December 2007

Ubud, Center of Art

Ubud is located 35 km northeast of Bali’s International Airport. It is attractive to tourists for a variety of reasons. On a relatively small island with a horde of attractions, Ubud is centrally located, and even the closest beach is only 15 minutes away.

The Ubud area is around two- to three hundred meters above sea level and surrounded by rice fields, which makes it noticeably cooler than then other tourist destinations in Bali. Neighbouring villages are well known for unique bamboo crafts and furniture, wood- and stone carving and many other crafts.

Ubud is famous for it’s regularly nightly traditional dance performances, which are part of the traditional culture and are arranged for tourists on a regular schedule. Hindu-Balinese ceremonies take place on a nearly daily basis, especially in the European summer, which is the driest and coolest season here.

Ubud is popular in part today because it is the best place in Bali to break out of the tourist mode and get off the beaten path, although far from undiscovered. Hotels are plentiful; home stays and Indonesian guesthouses (losmen) are easily available to the foreign tourist. Many tourists simply base their entire stay in the city and travel to other destinations from Ubud.

Accommodations in Ubud are also somewhat more reasonably priced than in the beach towns of Bali. But atmosphere is perhaps the major attractions. One visitor summed it up this way: Kuta is madness, Sanur is sterile, and Nusa Dua is culturally isolated; Ubud is the place to go.

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Bedugul, Mountain & Lake Combination

Bedugul is the name of the area south and west of the Danau Bratan lake. Taking the road passing Bedugul is the fastest way to travel from the southern tourist areas to Singaraja and North Bali. From the south the road passes through some steep terrain before Bedugul, with a very scenic landscape. The Taman Rekreasi Bedugul (Bedugul recreation park) is on the south side of Danau Bratan, you cannot miss the entrance which is marked with a huge sign by the main road.

The high altitude makes Bedugul a nice and cool place to be, and during heavy rainfall it is rather cold compared to the lowlands.

Hindus on their way to the Botanical Garden.It is a large market tn the Candikuning village, Bukit Mungsu, with a good assortment of fruit and vegetables. Sometimes you can even buy strawberries here. Close by there is a botanical garden, Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bali, where you can take a relaxing walk among trees and orchids. The 120 hectare large garden contain about 500 types of orchid and a large number of tree species. You can find it by following a narrow road, about one km from Candikuning.

Rice fields.The Bratan lake is located inside an old caldera. On the western shores there is a famous temple, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. You can rent a boat and take a round trip on the lake, with a stop at Ulun Danu (see Bratan). The Bedugul area is not yet spoiled by hawkers or other irritating aspects of modern tourism, and you can have a relaxing time here. There are some accommodation in Bedugul, Candikuning or Pancasari further north.

If you continue north from here you will pass the mountains, from there you can follow the road steep down on the other side towards Singaraja.

Jatiluwih Rice Field

There is no doubt that Jatiluwih is among the most beautiful places and can offer some of the best scenery on the entire island of Bali. The place has a particular charm even if the weather, which can change dramatically within minutes, is rainy and cloudy. Everywhere you look you see green rice fields and rice terraces, combined with high mountains and forests. On clear days you may see large parts of southern Bali.

Jatiluwih can offer some of the best scenery on Bali, even on a rainy day like this.Jatiluwih is located in the Tabanan district, about 20 km north of Tabanan city. The village sits on an altitude of 850 meters, the air is relatively cold and fresh. The last part of the road can best be described as rough, narrow and full of holes. Pass the small village and pay the fee to enter the area, then continue to Cafe’ Jatiluwih about one km further along the road, don’t forget to stop and take photos on the way. At the Cafe’ you can have lunch while you enjoy the lovely view. The best chances to have clear weather is early in the morning.

Farmers are still using traditional methods.Almost everyone up here are involved in agriculture, mainly growing of rice. Many of the old traditions are still maintained, even today you can see a farmer plowing his fields with water buffaloes.

A trip to Jatiluwih can be combined with a visit to Gunung Batukau and the Pura Luhur Batukau temple at the foot of this mountain, you can also make a stop at the hot springs at Yeh Panes along the road to Batukau.

Tanah Lot, Watch the Best Sunset

Tanah Lot is located in the Tabanan district southwest on Bali, only a short distance from Kuta and Denpasar. With it’s beautiful location and architecture it is one of the most characteristic temples on Bali, and for the Balinese the most sacred of the sea temples along the southern coast of Bali. On a clear day you can see Pura Luhur Uluwatu further south of here, another famous sea temple. Tanah Lot means something like “sea temple of the earth”.

Large breakers to the north of the temple.According to legends Tanah Lot was built in the 16th century by the Javanese Hindu priest Sanghyang Nirantha. The local ruler Bendesa Beraben became jealous when his followers joined this newcomer, and ordered him to leave. Nirantha then used his magical powers to move the cliff Tanah Lot was built on out into the sea. He also transformed his scarf to the holy snakes that still today is said to guard the temple. Beraben later converted to Nirantha’s Hindu religion.

You can never get enough of the sunset at Tanah Lot! This is one of the best known and most visited attractions on Bali, and has inevitably become a tourist trap. But to watch a sunset here is still worth the hassle of bypassing all the souvenir stalls. Inside you will usually be left alone and can relax with a dinner or just sit and watch the sun dive into the blood red water. At low water you can walk out to the temple, while at high water it is isolated by the sea. The temple sits on top of a cliff, only Hindus are allowed to climb the stairs to the top.

There are some accommodation here and restaurants with a variety of prices. To get here should not be a problem because of the short distance to the large tourist centers and it’s popularity.

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