Bali, Indonesia

What To See and Do In Bali

Bali Sightseeing

Bali is magic. As probably the most famous island in Indonesia, Bali blends spectacular mountain scenery and beautiful beaches with warm and friendly people, a vibrant culture and out of this world resorts. There are so many places to see and visit in Bali from the peak of Mount Agung through deep under water world of Tulamben. On the following we provide few places of interest to visit on Bali.

Denpasar is Bali’s capital city. Although the modern center of government departments, international banks, and many other offices, it still retains its unique Balinese personality. This is strongly felt and clearly seen in its many temples, universities and pleasant gardens, which still maintain their presence and influence. Denpasar has the Pura Jagatnatha, a temple dedicated to Bali’s Supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi. There are interesting statues of a turtle and two mystical dragons in the temple, signifying the foundation of the world. The Pura’s awesome architecture resembles that of Balinese palace. It has now been converted into a museum housing a fine collection of prehistoric and modern art. The famous 4th century Pura Majapahit, is right next to Pura Jaganatha. There is also an interesting place like; the government-supervised art centre, Sanggraha Kriya Hasta, which also home to a tremendous variety of handicraft and works of art. Taman Wedhi Budaya, meanwhile, is an arts centre with occasional exhibits of paintings, crafts and carvings, and holds traditional dances every evening. It is also the host of the annual Bali Arts Festival in June to July, with performances, exhibitions, art contest, and other activities of artistic nature.

Ubud is Bali’s cultural heart. This area is located in the cool mountains, just one hour’s drive north of the airport and the resorts of southern Bali, this traditional country town is the home of the Balinese Royal family and a flourishing arts center. Most of Bali’s museums and galleries are centered in Ubud, but culture and history rich Bali is peppered with museums and galleries. These museums and galleries offer paintings, woodcarvings, textiles and all kinds of souvenirs for viewing and also purchase. Puri Lukisan Museum in center of Ubud, Neka Museum in Campuhan, Seniwati Gallery and Agung Rai Museum in Pengosekan is a must, to see the difference between creative art and more commercial products.

Inspired by vibrant green rice paddies, mountains and colorful Balinese festivals, the elite artistic colony that began in the 1930’s with eminent European painters, writers and musicians has now grown into a thriving arts center, drawing increasing numbers of visitors. Ubud is also a flourishing crafts center. Around Ubud the surrounding villages like Camphuan, Penestanan, Peliatan and Batuan specializing in crafts and woodcarving which are sold all over the island. There are hundreds of shops selling antiques, woodcarvings, crafts, textiles, paintings and jewelry as well as some of the best art museums in the country, dozens of art studios, an excellent local craft market, and galleries selling local and international art.

Ubud’s role as the epicenter of Balinese culture makes it the perfect place to see traditional Balinese dance and drama. From the early 1920’s the royal family ensured that most talented teachers of dance, music and drama were brought to Ubud to entertain the King and pass on their knowledge. Dances like Legong, Ramayana, Baris, Kecak and Sanghyang (the fire dance) are performed nightly in Bona village, just 15 minutes drive from Ubud. Bali’s most accomplished dancers, musicians, painters and carvers live in just 10 square kilometers.

Balinese Hinduism remains stronger in Ubud than elsewhere in Bali, cremation ceremony or celebration of some kind. Balinese Hinduism is distinct from that of India and has absorbed the animism of Bali’s pre-Hindu ancestors – inspired by the extraordinary beauty of Bali’s landscapes – rice fields, mountains, river gorges, villages and ancient temples.

Visit Ubud Monkey Forest, a natural forest reserve popular with both locals and tourists. Inhabited by wild monkeys who will steal the camera, bananas, handbags, toupees, etc. These mischievous monkeys provide lots of entertainment. Interesting meandering paths lead to charming places like the bathing temple surrounded by lush remnants of ancient forest. Just off the main square a lovely arched stone bridge leads to the Hindu elephant-headed Lord Ganesh overlooking a small, square, moss-covered pool where several koi swim at his feet.

KUTA BEACH
Kuta is the center of entertainments and has become the favorite destination of multinational visitors. It has everything a tourist looks for i.e. white-sandy beach, rows of excellent bars and restaurants, discotheques, and entertainment spots for an enjoyable nightlife. Rows of kiosks selling souvenirs and everything a tourist need such as garments or latest CDs and cassettes are available along the main road with reasonable prices.

NUSA DUA BEACH
Nusa Dua enclave has the most complete tourist facilities in Bali, including luxurious hotels, sporting facilities, shopping center and international convention hall, to mention a few. The empty, arid land of Nusa Dua started to develop in 1974 and the government trusted the management to Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC)

SANUR BEACH
Sanur has been known worldwide literally a century ago, when the deadly, horrendous battle of Puputan Badung took place on September 20, 1906 as the Dutch troops anchored here. This beach was first introduced into international community by a Belgian painter, A.T. Le Mayeur, who married a Balinese dancer Ni Polok, and stayed here since 1937 and often held painting exhibitions of his own. The main attraction of Sanur is its calm beach. In the south east, one can observe Nusa Penida Island across the sea and in the eastern side, the panoramic view of South Bali along with its range of mountains is a spectacular sight that should not be missed. In a bright afternoon the scenery is simply beautiful.

BENOA HARBOUR
Benoa is the marine activity hub of the island, for both domestic and international. Boating races are regularly held here with overseas participants hosted by Royal Bali Yacht Club, RBYC. From this harbor visitors can extend their vacation to other destinations, including Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Lombok, on their own boats or on cruises available here such as Bali Hai Cruise, The Bounty, Nusa Lembongan, to mention a few.

LAKE BUYAN
Buyan is surrounded by evergreen forest and vegetation. Its fresh air gives pleasant and comfort to the visitors. Here, visitors usually rent a traditional yacht (Perahu in Balinese) to enjoy some activities, such as fishing or lake crossing. Other attractions include groups of tamed monkey in the forest around the main road.

MENGWI VILLAGE
The Mengwi Kingdom administration born in 1634 grew to be among the island’s most powerful political power until 1891, where a disastrous war dissolved the palace, but the temple survives. Today visitors can observe the wonderful temple complex, Taman Ayun, built during the Mengwi heydays, with its massive garden and pool. A museum called Manusa Yadnya, human rites of passage, nearby has a collection of works depicting a complete set of Hindu ceremonies since a baby is carried in the mother womb until he dies.

TRUNYAN VILLAGE
The name of Trunyan, from Taru means tree and Menyan means substance of good smell, was taken from the sweet smelling Banyan tree occupying its cemetery. Trunyan village is squeezed tightly by the Batur Lake and the outer ridge of Mt. Batur. Trunyanese were indigenous Balinese who were “driven out” to this present location as modern Balinese arrived from Java’s Majapahit empire, themselves were driven out by the arrival of Islam.

Unlike modern Balinese who cremate a dead body, Trunyanese simply arrange them under the Banyan trees, the smell of which prevents the bad odor from the decomposing remains. After awhile, a certain ceremony follows and the skull of the dead is joined with others on the altar nearby.