Here are some of the best places in Ubud
2. Ubud Monkey Forest
The shady, green Ubud Monkey Forest is the most popular stop for tourists in the town of Ubud. Hundreds of playful and interactive Macaque monkeys call the sacred forest home and roam freely around the tree canopy and temple complex. Cuddle up with these amazing local monkeys. See Mamas and their newborns, up close and personal, take as many pictures as you like, even feed the monkeys bananas! Read more..
Ubud Traditional Art Market
The Ubud main market never looses its unique charm. Located in the center of city, it’s very easy to find. There are many local artists displaying their work and loads of merchandise for sale. You can find both traditional and modern crafting, like mats, clothes and paintings, for a very good price. But we are also sure that you will find your daily groceries over there, especially your fruits and veggies. There’s nothing like a market place to give you an honest flavor of the local culture. Read more..
Tirta Empul Temple and The Holy Spring Water
One of the holiest temples in Bali built around hot springs that still bubble in the central courtyard. The Balinese come here to bathe and purify themselves physically and spiritually, and during Galungan, the sacred barong masks are bathed here. The complex dates to 960, but the present buildings are largely modern reconstructions. Read more..
Goa Gajah, The Elephant Cave
The centerpiece here is a cave dating back to the ninth century, the entrance to which is an ornately carved demon’s mouth. Inside are some fragmentary lingam and yoni statues, as well as a statue of Ganesha. Large, carved guards stand around pools near the entrance, and a little path leads to a waterfall, rice fields, and some Buddhist stupa fragments. Some parts of the Goa Gajah complex were not excavated until the 1950s. Nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read more..
Gunung Kawi at Tampaksiring
Dating from the eleventh century, this is presumed to be the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his many wives. Reached by climbing down 371 steps, the location at the bottom of a steep valley lined with paddy fields, is quite stunning. The structures are carved into the sides of a steep river valley, and the river crossed by twisting trees and vines. You must take off your shoes before entering into the central pura complex. Read more..
Rice Terrace at Tegallalang
The rice fields terrace are almost works of art. The fields are various shades of green and are extremely well maintained. The coconut trees still give an extra charm. Be sure to walk through the rice fields to explore close its distinctive architecture. After the tour, relax in one of the many cafes overlooking the rice fields. It may be a good opportunity to experience the famous Balinese coffee Kopi Luwak, regarded as the most expensive coffee in the world. Read more..
Goa Garba is located in Banjar Sawa Gunung, Pejeng Kelod village, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali. It is situated 400 meters above sea level, lies under the Pengukur-Ukuran Temple, above the Pakerisan River. On this site there is a hermitage carved out of the cliff, which was believed to be the meditation place of Mahapatih Kebo Iwa. It is a natural site that exudes calm. Even to this day, Goa Garba is frequented as a place of meditation. It is estimated to have been built in the 12th century during the reign of King Jaya Pangus. Read more..
This picturesque temple located right in the heart of Ubud honors Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, literature and art. Pura Taman Saraswati is is set within a beautiful water garden with thousands of lotus flowers, so bring your camera. Learn more about Ubud’s temples. Read more..
This complex of rock carvings is close to Goa Gajah but far less well known. The carvings date from the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and are set in a very attractive rice field. You can reach Yeh Pulu on foot through the rice fields from Goa Gajah, but you will definitely need a guide for the 45 minute walk as there is no path to speak of. In addition to the carvings, there is a holy well here, and the attendant priest will be happy to bless you with the well water. Temple dress code applies. This is a much underrated and under-visited site, and is highly recommended. Read more..
Blanco The Reanaissance Museum
Blanco, arguably the most famous and successful artist to ever live in Bali, built his magnificent studio on top of a mountain overlooking the Campuan River. This flamboyant building, a unique blend of Balinese architecture imbued with the spirit of his native Spain, houses an interesting collection of works drawn from different periods of his long career. During his life it was visited daily by hundreds of people from all over the world. The artist, full of “Catalan charisma,” earned himself the sobriquet “The Fabulous Blanco,” an expression that mirrored his talent for creativity. His former home is now a museum showcasing his sometimes bizarre but always interesting work. Think Salvador Dali transplanted to Asia. In the garden you can take pictures of the exotic birds flying around. Read more..
Neka Art Museum
One of the finest museums on the island, boasts a collection of fine art inspired by Bali, but over the years the museum has expanded its scope to include other works from Indonesia to show the place of Balinese art within the wider national context. The first hall is the Balinese Painting Hall. In this hall one can appreciate ancient puppet style paintings that have narrative scenes from Indian epics, Balinese-Javanese literature, and almanac. Ubud style paintings such as the works of Anak Agung Gede Sobrat and Ida Bagus Made Poleng can also be seen in this hall. The works of Ida Bagus Made Widja, Batuan style paintings, created in 1930’s also hanging on the display wall. In this hall, one can also appreciate a collection of modern adaptation of Batuan style painting by I Wayan Bendi. Read more..
Museum Puri Lukisan
Located in the heart of Ubud just a few steps away from The Ubud Palace. The history of the museum started in 1929 when Rudolf Bonnet an Amsterdam born artist arrived on this beautiful island, and introduced the ideologies, techniques and materials of western art to Bali. His cooperation with Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, the Prince of Ubud, initiated a new era of Balinese art and painting. Later in 1936, Pita Maha, an artist’s cooperative was formed by Bonnet, Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati, and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. In 1952, the Museum Puri Lukisan was founded to carry out the ideas and uphold the rules of Pita Maha. Read more..
The Agung Rai Museum of Art / The ARMA
Located just south of central Ubud, the Agung Rai is much more than a museum; it’s also a center for cultural events, performances, art classes and workshops. The museum itself is based on the personal collection of the Balinese entrepreneur, Agung Rai. Inside the larger of the two large buildings that make up the museum, you will find contemporary art and originals, as well as reproductions, from some of the Balinese masters and foreign artists that have influenced Balinese art. A visit should also include a stroll around the beautiful grounds, where you might encounter performers practicing or craftsmen working. Drinks are included in the ticket price.
Bali Safari and Marine Park
Enjoy the best safari experience in Bali at the home of hundreds of amazing animals representing over 60 species including the Komodo, Orang Utan, and the Bali Mynah. You can choose to enjoy your safari journey from the elephant back with our Elephant Back Safari, interact with your favorite animal up close at the Animal Encounter space, experience the wildest fine dining moment surrounded by lions, meerkats, and porcupines at the Tsavo Lion restaurant, and unwind with the spectacular show of Bali Agung at their state of art theater in the park, Bali Theater or make your own big splash at Water Park and Fun Zone. Read more..
Bali Bird Park
This is a zoo with over a thousand birds from more than 200 species mostly endemic to Indonesia. Visitors are encouraged to get up close and personal with park “residents”, who live in enclosures that closely resemble their natural habitats. The park’s layout is designed to recreate a walk-through of the Indonesian islands (with a detour through other parts of the world). Read more..
Elephant Safari Park at Taro
For this once-in-a-lifetime experience, head to the Elephant Safari Park in Ubud. While you won’t see them in their true natural state, you’ll be impressed by their friendly demeanor and extraordinary talents. The park’s facilities include a trail for the elephants to give rides, a restaurant, a research laboratory, a small botanical garden, and a lodge for overnight guests. The park is home to about 30 Sumantra elephants. Read more..
The temple has an unexplained rule that nobody can carry a red hibiscus or wear the black and white chequered poleng cloth.
The most compelling part of the temple complex, however, comes from its nightly kecak and fire dance performances. “Kecak” is derived from an old Balinese ritual called the sanghyang – a trance dance driven by its participants’ repetitive chanting. In its ancient form, the sanghyang communicated the wishes of the gods or of the ancestors.
In the 1930s, a German visitor reformatted the sanghyang into the more familiar kecak performance – doing away with the spiritualistic aspect of the dance and building it around the Hindu Ramayana epic.
No musical instruments are used in a kecak performance – instead, you find about thirty bare-chested men sitting in a circle, uttering “chak… chak… chak” rhythmically and repetitively. The total effect is trance-inducing – repetitive voices and outlandish costumes creating a trippy multimedia experience.
The performance plays out as the sun sets, and the culmination involves a giant fire display that is integral to the plot. (Visitors wearing flammable material may want to get a seat higher up in the stands.)
To help those unfamiliar with the Ramayana, synopsis sheets are handed out to audience members before the show.
The plot goes like this:
Rama, a wise prince and the legal heir of the throne of Ayodha, is exiled from the his father Dasarata’s realm. He is accompanied by his beautiful wife Sita and his loyal younger brother Laksamana.
While crossing the enchanted forest of Dandaka, the demon king Rahwana spots Sita and lusts after her. Rahwana’s deputy Marica transforms himself into a golden deer to distract Rama and Laksamana.
Rahwana then transforms into an old man to fool Sita into stepping away from a magic circle of protection set by Laksamana – thus fooled, Sita is spirited away to Rahwana’s realm of Alengka. Rama and Laksamana discover the deception too late; lost in the forest, they encounter the monkey king Hanoman, who swears his allegiance and goes off in search of Sita.
Hanoman finds Sita in Alengka. The monkey king takes Rama’s ring to Sita as a token of his contact with her husband. Sita gives Hanoman her hairpin to give to Rama, along with a message that she is waiting for his rescue.
Hanoman marvels at the beauty of Alengka, but begins to destroy it. Rahwana’s giant servants capture Hanoman, and bind him to be burned. Hanoman uses his magical powers to escape from certain death. Here, the performance ends
Despite the historical and cultural implications of the performance, the Uluwatu kecak performance is strictly for the tourists. The fiery escape of Hanoman is played up for visual effect, and the actors who play Hanoman, Rahwana, and the giants ham it up mightily.
Tanah Lot is one of the most beautiful temples in Bali, as well as being one of the most important. It means “Sea Temple of the Earth”. 13 kilometers west of Tabanan in Beraban village, the temple is uniquely placed upon a rock formation that stands away from the coast, which makes it appear to be floating on the water during high tide. World Monuments Watch lists it as one of the 100 most endangered and historical sites in the world. As one of the most popular places of interest in Bali, Tanah Lot temple without a doubt serves up a sweet sunset.
It is said that Nirantha, King Waturenggong’s priestly teacher and poet, who came to Bali from East Java in 1537, built Tanah Lot. Bendesa Beraben, the area’s holy leader, became very jealous when his followers joined Nirartha and ordered him to leave. Using his magical powers, Nirantha left by simply moving the rock upon which Tanah Lot was built from the land into the sea and changed his scarf into the sacred, poisonous snakes that still guard the temple. Later, Bendesa Beraben converted to Nirantha’s teachings.
The snakes (ular suci) live in sandy holes just above the waterline along the beach. When the tide is out, they slide into the temple. Snakes are holy creatures in Bali. They should not therefore be disturbed.
Many Balinese also come to pray and they must be respected. There are two pavilions and two black thatched-roof meru shrines-one with seven-tiers, dedicated to Sanghyang Widi Wasa, the Supreme God, and the other with three-tiers, dedicated to Nirantha.
Like all Bali temples, Tanah Lot celebrates odalans, once every Balinese year of 210 days; the birthday falls close to the festivals of Galungan and Kuningan, when ancestor spirits are invited to visit their family shrines. Four days after Kuningan, Hindus from all over Bali come laden with offerings, rice cakes, fruit, carved palm leaf, and holy water to pray to the gods and goddesses. Women carry towers of these offerings on their heads, waiting until low tide to walk over the concrete walkway and up rock-cut steps to the temple. Only Hindus may climb the temple stairway and enter the grounds.
At high tide, when the walkway is submerged, the waves can be rough. It is best to arrive at low tide, which is around noon during a full moon.
With such a majestic view at hand, it would be a shame not to share it with someone special.
AdventurousBali is now open for tour and photography service around Bali. Please email me for an early arrangement.
Set in the heart of the Tabanan Regency in Bali, the Jatiluwih rice fields have been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape, part of Bali’s Subak System. The vast expanses of terraced, green rice paddies are stepped along an entire mountain, from its peak to where its foot meets the sea. The view from the mountain village of Jatiluwih takes in the whole of southern Bali. The fields that make up this area have adopted the traditional Subak irrigation system – a method that has been preserved for centuries and passed down from generation to generation. Perched on a high terraced slope, Jatiluwih deserves its name – Truly Marvellous.
Tamblingan Lake is a beautiful lake located on the north slope of Mount Mortar, Munduk, Buleleng, Bali. This lake is one of the three twin lakes that formed in a large caldera. To the east there is a row of Lake Buyan and Lake Beratan. On the edge of the Tamblingan Lake there is a Gubug Temple. As Lake Tamblingan lies 1,000 meters above sea level, the climate here is cool. The early morning mist that hangs over the waters strangely enhances its mystical appeal. By Lake Tamblingan near Lake Buyan along the south-north highway live a host of monkeys. These multiply so fast, that they are often called the teeming monkeys of the jungle.