floor.  It is AMAZING….

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the relaxing garden
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the beautiful Bedugul temple
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view from the water
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view toward the mountain
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pray under the statue

 

TWIN LAKE VIEW (LAKE BUYAN & LAKE TAMBLINGAN)

The drive toward the twin lake is beautiful with so many greenery.  Unfortunately I find the view of the twin lakes is not that spectacular and really over rated.  It was okay but honestly I could skip this attraction. Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan are separated by a rainforest-covered hill, approximately one kilometer. There is a pool that is connected directly to the lake Buyan through a narrow canal.  Lake Buyan situated at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, so the temperature of the air is cool, especially at night time.  It is nice to sit at one of the café or “warung” to drinks tea or coffee and enjoy the over rated view.  There is some entertainment of life bat, snake and chameleon on display, so people can take picture of the animal with a fee.

 

TANAH LOT TEMPLE

Tanah Lot temple is very famous temple in Bali. The temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. It was built in the 16th century and a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.  The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples was established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast.

According to the legend, at the base of the rocky island, venomous sea snakes believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders.  You can enter the cave and search for the snake if you are brave enough.  The sunset is FANTASTIC at this place.  It cost Rp. 60,000 (just over usd 4) per person.  Plenty of “warung” or cafes with beautiful view at the cliff to satisfy your hunger.  In one of the warung, there is an animal called civets that eat luwak coffee and it is free to take picture of the civets.

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view toward the temple
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view of the cliff
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temple on top of the cliff
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cliff view
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sunset view and the warung above the cliff
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the temple on top of the cliff
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sleeping civets
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interesting cliff on the water

 

KERTA GOSA TEMPLE

This historical building complex was built at the end of the 17th century.  During the Dutch colonization (1908 -1942), Kerta Gosa was used as a court to persecute the criminal.  The building is very beautiful with a thatched roof and many stone sculpture along it is wall.  The first building called Taman Gili and it is ceiling fully decorated by traditional painting depicting the criminal offence and used as a reminder.

The second building looks like floating on the water pond with many lotus flowers surrounding it.  It called Bale Kambang  or Floating Bale.  It is very pretty and picturesome.  The water around it has a green moss colour, so make sure you are not go down there, or end up in the hospital.

At the very end of the garden is a Semarajaya Museum.  The museum itself is very small and not that interesting.  It displays some of the stones artifact, old money and barong.  At least, it is free to enter.  Whereas the temple cost cost Rp. 15,000 (over usd 1) per person.

 

KUSAMBA VILLAGE

FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE.  I really recommend this place. The beach has black sand from the volcano eruption years ago, and it has a beautiful and peaceful ocean view.  In addition, plenty of colorful boats decorating the beach line which is a feast to the eyes.  The village is famous for producing traditional salt by local people using traditional tools.  We paid donation Rp. 50,000 (usd 4) to the woman who performed the work.  She is very nice and chatty.  She smiled a lot and we are very happy with her.  She does not speak English but she performs really well.

First she filled a couple of big heavy basket with sea water and carried it up to the beach where she poured it on to the sand on the ground and let it sit under the sun for one day. She repeated this process several times to make sure the sand was truly saturated and lot of salt was in the sand.

The sand that has been saturated by the sea water is taken to the salt-making hut then more sea water is carried from the sea to the hut where it is used to wash out the salt. The salt water is then poured into a shallow trough made out of palm trees. After that, the trough is lined up along the sea shore during the salt making season. As the sun evaporates the water, the dried salt is taken and put into a basket to be packed and sold. The salt that is produced here has a very good quality which contains a high iodine content that is good for health.   We purchased one bag of salt which cost Rp. 70,000 (usd 5) from her as we are happy with her performance.

 

BAT CAVE (GOA LAWAH)

Unfortunately we are unable to go inside the cave when we are there in July 2017.  There is a ceremony for deceased people.   However, we see the traditional Balinese prayer at the temple with so many offering to the God and to the dead. Many people just sit on the floor and chanting. The temple itself quite large and the gate were built from cement with many stones sculpture decoration.  Supposedly plenty of bats inside the cave.  Unfortunately, we see none this time around.

 

TIRTA GANGGA

This is an architecture genius, mix between Balinese and Chinese.  The place is really beautiful with a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by a lush garden, stone carvings and statues in the water.  The centrepiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain.

Tirta Gangga means water from the Ganges. The water regarded as holy and is regularly used for religious temple ceremonies.  It was built in 1948 by King Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem.  The grounds of the water garden is around 1.2 ha, consists of three separate complexes each with ponds and many sculptures. The complex on the lowest level has two large ponds and a water tower.  At the second complex (middle level) is the swimming pools. At the third level is home of the former King. Now it is a hotel and restaurant.   It cost Rp. 20,000 (under usd 2) per person to enter the complex.

The fun thing to do is walk on the stone steps through the pond. So you can admire the statue up close and be right in the middle of the pond.  Unfortunately it is a bit difficult to walk, as many people want to do the same thing and the stone is really small, only enough for one person.  Just make sure you are not fall into the water.

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The pond where you can hop on the stones
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eleven tier water
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nice view toward the garden and water
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garden surrounded with water

 

KARANGASEM PALACE

Imagine a long white bridge surrounded by water and greenery.  A beautiful sound of the birds singing to you.  The quietness of the place.  It is such a pleasure to the eyes and soothing to the soul.  The place is a former Palace in Karangasem Regency Bali.  It is also known as Ujung Park or Sukasada Park.  It was built in 1909 on the initiative of Anak Agung Anglurah. The architect was a Dutch van Den Hentz and a Chinese Loto Ang. Therefore it has a unique architecture, which is the combination of Balinese, Chinese and European architectures.

Balinese architecture can be found on the carving on the Hindu’s statues and the relief on the wall of the building. The European influence is seen on the style of the main building with it is large veranda, marble stele with the text in Latin and Balinese script and also Malay and Balinese.  The Chinese architecture is implied on the style of the window, the door and its other ornaments.

This palace is really beautiful and very peaceful and the best part is….not many tourists come here, so we have the place to ourselves, and no seller to distract you from the beautiful sight.

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view of the Palace
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the walkway toward the hill inside the Palace
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uninterupted view toward the Palace

 

BESAKIH TEMPLE

It is a must visit if you are in Bali.  This temple is a mother of all the temples in Bali and it is surely the biggest.  Prepare to walk long and wear comfortable shoes.  This place is massive and plenty of high steps toward the temples.  Non Hindu is not allowed to go into the temple compound.  Beware if local Balinese offer you to pray together, he will ask money for it.

The temple has some changes from my last visit.  Now, car is not allowed to drive up to the temple gate. But local car intended to pray there able to drive up.  The ticket booth located close to the carpark.  It cost Rp. 60,000 (usd 5) per person to enter the temple and the price included one way motor bike ride up to the temple gate.  Some driver will ask extra money from you. You can ignore it or you can give some small money.  It is entirely up to you.

Once inside the gate, you need to show your ticket to the person who is sitting in the ticket booth. He will offer a “sarong” to wear.  If you wear long pants and your shoulder covered, sometimes you do not need to wear sarong.  If you need a guide, make sure you know the price. Otherwise you can explore the temple yourself. Decline any donation request if you do not want to donate.

After that you can proceed to the temple.   There are many high staircases to climb at this magnificent temple.  You can start climb from the left side and just follow it and wonder every nook and cranny as you like.  You can explore the many temples there and continues walk up to the very top, where the location is kind of deserted.  It seems you walk out from the temple but just continue walk to the further temple.  The view is beautiful once you reach the top.

We are fortunate to see the prayer procession at the temple.  We see many Balinese people wearing white clothing, carrying food and prayer items on their heads.  The best part is, more local than tourist at this place.

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Prayer procession in Besakih Temple

 

KEHEN TEMPLE

The temple is a smaller version of Besakih temple.  It would not take long to explore this place as it is quite small.  Ticket fee is Rp. 30,000 (usd 2) per person.  If you visit after 5pm, it is free as nobody in the ticket booth.

There are 38 steps to climb to the top to see the carved sandstone mythical animal and Balinese folklore figure statues around the staircases and the central vestibule. The temple walls ornate with Chinese porcelain plates, which are a tribute to the historical relations between the local Bali kingdom and China.  Within the inner courtyard of the temple there are collection of stone shrines built with multi-tiered thatched roofs and arranged in a typical layout similar to any other large temple complex in Bali.   The temples are really pretty.

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Kehen Temple

 

PENGLIPURAN VILLAGE

The beautiful highland village in the regency of Bangli in East Bali is best known for its well-preserved culture and village layout.  It cost Rp. 30,000 (usd 2) per person to enter the village.  It is very peaceful and nice feeling to enter the village with it is clean stone paved street and not that touristy.  It seems more local come to this place.

Its individual compounds are well-kept to look traditional with a thatched roof houses, and manicured gardens lining its single linear stone-paved street that runs through the centre of the village toward the village temple, and age-old arched entrance gates and walls that conceal the houses within.

Guests are welcome to enter the resident houses through their arched gates and the residents are friendly and willing to show their compound and tell the stories of the villages and their family.  Old bricks still stand in their place, traditional kitchens are covered in soot from the billowing wood fire hearths, and the compounds are uniquely laid out, each following old Balinese spatial and architectural set of rules.

Most of residents sell many trinket, snacks or drinks in front of their houses, however they are not allow to push people to buy their stuff, otherwise they will receive punishment from the village elder.  People can wonder around freely and relax without a guilty feeling or being chase by the seller.  It is a unique experience to be in this village.

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Penglipuran village

 

KINTAMANI

Literally everybody knows Kintamani.  It is a place to chill down, to enjoy the beautiful lake view and to feast the delicious food offer.  In Kintamani you can see the Lake and Mount Batur which sit at the rim of the huge Batur cladere about 1,500 meters above sea level.  It feel so peaceful to sit in one of the restaurant and enjoy the view of the huge Lake below and my mind wondered on it is own.

The weather is nice and cool with the wind blowing.  Plenty of hotels and restaurants if you fancy to stay a night or two at this place.  The fruit sellers lining down the street. Make sure to bargain before buy.

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Kintamani Lake and Mount Batur

 

TIRTA EMPUL

The complex was built circa 960 AD.  Tirta Empul means a holy water spring.  The spring feeds various purification baths, pools and fish ponds surrounding the outer perimeter, which all flow to the Tukad Pakerisan River.  The place is packed with local and foreigner tourists.  You can bath in one of the many pool available with additional cost from the entrance fee which cost Rp. 15,000 (just over usd 1) per person.

The entrance gate is adorned with temple gate (candi bentar) which lead to the lush gardens and pathways. Inside you can find a vast walled courtyard lead to the bathing pool and central courtyard.

Unfortunately as of August 2017, the water is not safe for bathing as it is contaminated from the sewage nearby and causing E.coli.  Beware if you visit this temple, do not go to the pool to avoid risk contracted E.coli.

 

GUNUNG KAWI TEMPLE

Oh boy….. make sure you have plenty of food during lunch time and have a lot of energy to tackle this temple.  It is really hard work to walk up and down this place.  The place is huge.  It is 600 meters from the parking lot to the ticket counter then walked down on approximately 315 stone steps. However I really like it, it is so quiet, natural and serene.  It feel peaceful to walk pass the rice field, the greenery, the soothing river sound and the birds chirping.

The archaeological complex consists of 10 shrines (candi).  It is cut out of the rock face in imitation of actual statues. They stand in awe-inspiring 8m-high sheltered niches cut into the sheer cliff face, dating back to 11th century.  They are shaped like burial towers, telling the identity of the royal personages honored there.

The flowing river down the stairs is really soothing the soul. The fresh coconut juice sooth the thirst.  Love this place and the friendliness of the people.

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The stones carving
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the temple

 

ELEPHANT CAVE TEMPLE (GOA GAJAH)

The cave dates as far back as the 11th century.  It was built on a hillside where two streams meet to form a river junction.  The site was deemed sacred and the temple was built for prayer and enclosed meditation.

The entrance to the cave depicts a giant menacing face whose wide open mouth forms the doorway. While there are various animal and forest motifs depicted by carvings on the outer rock face, the giant face of the doorway is considered to be of an elephant.  The cave itself quite shallow, and inside there are three stone idols wrapped individually in yellow, red and black cloth.

The pool in front the gate was excavated in 1954. It features five statues that depict Hindu angles clutching vases which act as water spouts. Throughout the temple complex, a variety of structures bare Hindu influences which date back to the 10th century as well as relics which feature some elements of Buddhism that date back even earlier, as far back as the 8th century.

Unfortunately it is a bit touristy to my liking and the place is quite small.  It would not take long to explore the place.

 

UBUD PALACE

It is free to enter the Palace, but we are only allowed access to a small part of the Palace and not inside the palace itself, since the Royal family still lives in the compound.  The Palace is under renovation when we are there in 2017.  There is an interesting stone statues located close to the gate, which make good pictures.  In front of the Palace gate, there is a small office selling Legong dance which usually performed at the palace courtyard.  It cost Rp. 100,000 (usd 7.50) per person.  The performance is worth the money spent.  The dance is interesting and the artists are beautiful.  I find the dance is a bit mysterious where the dancer dancing with it is eyes closed.  It is very intriguing. I was deep in trance looking at those dance and without knowing it, the performance was finished.  Make sure come early to get a good seat.

 

MONKEY FOREST UBUD

I think the place is overpriced. It cost Rp. 50,000 (usd 4) per person.  The place is kind of dirty and smelly, with so many monkeys’ poo and scattered bananas everywhere.  Luckily the monkeys has a good behaviors at this place, and not chasing the guests or stealing things.  Apparently the staff feeding the monkey on daily basis.

The place is quite big and it has 3 temples inside.  The main temple called “Pura Dalem Agung”. The Second temple called “Pura Beji”.  The thirds temple called “Pura Prajapati”.   The temples are adorned with intriguing stone carving and plenty of stone monkeys on the temple’s wall.

I really like the last temple where it is located down the hill cover with forest alike, across the bridge.  It feels like a lost civilization.   For the monkey… I am not too fans…..afraid being beaten.

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