Pura Besakih is a must-go place. High on the slopes of Bali's Mount Agung sits Pura Besakih, widely referred to as the "Mother Temple" of Hinduism in Bali. Pura Besakih is the largest of the island's 11,000 or so Hindu temples; its 35 shrines and halls draw devotees from all over Bali in massive numbers each year.
The walk on the steep hill was exhausting at best. The temple was built at about 900 meters right at the foothills of the majestic Mount. Agung. Two locals came taunting to rent out their motorcycles. We refused. They continued their selling pitch until the climb was about halfway before they gave up.
The center of attraction for Pura Besakih is the Pura Penataran Agung. It is a bit eerie in its beauty. The inner courtyard at the center is off limits to visitors (as it is considered the most sacred), but you can get a fairly good look from several vantage points around the temple.
A peek into the vast courtyard revealed 3 main shrines, each enthrones the Trisakti (or Trinity). Each deity has its own color symbol - white for Shiva, red for Brahma and black for Vishnu. There was a religious ceremony held inside the grand temple's courtyard.
Tanah Lot, one of the most popular places of interest in Bali.
The temple Pura Tanah Lot, simple in its construction, is dramatic in its ocean-front location and is one of the main temples in the worship of Balinese gods.
Tanah Lot has a long history in the world of tourism. The temple itself is built on a small promontory which is only accessible at low tide. During high water the rock takes on the appearance of a large boat at sea, such is its shape.
Sunset is the best time to visit Tanah lot, when the golden red skies frame the temple and waves crash into the rocks.
Taman Ayun Temple, the royal palace at Mengwi Bali. The name itself means beautiful garden. It is built on a high tableland which is surrounded by ponds. This gives the effect from afar that the temple is floating on water.
The inner compound is complete with magnificent merus, bales and shrines. As many people know the higher the meru is, the more important it is. The number of roofs is always an odd number with the maximum possible 13. There are 3 very important merus honoring the 3 most important mountains in Bali, with an 11 tiered meru representing Gunung Agung and Gunung Batu karu and a 9 roofed meru represents Gunung Batur.
This forest sanctuary is rather secluded and beautiful. Thick, green foliage seems to fill up the space. Added to that is a well-paved walking path throughout this expansive forest, making your evening stroll a real breezy affair.
The Ubud Monkey forest is a small nature preserve on the southern outskirts of Ubud. Along with its lush surroundings and a beautiful temple are hundreds of monkeys -- Balinese macaques, to be more specific.
So, do they bite? Not at all. As long as you stay cautious, they will rarely be bothered by you. There are street vendors trying to sell you bananas to feed them, but if you are not comfortable doing it, please politely decline. According to Agung, the monkeys here are probably less aggressive than the legendary ones in Uluwatu.
It's amazing how close you can get too the monkeys -- just don't try to pet them! But... They get a lil cheeky sumtimes too...
Ulun Danu temple is located on a lake that fills the crater of ancient Mount. Bratan in Tabanan area, in the northwestern part of Bali. The weather is very cooling and refreshing, bringing the calmness of nature closer and closer to the mind of whoever is witnessing it.
This floating temple is dedicated to the goddess of serene lake Bratan, as a manifestation of Brahman as Wisnu, the preserver. The Balinese worship the goddess of the lake, Devi Danu at Pura Ulun Danu Temple, because the lake provides the water source for the surrounding farmlands and rice fields.
The temple is truly beautiful, with classical Hindu thatch-roofed meru (multiroofed shrines) reflected in the water and silhouetted against the often cloudy mountain backdrop - one of the most common photographic images of Bali.
On the up to the rice terrace, you will enjoy the breathtaking panorama of genuine and fertile rice fields stretch from the foothills of Batukaru volcano to the south coast.
It is located at the western district of Tabanan. This western uplands of Batukaru are famed for magnificent landscapes. The view from the mountain village, Jatiluwih, takes in the whole of South Bali. Perched on a high terraced slope, Jatiluwih deserves its name, which means “Truly Marvelous”. A wonder of the world. It’s worth a venture.
Along the way, you can observe many tropical fruits and vegetation. There is some restaurants for you, with offcourse the background of Jatiluwih rice terrace and the sacred volcano Batukaru in a distance.
Pura Batu Karu lies about 40 kilometers from Denpasar city and 20 kilometers from Tabanan city. Built on the slopes of Mount. Batu Karu, its position complements the temple’s inherently peaceful beauty. Batu Karu Temple falls into the Sad Kahyangan Jagat category (made up of six smaller temples). It is believed that Empu Kuturan erected the temple during the 11th century AD. Many ancient remains inside include some Dwarapala (temple guardians) figures which greet you as you enter and protect the temple from potentially evil influences.
Batukaru Temple is a holy place, a Balinese national temple. As such, it is pure and will remain so. You have been put on notice. Written on the notice are:
"Those who are not allowed to enter the temple are:
1. Ladies who are pregnant;
2. Ladies whose children has not got his/her first tooth;
3. Children whose first tooth has not fallen out yet;
4. Ladies during the period;
5. Devotees getting impure due to death;
6. Insane men/ladies;
7. Those who are not properly dressed".
There is a sacred lake, fed by several of the springs that gush or seep from the mountain side. In the centre of the lake is a shrine reached by the priests on a pontoon pulled across the lake from the left bank.
Tirta Empul - the "Holy Spring Temple" in the village of Tampaksiring. It's one of the most beautiful temples we've seen, and one of the most sacred spots in Bali.
The temple of Pura Tirta Empul is built around the sacred spring at Tampak Siring. Over 1000 years old, the temple and its two bathing places have been used by the people for good health and prosperity because of the spring water's curative powers. Regular ceremonies are held for purification. Specialties of the area are bone and ivory carvings, and seashell ornament. It's a very peaceful place, with the sound of the water splashing into the pool.
At Penelokan Kintamani you can view the panorama of Gunung Batur set in a huge volcanic crater basin.
Danau (lake) Batur is the largest of Bali’s 4 mountain lakes. This crystal clear lake was formed by an ancient volcanic eruption.
Gunung Batur is still an active volcano. You're all also allowed to hike up to the mountain which takes about 2-3 hour to reach the top.
Because Kintamani area own the very beautiful view and also encircled by the cold nature atmosphere so that this area Kintamani represent the very famous area and taken a fancy by all tourist. Name Kintamani have been recognized in all the world where each incoming tourist to Bali have of course wish to visit this place.
The traditional Barong and Rangda Dance tells a story about a fun-loving Barong and the evil witch Rangda.
This Barong Keket wear a mask, corresponding with a mythical "lion" and the follower friend "monkey". Barong, a mythical creature with long swayback and curved tail, represent the affirmative, the protector of Mankind, the glory of the high sun, and the favorable spirits associated with the right and white magic. Rangda, the widow-witch, is its opposite complement. She rules the evil spirits and witches who haunt graveyards late at night. Her habitat is darkness and her specialties lie with the practice of black magic, the destructive force of the left.
It stages the story of Kunti Sraya, a favourite theme of drama, depicts from the main episode of the famous Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. This special story is about Dewi Kunti, the mother of the five Pandawas who for some reasons, has promised to sacrifice Sadewa, one of her five sons to Rangda.
There is a scene in this dance where the witch uses magic to force her adversaries to stab themselves with their own knife.
Gunung Kawi is the largest and maybe also the most impressive of the old monuments on Bali.
As with many Balinese temples an assortment of vendors have set up around the entrance to the site selling sarongs, t-shirts and drinks. They are not too pushy but will make verbal contact with the few passers by.
Walk through a split entrance down a long set of steps that pass more vendors, rice terraces and locals doing their laundry.
Close to the bottom of the steps is a walkway carved out of the rock with an archway at the bottom. A small sign directs those entering to splash holy water over their heads from the pot provided.
The Gunung Kawi monuments have been built in the honor of King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favorite queens. Gunung Kawi complex houses one of the oldest monuments of Bali. The term Gunung Kawi literally means “carving in the mount”.
A steep stone staircase usually leads down into a beautiful valley where one can find 10, seven-meter-high memorials beautifully carved into the rock face. Four are situated on the west side and five on the eastside of the river. The last one is situated to the south across the valley.
Goa Gajah (the Elephant Cave), is located in a steep valley just outside of Ubud near the town of Bedulu.Built at least 700 years ago, the cave was rediscovered in the 1920s and fully excavated 30 years later. Out of respect for the temple, visitors are requested to wear sarongs. You'll need to walk down a series of steps to reach the temple.
In common with many temples, Goa Gajah has springs and pools of holy water. In front of the cave are enormous rectangular bathing pools with water fountains.
A fantastically carved entrance depicts entangling leaves, rocks, animals, ocean waves and demonic human shapes running from the gaping mouth which forms the entrance to the cave.
Inside the cave is a statue of the Hindu character Ganesha (Ganesa) - half elephant, half boy - from which the temple gets its name. At the end of the right wing there is three half meter tall "linga", fertility symbols of the Hindu God Shiva. On the walls there are some old-Javanese writings which has helped to establish the time of origin of the cave.
The temple of Tanah Lot is a "must see" for any tourist in Bali. The sunset is spectacular here. The temple itself cannot be entered, but depending on the tides you can wade through the water to get to the rock where the temple is built on. The access road to the beach is full of tourist shops with artifacts and the usual market stands. Nearby is one of the best Golf Courses in Asia, the Nirvana Golf Resort of Le Meridien. The resort is a great place to stay with kids - they have a very good pool landscape with 50m waterslide and waterfalls.
The driver we hired for the day organise a rafting trip for us. The activity cost Rp250,000 which include lunch and insurance. The rapid he chose for us was pretty mild. The guy there claimed there were a few stronger rapids up the stream. View-wise, not as good as Temburong river in Brunei (had a rafting trip there). Unlike Temburong river, forest there is definitely not virgin. Afew settlements around with plenty of paddy field. As we row down, we passed by a few local people taking their bath and doing laundry at the river.
Imagine having your dinner by the sea, with the cool seabreeze blowing in your face, soft white sand beneath your feet and the sound of waves crashing at the background.
That's what it's like to have your dinner at Jimbaran Bay.
It was quite pleasant during my trip to Jimbaran Bay. We had seafood (ordered by our Bali friend of course) and it was quite lovely to eat right on the beach.
Only drawback was being harassed by entertainers who were singing around the area. It was nice to have the music around, but I didn't like the way they kept on asking for money.