Popular Places to Visit
As Bali is a small island, there is nowhere that cannot be reached in a single day. You do not really need a fixed itinerary but only a general plan of places to visit and stay. Almost the entire island is ready and waiting for visitors
from around the world, so it is better to be mobile, travel light, have a comfortable pair of shoes, and carry a positive attitude!
Bali is gentle and kind to the inexperienced traveler. Most of the local people have at least a limited knowledge of English, low cost accommodation is plentiful, transport is usually reliable, a wide choice of food awaits you, and there is
safe drinking water
The capital city of Bali, Denpasar has countless community temples called Pura and one of them is Pura Jaganatha, which is dedicated to the Supreme God Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. The
statue of a turtle and two dragons is prevalent in all temples as it signifies the foundation of the world. Pura Jaganatha offers a fine array of prehistoric and modern art, while its architectural design resembles that of a palace. The
government-supervised Sanggraha Kriya Hasta has a wide display of handicraft and works of art. Between June and July is the Werdi Budaya, an annual art festival with performances, exhibitions, and art contests.
Sanur beach has long been a popular recreation site. The palm-lined beach curves from the Bali Beach Hotel toward the south and faces the Indian Ocean to the east. On this beach, you will discover many wonderful hotels, restaurants, shops,
and other tourist facilities. Sanur is only a short distance from public transportation accesses in Denpasar, and trips to and from the city are available well into the night.
Offshore reefs protect the beach from waves and it is thus a great site for windsurfing, boating, and various types of water-sports. Sanur is also famous for its black and white sorcery practices.
Once a lonely village and the entry point to southern Bali since the 18th Century, Kuta is now a thriving tourist resort especially for the young and young at heart. A
favorite beach for surfers, it is less suitable for swimming due to strong currents; however, there are coast guards constantly on duty during the day. Kuta is one of the most
dynamic places in Indonesia and accommodation ranges from international hotels to home stays. The village abounds with restaurants, shops, discotheques and tourist facilities. It is easier to find regular Balinese musical and dance
performances here than anywhere else in Bali. This would be the ideal place to mingle with other people, locals as well as visitors abroad.
One of the most recent tourist centers, Nusa Dua has some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels. This resort is known for its clean, white beaches and pristine
waters. Nusa Dua differs from Bukit Peninsula despite being a part of it. It is sheltered by coral reefs, which makes it an ideal family beach.
Northeast of Denpasar, stone figures along the road mark the village of Batubulan. Divinities and demons are carved from soapstone to decorate homes and temples. However, soapstone has a porous nature and the harsh weather of the tropics
wears it down, thus renewal is necessary every other century. One is able to watch the carvers perform their skills at roadside 'factories'. Apart from stone carving, Batubulan is also known for its daily performances of the barong dance on
a purpose-built stage near Pura Puseh.
The old and famous center of the arts, it is noted for its dances, wood panel carving, and half wayang, half naturalistic paintings.
Maps - Bali :
Kuta, Tuban & Legian : Ubud : Sanur :
Jimbaran : Nusa Dua & Tanjung Benoa : Denpasar : East
Bali : North Bali : Central Bali :
West Bali : Indonesia : Java :
A name synonymous with silver and goldsmiths, Celuk's art shops beckon visitors to sterling silver and gold butterfly brooches, garnet-studded bracelets, earrings and ear-clips of all designs. The bigger showrooms are on the main road and
have marked prices that are quite high although negotiations are possible. Craftsmen use a tree stump with a protruding metal spike for an anvil, a bamboo stem to catch the filings, and a manually operated pump for heat.
Although Mas literally means 'gold', this village does not specialize in gold jewelry but in woodcarving. The Tilem Art Gallery is a fine place to view the highest quality woodcarvings, all sold at the most exorbitant prices. Carving was a
traditional art for the priestly Brahman caste and the skills are believed to have been a gift from the gods. The inhabitants of Mas are also primarily Brahmans and trace their roots back to Danghyang Nirartha, the great Brahman sage.
Renowned as the center for the arts, Ubud has been attracting and cultivating artistic talent since it became the seat of the aristocratic family in the late 19th century. Western
artists and intellectuals who visited the area in the 1930s provided an enormous stimulus to local art, introduced new ideas and techniques, and began a process a of displaying and promoting Balinese culture worldwide. Ubud is charming not
because of its beaches or bars, but for its art, music, architecture, and dance. Even having gone through tremendous development, Ubud is still pretty and relaxed, especially if you're staying in a secluded family compound or eating at one
of the pleasant open-air restaurants. It is one of those destinations where people plan to stay a couple of days but extend it to a couple of weeks.
The 'elephant cave' harbors no elephants but a great number of stalls, selling and flogging cheap items to tourists. This cave was excavated in the 11th century, and its entrance is a monstrous head with gaping mouth and hands that appear
to be pushing the entrance apart. It was believed to have been built as a temple but the sleeping niches and Buddhist ruins just outside the cave suggest otherwise. Within the cave at the end of the T-shaped passage is a four-armed statue
of Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity. At the opposite end sits a set of three lingga, or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. To the side of the cave's entrance is a 1,000-year-old statue of Hariti, a Buddhist demoness cum goddess. She used to
devour children but reformed to become a devout Buddhist and protector of children. Excavations have uncovered a bathing place with six statues of nymphs holding waterspouts.
The sacred spring of Tirta Empul is situated here and revered by all Balinese. It is said that the god Indra created the spring when he pierced the earth to build the amerta, the elixir of immortality. The water is used by the Balinese for
its curative powers for good health and prosperity. Regular ceremonies are held for purification, especially pregnant women and those who have survived a long illness.
Religious festivals include odalan, which signifies the anniversary of a temple's founding. These festivals last a couple of days to a week. Temples are beautifully bedecked with flowers, palm leaves, flags and bamboo towers, complete
with noisy parades, food offerings, and prayers that add religious fervor to the festive ambience.
Melasti, another religiously inclined festival, is a purification festival held the day before Nyepi. On Melasti, villagers will dress in their finest and make their way to the sea or holy springs. They would carry umbrellas, offerings or
flowers, and fruit and sacred statues. The statues are affectionately washed with water, and pigs would be sacrificed by holy men as offerings to their gods. This festival must be carried out amid the din of gamelan and drums and lots of
merry shouting. All must then fall silent the following day on Nyepi.
Nyepi is a festival that marks the beginning of a new lunar year and usually falls during the spring equinox (late March or early April). On this day, everyone in Bali including tourists must remain silent. No one is allowed to work,
travel or partake in any indulgences. Visitors are advised to observe this custom and to stay within their lodgings for the day. It may seem like a day is wasted, but the previous night's festivities would have sapped substantial energy
and spirit to make up for the day of stillness. It is believed that evil spirits will leave the island, thinking that the place is uninhabited due to the complete stillness.
Galungan is another festival related to religion. It is observed in the eleventh week of the 210th day in the Balinese calendar and celebrates the creation of our world. Bali's most significant annual event, locals will spend the day
visiting family, friends and neighbors decked in their finest and indulge in heavy feasting.
Ten days after Galungan is Kuningan. This festival commemorates the end of the holiday season. On this occasion, ancestors are worshipped and honored with celebrations held at the water temple Tampaksiring, along with other events at
Bangli and Ubud.
The restoration of balance between good and evil is also commemorated. Eka Dasa Rudra is the island's most important festival and is originally held every hundred years. It is now being revised to hold the festival more frequently and the
next one is yet to be announced.
Bali Calendar of Events & Ceremonies
Non-Religious Festivals and Holidays
If you are in Bali between July and October, you will have the opportunity to experience the Negara bull races. The pampered bulls are spruced up with colorful accessories, hitched in pairs to makeshift chariots, and steered by jockeys
who combine their riding skills and tail twisting to induce maximum performance.
Then there is also the rice harvest festival, which is dedicated to the rice god Dewi Sri. This is a blessed season for the villages and the entire place will be repainted and decorated with flags. An atmosphere of happiness pervades.
Small straw rice-god dolls are placed throughout the fields and villages as a tribute.
Indonesia's Independence Day falls on August 17, when the Republic of Indonesia achieved independence from the Dutch.
Balinese ceremonies are normally held during late afternoons or evenings when the day is cooler. They also hold firm to the belief that the island is owned by the supreme god Sanghyang Widhi, and has been handed down to the Balinese in
sacred trust. To show their appreciation, the people fill their waking hours with symbolic activities and worship. If you see a procession of women garbed in traditional wear, carrying small bowls or balancing towering offerings on their
heads, or a group of batik-clad men with head-cloths, just put on a shirt, grab your camera and mingle with the crowd - you will always be welcomed.