Exploring Bali’s Top Attractions
There is an abundance of reasons to visit Bali, whether you are seeking cultural immersion, beach relaxation, or thrilling adventures. The island offers a multitude of diverse attractions, from wildlife habitats and historical sites to breathtaking scenery. Let’s delve into what exactly puts Bali on the map and what the island is best known for.
Temples: “The Island of Gods”
Bali, also known as “The Island of a Thousand Temples” or “The Island of Gods,” is home to thousands of Hindu temples. These temples can be found in every corner of the island, ranging from intricate and magnificent structures to lesser-known shrines and holy sites. Balinese Hinduism, unique to the island, combines influences from Indian culture and traditional animistic beliefs, resulting in temples that are unlike any others in the world. Exploring these temples offers a fascinating glimpse into Bali’s religious and cultural heritage.
Must-See Temples in Bali
Pura Lempuyang Luhur: This collection of smaller temples is situated along the hiking path of Mount Lempuyang. The highest among them is Pura Lempuyang Luhur, perched on the mountain’s peak. Although it requires a bit more effort to reach, the breathtaking views of Mount Agung to the west make it a rewarding experience.
Tanah Lot: Located just a short drive from Seminyak, Tanah Lot stands on a large rock slightly offshore. During high tide, the temple is isolated from the mainland by water, creating a mesmerizing sight that is perfect for photography.
Tirta Empul: Considered the largest and most impressive of Bali’s water temples, Tirta Empul is a 30-minute drive from Ubud. The temple features two purification pools fed by holy spring water streams. Hindu worshippers from far and wide come to participate in purification rituals, submerging themselves beneath the flowing water.
Bali’s nightlife is mainly concentrated in Kuta and the upscale neighboring town of Seminyak. Here, bars, restaurants, and clubs stay open late into the night, attracting partygoers from all corners of the globe. However, if you prefer a more relaxed vibe, worry not. Bali offers a wide range of evening activities and parties that don’t involve crowded clubs. Head to Canggu for edgy bars and live music, Gili Trawangan for beachside dancing, or Uluwatu for the famous biweekly Single Fin party.
Luxurious Lifestyle within Reach
Bali boasts a plethora of infinity pools, luxury spas, stunning villas, unique restaurants, and beach clubs. The best part is that all this luxury remains accessible to various types of travelers. Bali is an island where luxury is affordable, making it a popular destination among celebrities and travel bloggers. Many of them even choose to make Bali their permanent home, indulging in endless luxurious activities and enjoying the island’s beautiful nature.
One of Bali’s claims to fame lies in its volcanic landscape. Indonesia, located within the Pacific Ring of Fire, is renowned for its seismic and volcanic activity. Bali is home to two active volcanoes, Mount Batur and Mount Agung, the latter having erupted most recently in 2017. Mount Batur, a popular tourist attraction, offers stunning panoramic views from its summit, especially during sunrise. Bali’s mountainous midsection also hosts Kelud and Mount Merapi, the two most active volcanoes in Indonesia.
Picturesque Rice Fields
The mesmerizing rice terraces in Bali cover an extensive area of 20,000 hectares. These lush fields are most breathtaking between October and March, when the crops are at their peak growth. Under the authority of priests in the island’s water temples, the rice paddies are managed using the ancient Subak irrigation system, which dates back to the 9th century. This ecologically sustainable system holds great cultural and religious importance in Bali. In 2012, Subak became a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a must-visit for anyone traveling to Bali.
No discussion of Bali would be complete without mentioning its spectacular coastline. Bali offers a variety of beaches, ranging from white-sand paradises with turquoise waters to black volcanic shores and world-class surf spots. For sunbathing, head to the serene Balangan Beach on the south of the island, where you can relax and work on your holiday tan. If swimming is your preference, visit Sanur on the south-east coast, known for its calm and clear waters. Snorkeling enthusiasts should head to Menjangan Island, where they can explore vibrant marine life and even spot turtles.
Marine Life Richness
Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, an area renowned for its exceptional marine biodiversity. This region is home to 76% of all known coral species in the world, as well as various marine creatures like Giant Manta Rays, Giant Moray Eels, Hammerhead Sharks, Reef Sharks, and Hawksbill turtles. Snorkelers and scuba divers will be amazed by the vibrant and diverse life found on Bali’s reefs, which house over 3,000 species of fish. While rare, lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of the majestic Whale Shark in the waters around Nusa Lembongan.
A visit to Bali wouldn’t be complete without exploring its enchanting waterfalls. Many of these hidden gems can only be reached on foot, adding an adventurous touch to your holiday. Don’t miss the Niagara Munduk, located in the jungles surrounding Munduk village, which is often referred to as Bali’s Niagara Falls. Sekumpal Waterfall, considered the most beautiful on the island, requires a bit more effort to reach, but the journey is well worth it. Yeh Mampeh Waterfall, the tallest in Bali, offers a tranquil and peaceful experience off the beaten path.
Balinese painting, sculpture, music, and dance are integral parts of the island’s cultural heritage. Balinese art, influenced by Hindu-Javanese traditions, can be seen throughout the island, particularly in its temples. If you happen to visit Bali between early June and early July, be sure to attend the Bali Art Festival held at the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre in Denpasar. This annual festival celebrates the island’s art history and offers traditional performances, including shadow puppetry, dance, and music compositions.
Now that you have a glimpse of what Bali is famous for, plan your trip to experience all the wonders that this enchanting island has to offer.