Bali is possibly one of the most enchanting island on earth. One of more than 13.000 islands in Indonesia, and Bali is revered as one of the world's most popular and interesting tourist destination.
Some quick facts: Bali covers an area of 5620 km2, about 140 km from West to East and 80 km from the South to North. The South part consists of lime stone with beautiful soft white sand along the beach, while the East, West and North are mostly volcanic layers with black soft sand beach.
Bali has a tropical climate with the average temperature of about 30 degrees C (80 degrees F) all year. It has only 2 seasons, dry season started from April to October and wet season from October to April. It is always nice and cool in the hillside while though hot around the coastal area but there are still nice breeze all the time. The dry season is always sunny with great view of sunset and sunrise, while the wet season is not too wet because there is still much sun to enjoy during the day time.
Here are eleven things one must see if you are in Bali:
This is approx. 1 hour long religious dance representing the eternal fight between the good - Barong and the evil symbolized by a horrible looking witch called Rangda. The costumes and set are elaborate and nice. The trick is to get there early, so that you get front seats and be close enough to see the facial expressions of the dancers .
Celuk (Gold & silver smith), Mas (wood carving) and Stone carving villages
You would drive past these 3 villages and see the array of shops selling the gold, wood and stone. As you get into Celuk, all the gold and silver smith shops flank the roads, you can also drop by their factory to take a look at the production process. The same goes for the wood carving and stone carving
Mount Batur (Kintamani)
This is the second largest active volcano in Bali. It is 1,717 meters from sea level, and bears the remains of the black lava from it's eruption in 1917 and 1927. There is a nice scenic crater lake there. You can do buffet lunch at one of the restaurant and admire the breath-taking view as you eat. The buffet lunch cost about S$10 and has reasonable spread
Tirta Empul means " bubbling water " and is a holy water temple built in 960 AD. The temple is beautiful temple and has holy water fountains for different purposes of purification and blessing. There were people in the fountains doing their purification when I was there. Further inside the temple area, you can see the source of the water – a spring where water is bubbling up through the black sand. A total make of nature. Legend has it that one of the gods shot an arrow from heaven to look for water, and the spot where the water is bubbling up now is the exact spot where the arrow hit
Means "elephant cave". Found in 11th century, this cave was dug in the peaceful riverside valley in a hard sand stone. Entering the inside T-Shape cave, there are some niches used by Buddhist Monks for meditation. Among the many historical remains found around this cave is the holy Ganesh Statue (a human body with elephant head) which is believed as the God of Purification and Evil Controller. The cave can be quite claustrophobic for some people but is well worth a quick look inside
Sebatu Holy Spring Temple
Is named " Gunung Kawi " in Balinese. It is a very beautiful village temple located in a peaceful valley with its holy spring. Somewhat similar to Trita Empul, there are large fountains outside the temple area, where villagers use to take a bath. However, my driver told me that this place is not as ‘holy' as Tirta Empul
Is the largest Royal Family Temple Complex built in 1934 in the village of Mengwi, Badung Regency. The area of this temple is surrounded by moat with some water lilies and lotuses. The place is still used during prayer sessions and important ceremonial events
One of the most famed temple in Bali. Tanah Lot means " the land of ocean" is a fascinating Hindu Temple built on a piece of cliff in Indian Ocean shore. This temple is dedicated to the God of Ocean "Baruna" built by a high Hindu Priest name Dang Hyang Dwijendra in the 16th century. During high tide, the cliff is surrounded by water and the temple looks like it is floating. In the bottom part of the cliff there is a fresh water holy spring while on the beach cave there are some holy snakes that guard the temple. In the South and North part of the temple is absolutely beautiful view and best for watching sunset
Also built by the same Hindu Priest who built Tanah Lot, Uluwatu temple is also another magnificent temple built perched on a cliff. The whole temple stretches across a large area and it is flanked by the fabulous India Ocean. Here, you also see large numbers of monkeys, mostly mischievous ones, who snatches food from visitors
Lake Beratan & Pura Ulun Danu
Beratan is a name of the Lake and Village. There is a spectacular floating temple called "Ulun Danu Temple" and is an absolutely interesting sight. The weather at the lake is cool, which is a nice break from the mostly hot sun during my trip. There were people who hired a traditional paddle boat or speed boat to go around the lake, although my driver said there really is nothing much to see around the lake
A place where you see lots of terraced rice paddy fields. The sights are breathtaking as you see the green terrace, meandering around you. This place is supposed to one of the few in the world that has such nice terraced paddies. Those terraces are probably cut decades ago, and now resulting in the fascinating view today