Also known as the Land of the Gods, Bali appeals through its sheer natural beauty of looming volcanoes and lush terraced rice fields that exude peace and serenity. Bali enchants with its dramatic dances and colourful ceremonies, its arts and crafts, to its luxurious beach resorts and exciting nightlife. And everywhere you will find intricately carved temples.
There are are thousands of gift shops in Bali. From Denpasar to Ubud, you’ll find many things you’d like to bring back home. Most of the starred hotels are located near the beach. Otherwise, they usually have their own private spots at certain beaches. You can find them easily at popular spots like Kuta or Sanur. If you are thinking of bringing home souvenirs, your best bet is the souvenir market at Sukowati, where you may be overwhelmed by choice.
Kuta has a large variety of boutiques and shops, selling everything from bright T-shirts, surf- wear, flip-flops to creative trinkets. If you wish to buy dried food stuffs, Bali coffee is most aromatic. You may also want to buy aromatherapy essential oils to sprinkle your bath with.
As Bali is located 8 degrees south of the equator, so the weather you will find is tropical, warm and humid climate all year around with two main distinctive seasons: Dry Season and Rainy Season. Quite different with the areas around Bali’s central mountains (volcanoes) which have several peaks over 3,000 metres in elevation. Up here the temperatures are considerably cooler, and there is much more rainfall than in the coastal areas.
Bali’s white beaches are favourite for family holidays. There are a variety of watersports available, such as banana boats, parasailing or jet skiing, swimming or plain sunbathing. Most well known among Bali’s beaches is Kuta. Along this stretch are an array of hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes. In the evenings the area throbs to the beat of disco music. For a quieter evening enjoy the beach at Jimbaran, a popular spot to eat fresh barbecued seafood in the evenings. Sanur Beach also dotted with hotels and restaurants. You can also visit Nusa Dua, where more private beaches front super deluxe hotels.
Surfers love the waves at Nusa Lembongan near Nusa Penida. These islands are a 45 minutes boat trip from Nusa Dua or from Sanur. At Nusa Penida’s south western coast are the Manta Point and the Malibu point where divers can swim with Travally, big rays and even sharks. The best dive spots are at Menjangan with its reef flat, anchor wreck, eel garden and caves to explore. Nearby and still in the Bali Barat Park is Pemutaran island.
Bali offers first class adrenaline pumping white water rafting down the spectacular Ayung River by Ubud. Here you can also go bungy-jumping from a cliff down to almost touch the river. If you enjoy cycling, Ubud and its surrounding is a wonderful town to bike around. There are also good cycling paths at Uluwatu in the south.
Mountain climbers may want to climb up Gunung Agung. Begin your ascent from behind the temple or through the village of Sebudi. However, make sure to ask permission first from the temple authorities, as Balinese religion prescribes that no one may stand higher than the sacred temple especially when ceremonies are being held.
The Kecak dance is staged most dramatically in the open air by Pura Tanah Lot with as backdrop, the sun slowly lowering in the sea over the horizon beyond this beautiful temple. The Kecak dance tells the story of Ramayana wherein prince Rama’s wife, Sita, is abducted by the ogre Rahwana.
There are many modes of transport to help you get around in Bali. A variety of excellent half day, full day and overnight tour packages are available from your hotel desk or any of the numerous travel agents and tour operators which abound in Bali. You can also find a car and driver who will also act as your guide. Tell the driver your desired route and negotiate a fee.
An important virtue to have while on the road in Bali is patience! Although the road system in the heavily populated areas is quite reasonable (condition wise) in comparison to other developing countries, it can be heavily congested at peak periods. Ceremonial processions often take up the entire road so if you’re caught behind a procession, enjoy the colorful experience.
With increasing number of direct flights from many parts of the world, getting to Bali is easy. Flights from Jakarta to Bali take about 1.5 hours, from Singapore and Perth (Australia) around 2.5-3 hours, from Hong Kong about 4.5 hours, and from Sydney/Melbourne about 5.5-6 hours on many national and international carriers.
Another means to reach the island is by ferry from Banyuwangi, located at the most eastern tip of East Java. It takes 30-45 minutes crossing from Banyuwangi to Ketapang on Bali. From Bali, you can also continue further by ferry to the island of Lombok, in West Nusa Tenggara. Take the ferry at Padang Bay with transit at Lembar seaport for a total of 4 hours journey.
Uluwatu, Home of the Most Famous Waves in Bali
Uluwatu is home of the most famous waves in Bali. The spot offers several waves which are working with different swells and tides. The Peak is best at mid and high tide, closes out at low tide. In front of the cave, it’s the most consistant. The Racetracks is at 100 meters further with fast wave, a lot of sections with easy tubes. Best at low tide and at 6 ft which can hold bigger swell. On the right tide and the right swell, ‘The Peak’ connects with ‘Racetraks’.
Outside corner is the real Uluwatu. Works only with big swells (>8 feet) and at low tide. The lower the tide, the better is the wave. Take at least a 7″ board. It is a succession of long walls good for carving and, sometimes, a beautiful final tube.
Temple is less surfed. Two waves in fact (“Outside temple” and “The Bombies”). Only for experts because the water is very shallow. For them, it is a incredible tube when it works.
Various restaurants and cafes throughout Uluwatu, from cheap food stalls to luxury restaurants. Naturally, the souvenirs around here are sea-related products, such as items made of seashells and corals. But of course, there are also the modern kind of merchandises, such as T-shirts. There are many accommodations from warung (a traditional cafe), motels, hotels to villas. If you stay in a warung you just need to pay for the meals, while better accomodations like starred hotels are located near resorts.
Uluwatu is about one hour drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. You can use a taxi from the airport. Or you can go to Denpasar and to find a travel agent or auto rental. Many rentals also provide motorcycles.
Nusa Dua, a Place to Enjoy Your Leisure Time in Total Luxury
Nusa Dua situated about 40 km from Denpasar and is the capital of Bali province. Nusa Dua is a sparklingly prestigious, sprawling enclave of international luxury hotels, deluxe spas, exclusive golf courses, and world class convention centers, that was purposely built to present the beauty of the island wrapped in exclusive luxury and also acknowledged as an ideal integrated venue for international conventions and exhibitions.
The crystal clear shallow waters and the pearly soft white sandy beaches surrounding Nusa Dua make it a perfect place to have fun for all members of the family or for tired conference delegates to relax, go swimming and return completely reinvigorated and re-inspired. The name Nusa Dua itself literally translated means ‘Two Islands’ which refers to the two small raised headlands or islands found just off the coast of the peninsula. On one of the islands stands a Hindu shrine (Pura) called Nusa Dharma which was built in 1948 by Tan Sie Yong of Chinese descent.
Nusa Dua is located 40 km south of Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali. Access is easy from the Kuta area (20-30 minutes) and Jimbaran (15 minutes) on the main southern route called Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, which becomes Jalan Bypass Nusa Dua as it approaches the enclave.
Ubud, a Remarkable and Peaceful Town in the Middle of Bali
If you’re looking for peace and quiet, then Ubud is the place to be. Steeped in culture and enhanced by magnificent vistas, Ubud offers a respite from the humdrum of your busy life. In the past, Ubud was just a small village, but now it has grown into a thriving yet laid back cosmopolitan community. Ubud pampers visitors in body and soul. Fine dining restaurants and spas here will delight and relax the senses. A walk through the lush paddy fields, watching colourful processions of women gracefully balancing piles of fruit offerings on their way to the temple, are lasting impressions and simply breathtaking. Ubud is a perfect place for you to experience spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Visit Ubud to experience its peace and tranquility!
Since Ubud is relatively small, you can explore the town on foot or hire a bicycle or motorbike. Bear in mind that as this is hilly terrain, so do ask locals first which places are easier explored on foot, by bicycle, motorbike or by car.
Various modes of transport are available from all over Bali. If you decide to visit Ubud directly from the airport, you can hire prepaid cabs but the fee may be quite hefty. You can also take regular taxis or rental cars. Public transportation such as buses can also take you to Ubud.
Kuta, From a Sleepy Village to a Popular Beach Destination
Once a sleepy village with a quiet, beautiful sweep of beach, Kuta today has become a popular beach destination in its own right, alive with tourists from all over the world, swimming, surfing or sunbathing by the beach. Others, casually dressed in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops stroll along its main road, shopping around or enjoying meals at its many open air restaurants. When in Kuta you know that you are in a holiday town, and people here are in a holiday mood.
Back in the 1960’s the only hotel was the Kuta Beach Hotel, but soon without much planning, Kuta developed rapidly into a haunt for surfers and backpackers, while the high end market preferred to stay at the more sedate Sanur village on the opposite side of the peninsula. With time, Kuta’s popularity grew, and shops, restaurants, discos hotels, – from the simple to the exclusive – sprang up along the main road from Kuta to Legian, catering to the ever increasing holiday crowd, that not only included international tourists but also domestic visitors fromJakarta and other big cities.
Moving around Kuta its very fun and simple. You can go around on foot or you can rent a bike or motorcycle.
There are plenty of taxis that can take you to Kuta beach . You can rent these by the meter or by the hour. Taking your own car is not recommended as parking here is very tight.
Seminyak, the Centre of Life in Bali
Seminyak today is Bali’s up-and-coming fashion, dining and accommodation precinct, an upmarket coastal enclave just north of Legian and Kuta. Situated some 10 km from Denpasar , capital city of Bali, Seminyak stretches from Double Six Street in the south and morphs into the villages of Kerobokan and Umalas, north of Pura Petitenget temple. Although it may be somewhat difficult to stipulate where precisely Kuta, Legian or Seminyak begin or end, but one thing is clear: Seminyak is certainly in a class all its own. The atmosphere here is much more sophisticated and laid-back compared to Kuta, while the beach in particular is relatively quieter during the day.
Seminyak is part of the main west coast conurbation in South Bali and traffic can get very congested at times. From Kuta and Legian, the Legian Street runs parallel with the beach, and at its western limit continues as Seminyak Street. You can also get to Seminyak via the eastern by pass of Sunset Street. This is almost invariably the quicker route from Kuta and Legian into Seminyak, although it is actually further distance-wise.
Sanur, Peaceful Village in Bali
The waters of Sanur are protected by a long string of offshore reefs, creating large, warm shallow, safe lagoons that are perfectly clear and excellent for swimming, snorkeling and a whole array of water sports. Surfers will be pleased to know that the reefs around Sanur produce some of the best waves in the world in the right conditions although they can be very shallow at low tide. But there are more consistent waves beyond the reefs good for surfing.
Sanur is also the launching pad for visitors who want to dive and explore the splendors of the nearby island of Nusa Lembongan. Nusa Lembongan is approximately 8 square km in size, and is one of three neighbouring islands, the others being much the larger Nusa Penida and tiny Nusa Ceningan.
Many areas around the island are good for diving and snorkeling, with abundant marine life and healthy corals. Surfing can get a bit crowded, but the waves are good. There are several white sand beaches away from the main centers which are virtually never crowded.
As a place where tourism first flourished in Bali, Sanur has some of Balis’ historic hotels. There are a lot of restaurants and cafes along the coastline. For budget meals you may want to try the Pasar Malam (Night Market) at the northern end of Jalan Danau Tamblingan where it meets Jalan Pungutan.
Sanur’s splendid paved beachfront cycle-path stretches some 5 km from Jalan Mertasari area in south Sanur, north to the main beach at Jalan Hangtuah. This makes for a lovely scenic bike ride, especially in the early morning. The more active could try one or more of the many watersports on offer at Sanur Beach. Try kitesurfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, surfing or paragliding.
For those less active, hire a banana boat and hit the calm waters. The surf here is not great by Bali standard but there are reasonable breaks about 1 km offshore during the northwest wind season (about October-March). In that period you will have no problem locating the breaks-just follow the locals. Boards can be rented on the beach for Rp 100,000.
For one of a kind experience, you should try the Sea Walker. A safe and exciting underwater adventure Sea Walker is a unique diving system, that provides an opportunity to observe the underwater world to a depth of 15 feet without certification, and without getting your hair wet. Participants actually walk along the bottom of the sea, rather than swim while numerous exotic fish and sea life are found all around.
Jalan Danau Tamblingan, the main street in Sanur, has a number of outlets for car, motorbike and bicycle rental. A large number of metered taxis patrol the streets looking for passengers. Local bemos run with some regularity up and down both Jalan Danau Tamblingan and Jalan Danau Poso. Sanur is also a great place to walk. Distances are not far, the streets are relatively quiet, and there is a splendid, paved beachfront path which runs the whole length of the district.
Located within the vicinity of Denpasar, the capital of Bali, Sanur is a 20 minute taxi ride from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. There are plenty of metered taxis all over the island that will be keen to take you to Sanur. This is one of the more straightforward areas of Bali to find as the main Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai is the western boundary of Sanur.
There are many well signposted exit points from this main road into the heart of Sanur. Allow about 30 minutes driving time from Kuta or Legian, about 45 minutes from Seminyak or Ubud and 15 minutes from Downtown Denpasar.
Sanur is also well serviced by shuttle buses and bemos from the north and south and also from Denpasar’s Tegal terminal. The bus company Perama has its Sanur office in Jalan Hangtuah, and offers direct transfer here from Candidasa, Kuta, Loviana, Padang Bai and Ubud. Private shuttle buses run from most major tourist centers of Bali to Sanur.
Denpasar, Where Modernity and Distinct Culture Blend Flawlessly
Although it may not be as popular as the vibrant tourist’s compound of Kuta and Legian or the thrilling waves of the island’s south coast among tourists, Denpasar, the capital city of the Island-Province of Bali holds its own charm as a place where modernity and Balinese distinct culture blend flawlessly as a whole. The city also acts as the major hub that connects the many tourists’ destinations within Bali Island. Denpasar is also the site where the Bali Arts Festival is held annually.
Designated as Bali’s capital city since 1958, replacing the former capital of Singaraja in the north, the city of Denpasar has since then grown rapidly in population and economy. Around its major square are the office of the Governor, the Bali Museum, and Bali’s first hotel, the Bali Hotel, where Hollywood film stars Charlie Chaplin and Barbara Hutton once stayed. Also around here are major banks. While other government offices can be found at Renon.
The Puputan Square itsef is a historic landmark in Bali’s heroic history. As historic reminder of this phenomenal stance, the huge Bajra Sandhi Monument was erected at the Puputan Margarana Square, right in the heart of the city. Inside the monument, visitors will find dioramas and other valuable collections depicting the history of the Balinese struggle against colonialism.
The provincial administration’s seat of Bali, Denpasar is bristling with temples, palaces, and at the eastern part is the popular lay back beach of Sanur. Although is a center for government and businesses, the city does not cramped itself with lines of tall buildings or modern architectures. Instead, many of the government offices, banks, businesses offices, shopping malls, and others retain the distinct personality of Balinese culture.
Denpasar is by far the largest city in Bali but still manages to retain a small town ambience despite heavy traffic congestion on its roads. The city is generally made up of tightly knit villages complete with historic Hindu temples surrounded by communal family compounds. It offers the most accessible way to see real, uncompromising Balinese life. Denpasar is also Bali’s best spot for shopping and features everything from lively street markets, vast department stores and more than its fair share of trendy boutiques. Expect the cheapest prices in Bali for almost everything as most stores cater to locals.
The capital city offers the best way to explore the island complete insight through the Bali Provincial Museum (Museum Negeri Provinsi Bali) or simply known as Bali Museum. As Bali’s flagship museum, it offers an informative introduction to almost all things in Bali through a vast array of cultural and historic artifacts from across the island. It is housed in four traditional pavilions set around a walled compound, right in the heart of town. Weaponry, utensils, precious jewelry, Balinese textiles, religious artifacts, traditional costumes and masks, and several artworks are among some of the collection displayed in the museum.
Located in the eastern suburbs, the Taman Werdhi Budaya or Bali Art’s Center is Bali’s foremost cultural centre. It comprises a large exhibition space, art museum, concert hall and amphitheatre and an adjoining school for the performing arts. There are permanent displays of Balinese art covering all styles made famous in nearby Ubud, woodcarvings and traditional costumes. Visitors can experience dance and music performances in two open-air amphitheaters with modern lighting. Dances are also regularly staged for the public, including works integrating modern Balinese choreography. The unique Kecak performance staged every night at 6:30-7:30 pm.
As any place in Bali, Denpasar is also decorated with many Hindu Temples. Among some of the renowned temples in Denpasar are the Pura Agung Jagatnatha (adjacent to the Bali Museum), Pura Maospahit, and Puri Pemecutan.
Most visitors coming to Bali will arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport, located in Tuban between Kuta and Jimbaran, roughly 15 km from Denpasar or about 30 minutes drive. Acting as a main entrance to Bali, the airport is the second-busiest international airport in Indonesia, after Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Ngurah Rai International Airport connects Bali to most of Indonesian major cities and some of the major cities of the world. More information on domestic and international flights to and from Ngurah Rai International Airport can be found at http://www.ngurahrai-airport.co.id
Denpasar is centrally located and easily reached by car or taxi from the main tourist regions of south Bali. A trip from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak will take 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. Sanur is just 15 minutes to the east and Ubud about 30 minutes to the north. Tabanan is about 40 minutes to the northwest. A pre-paid taxi from the airport will cost between Rp 70,000-100,000, depending on exactly where in Denpasar you are heading to.
The main bus terminal of Denpasar is Ubung, which is also a bemo (public minibuses transportation) terminal. Aside from connecting many cities in Bali, Ubung is also the main bus hub of Southern Bali to Java. A bus to and from Surabaya, the capital of East Java will cost about Rp 120,000 including the ferry trip between Banyuwangi and Gilimanuk, mineral water and a meal.
Although there is no train station nor any railroad tracks in Bali, you can still use train as a transportation option to Denpasar. Through the Inter-Transportation Modes Ticket (Titam/Tiket Terpadu Antar Moda) You can buy the so-called “train tickets” to and from Surabaya, including a bus (air-conditioned) to Banyuwangi, and the ferry between Gilimanuk and Ketapang, and then a train from Banyuwangi to Surabaya. More information at http://www.indo.com/ground_transport/train_old/deparinfo.html
Tanah Lot, Magnificent Balinese Temple in the Open Ocean
To many people, Tanah Lot epitomizes the romantic island of Bali. This is the image of Balinese temples on the rock facing the wide open ocean, perched high above the crashing waves below, with as background the colorful sky at dusk, lit by the slowly disappearing setting sun.
Located in the sea some 300 meters from shore, the huge rock of Tanah Lot is reachable overland at low tide. On its northern side stand two Balinese temples built on an overhanging cliff which connects the islet to the shore. Underneath the rock are caves that are inhabited by sea snakes, believed to be the guardians of the temples.
At the entrance lane to Tanah Lot you will find many art shops offering local handicrafts besides other products like T-shirts, Balinese sarongs, hats, sandals, accessories, paintings, woodcarvings, and more. Here you will also find stalls selling food and drinks.
The best time to visit Tanah Lot is during Odalan, which is celebrated every 210 days, near the Galungan and Kuningan festivities on the holy day known as Buddha Cemeng Langkir. On this day you will see rows of Balinese women gracefully carrying offerings on their head to pray at the temple of Tanah Lot.
The tourist area of Tanah Lot near the rock is very well managed for visitors. It has a parking area, toilets, art shops, restaurants, hotel, open stage, tourist information centre, and security and safety services. Your ticket also covers insurance against accidents.
There are many restaurants here where you can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast or lunch. Experience the serenity of the tropical sun slowly disappearing beyond the horizon and the wide open ocean, and listen to the sound of the soothing waves crashing on the shore. It will be an incredible memory to treasure all your life.
The Sunset Terrace
The Sunset terrace is the best place to watch an unforgettable sunset over Tanah Lot. Here you can enjoy a luxurious breakfast or lunch, taste special Balinese food and drinks, and watch the tide flow in. At high tide the rock of Tanah Lot appears like a boat floating on the waves. On full moon nights, spend an unforgettable romantic evening on the terrace with your loved one.
The temple at Batu Bolong is located some 100 meters west of Pura Enjung Galuh. The temple is built within the cave inside a huge rock that juts out into the sea. During Melasti, people come here to pray at the temple of Batu Bolong.
The temple or Pura Enjung Galuh stands right next to Pura Jero Kandang, also at Enjung Galuh. “Njung” means the rock that juts out to sea. Pura Enjung Galuh is dedicated to the goddess of welfare, Dewi Sri Shakti.
The Surya Mandala Cultural Park
At the Surya Mandala cultural park you can enjoy cultural performances, exhibitions, while meetings and conferences are also often held here. Here is also a good place to enjoy the view. The Kecak Dance which is normally performed just before sunset is held here daily.
The Art Market
Here is also an art and souvenir market for those wanting to shop for art pieces or souvenirs from Bali to take home.
Tanah Lot is around 30 km west of the city of Denpasar or 11 km south of the town of Tabanan, and 43 km from Kuta Beach. Coming from Denpasar on the main highway and arriving in the town of Kediri, you will certainly not miss the large sign at the main intersection announcing the southwest turn to Pura Tanah Lot. To reach the temple of Tanah Lot you will need to cross some dry land then climb a hill to reach the site of the temple.
Source : indonesia.travel