Bali: top 10 things to see and do

In a few weeks I will be spending a month in Bali – here is a list of the top 10 things we have planned:

*Kintamani Volcano*

Known for its dramatic landscape of the still-active Mount Batur volcano and its crater-lake, the Kintamani village is one of the must-visit destinations on many travellers’ itinerary. The towering Mount Batur has erupted about 24 times since 1800, each time reshaping the surrounding landscapes. On a clear day, get the best view of Batur volcano and the entire Kintamani area from the opposite end, at the edge of the 8-km wide Batur Lake.

*Mount Batur*

Active volcano located less than an hour from north Bangli that still active in this island. Created by an eruption of Mount Batur approximately 30,000 years ago. It sets in the hearth of a huge crater 14 km in diameter and 65 meters deep.  The temple of Pura Danu Batur on the rim is dedicated to the Goddess of the Lake. The lake often becomes shrouded in mist but one can catch breathtakingly stunning views from the many vantage points along the rim. Hot springs at the lake’s edge reach temperatures of 57 degrees Celsius while the rest of the lake is somewhat cooler.

*Besakih Temple*

Over a thousand years old, Besakih Temple is known as the “Mother Temple of Bali” Perched on the slopes of Mount Agung, at a lofty 1,000 metres (3,000 feet) Besakih is the biggest and holiest of all the Balinese temples.

Eighteen separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups surround the three main temples dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. To the Balinese, visiting the temple sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. The mountain top setting gives it an almost mystical quality.

*Tanah Lot Temple*

The royal Taman Ayun temple was built by one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java in the 16th century. The temple stands on top of a huge rock, surrounded by the sea and is one of Bali’s most important sea temples. Tanah Lot pays homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found in the caves at the base of the rocky island are believed to be guardians of the temple, standing virgil against evil spirits and intruders.

*Uluwatu Temple*

Bali’s most spectacular temples located high on a cliff top at the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean.

Dedicated to the spirits of the sea, the famous Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple is an architectural wonder in black coral rock, beautifully designed with spectacular views. A popular place to view the sunset.

*Tegalalang Rice Terrace*

Blessed by its cooler air and geographic location, Ubud has become famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving ‘subak’ (the traditional Balinese irrigation system), which according to history was taught by a revered holy man from India named Rsi Markaneya in the eighth century. To explore some of the most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud, peddle or trek to some of the villages around Ubud such as Pejeng, Tegallalang and Campuhan, where you will enjoy the perfect frame of amazing rice paddies overlooking the hills and river.

*Garuda Wisnu Kencana*

Prior to its recent incarnation, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (commonly known as GWK) monument was an abandoned limestone excavation which was no longer being used by local residents. Today the GWK can be compared to The Sleeping Buddha in Thailand or the Giant Buddha in Hong Kong.

Aside from the beautifully carved limestone cliff surrounding the monument, GWK also has various facilities from restaurants to an amphitheatre where occasional performances take place. Please make sure to visit GWK at dusk to catch its dramatic panorama when the sunset cuts through the limestone carved wall.

*Elephant Safari Park*

Lumbering around… Bali’s majestic elephants can be found in the Bali Elephant Safari Park of Desa Taro, north of Ubud. This park offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the peaceful giants and also go for a sight-seeing expedition on the backs of these towering peaceful creatures.

*Kecak Dance*

The kecak is a ritual dance which was created in the early 1930’s for the movie “Island of the Demons” by the German painter and intellectual Walter Spies. The dance combines the chorus of the “Sanghyang” trance dance with a dance story from the epic “Ramayana.” It is extremely impressive with its circular chorus of sometimes over 100 bare-chested male singers.

*Bali Botanical Garden*

Housing more than 2000 species of plants, Bali Botanical Garden is a tourist attraction, research and conservation centre in one. It is set on an expansive 389 acres of well-manicured gardens, with plants acquired from eastern Indonesia, arboreta, commercial nurseries, plant breeding programmes and collection expeditions abroad. The specialized plant collection, including ferns, orchids, cacti, Begonia, medicinal plants, roses, aquatic plants and ceremonial plants, is a must-see.

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