Travels

What to Do in Bali

Bali is a small island covering an area of approximately 5000 square kilometers. This island is volcanic and there are a number of volcanic peaks especially around the center of the island. The southern part of this island is mostly flat and this region is actually where lots of tourist attractions are located. Bali is one of the top tourist destinations as it boasts of wonderful beaches, rich culture, art and scenic sites and views all over. People visit this exotic island for different reasons and as such there are numerous hotels and other establishments where they can stay and relax while engaging in numerous fun activities.

Bali is the ideal location for a vacation mainly because it offers some of the most beautiful, isolated and private accommodation facilities. There are a number of hotels and restaurants for all types of visitors. Regardless of your budget you are sure to find decent accommodation on this island. Some of the top hotels in this island include; the Laguna spa resort, the Chedi club, the spa village resort and the kupu Kupu Barong villas and Tree spa. These hotels tend to be more expensive but you are sure to have an experience worth the amount you pay.

There are numerous fun activities for all types of individuals visiting Bali. Some of the best scuba diving hot spots in this island include; Nusa Dua, Amed and Tulamben. Those who love surfing are set to enjoy the exotic surfing beaches in Bali. Golfers are not left unattended in this wonderful location as there are three world class 18-hole championship golf courses in this island. Another fun activity is Paragliding over the spectacular coastline of Bali. This small island has many biking trails that are well marked making it easier and more enjoyable for visitors of this wonderful island. Those who visit Bali with the sole purpose of relaxing and alleviating stress will not be disappointed as there are numerous spa locations that offer massage therapy.

Those who love art and historical sites will find the numerous Hindu temples all across the island fascinating. Four major tours that one will definitely enjoy include; the famous Uluwatu Half day tour where you will be able to visit the Kayangan Jagat temple; the Besakih Mother temple tour which takes the whole day allowing you to visit the Bat Holy cave and the Pura Besakih which is the largest temple in the island; the bikeBaik tours that takes you through the countryside and the rice farms; and finally the West Bali National Park tour where you enjoy activities like bird watching and trekking.

Bali boast of some of the most exotic beaches that are usually full during the summer season as this is usually the peak of tourism to this island. Very few people visit Bali during the wet/winter season. If you intend to spend less and still enjoy all the beaches of Bali the wet season would be ideal for you as the beaches are less congested and the environment is silent and cool.

Exploring the Other Faces of Bali

Just staying in your Bali Ubud hotels will never be enough to enjoy a vacation in Bali. As the island is a place which offers a lot of beautiful destinations to enjoy, you as a tourist should not lock up yourself in your hotel room. You should go out and enjoy the different attractions presented to you!

Beaches in Bali are always good destinations but if you are looking for something different, you can visit the Sacred Monkey Forest.

In Padang Tegal, Ubud in Bali, Indonesia, there is one place which tourists must never forget to visit when in the area. It is the Sacred Monkey Forest, a small nature reserve on the outskirts of Ubud, and is one of the primary attractions in Bali.

As implied by the name, the Sacred Monkey Forest features monkeys, most of which are Balinese long-tailed macaques. There are more than 200 of them around the forest, ready to mingle and tolerate human visitors anytime. Others may even strike different poses for photo ops. However, some of them may be nasty, stealing food and sunglasses from tourists. They can be seen on the pathways, playing or lazing off, or in the branches of almost 115 tree species in the place.

These monkeys attract tourists to the place, but most importantly, they act as guardians to the three important temples which situates inside the forest vicinity. There is the Dalem Agung Temple in the middle, the Permandian Temple in the west, and the Prajapati Temple in the southeast.

The Sacred Monkey Forest is more than a tourist attraction. It also plays a significant role in the history of Hinduism in Bali, Indonesia.

If you are not into forest hiking and monkeys, then you would probably like to come to the Tirtha Empul Temple, which is not just beautiful but mystical as well.

According to legends, there was once a ruthless king in Bali, Indonesia called King Mayadenawa who was punished by God Indra. To seek revenge, he mixed poison on the drinking water of the troops. To cure those who have drank the water, God Indra made a fountain erect from the land and splashed water on the inflicted. They were healed; and it is this story which gave the Temple of Tirtha Empul its famous reputation.

The temple is primarily popular for its pools. People flock in and plunge into it with the belief that the water will cure all their diseases like how it did to the troops in the legend.

Also, the Tirtha Empul Temple is known for the majestic architectural designs it shows. The tiered roofs of its merus are primarily distinct.

Basically, visitors are allowed only in the main courtyard where the bathing pools are located. In the courtyard, as well, the twin shrines and the split gate which are acclaimed for its religious charm and appeal can be found.

Let not your Bali trip become limited to beaches and water activities.

Bali Through the Ages

Bali is a tropical island, eight degrees south of the Equator, in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago. Because of its rich history, culture and arts – dances, sculptures and paintings – beautiful beaches, nature and tropical climate, Bali is thought to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Due to its many temples and pagodas it’s also known as “The Island of the thousand temples”. Its capital is Denpasar and its moto “Bali Dwipa Jaya” – “The Island of success Bali”.

The island is 153 kilometers long and 112 km wide, giving a total area of 5633 km2. Its highest point is Mount Agung (3 142 m), which is actually an active volcano; last known to erupt in March 1963. The main cities on the island are Singaradja – a port in the west part and of course the capital Denpasar. The city of Ubud, west of Denpasar, is considered as the cultural center of Bali with its many art shops, museums and galleries.

As compared to the Islamic Indonesia, Bali stands out with its ethnos, culture and religion. The population of the island is around three million, ninety three percent of which are Hindi and the rest are Muslim. The interesting fact is that, unlike India, the cow is not a sacred animal here. The most important economic feature in Bali is the agriculture and rice in particular but a substantial number of the people are also fishermen. The cities of Kuta, Sanur, Djibaran, Seminiak and the renovated Nusa Dua are important tourist attractions.

The people of Bali are descendants of tribes, which come to the Indonesian archipelago from Asia around 25th century BC. Around the 1st century BC the Hindi come from India and mark the end of the prehistoric era. In 5th century AC an independent Buddhist kingdom is established on the island until the 11th century AC when Bali is conquered by the Hindi kingdom of Madjapahit from the island of Java through a royal marriage between the king of Bali Udajana and the princess of east Java Mahendradata. This union joined Hinduism and Budhism, mixing in the primitive animistic beliefs and personifications of ancestors by deities.

Europeans first discover Bali in 1597 when the Portuguese ship of the Dutch adventurer Cornelius de Houtman anchored on the shores of Bukit. After several consecutive wars (1846-1849) the Dutch finally conquer the island. During World War II it’s invaded by Japan and becomes part of the Republic of East Indonesia, later known as United Indonesia. In 1965 the supporters of the communist party are brutally murdered after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government. On October 12th 2002 a terrorist attack kills 202 people, mostly tourists in the town of Kuta.

Today, Bali is known for its Bali dances, scluptures, paintings and wood carving. The Hindu New Year, curiously, is in the spring, and is called “Nyepi”. It’s marked with silence and everyone, including tourists, remain at their homes or hotels. The Bali people believe that the left hand is impure so they use only their right for major things like eating, waving or giving/receiving things. The most widely used languages on the island are Bali and Indonesian, although most of sculpturestion speaks English because of the many tourists. After all, Bali received the Best Island Travel and Leisure award for 2010 given out by the US magazine Travel and Leisure