15 of the best places to see in Bali
Bali is filled with golden beaches with epic surf spots, tranquil temples and beautiful countryside. There is nothing better than watching the sun go down on a Bali beach, but Bali’s temples are also spectacular places as the dimming sunlight throws incredible colours on the stone carvings and monuments. We want to show you 15 of the best places to see in Bali.
North of Ubud is Tegallalang Rice Terraces and Jatiluwih in West Bali for wonderful photo opportunities of breathtaking backdrop and scenic expanses of rice fields. Using the subak, traditional irrigation system, passed down in the 8th century. The rice terraces offer dramatic views of the rice paddies and slopes across the valley. Rice is so important in the Balinese lives it is given different names, dependent on its stage in life. Padi is unharvested, gabah after harvesting, beras for cleaned rice seeds and nasi for cooked rice.
From scenic vistas in the heartland where rice paddies offer beauty for visitors and livelihood for locals to truly breathtaking sights of awe inspiring temples and spots of natural beauty.
Tanah Lot, an ancient Hindu shrine 20km’s northwest of Kuta. The island’s most iconic temple is in a beautiful area perched on a huge rock, surrounded by the sea honours the sea God.
Perched high on a cliff in Bukit Peninsula is Uluwatu Temple and an open amphitheatre where sunset kecak dances can be enjoyed. This is the postcard temple and also an exotic surf spot. At the entry of the temple is a dense forest inhabited by hundreds of grey long tailed macaque monkeys who are believed to guard the temple from bad influences.
17km’s northwest of Denpasar in the village Mengwi in Badung regency is the landmark temple Taman Ayun temple. Built in 1634 with Chinese architectural inspiration throughout its enclosures, courtyards and expansive gardens, Taman Ayun translates as beautiful garden. Moss lined walls, algae filled lotus and fish ponds adds rustic charm to the traditional Balinese architecture.
Ulun Danu Beratan temple is the prettiest of all, a picturesque temple on Lake Beratan in Bedugul creates an illusion of a floating temple. The mountain range behind and the cool hazy climate makes a dreamy backdrop and this to me is pinnacle of postcard scenery.
Lempuyang Temple is one of Bali’s oldest and a great addition to add to the itinerary for any fit and adventurous travellers with the main temple being 1175m above sea level or over 1700 steps to climb. But the sweeping panoramic view at the peak is a prize view and the reason this is one of the best places to see in Bali.
Tirta Empul Temple is an important temple, national cultural heritage site and holy mountain spring. Located within the complex is the presidential palace, Istana Tampaksiring, purification baths, pools, fish ponds and lush gardens. Three main areas are separated by a walled courtyard, where you step through the candi bentar or temple gate to the bathing pools and meeting hall. In the pool are 13 elaborately sculpted spouts spurting out crystal clear, holy purifying mountain water for Hindu devotees to perform a purification ritual of solemn prayer and cleansing. They line up enter the pool and make their way to the first spout. Pressing their hands together and raising to their forehead, while holding a flower in their fingertips, eyes closed and focused, bowing under the gushing spout along each of the spouts to seek ablution and blessing from the Gods. They make their way along, repeating the ritual at each of the first 11 spouts, the final two are only for purification for funeral rites.
Tirta Gangga, a water garden creates a state of peaceful mind and body with soothing sound of flowing water. A central multi layered fountain, beautifully laid stepping stones, intricately sculpted statues of mythical beasts and beautiful Hindu figures, man made ponds where carp meander, naga (dragon) bridge, barong statues, even a stone buffalo all reflect the strong Hindu influence and culture.
Pura Luhur Batakau in the kingdom of Tabanan is on the slopes of Gunung Batakau and surrounded by forest. The atmosphere is cool and misty and the air resonates with tumbling water. There is a lack of touts and tourists, just the chant of priests and birds singing. At 2270m above sea Mount Agung is the only peak higher. Jatiluwih is only a 2km drive away, so makes a great stopover in Bali’s central highlands. The multitude of shrines covered in green moss, misty slopes and heavy forestation enhances the spiritual vibe here and the different elevations of the courtyards inside the complex with a series of flowering gardens and statue lined steps makes it very picturesque. The main temple courtyard has a freshwater spring that serves as the source of the holy water for prayers and ceremonies. There is a separate spring for cleansing and purification rituals.
Nestled between Mount Agung, the tallest volcano and the Lombok Strait in the small kingdom of Karangasem is the Taman Ujung, Water Palace. In the idyllic setting with beautifully decorated footbridge leading across the turquoise water of the rectangle pool to a pavilion embellished with Balinese sculptures. The pavilion has an appearance of floating and was once used by the royal family of Karangasem. The spectacular view from Bale Kapal on one side of the complex overlooks the beauty east of Bali.
The lotus lagoon right on the main road in Candidasa, 1000sqm lagoon filled with pink lotuses in bloom. From here you can see the difference in the coastline and across the road from the lagoon is a 12th century hillside temple, Pura Candidasa temple.
Lovina, the beach area on the north coast of Bali is best known for its black volcanic sand along its 5 mile beach. Traditional outriggers take tourist out to snorkel or swim with the dolphins.
Approximately 5km southwest of the famous Lovina beach and 25km west of Singaraja is Banjar Hot Springs, or Air Panas Banjar. The centuries old hot springs is a favourite retreat and recreational site among the locals and tourists. Seen around the spouts and on the pool walls is a yellowish red sedimentation from the water’s sulphuric content which provides a therapeutic experience.
Sharing the same district 1.5km east is Brahmavihara Arama, Bali’s largest Buddhist monastery. Perched on the slopes of a Banjar hill the temple sits majestically with lush greenery in the background and has a silent and peaceful atmosphere. On the hectare are numerous meditation rooms, beautiful gardens and an impressive mini replica of Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist archaeological site. Creating a spiritual area the temple complex has a brilliant orange tile roof, an entrance gate guarded by two Naga (dragons) and a bell tower in the middle courtyard.
We hope this list of 15 of the best places to visit in Bali will inspire you to visit some of the can’t miss cultural treasures and famous landscapes to feel the tranquillity and laidback atmosphere which first drew Bali’s tourists.
Bali offers great variety at a good price, but best of all the Balinese are kind people. What places would you include in a list of best places to see in Bali? Which of these places would you like to visit first?
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