The Most Popular Destinations in Indonesia
Bali, a tiny island in Indonesia, is one of the most popular destinations for tourists heading to Asia. It owes its popularity to its enchanting fairy tale temples, vibrant cultural life, wonderful natural attractions and a uniquely relaxed and safe atmosphere.
From the moment you arrive in Bali, you are touched by the special atmosphere that can transform you in just one holiday. The Balinese are not in a hurry, their winding roads make even 50 kilometres a sprint seem like a sprint, they are infinitely kind and helpful, and they love tourists – even though the larger hotels are not run by them, but by Australian entrepreneurs who have moved to the island.
The most prominent hotels are in Kuta, a surfing paradise, and most travel agents organise trips there. But don’t get stuck on the beach, Bali has much more to offer.
Wherever you drive in Bali, you’ll find rice paddies lining the road: the Balinese live mainly from rice farming, in addition to tourism. Because of the particularly high water demand, they have built neat little terraces where they work constantly. Thanks to the favourable weather, they harvest up to three times a year, and the farmers thank the gods daily with prayers and gifts for this special bounty. The most picturesque terraces are found near the villages of Jatiluwih and Tengalang.
The fishing village of Amed and its coastline is one of Bali’s specialities: the coast is coal black, thanks to the island’s largest mountain and still active volcano, Gunung Agung, which destroyed everything around it in its great eruption in 1963, coating the coast in black lava clouds. Once in the water, however, we are greeted by a more colourful world: the area is a diving paradise, offering unforgettable underwater sights.
Bali is also home to the active Batur volcano and Lake Batur. The Balinese people here consider themselves the Bali Aga, the indigenous people of the island and have preserved much of their animism to this day. Trunyan is famous for its ancient burial customs and open tomb burials. The more adventurous can take a dawn hike to the top of Batur to watch the sunrise or go rafting on the Ayung River. If you’re in the area, don’t leave without a delicious Kopi Luwak, or the local speciality, civet coffee.
For a more leisurely excursion, Sangeh’s forests are worth a visit: ten hectares of nutmeg trees echo with the sounds of monkeys.
Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital, has been known to the world since the film Tastes, Prayers, Loves. Located in the central part of the island, the town is famous for its handicrafts and its unique streets are lined with tea shops, cafés, restaurants and nightclubs.
Its museum, the Puri Lukisan, has a permanent exhibition of modern Balinese art, but the town also has other art galleries and the homes of famous artists.
The palace, built in the 1800s as the family home of the King of Ubud, is an exotic and imposing structure: A tour of the palace will give you an insight into local architecture and an opportunity to admire its tropical gardens. In the evenings, the palace’s dancers give a performance, which is also a must-see.
For a relaxing break, visit one of the city’s famous yoga centres or one of the very popular spas, where you can enjoy beauty treatments and refreshing massages.
After recharging, visit the local market, and for children, the Reptile and Bird Park and the Monkey Forest are unforgettable experiences.
On the outskirts of the city is one of Bali’s most precious artistic treasures, the Goa Gajah. This temple was built at the junction of two rivers in the 11th century and is still considered a magical place by Hindus. An underground cave hides a statue of Ganesha, and excavations have revealed a bathing pool surrounded by nymph statues holding gargoyles.
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You can read about these in this article:
A Vibrant Cultural Life
Temples and Sacred Places
Relaxing on an Island of Tranquillity
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