In recent years, Bali has become famous as a destination for surfers, beach-goers and yoga enthusiasts. However, this Indonesian island is also steeped in a rich cultural history that many visitors neglect to explore while they are on the island. Some of Bali’s sites, like the legendary temple of Tanah Lot, are a must-see for visitors, but the island has a lot more to offer to travellers who don’t mind wondering slightly off the beaten path.
Situated approximately 20 km from Denpansar find Tanah Lot is perhaps Bali’s most famous temple. In the Balinese language, Tanah Lot roughly translates to “Land in the Sea” and is said to be the work of a 15th Century priest named Nirartha who wanted to build a place to honour the sea gods. Legend has it that a poisonous sea snakes guard the rocks at the base of the temple from evil spirits and intruders. Visitors who want to see this iconic Bali sight are required to pay a small fee to enter, and can pick up some traditional handicrafts or snacks at nearby food stalls. Budding photographers should visit the temple at sunset for the best views.
Bali Bird Park
For something a little different, Bali Bird Park is a great place to escape for the day. Comprising two hectares of tropical landscape, the park is home to over 250 different bird species from Indonesia, Africa and South America. Visitors can see cassowaries, cranes, storks and pelicans as they wonder freely through the park, which is also home to a vast array of tropical flora and butterflies. As well as being a popular stop for tourists, the park also incorporates a breeding, research and veterinary facility.
Visitors who don’t mind starting their sightseeing early in the morning should head for Kintamani and Mount Batur – Bali's active volcano. Situated in the north-east of the island the villages peppered throughout the area are perched approximately 1,500 metres above sea level and offer panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. One of the main attractions for excellent views of the volcano is the area surrounding Lake Batur. Visitors should try to arrive early in the morning before clouds gather and best photo opportunities are missed. A trip to the area form the main tourists centres in southern Bali takes around 90 minutes and private vehicles have to pay a small fee that is valid for the whole Kintimani area.
Museum Le Mayeur
As well as being an interesting example of Balinese architecture, the Museum Le Mayeur houses almost 90 works by famous Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeyr de Merpes. Some of the pieces on display include colourful impressionist style paintings from Le Mayeur’s travels in Africa, India, Asia and the South Pacific. Art buffs visiting Bali will appreciate the museum for its priceless heritage, and Le Mayeur’s sharp depictions of traditional Balinese life. Located in Sanur, visitors to the museum can also explore the former living quarters of Le Mayeur and his beautiful Indonesian wife and muse, Ni Pollok.
Ubud monkey forest
If you (and the kids) like to watch local wildlife shows when you are on vacation, then you should make time to visit Ubud’s monkey forest. The temple complex is home to approximately 340 long-tailed macaque monkeys, all of whom occupy different territories around the park. Within the Sacred Monkey Forest, you can also find the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple and the “Holy Spring” bathing temple. Visitors are advised to stay on the paths to avoid the monkeys thinking their home is being invaded, which can make them aggressive.
Bali orchid garden
Perhaps nowhere else on the island of Bali can visitors experience and sightsee such a rainbow of natural colour than at the Orchid Garden near Sanur. The gardens comprise one hectare of landscaped tropical treasures where orchids bloom throughout the year, and they are a great place for visitors to take a peaceful afternoon stroll. Staff at the garden provide visitors with information so they are better able to appreciate the area’s natural wonders, which include cordylines, bromeliads, heliconia, aroids and pitcher plants. The Orchid Garden is also a great place for visitors who want to pick up some Balinese souvenirs to take home.
Found in the western part of Bali's Gianyar regency, Batubulan Village is a great place for travellers who are in search of a vibrant display of traditional culture. Visitors can enjoy Barong dance performances daily between 09:00 and 10:30am, the performers wearing traditional costumes. Another dance, the Kecak, is performed in the evening between 6:00 and 7:00pm. Visitors can also observe the craft of traditional stone carving.
A list of Bali’s attractions for sightseeing would not be complete without at least one beach. While it tends to get quite busy at weekends, visitors who want to enjoy the island’s simple natural oceanside beauty should make their way to Geger. Rent a beach chair from one of the local cafes and spend a day making the most of Bali’s stunning jade-coloured waters and fine white sand. Gegar is also one of the best beaches to head to if you are in search of some perfect snaps to show off to everyone back at home.
Posted by Max Vee