The Best Guide to Bali’s Top 6 Destinations.
In This Bali Article You Will Discover:
- The Top 6 Must See Spots on Bali
- Tips & Advice for Each Destination
- What to Avoid Throughout the Island
- Costs to Expect at Each Location
Perhaps made most famous by Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud is known locally as the epicentre of Bali’s arts scene. Located deep in the jungle, about an hour’s taxi ride from Denpasar (~400,000 Rupiah), Ubud should be stop number-one on your must-visit list. Upon arriving, you will have a choice of accommodation ranging from five-star spas, to backpacker’s bungalows, to guesthouses and everything in between. Stay a couple of days — there is too much to do and see in one day. Many tourists come to Ubud to shop and dine, they are not disappointed — the rows of storefronts are seemingly endless. However, rather than tacky knock-offs (although there are those), you’re more likely to find unique fashion, gorgeous art and “real” souvenirs. Tip: if you want to avoid the cheap and gaudy, skip the marketplace, tucked inside the alleyways of central Ubud. Finally, no trip to Ubud would be complete without a stroll through the Sacred Monkey Forest. Here, you will be able to get up close and personal with hundreds of furry, long-tailed macaques — but be wary, as cute as they are, these critters are like grabby toddlers, stealing food, shopping bags and everything else they can get their fingers on. (There is a small entrance fee to the forest.) Note: avoid the banana retailers at the entrance to the forest; carrying a handful of bananas into a monkey forest is just asking to be swarmed. Trust me, I know.
Mount Batur (Kintamani)
An active volcano in the north-central region of Bali (Kintamani), Mount Batur is one of those astonishing sights that will have you mumbling, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” Thick with green jungle foliage and stained with hardened black lava flows, Mount Batur stabs upwards from Bali like some primordial navel; the entrance to a Hindu netherworld. It’s no wonder the volcano has been revered for centuries; it is an imposing and wondrous sight. While there are treks one can take into the jungle, most vacationers will choose to simply dine in view its glory — a pleasant restaurant in Kintamani treats visitors to a perfect vista of the volcano while they dine on good-quality, relatively cheap (~65,000 Rupiah for an all-you-can eat buffet) Indonesian fare. This will no doubt be merely a stop during a day’s tour, not a full day in itself, but surely a must-see nonetheless.
Mount Agung & Pura Besakih
Another sacred volcano in east Bali, Mount Agung is the holiest of the holy — complete with the oldest and largest Hindu temple in all of Bali at its base, Besakih. While the mountain itself is a wondrous sight, the temple itself is the reason to visit. You’ll stroll past hawkers at its base and freak out at the sight of baseball-sized spiders weaving their webs in the telephone wires as you head towards the entrance to Besakih. (Remember: As with all Hindu temples, long pants are required to enter; there will be robes for use if you forget.) Stone stairs lead you up the side of the mountain, past wonderful, orthodox Hindu architecture in this tribute to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu… the three names Hindu allot to their one God. The 1,000-year-old temple could take the better part of a day to wander though, although much of it is closed off to all but the truly devoted. Still, photo ops abound as you walk upslope, passing silent Hindu monks and intricate stone sculptures. Tip: some tour guides will offer to take you into closed off sections of the temple. Do not go, it is not only highly disrespectful to enter certain temples for any reason, but the guides will try to cajole large amounts of money from you for this “exclusive” tour. Also, there are many child vendors throughout the temple. They will attempt to stick flowers in your pockets then charge you for the sale. Be nice — and remember they are children who live in a state of poverty that you, good reader, cannot possibly imagine. Giving them money is inadvisable, as you’ll be swarmed and overwhelmed, and it encourages such devious panhandling practices. However, carrying a pocketful of candy to pass out will put bigger smiles on these youngster’s faces than any amount of Rupiah ever could.
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