Five Very Special Attractions in Bali
One of the worldâ€™s most renowned beach destinations, Bali features miles of palm-fringed, white sand beaches, bathed by clear tropical waters. But there is more to Bali than sunbathing and surfing and hanging out on beaches. This Indonesian jewel boasts various natural and man-made wonders that are more than worth discovering. Letâ€™s have a look at five amazing tourist attractions you definitely donâ€™t want to miss on your next trip, to Bali:
Tucked away in central Bali, far away from the party scene of Kuta, the islandâ€™s most popular beach, Ubud is considered Baliâ€™s cultural center. Referred to as a town, Ubud is in fact made up of 14 villages, each governed by its own committee. Home to many breathtaking architectural sights and artistic workshops, the town of Ubud also hosts some of the most luxurious hotels in Bali, making it one of the islandâ€™s most popular tourist destinations.
Balinese culture is considered finer and more refined that any other, in the world, and as the cultural center of Bali, Ubud is the perfect place to discover it. The townâ€™s Purl Lukisan Museum features a permanent collection of Balinese artworks, from the turn of the century, and you can find a variety of â€œbatiksâ€ (traditional Indonesian paintings), for sale, on the streets of Ubud.
Photo by seanmcgrath
Perched on Mount Agung, the most revered mountain in Bali, Pura Besakih is the biggest and holiest of all Balinese temples. There are literally thousands of temples to discover, in this wondrous land, but Pura Besakih, commonly known as the â€œmother temple of Baliâ€, is not to be missed. Over a thousand years old, the Pura Besakih temple features about 30 beautifully designed temples, dedicated to various Hindu gods.
The most popular religious site in Bali, Pura Besakih is a sacred pilgrimage site, and the Trinity shrines (dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Wisnu) are always decorated with flower offerings. The stunning sight of the temple, against the mountain background, is reason enough to visit Pura Besakih.
Terraced Rice Paddies
Of all the rice terraces in the world, Baliâ€™s emerald-green agricultural complexes are considered the most photogenic. Balinese rice terraces go back 2,000 years, when natives carved them into the steep hill sides, using the most primitive hand tools. Generation after generation, farmers make sure some of Baliâ€™s most stunning sights remain in tip-top shape.
The river gorge near Tegallalang village, in central Bali, is renowned for having the most beautiful terraced rice paddies, on the island. Other such sites can be found in the Ubund area, around Papuan, Tabanan and Jatiluwih. They may not be as popular as the Philippinesâ€™ Banaue rice terraces, but Baliâ€™s terraced paddies are just as impressive.
One of Baliâ€™s most important sea temples, Tanah Lot is located atop a giant rock, surrounded by the waters of the sea. Built by a Javanese priest, Tanah Lot is dedicated to the guardian spirits of the sea. The poisonous snakes that make their home at the base of the rock are believed to protect this holy place from evil spirits.
Tanah Lot temple is not accessible by tourists, but you can admire its silhouette, at sunset, from various scenic spots, nearby. The tiny eroded island is cut off from the main island, during high tide, but you can walk out to it, at low tide.
Known as the stone carving center of Bali, the village of Batubulan is another prime destination, for discovering the islandâ€™s rich culture and interesting customs. Located about 10 km away, the town of Denpasar is famous, all around the world, for the intricate stone sculptures, made here, and barong dancing.
The name of the village translates as â€œmoonstoneâ€, a subtle indication as to what you might find here. Skilled craftsmen create sculptures, from soft volcanic rock, known as paras, which are displayed along the main street of Batubulan. These traditional masterpieces were used as decorations for palaces, temples and Balinese homes, but with the tourism boom, anyone can buy these artworks, for the right price. You can even strike a deal to have the sculptures delivered overseas, at your doorstep.