A journey through Bali, Indonesia

Indonesia is an island nation in Southeast Asia that is very popular with tourists from all over the world. The island offers beautiful nature, beautiful beaches, good food and culture for both travelers who love luxury and for those traveling on a limited budget. Interesting tourist spots include Ubud, Mount Batur and Bedugul. The Besakih and Tanah Lot temples are two examples of the many beautiful Hindu temples that are worth a visit. Bali also has several beautiful beach destinations, of which Sanur and Kuta Beach are the best known.

Map Bali

 

Location

Indonesia is a country located in Southeast Asia, it consists of an archipelago of 17,508 islands, making it the largest archipelago in the world, the total area is 1,904,569 km². The neighboring countries are Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia. The capital is Jakarta, located on the island of Java. Indonesia is a republic, the president in 2016 is Joko Widodo, he has been in power since 2014. The island of Bali is located east of Java and west of Lombok, the capital is Denpasar. Bali is the most famous tourist destination in Indonesia.

History

Indonesia has been an important trading region since the seventh century, especially trade with China was highly developed. European traders were mainly interested in the spice trade. The first Europeans to arrive in 1512 were the Portuguese. The British and Dutch soon followed. In 1602, the Dutch founded the Dutch East India Company, becoming the most important European traders in the region. Indonesia was a Dutch colony for more than 300 years, they waged brutal colonial wars and built a concentration camp in New Guinea. The Japanese took over Indonesia in 1942, ended Dutch rule and forced Dutch people into forced labor. Indonesia became independent after the Second World War.
Bali was first visited by the Dutch in 1597, but it was not until the nineteenth century that the island came under Dutch rule. In 2002 and 2005, bombings took place in Bali, both in the tourist resort of Kuta, by the radical Islamic organization Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). The first attack left 202 dead and 209 injured, while the 2005 attack left 23 dead and 129 injured. After these attacks, tourism in Bali reached a low point, but the island soon recovered and tourism started again.

Religion

Under the influence of India, Hinduism and Buddhism became popular in Indonesia, while Muslim traders brought Islam with them. The first indications that there were Muslims in Indonesia date from the thirteenth century, when a large part of the island of Sumatra converted to Islam. Today, religious freedom is enshrined in the constitution, six religions are officially recognized: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, 86.1% of the population is Muslim.
On the island of Bali, Hinduism is the main religion, approximately 93% of the population is Hindu. Bali also has its own language, Balinese and Balinese Malay are spoken by most people. But Dutch rule has also left its mark on the language, Dutch words are still used in spoken language.

Tourist attractions

Ubud

Ubud is the cultural capital of the island, the locals are engaged in religious ceremonies and rituals every day. Ubud is also the place to attend a traditional dance performance or watch a performance with puppets and shadows, also called wajang. There are many temples to visit and you can visit the Monkey Forest to view macaques and other animals in an ancient temple complex. Ubud is also very well known as a culinary destination, where you can enjoy various local and international dishes. There is a choice of luxurious restaurants, small restaurants or simple food stalls along the road.
Mount Batur
Mount Batur or Gunung Batur is an active volcano located near Lake Batur in the northeast of the island. The volcano is 1717 meters high and is still regularly active, there were eruptions in 1994, 1998 and 2000. Climbing Mount Batur is a popular activity, but still requires reasonable physical effort. A trip to the top can be booked in advance in Ubud, or you can travel to the village of Kitamani at the foot of Mount Batur and hire a local guide there. Most climbs to the top start at night so you’ll be at the top by sunrise. If you are lucky there will be no clouds and you can enjoy a beautiful view and visit the crater, but this volcano is often shrouded in thick clouds. The guide will provide breakfast and on the way back you can stop for a cup of Balinese coffee, such as the extremely expensive and special Coffee Luwak.

Bedugul

Bedugul is an area in the center of Bali, of which Candikuning is the most popular village. Here you will find the Pura Ulun Danu Bertan temple, which is located on Lake Bratan. The temple was built in 1663 and is dedicated to the goddess Dewi Danu, the goddess of the lakes and rivers. The surroundings are also beautiful with mountains reaching up to 2000 meters above sea level. You can also visit the Bali Botanical Gardens.

Temples

Besakih

The Besakih temple is also called the mother temple of Bali. It is a temple complex located at an altitude of 1000 meters on the volcano Mount Agung. The complex contains more than 200 buildings dating from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century and is the largest Hindu temple in Bali. This site is considered the holiest site on the island and wearing a sarong is mandatory for anyone visiting the temple. In 1963 there were several eruptions of Mount Agung, but the lava did not reach the temple, the believers believe that the gods were protecting the temple.

Goa Gajah

This temple is located six kilometers from Ubud, and literally means elephant cave. It is an archaeological site with petroglyphs, a meditation cave and even a swimming pool. This place was built in the eleventh century as a spiritual place to meditate and even today it still has a spiritual atmosphere.

Uluwatu

This temple dates from the tenth century and is mainly due to its beautiful location on the Indian Ocean. The temple stands on a seventy-meter-high cliff overlooking the ocean. The temple is inhabited by monkeys, who are known to steal bags from tourists.
Tanah Lot
The Tanah Lot temple is located about twenty kilometers from the famous seaside resort of Kuta, the temple is located on an island in the sea. Dang Hyang Nirartha was a priest who traveled from eastern Java to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism. He built a temple in honor of the sea god Baruna. The temple is only accessible to pilgrims, at low tide they can walk to the island. During high tide, pilgrims can visit a temple on the mainland. It is a popular place for tourists to admire a beautiful sunset.

Beaches

Sanur

Sanur Beach was the first tourist beach destination in Bali and is still very popular, especially among families with children. The village has retained much of its authentic charm and is known for its relaxed atmosphere.

Padang Bai

For most travelers, this place is no more than the port to the popular Gili islands off the coast of Lombok. But more and more people are discovering that this sleepy fishing village is worth a few days’ stay. For example, you can snorkel and dive well there. The fishing boats also bring their fresh catch ashore every day, so you can eat delicious, fresh fish here.
Kuta Beach
Kuta has been a very popular destination for surfers since 1960, especially from Australia, and today even novice surfers can join the many surf schools here. But visitors also come here for the beautiful and extensive beach and the lively atmosphere. Thanks to its low prices for accommodation and restaurants, Kuta is particularly popular with backpackers and has a reputation as a cheap party destination for Australians. But this place is also popular with backpackers from all over the world who explore the area from Kuta.

Lovina beach

Lovina is the name of a region where several villages are located, of which Kalibukbuk is the most touristic. Here you will find places to stay, restaurants, souvenir shops and internet. The beach in this region is very special because it consists of volcanic black sand. Another reason why tourists come to this beach is to watch dolphins in the early morning. Unfortunately, only a few dolphins live off this coast and dozens of boats with tourists sail at sea, so the chance of seeing dolphins up close is small. Other places worth seeing in the area are the Git Git waterfall, the hot springs of Banjar and Brahma Vihara Arama, the largest Buddhist monastery in Bali.

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