Places of Interest

Tenganan, The Bali Aga (Ancient) Village

When Majapahit conquered Bali in 1343 there were some Balinese who did not accept this change of rule, and therefore built their own villages in remote areas. The descendants of these people are today known as Bali Aga or Bali Mula, meaning “the original Balinese”. They still live in villages like Tenganan in East Bali or Trunyan at the shores of the Batur lake. Many of the old traditions are still maintained, and it is still possible to see their unique ceremonies and dance performances.

The Tenganan people are convinced they are descendants of the gods. Even if the Bali Aga people today are Hindus they still practice a religion which is partly a heritage from pre-Hindu times, with obvious Polynesian characteristics.

An old woman in Tenganan’s streets.The holy “Usana Bali” text tells the Bali Aga to take care of this land, to honor the descendants of their creator; Batara Indra. This can explain why they still hang on to the old ways of life, even if modern symbols like television, telephone and motorbikes have entered the village. Prior to the Indonesian liberation Tenganan was surrounded by a high wall, still today you have to pass through a gate to enter. Land and common property belong to the entire village community.

The rice fields are usually leased to the neighboring villages for the price of half the harvest. In that way the Tenganan people can concentrate about more artistic pursuits like weaving, dance, music and religious ceremonies. Some do also own business in nearby Candidasa, and the people here is said to be among the richest on Bali.

A narrow path between the buildings. Most of the buildings have thatched roofs.More than 100 families today live in the village, under strict laws. Until recently it was not allowed to marry anyone from outside the village without moving away from here. Because of this there has not been any growth in the population. The village counsel, in close cooperation with the gods, decided that the newcomer could undergo a mock cremation ritual from which he or she is brought back as a Tenganian, and so be allowed to live in the village.

The village has a characteristic architecture, and cover a rectangular area of about 250 by 500 meters. The buildings are mainly made of stone and thatched with straw, many has the shape of a longhouse. Tenganan do resemble primitive villages on Nias and Sumba. Wide streets cut through the village, between the houses there are narrow paths. Here is of course a temple, Pura Jero, on a hilltop at the back of the village. Around Tenganan there are some smaller versions of this village.

Tenganan is known for the uniqueTenganan is open for visitors who come here to look and buy souvenirs. It is known for the unique “double ikat” produced here, called “Kamben Geringsing” (“flaming cloths”). Kamben Geringsing is woven with a complicated, traditional technique, and is used only for ceremonial purposes. On Bali this is a sacred textile; a protection against evil spirits and illness. Because it is not worked on continuously and because the coloring process is so involved, it can take up to seven years to complete a fine piece of geringsing. These pieces are generally only sold upon the death of the owner. The ones sold to tourists are unfortunately of much simpler quality, but is still a popular souvenir. You can watch the production in one of the few houses where this old craft is still known.

Other products you can by here are the so called Lontar books, made from the leaves of the Lontar palm. The books contain artistic drawings and poems from Hindu epics, it can take a month to produce one book with only five pages.

Tenganan is located not far from the main road between Semarapura and Amlapura, before Candidasa there is a sign, turn left and drive about 3 km inland. The closest place to stay is Candidasa, five km away.

Tirtagangga, The Water Palace

Tirta Gangga is a small village built on an altitude of about 500 meters, seven km northwest of Amlapura. Tirta Gangga means “water from the Ganges”, and the place is known for it’s “water palace” and beautiful surroundings. In many people’s opinion this is among the most beautiful areas on Bali. Lately Tirta Gangga has become increasingly popular as a base for exploration of East Bali.

Many visitors prefer to go hiking or biking in the lovely surroundings, or even rent a guide here to take them to the top of Gunung Agung or other nearby mountains. The walk to Gunung Agung’s top takes about 4 hours, including one hour of car transport to the starting point.

The palace was a place for rest and recreation for the king and his family.The village is maybe most famous for the water palace, built by the last king of Karangasem (see Amlapura); Raja Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut. Tirta Gangga was one of the king’s favorite places to go for relaxation. A similar palace can be found in Ujung five km south of Amlapura. The palace in Tirta Gangga was built in 1947 and take it’s water from a holy spring. The complex is made of several pools, one is open for the local population and very popular among the local children, another is open for tourists.

The village has no large number of accommodation and restaurants, but outside the high season there should be room for everybody who find their way here. The prices are reasonable, there are no five-star hotels here.

The small village Tirta Gangga is situated among fertile ricefields.If you continue further north from Tirta Gangga you will climb even higher in altitude and have a beautiful view over fertile rice fields, with the blue ocean in the background and dense forest behind you. The vegetation becomes more scarce after Culik, but many decide to continue to Tulamben on the northeast coast, mainly to dive on the wreck of the American freighter “Liberty”, which was torpedoed by the Japanese outside Lombok in 1942.

Another alternative from Tirta Gangga can be to walk to the easternmost mountain on Bali, Gunung Lempuyang (1.058 meters). Pura Lempuyang, an important temple, is located at the foot of the mountain. This is a state temple, “sad-kahyangan”, with the same status as temples like Uluwatu and Besakih.

Kuta Beach, one of the Sexiest Beaches in the World

According to, Kuta Beach is one of the sexiest beaches in the world.

Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia

The vibe: Beachcombing boho chic

Picture this: Bali is a fine place to drop onto a chaise lounge, pull up a parasol, and sleep in the sun. That’s the best way to detox from the all-night singing, dancing, and hooking-up action of Kuta Beach, in southern Bali. The cafés, bars, and nightclubs lining the streets of Kuta and Legian are the hub of hedonism for the young and the restless.

The crowd: Wall-to-wall buff bodies—many of them honed on the beaches of Australia—in this season’s hot metallics, beads, and bangles.

The sundowner: Take your drink of choice and enjoy the term literally: Bali is famous for its sunsets. Watch the sun turn from bright orange to blood red before slipping into the horizon across the bay.

Come to bed: Take a break from the party and snuggle up at Kuta Paradiso Hotel Bali, with 243 deluxe rooms and suites overlooking the ocean. Sip cocktails by the pool and hang out in the piano lounge for upmarket evening entertainment.

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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