As Bali is a small island, there is nowhere that cannot be reached in a single day. You do not really need a fixed itinerary but only a general plan of places to visit and stay. Almost the entire island is ready and waiting for visitors from around the world, so it is better to be mobile, travel light, have a comfortable pair of shoes, and carry a positive attitude!
Bali is gentle and kind to the inexperienced traveler. Most of the local people have at least a limited knowledge of English, low cost accommodation is plentiful, transport is usually reliable, a wide choice of food awaits you, and there is safe drinking water
The capital city of Bali, Denpasar has countless community temples called Pura and one of them is Pura Jaganatha, which is dedicated to the Supreme God Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. The statue of a turtle and two dragons is prevalent in all temples as it signifies the foundation of the world. Pura Jaganatha offers a fine array of prehistoric and modern art, while its architectural design resembles that of a palace. The government-supervised Sanggraha Kriya Hasta has a wide display of handicraft and works of art. Between June and July is the Werdi Budaya, an annual art festival with performances, exhibitions, and art contests.
Sanur beach has long been a popular recreation site. The palm-lined beach curves from the Bali Beach Hotel toward the south and faces the Indian Ocean to the east. On this beach, you will discover many wonderful hotels, restaurants, shops, and other tourist facilities. Sanur is only a short distance from public transportation accesses in Denpasar, and trips to and from the city are available well into the night. Offshore reefs protect the beach from waves and it is thus a great site for windsurfing, boating, and various types of water-sports. Sanur is also famous for its black and white sorcery practices.
Once a lonely village and the entry point to southern Bali since the 18th Century, Kuta is now a thriving tourist resort especially for the young and young at heart. A favorite beach for surfers, it is less suitable for swimming due to strong currents; however, there are coast guards constantly on duty during the day. Kuta is one of the most dynamic places in Indonesia and accommodation ranges from international hotels to home stays. The village abounds with restaurants, shops, discotheques and tourist facilities. It is easier to find regular Balinese musical and dance performances here than anywhere else in Bali. This would be the ideal place to mingle with other people, locals as well as visitors abroad.
One of the most recent tourist centers, Nusa Dua has some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels. This resort is known for its clean, white beaches and pristine waters. Nusa Dua differs from Bukit Peninsula despite being a part of it. It is sheltered by coral reefs, which makes it an ideal family beach.
Northeast of Denpasar, stone figures along the road mark the village of Batubulan. Divinities and demons are carved from soapstone to decorate homes and temples. However, soapstone has a porous nature and the harsh weather of the tropics wears it down, thus renewal is necessary every other century. One is able to watch the carvers perform their skills at roadside 'factories'. Apart from stone carving, Batubulan is also known for its daily performances of the barong dance on a purpose-built stage near Pura Puseh.
The old and famous center of the arts, it is noted for its dances, wood panel carving, and half-wayang, half-naturalistic paintings.
A name synonymous with silver and goldsmiths, Celuk's art shops beckon visitors to sterling silver and gold butterfly brooches, garnet-studded bracelets, earrings and ear-clips of all designs. The bigger showrooms are on the main road and have marked prices that are quite high although negotiations are possible. Craftsmen use a tree stump with a protruding metal spike for an anvil, a bamboo stem to catch the filings, and a manually operated pump for heat.
Although Mas literally means 'gold', this village does not specialize in gold jewelry but in woodcarving. The Tilem Art Gallery is a fine place to view the highest quality woodcarvings, all sold at the most exorbitant prices. Carving was a traditional art for the priestly Brahman caste and the skills are believed to have been a gift from the gods. The inhabitants of Mas are also primarily Brahmans and trace their roots back to Danghyang Nirartha, the great Brahman sage.
Renowned as the center for the arts, Ubud has been attracting and cultivating artistic talent since it became the seat of the aristocratic family in the late 19th century. Western artists and intellectuals who visited the area in the 1930s provided an enormous stimulus to local art, introduced new ideas and techniques, and began a process a of displaying and promoting Balinese culture worldwide. Ubud is charming not because of its beaches or bars, but for its art, music, architecture, and dance. Even having gone through tremendous development, Ubud is still pretty and relaxed, especially if you're staying in a secluded family compound or eating at one of the pleasant open-air restaurants. It is one of those destinations where people plan to stay a couple of days but extend it to a couple of weeks.
The 'elephant cave' harbors no elephants but a great number of stalls, selling and flogging cheap items to tourists. This cave was excavated in the 11th century, and its entrance is a monstrous head with gaping mouth and hands that appear to be pushing the entrance apart. It was believed to have been built as a temple but the sleeping niches and Buddhist ruins just outside the cave suggest otherwise. Within the cave at the end of the T-shaped passage is a four-armed statue of Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity. At the opposite end sits a set of three lingga, or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. To the side of the cave's entrance is a 1,000-year-old statue of Hariti, a Buddhist demoness cum goddess. She used to devour children but reformed to become a devout Buddhist and protector of children. Excavations have uncovered a bathing place with six statues of nymphs holding waterspouts.
The sacred spring of Tirta Empul is situated here and revered by all Balinese. It is said that the god Indra created the spring when he pierced the earth to build the amerta, the elixir of immortality. The water is used by the Balinese for its curative powers for good health and prosperity. Regular ceremonies are held for purification, especially pregnant women and those who have survived a long illness.
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