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Bali Bliss: Exploring the Best Places to Visit on the Island of the Gods

Bali is a beautiful Indonesian island known for its stunning beaches, lush green rice paddies, cultural attractions, and friendly people. It is a popular tourist destination that offers a unique blend of culture, nature, and adventure.


In this blog post, I'll describe the places that we visited back in 2019 with our almost a year old kid. We planned to celebrate Baby R's birthday in Bali. You can read more about my personal experience, how we managed to travel with 1 year old baby and how we packed for the trip here.


Kuta:

Kuta is a coastal town located in the southern part of Bali, Indonesia. It is a popular tourist destination that is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and diverse range of activities. One of the most famous attractions in Kuta is its long, sandy beach, it is a popular spot for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the beautiful sunsets. The beach is lined with restaurants, bars, and cafes, and there are plenty of shops selling souvenirs and beachwear.



In addition to its beach, Kuta is also known for its lively nightlife, that includes bars, nightclubs, and live music venues. There are also many restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, ranging from local Indonesian dishes to international fare. Kuta is also home to several temples and historical sites, such as the Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, which is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.


Ubud:

Ubud is a town located in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia, surrounded by rice paddies, forests, and traditional Balinese villages. Known for its cultural significance, Ubud is considered the artistic and cultural heart of Bali, attracting many visitors who seek to immerse themselves in the island's unique culture.

The town is home to numerous art galleries, museums, and handicraft shops, showcasing Bali's traditional arts and crafts such as painting, wood carving, and textiles. It's also a popular destination for yoga enthusiasts, with many yoga centers and retreats offering classes and workshops. Ubud also boasts beautiful natural scenery. One can explore the lush rice paddies, visit the sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, or hike up to the summit of Mount Batur for stunning views of the sunrise over the island.


Ubud is also renowned for its food scene, with a plethora of cafes and restaurants serving delicious Balinese and international cuisine. You can sample local specialties such as nasi goreng (fried rice), satay (grilled skewers), or enjoy international options such as Italian, Mexican, and Japanese cuisine.


Amed:

Amed is a small coastal village located in the eastern part of Bali, Indonesia. It is famous for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and excellent snorkeling and diving spots. The village is nestled between lush green hills and the Bali Sea, offering a peaceful and serene environment for travelers seeking relaxation. The beaches in Amed are made up of black volcanic sand, creating a unique and picturesque landscape. The water is warm and calm, making it perfect for swimming and water sports. The coral reefs surrounding the area are home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks.





Amed is also home to several temples and traditional villages, providing visitors with a glimpse into Balinese culture and traditions. The local people are friendly and welcoming, and many visitors enjoy interacting with them and learning about their way of life.

For those looking for adventure, Amed also offers opportunities for hiking, cycling, and exploring the nearby mountains and rice fields. There are also several restaurants and cafes in the area, serving up delicious local cuisine and fresh seafood.


Singaraja:

Singaraja is a charming city located on the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Bali. It is the second-largest city in Bali after Denpasar and was once the colonial administrative capital of Bali during the Dutch occupation. Singaraja is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. The city is surrounded by lush green hills and scenic rice paddies, which provide a picturesque backdrop for the city. The climate in Singaraja is tropical, with warm temperatures year-round and occasional rainfall.




The city has a strong cultural heritage, with numerous historic temples, palaces, and museums. The Singaraja Museum is a popular attraction, housing a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the city's rich history and culture. Other notable landmarks in the city include the Gedong Kirtya Library, the Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery, and the Jagatnatha Temple.


Besakih:

Besakih, also known as the Mother Temple of Bali, is a complex of Hindu temples located on the slopes of Mount Agung, the highest volcano in Bali, Indonesia. It is considered the most sacred and holiest temple on the island of Bali and is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike.


The temple complex consists of over 80 separate temples, including the main temple Pura Penataran Agung, which is dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Each temple within the complex is dedicated to a specific deity or ancestral spirit, and the temples are spread out over a large area, with different levels connected by stairs.


Besakih Temple dates back to the 8th century, and the site has undergone numerous changes and renovations over the centuries. The temple complex has survived earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, including the devastating eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, which destroyed many of the surrounding villages.



The complex is surrounded by beautiful scenery, with Mount Agung looming in the background and terraced rice fields stretching out in all directions. Visitors to Besakih can explore the temples, learn about the history and culture of Bali, and enjoy the stunning views from the top of the complex. Besakih is also an important site for Balinese Hindu ceremonies and festivals. The most important festival held at the temple is the Eka Dasa Rudra, which takes place every 100 years and involves elaborate rituals and offerings to the gods.


Tirta Gangga:

Tirta Gangga is a beautiful water palace located in the eastern part of Bali, Indonesia. The name Tirta Gangga translates to "water from the Ganges" in Indonesian, and it is said that the water in the palace's fountains and pools comes from a sacred spring that is believed to have healing powers.





The palace was built in 1946 by the last king of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, and it was designed by a Dutch architect named Van Den Hentz. The palace features a blend of Balinese and European architecture, with intricate stone carvings, statues, and fountains.


Tirta Gangga is a popular tourist destination, and visitors come from all over the world to admire its beauty and tranquility. The palace is surrounded by lush greenery, including rice paddies and coconut trees, and there are several ponds filled with colorful koi fish.

One of the highlights of Tirta Gangga is the main pool, which is filled with crystal-clear water and surrounded by fountains and statues. Visitors can take a dip in the pool and cool off from the hot Bali sun. There are also several smaller pools and fountains throughout the palace, each with its own unique design and charm.


Uluwatu Temple:

Tanah Lot is a temple located on a rocky outcrop off the coast of Bali. It's one of the island's most iconic landmarks and is best seen at sunset when the temple is bathed in golden light. The temple is dedicated to the sea god, and the area is believed to be guarded by sea snakes, which are considered sacred. This ancient Hindu temple is perched on a cliff 70 meters above the Indian Ocean, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline.


Uluwatu Temple is one of Bali's six key temples and is considered one of the most important spiritual sites on the island. It is dedicated to the Hindu god of the sea, Lord Varuna, and is said to protect Bali from evil spirits that come from the ocean.

Visitors to Uluwatu Temple can expect to be awe-inspired by the temple's stunning architecture, intricate carvings, and traditional Balinese design. The temple complex includes several shrines and courtyards, each with their own unique features and significance.



One of the most popular features of Uluwatu Temple is the Kecak dance performance that takes place every evening during sunset. The Kecak dance is a traditional Balinese dance that is accompanied by a chorus of men chanting "cak, cak, cak" while performers tell stories from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana.


Another highlight of Uluwatu Temple is the stunning sunset view from the cliff-top location. Visitors can enjoy the view while exploring the temple grounds or while watching the Kecak dance performance. Visitors should dress respectfully when visiting Uluwatu Temple, as it is a sacred site. Sarongs and sashes are available for rent at the temple entrance for those who need them.


Ulandanu Temple:

Ulandanu Temple, also known as Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, is a beautiful Hindu water temple located on the shores of Lake Beratan in the highlands of Bali, Indonesia. This temple is dedicated to the goddess of the lake, Ida Batari Dewi Ulun Danu, and is considered one of the most iconic and picturesque temples on the island.


The temple was founded in the 17th century by the King of Mengwi, and it was renovated in the 1930s by the Dutch colonial government. The temple complex consists of several shrines and pagodas that are surrounded by gardens and lotus ponds. The temple's architecture is a blend of traditional Balinese and Javanese styles, and it features intricate carvings and ornate decorations.


One of the most impressive features of the temple is the multi-tiered pagoda, called the Meru Tumpang Sebelas, which has eleven tiers and is dedicated to the goddess of rice and prosperity, Dewi Sri. One can also see the Lingga and Yoni shrines, which symbolize the union of male and female energy, and the Baturiti Temple, which is dedicated to the god of fertility and agriculture, Batara Hyang Danawa.







Ulandanu Temple is also a popular tourist destination for its stunning location. The temple is set against the backdrop of Lake Beratan and the surrounding mountains, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors can rent a traditional boat or take a walk around the lake to enjoy the scenery and take in the temple's beauty.


Cepung Falls:


Cepung Falls is a hidden gem located in the village of Dusun Penida Kelod, in the regency of Bangli, Bali, Indonesia. It is a stunning waterfall that has become increasingly popular among tourists in recent years, but still manages to maintain its secluded and tranquil atmosphere.


To reach Cepung Falls, visitors must trek through a narrow canyon and wade through shallow streams. The hike itself can be quite challenging and requires some agility, but the payoff is well worth it. As visitors approach the waterfall, they are greeted with the sight of water cascading down from a small opening in the rocks above, creating a magical and ethereal atmosphere.







The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs, and the natural light filtering through the opening in the rocks creates a stunning play of light and shadows on the water and surrounding rocks. The pool at the base of the falls is also a popular spot for swimming and cooling off after the hike. One of the unique aspects of Cepung Falls is its hidden location, which adds to the sense of adventure and excitement when discovering this natural wonder. This is where we went on to have Baby R's birthday breakfast.


Bali Zoo


Bali Zoo is located in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. This park is dedicated to conserving and protecting the local flora and fauna of Bali and Indonesia. The zoo offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors to learn about the various animal species found on the Indonesian archipelago. With over 350 species of animals, including exotic birds, primates, big cats, reptiles, and various other mammals, the Zoo offers a diverse range of wildlife.

One of the main highlights of the Zoo is its interactive experiences, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. The zoo offers several animal encounters, such as elephant rides, bird feeding, and petting zoos, giving visitors a chance to interact with the animals in a hands-on manner. The Zoo also offers educational and informative experiences, including animal shows and feeding times.






When it comes to Balinese culture, religion plays a significant role in daily life. Balinese Hinduism is a unique form of Hinduism that blends elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism. There are many temples and shrines throughout Bali, and it's common to see offerings of flowers, rice, and incense placed outside homes and businesses.


Balinese cuisine is a type of Indonesian cuisine that originates from the island of Bali. It is a complex combination of flavors and ingredients, influenced by the spices, herbs, and techniques used in Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and European cuisine. Balinese food is characterized by its spiciness, freshness, and diverse use of ingredients.

Here are some of the famous Balinese dishes:

  1. Lawar - Lawar is a traditional Balinese salad made from a mixture of finely chopped vegetables, grated coconut, and minced meat or seafood. The dish is usually served with rice and sambal.

  2. Sate Lilit (Minced Meat Satay) - Sate Lilit is a type of satay made from minced meat, coconut, and spices. The meat is wrapped around a skewer and grilled over hot coals. The dish is usually served with rice and sambal.

  3. Nasi Campur (Mixed Rice) - Nasi Campur is a mixed rice dish that is served with a variety of side dishes such as satay, chicken, vegetables, and sambal. The dish is popular among locals and tourists alike.

  4. Ayam Betutu (Spiced Chicken) - Ayam Betutu is a spiced chicken dish that is cooked with a mixture of spices and wrapped in banana leaves.










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