Sanur was the original seaside resort area in Bali and offers a very well established tourist scene spread lightly along a very long and beautiful stretch of coastline. Sanur offers a range of accommodation from the mid range to top end accommodation with some budget facilities as well. Sanur has an excellent beach which has pure white sands with clear water tropical lagoons. The beaches are shaded by palm lined paths which hide beach cafes and beautiful little market stores. The entire beach resorts cover large areas of land and are well spread along the coast creating a lightly crowded beach with is perfect for jogging or cycling along the shaded paths stopping in different areas at any time in the day. As well as this there are some great restaurants located all along the main strip offering excellent cuisine from all over the world at very reasonable prices. Sanur is the perfect spot for those looking for a family or couples holiday as there are no large clubs or crowds of partiers, a more beautiful beach scene than in many areas and there are plenty of water sports and activities to get involved in. Sanur is located on the east coast of Bali which is known to be more culturally interesting and offer some better views and scenery.
Sanur is a great place to choose as a place to stay if you require being very close to all of the tourist facilities as well as away from the main bulk of the crowds. The atmosphere is far more sophisticated and relaxing than that of Kuta as well as offering a number of budget restaurants. If you are interested in activities then there are plenty of water sports that can be participated in from windsurfing and sailing to kayaking and plenty of other water activities. As well as this cycling and jogging are great ways enjoy the sunrise or the tropical morning or any other time of the day.
Sanur is located on the east coast of Bali and has excellent access via the bypass to many different tourist attractions and different areas of interest including the entire beautiful east coast of Bali and Ubud. You can visit many areas from here using the tours that are operated around Bali. Sanur offers a small nightlife of intimate bars and restaurants where you will be able to enjoy local tropical beverages as well as imported spirits. With international hotels and some very well established resorts it is possible to have some of the most luxurious dinning located right on the beach as or enjoy the spa treatments in these large hotels or in the separate facilities that are located all around the Sanur area.
With so much to see and do and one of the most beautiful beach areas stretching as far as the eye can see with views of the mountains of north Bali and the island of Nusa Lembongan which is a very short boat trip away from Sanur harbor.
Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest
Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest is located among the rice paddies of Tabanan where you will find a small forest which is where you will find the monkeys residing around the area. Anywhere where monkeys have been known to reside have always been considered as sacred which is why there is a particularly interesting large temple known as the Alas Kedaton Temple which can be visited as part of the trip to the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. These monkeys are all protected and are part of the schemes in place to help these monkeys increase in numbers.
The Alas Kedaton Temple is mostly green as it is covered in moss and has a sedate tranquil atmosphere in this area of cultural and natural beauty. You will find that the monkeys are tame and very used to people in the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest although it is still important not to anger the monkeys as this in when they can change in nature. Food can be taken in to give to monkeys although sometimes this can make you a target for a monkey mugging which can be an interesting experience.
It is also worth noting that monkeys true their reputation are incredibly cheeky and intelligent, this is what makes them so interesting and amusing. However this means they no that tourists often bring food in bags into the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest meaning that bags to a monkey are potential lunchboxes rather than your storage of a wallet phone and valuable items. Don’t be a victim of this, keep all your zips closed and don’t have anything loose in your pockets that you would not like to lose and be careful with your cameras.
With this aside it is great to see these monkeys enjoying the resource of tourism as well as providing entertainment and there are always young and baby monkeys in the families as well as grooming and playing to be watched.
There are bats in the trees in the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest are which are another great attraction. These bats are huge and usually a local will hold one out for you to see and have your picture taken with so that you can see and remember the sheer size and strangeness of these magnificent animals. This holy and subdued area is a beautiful place to spend a little time and there are places to stay in the area if you wish to enjoy the tropical beauty for a little longer. With the combination of culture and nature in Tabanan which offers picturesque and beautiful rice paddy fields, views of the distant mountains and there are also deserted beaches that are not too far away including Tanah Lot.
This means there is plenty to do in a day around this area and much to see; often one of the best ways to experience the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest is by booking onto a tour of the Tabanan area.
Besakih Temple is a very interesting and impressive temple to visit as it is located in the culturally preserved area of east Bali known as Karangasem and is the largest of all of the many Balinese Hindu Temples on the island of Bali. This great temple is a place of natural and cultural beauty and simply must be seen. It stands surrounded by the classic sights of Bali such as the mountains and volcanoes, the rice paddy fields and the tropical woodland surrounding the area and even sights of the ocean which is not far away from this area. Besakih Temple of the Rendang district in the Karangasem regency and had grand views of Mount Agung which is the holiest of all of the mountains of Bali. Besakih Temple has roots deep within the Balinese history with connection to the old languages of Java when most of Indonesia was Hindu. The Samudramanthana says that the Basuki is a large dragon that lives within the Mount Mandara and in ancient mythology this is an important mother temple which affects the rest of the island and is symbolic of the balance of the spiritual and natural world.
Besakih Temple is a great place to visit and as well as seeing the ancient and restored areas that have been maintained throughout the ages you will also be able to learn a bit about the culture and importance surrounding this incredible temple. You can hire a guide when at Besakih Temple and you will then be able to find out about all the different details as well as passing through the gates with ease. This is not necessary unless you are interested to hear a little more about the temple and its roots and be sure to agree a price before you enter. You may be followed in by a mute guide who walks around with you and then asks for money, you can dismiss these easily or contribute to them at your own discretion. Another option is to embark on a tour where your pick up and drop off will be included in a reasonable fee and you can be sure of a knowledgeable guide and snacks and food.
There are a number of other areas of interest which are included in different tours of the Karangasem area although this is one of the main attractions to the area. The laid back spiritual atmosphere of Besakih Temple cannot be described until you have experienced it yourself and the presence of monkeys adds another aspect of entertainment. You will have to pay a contribution to enter and wear a sarong and possibly a belt of head scarf.
This can all be hired for a very small fee or brought with you; if you go with a guide or tour then this is likely to be already taken care of. Besakih Temple is definitely the temple to visit if you are only going to see one temple as you can walk around.
Celuk Village is a traditional village located near to Ubud in the Gianyar Regency where you can appreciate the mountain culture which in many ways is similar to that of the traditional areas of Ubud and the other surrounding villages except for one major factor, Celuk Village is famous for the incredible gold and silver handicrafts which are available around this area for very low prices. In the Sukawati area you will find that the craftsmen are of a very high standard and you can barter over these goods or even buy in wholesale capacity. As well as the shopping opportunities there is a lot to see around Celuk Village and the culture of the area is fascinating as well as relaxing to see where the pace of life is slow and you will find some interesting characters as well as plenty of place to try the local dishes and international dinning. There are some other attractions as well as in the area as well as a number of facilities and hotels which are usually top end or midrange boutique little places hidden away in the village.
One of the most interesting things about Celuk Village is the history that it has in terms of the growth and importance of the village and the stories and histories of the families and people that you will find out about when you visit and meet some of the different people. As with most of the villages which have become dedicated to a certain art, it is the presence of the Balinese Royalty located close by in Ubud. When visiting Celuk Village it is best to incorporate this trip into a tour of that Ubud area and all of the local villages that surround the area and enjoy the diversity and continuity that this area of Bali offers.
It will take around an hour to reach Celuk Village from most of the resort areas of southern Bali and with a tour guide you will be able to save a lot of time and enjoy some of the other areas and attractions. Another notable point about Celuk Village is that is located within stunning scenery with tropical woodlands and valleys as well as fantastic rice paddy terraces which carve incredible patterns into the hillside. All of this is present at Celuk Village as well as the views of the mountains which surround the north of the area and make for an impressive view as well as great photographs. There are a number of temples to visit in and around Celuk Village and you will also find some beautiful walking and trekking routes located close by and within the village.
With all of this and the quaint and enchanting Balinese culture of the village life you will have plenty of things to do and a great wholesome trip that all of the family can enjoy with activities close by such as whitewater rafting.
Denpasar Traditional Market
Right in the centre of Denpasar there are a collection of different markets and the main market which is known as the Badung Market or Pasar Badung. As with all markets the Denpasar Badung Traditional Market is the thriving epicenter the local community and in the administrative capital of the island of Bali where the local people come to shop as well as trade and dine but most importantly for the social and vibrant environment that the markets provide. These markets are a great cultural experience and the size and higgledy nature of the aisles and stalls make the Denpasar Badung Traditional Market without doubt the most impressive and vibrant traditional market of the entire island. You can buy everything from clothes to fruit and vegetables as well as local food and all sorts of silver, gold and other items in the surrounding markets each with a different feeling and atmosphere.
One of these surrounding markets is the Kumbasari Market which is one of the more traditional areas of the market where you will find traditional cloth as well as Balinese costume and a number of other traditional items all of which are interesting. There are Chinese influences visible as well as plenty of traditional house hold items which are being reclaimed into modern tropical living and are available here in full authenticity for very low prices. One of the most enjoyable parts of visiting the Denpasar Badung Traditional Market is haggling and bartering with the locals and laughing and joking with them, take it slowly and enjoy this part of Balinese culture.
Getting to the Denpasar Badung Traditional Market can be tricky if you are trying to find it yourself, Denpasar is full of one way systems and what you see in the maps just never seems to correlate with what you see in front of you. With this in mind it makes a lot more sense to either take a taxi or a hired driver to get there and back or you can visit the market on an organized tour of Denpasar or on a tour specifically to the market.
The Denpasar Badung Traditional Market was opened in 1984 and ever since it’s opening it has been a huge success and had adapted to the modernizations that are slowly changing Denpasar. There are now indoor areas as well as a number of different floors and some excellent chances to enjoy the market culture of Bali. Denpasar Badung Traditional Market only takes around 20 or 30 minutes to reach from Kuta depending on the traffic and the whole experience surrounding a trip into Denpasar is interesting and novel. This is particularly apparent when you embark on a tour of Denpasar and also visit the local museums, temples and art galleries among other areas of interest.
The Denpasar Badung Traditional Market is a great way to inject a heavy dose of culture into a holiday around south Bali without having to travel far or take much time out of your day, there is action in the market 24/7 although early in the morning is the best time to experience the market culture.
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave
Goa Gajah Elephant Cave is one of the most ancient and interesting sights that Bali has to offer and is a popular place to visit and offers a collection of caves that have been carved by the Buddhist people of Bali around the time that Buddhism and Hinduism where side by side on the island. You will see that the faces and statues are very similar to the traditional statues that you will see today and all through the Balinese history showing that this style has been alive for over a thousand years.
These caves, shrines and monuments are located with beautiful surroundings and offer a real sense of serenity as well as the fascinating cultural aspect of the area. The entrance to the caves appears to be carved in the shape of an elephant although this is an abstract character with faces and other details in the side of its body. The elephant is carved into the rock in the side of the cliff as well as other designs ranging from floral and natural patterns and animals such as tortoises, forest pigs and specters all visible around the area. The Bas-relief is also visible with its eye looking to the right/west side. There is also an article which was written in the early 11th century written in Kediri on the east side of the wall.
Other aspects of interest include the Patirthaan Pool which is sacred and holy with natural Tirtha Water which is used in many Hindu ceremonies around the entire area as well as in the courtyard of Goa Gajah Elephant Cave which are common meaning that you are likely to see some kind of Balinese ceremony while visiting the area as there are offering placed all the way through every day and sometimes there are very large scale festivals. Another incredible finding happened in 1954 by Krijgsman which revealed said holy pool and the statue douche which had been buried under mounds for over a thousand years. This excavated finding has made many others of the Ancient Department wonder about what other archaeological findings there may be on this fascinating and mysterious land.
Visiting Goa Gajah Elephant Cave is easy and often included in tours of the Ubud area due to its proximity to the Gianyar Regency. You can find Goa Gajah Elephant Cave yourself although unless you are staying nearby it is over an hour’s journey from the southern resort areas of Bali. Hiring a driver or booking onto a tour is the easiest and most efficient way to see this wonderful sight and with the knowledgeable guide you will also learn about the discoveries and importance of Goa Gajah Elephant Cave to the Balinese Hindu culture. The Douches are very interesting and are lined parallel in two groups and are not only inspiring but also puzzling.
There are also guides around the entrance who you can agree a price with and take with you if you wish although this is not essential.
Mas Village is located just outside of the main Ubud village and is a great place to visit for a number of reasons. This beautiful area offers some unreal landscapes as well as the incredible cultural aspects and also there is the infamous shopping for a variety of wood carving of incredible qualities. These carvings include everything from traditional scenes and Hindu carvings of intricate detailing to modern carvings that are all excellent and come in all sizes from very small to huge carving of 20 feet in height, all of these have the same incredible level of detail. To find Mas you have to travel towards Ubud from the south of Bali and turn off before you reach Ubud where you will have sign posts leading you to the village of Mas. It will take around an hour to reach Mas Village from most of the of the resort areas of the south of the island as Mas Village is located within the Gianyar Regency. Of all the different reasons to visit Mas Village, the history and cultural importance of the village is definitely one of them.
There have been a number of highly borne people from the area of Mas Village who have gone on to lead very influential lives as well as having a great deal of importance and significance to the island as well as the history of the area. As well as this, many incredible carvers have been born from this area or have moved in order to be close to the high caste and the Balinese Royalty who have always lied close by in and around the Ubud area where the skilled artists where able to produce art and craft work for these people. The carvings of Mas extend from masterpieces which are huge and are often in museums or great buildings in the area such as the palaces. Also there are huge doorway carvings which you can find in Balinese homes down to large statues and other items of many different sizes. Carvings of traditional Balinese sights and scenes are very common and make excellent souvenirs as do the religious figures and gods of the Balinese Hindu religion including the class is Ramah and other Hindu figure and Barong and some of the uniquely Balinese figures. With all of this in mind there are a number of modern influences which affect the artists of this area meaning that the crafts are diverse and differ greatly from artist to artist.
The scenery around the area as well as the culture of the relaxed and slow paced Balinese spiritual lifestyle which is a great area to relax and take it easy as well as enjoying the temples and the incredible scenery of mountains forests and rice paddies which surround the entire area and create that mystical and enchanting atmosphere that so many people come to the area to enjoy.
Ubud Village is an interesting and cultural are located in the centre of the island of Bali towards the east coast and elevated at around 600 meters above the sea level enjoying a slightly cooler and fresher mountain climate then the south of Bali as well as some spectacular views looking out over the valleys and rice paddies. Ubud Village is actually made up of 13 separate Banjar which are traditional communities or neighborhoods within the area with a traditional version of a council combined with protection and a spiritual refuge connected with the local temples. Ubud Village is located in the Gianyar regency who covers one of the most beautiful and historic areas of the island as well as the cultural areas. Ubud has long been known as ‘the cultural heart of Bali due to the incredible performance and artwork as well as devotion to the religion of Balinese Hinduism which you will find in the area. The presence of the Balinese royalty is partly responsible for this as well as the inspiration that this beautiful scenery provides. Many of Bali’s famous artists are al from this area and there have been a number of international artists who have spent time in the area and become influenced by the magic of the Ubud Village. All of this can be fully appreciated in the art museums of Bali.
There are a number of markets selling artwork and carvings as well as all sorts of other items, the creativity is incredible and with so many different outlets it is possible to find all sorts of items and even have things made. The vibrancy and energy at these markets is electric and a great way to enjoy art of Balinese culture which is so close to the heart of the community. As well as this there are many beautiful spas and seriously relaxed villas and spa resorts overlooking the valleys of the rivers in all of their tropical glory. With many different things to do the whole family will be entertained with such experiences as the monkey forest and the elephant riding which is located just outside the Ubud area.
As well as this there are the ancient temples such as the elephant caves which date back hundreds of years and the palaces which can be visited making an excellent holiday which is full of diversity. There are many different tours and packages which can be booked on from Ubud as well as for traveling to Ubud from other areas of the island. Visits to the beaches of eastern Bali are common as well as the different activities that Bail has to offer. Ubud is an ideal location for honeymooners and couples who want to relax in a natural and cultural paradise with plenty of luxuries waiting to be indulged in. Ubud Village is also a great family holiday destination with loads to do for everybody with no loud clubs and few busy roads.
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