Bali; an oasis of tranquility, surrounded by pristine beaches and resplendent in natural beauty – surely this isn’t the kind of place to come to experience a huge number of adventure activities? Well, if you were to make this assumption, you would be wrong! In reality, Bali offers a huge amount of fun and adventure for every tourist, with hiking, cycling, adrenaline sports and watersports all being popular activities in this island paradise.
When it is considered that Bali has only been a popular tourist destination for about 50 years, it is amazing to think how quickly the island has turned itself into a mecca for those seeking thrills and spills. So what are the different activities that eager tourists can participate in and where are the best places in Bali to find them?
When it comes to art and culture, Bali certainly has something for everyone. With informative and interesting museums, breathtaking temples and various other sites that celebrate the history and life of this small, yet significant, island paradise. What truly makes Bali so culturally different from the rest of Indonesia though is religion; Bali is home to the vast majority of Indonesian Hindus, while the rest of the country is predominantly Islamic. This has led to a distinct and vibrant identity.
So, for those that are travelling to Bali and who are looking to experience the history and culture of this island, what are the places that should be visited? In all honesty, there is not enough space to go through every location with cultural significance, but detailed below are just a few of the best places to head towards during your vacation…
As with many South East Asian countries, the island of Bali is full of spectacular temples – something that makes deciding which ones to visit a difficult task! There are a few though that are visited by a huge amount of tourists – a sure sign that there is something worth seeing there – as well as number that could be classed as “hidden gems”. One thing is for certain though – if you want to really get to know Balinese culture and want to understand the history of this island, visiting a few temples is an absolute must.
The most visited temple in the whole of Bali is called Purah Tanah Lot and it is located in the south of the island. Unfortunately, much of the original structure is now gone, and in its place stands artificial recreations, but this does not take away from the awe inspiring nature that this temple displays – especially when most of the tourists don’t even know that it has been renovated! Much like many of the temples in the southern part of the island, Purah Tanah Lot is a sea temple and is associated with the famous priest Nirartha – a name that most tourists who pay attention in Bali will come to hear a lot. If you can get over the huge commercialization of this temple and see the real beauty, this could well be the best day out of the whole vacation!
If Purah Tanah Lot is overcrowded, then the exact opposite can be said for Para Ulun Danu Bratan, which is a Hindu-Buddhist temple that dates back to the 17th century. Apart from the distinct lack of tourists, what makes this temple truly memorable is the fact that it is built on a number of small islands, all of which are located in the middle of a lake. With the beauty of the temple complemented fully by the outstanding natural surroundings, this is a photo opportunity that every tourist will not want to miss. It is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Dewi Danu and is best seen at either sunrise or sunset.
There are a number of other temples throughout Bali, with some of the more spectacular ones being Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana, Ulu Watu and Pura Silayukti. It is also well worth heading to Gunung Kawi which, although actually a series of religious monuments and not strictly a temple, is an awe-inspiring sight.