Visiting Bali

Bali information

Bali is small, just 140 Km by 80 Km and lies between Java, the most highly populated and influential of all the islands, and Lombok, one of the quieter and moderately slower paced islands. Like many islands, Bali has developed a world of its own. It not only captures what is special about Indonesia but also has a uniqueness of its own.

Daily life on Bali is culturally linked to satisfying and appeasing the gods, spirits and demons in the midst of breathtaking panoramas of cultivated rice terraces, impressive volcanoes and pristine beaches. Bali’s main volcano, Gunung Agung, is still active and sometimes explosive and is considered sacred among local people as it is believed to be the centre of the universe. Lying just 8 degrees south of the Equator, Bali can boast a tropical climate with just two seasons a year and an average temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius 

Distances mentioned here are from OurBaliVilla and are approximate. Time to travel is very different from your home – you share the road with many motorbikes – some with 4 people on board and some with 20 dozen eggs – old men wandering, young children playing, dogs resting on the warm road, chickens and their chicks and unmarked road works!

Very rarely do you travel above 40kms per hour. It is one of the pleasures of Bali that you get to see a lot as you travel along however it is best not to organise too much in a day – amazing how the day goes (pleasurably of course!).

bali map

Your driver can assist you best on what is possible in a day or where to go to get x or y. None of our drivers or staff receive commission for recommending any shops or destinations. Please understand they have only your best interest at heart but if you have a different idea please let them know.

There is a Bali street directory available in the car and a large map of Bali and it’s most famous attractions upstairs in the reading room. There is also a “networking book” from previous guests for hints and tips, and there are many brochures.

 

Welcome to enjoy the beauty of Bali from the mountains to the coastline. Tanah Lot temple, Besakih, The Mother Temple, Tirta Gangga and Holy Spring Bali are known for their abundant attractions plus sparkling beach resorts, archaeological remains and scenic beauty.

Air Sanih
Tranquil beach with fresh spring pools NE about 100kms from Our Bali Villa.
Alas Kedaton Amlanura
A temple surrounded by monkey forest. Principal city of Karangasem district with Raja’s Palace.
Amed about 100kms from Our Bali Villa on the East coast
Ten years ago Amed was just a quiet fishing village with one losmen. It’s still quiet – there’s no phone line into Amed yet – but being developed fast. Amed is north west of Amlapura, and a couple of hours drive from Candi Dasa. The drive is as rough as it is scenic, so once you get to Amed it’s a good idea to stay a few days. There’s a collection of beaches around this part of the coast, and they are all good for snorkelling. Off the coast there’s a shipwreck, famous in diving circles and boats can be hired to get there. This is a place to Bangli – East of Ubud – about 50kms from Our Bali Villa
Bangli houses Pura Kehen, Bali’s second largest temple. The temple has three courtyards, connected by steps, decorated with carvings and statues. A large banyan tree shades the lowest and second courtyard. Bangli is the capital town of Bangli district .
Banjar
Hot spring bathing place with pool on the North coast – fantastic – about 4 hours drive from Our Bali Villa
Batubulan – north of OurBaliVilla 25kms
Known for stone carving and Barong Dance performance.
Batur
Well known for the active Mount Batur and the biggest lake in Bali
Batukaru
Covered with virgin rainforests, Mt Batukaru dominates the entire district of Tabanan. If you want to get off the beaten track, drive up the southern slopes to the village of Jatiluwih, where you can relax under the mossy shade of the Pura Luhur temple. Along the way, you’ll encounter towering trees, bubbling hot springs, and fern laden grottos. Take a reliable vehicle as the road can get tricky.

Batubulan
Batubulan is home to a number of stone carvers. Divinities and demons carved from sandstone (Paras) decorate (and protect) houses and temples along the road that takes you from Denpasar. Batubulan also houses excellent dance and theatrical performances.
Bedugul NW 35kms from Our Bali Villa

The mountain resort of Bedugul is known for its golf course. Ulun Danu, a temple which seems to rise out of the lake, presents itself beautifully. Boats, water skiing, and parasailing are among the many water sports available in this area.
When the heat and humidity finally get to you, it’s time to get away to Bedugul, Bali’s highland retreat, tucked into the crater of an extinct volcano, 1400 meters above sea level. The three lakes of the area provide the water for the fields, rivers and springs on the plains below. Lush pine forests make for clean air. The area renowned for its fruit and vegetables.

Besakih
Located on the slopes of Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest and most significant volcano, the whole of southern Bali is visible from this temple. Pura Besakih is not one single temple, but rather a sprawling complex of shrines and compounds, united through ancient rituals. Badly damaged when Gunung Agung erupted in 1963, the temple has now been fully restored. Remember to dress appropriately. The sanctuary of Besakih is over a thousand years of age and is known as the Mother Temple of Bali, the biggest and holiest of all Balinese temples. Steps ascend through split gates to the main courtyard where the Trinity shrines, dedicated to Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, are wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings. Around them, stand 18 separate sanctuaries, belonging to different regencies and castes.
Bona
Located between the cities of Gianyar and Blahbatuh, Bona is where to purchase bamboo furniture at reasonable prices. It is also famous for its dances, especially the fire dance, which is staged for tourists.
Bukit Jambul
Marvellous scene of rice terraces.
Candi Dasa
Candi Dasa offers and escape from the hassles of the more populated tourist areas, although sometimes it seems there are more hotels, restaurants and losmen here that tourists. Boats can be hired for day’s snorkelling.
Canggu
Beach for surfers and home to Our Bali Villa.  Canggu is fast becoming one of the most sort-after places in Bali

Celuk  – 30kms north of Our Bali Villa

Celuk is noted for silver and gold jewellery works. Their works are extremely meticulous and detailed. Celuk, just north of Denpasar, is the gold and silver centre of Bali. There are a whole lot of shops to choose from, and almost all have a large team of jewellers at work out the back, filling orders for other shops or for export.
Delod Berawah
Peaceful beach on the west coast.

Denpasar just 16 kms from Our Bali Villa
The capital city of the Province of Bali, Denpasar houses government offices, banks, and many other offices. Yet it manages to retain its Balinese personality; its temples still maintain their presence and influence. Pura Jagatnatha, a temple dedicated to the Sang Hyang Widi (Supreme God), has been converted into a Museum. The status of a turtle and two dragons in the temple signify the foundation of the world. The Pura’s architecture resembles that of Balinese palace. It houses a fine variety of prehistoric and modem art. Sanggraha Kriya Hasta is a government-supervised art centre, home to a wide variety of handicraft and works of art. Werdi Budaya presents a yearly art festival between June and July, with performances, exhibitions, art contest, and other artistic activities.
Denpasar was rebuilt in 1906 after the puputan massacre, when the city’s royal families committed suicide rather than surrender to the invading Dutch army. It is now a city of 400,000 inhabitants and more vehicles per capita than Jakarta. Many first-time visitors to Bali make the mistake of skipping Denpasar in their tour of the island. But in fact there is much to do and see here. There’s a leafy, expansive art centre, a museum, and a colourful and cheap market in Jl. Sulawesi. There are also several department stores. Early mornings are recommended as the midday sun can be draining.
Gianyar
The capital town of Gianyar district with old residence of the former King of Gianyar. Gilimanuk
West sea port of Bali – Java ferry service.
Breathtaking waterfalls with natural beauty surroundings.

Goa Gajah East of Ubud 38km from Our Bali Villa
North of Mount Batur, overlooking the Petanu River, is Goa Gajah, site of an intriguing archaeological mystery. The man-made caves here date from the eight century and feature Buddhist inscriptions and carvings, even though Buddhists are known to never have lived in Bali. Above the entrance to the cave is a giant head, with floppy ears, though by many to be an elephant, of which there is also no record in Bali. Two statues flanked a demon head over the entrance, and a statue of Ganesha (Elephant) sits inside the cave. Further excavations have uncovered a bathing place with six statues of nymphs holding water spouts. This is a special place, especially if you can avoid the crowds.

Goa Lawah The Bat Cave 50kms, east of Amblapura
Goa Lawah’s famous bat cave, 10 kilometres east of Klungkung, is a Shivaite temple founded around a thousand years ago. The cave is believed to lead all the way to Gunung Agung, but there are a couple of serious deterrents. Firstly, the cave is believed to be home to an enormous snake, Naga Besuki. And secondly, the ceiling and the thousands of noisy, long-nosed fruit bats. Its entrance is guarded by a temple believed to be founded by a sage nine centuries ago. This is a very strange place, but definitely worth a visit.
Gunung Kawi
Ancient memorial of the Balinese rulers, carved on a solid rock with beautiful surroundings.
Jatiluwih
The most fantastic viewing spot for many rice terraces.
Jimbaran
On the west side of the Bukit, Bali’s southern peninsula, lays the once sleepy fishing village of Jimbaran, now the site of the Intercontinental, Four Season Resort and the Ritz Canton. Take a walk along the beach, and perhaps a sunset drink at one of the big hotels, which welcome all visitors. An offshore reef provides protection from the wave action, providing excellent swimming waters. Jimbaran is known for its spectacular sunsets and famous seafood dinner restaurants.
Kamasan
Famous for typical traditional paintings, gold, silver and brass works.
Kebun Rava Beduul
Know for the Botanical Garden with wide selections of plants, fresh with mountain air. Kerambitan
Royal Palace with spacious Gamelan Hall.
Kintamani
The villages of Kintamani and Penelokan give a view of the active Mount Batur and its lake. Seven miles in diameter and sixty feet deep, the caldera of Batur is pretty impressive. From Penelokan, a road leads to Kediasan on the shores of the lake where boats can be rented to cross over to Trunyan. Kintamani is perched on the rim of a vast crater, overlooking the crater lake and its bubbling hot springs. Lake Batur is the largest in Bali, and provides water for an underground network of streams and springs across the southern slopes of the mountain.
The evenings can get cool but an overnight stay is well worth it, to climb the mountain and watch the sunrise, or just to take a midnight dip in one of the springs.
Kusamba
Fishermen village with salting grounds.

Klunkung
The Javanese Hindu Kingdom in Bali, where Balinese royalty draws its blood line, sat in Klungkung. It is the oldest kingdom on the island, and its Raja the most exalted. The ceiling of Kertha Gosa (Royal Court of Justice), built in the 18th century, displayed one of Bali’s masterpieces. Much like Michelangelo’s The Creation on the Sistine Chapel, the murals portray the punishment of hell and the rewards of heaven, elaborated in thousands of panels of wayang style. The floating pavilion, garden, and lotus ponds are a reminder of the former glory of this kingdom.
Kuta – 15kms from Our Bali Villa
Since the 18th century, Kuta has served as the entry point for foreigners visiting southern Bali. In the 1 830s Kuta was a thriving slave market, attracting a wide variety of international ‘lowlife’ and many would say that nothing has changed. Since its rediscovery by hippies and surfers in the 1 960s, Kuta and Legian have expanded so rapidly that the district is now one of the busiest tourist areas in the world. Hundred of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops provide for all tastes and budgets
Once a lonely little village on the road from Denpasar to Bukit Peninsula, Kuta is now the tourist mecca of Bali, popular mainly among the young and adventurous. Coconut trees line the sandy beach as far as the eyes can see towards the north, and stopped by the runway of Denpasar’s airport far in the west. Sunset in Kuta is most breathtaking.
During the day, the streets of Legian, right behind the row of hotels that face the beach, is lined with shops of all varieties. You can find any Balinese handicrafts here, from the least expensive to the most exquisite or unique.
At night, Kuta is alive with night life activities. Western influences create discotheques, dance clubs, and pubs. Gastronomical demands inspire a multitude of restaurants, serving traditional Indonesian and Balinese food to various ethnic food from China, Thailand, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, etc. As if these were not enough, various performances are also staged in Kuta every night. One of the best Kecak performances can be found in Kuta.
Lovina – 4 hours drive from Our Bali Villa
West of Singaraja on Bali’s northern coast is a beach resort spread across four adjacent villages. Lovina is for those who like still waters (no surf) and are not fussy about the colour of the beach (black from volcano). You may even encounter some local dolphins or go snorkelling with the tropical fish. Visit the Singsing waterfall.

Mas north 25km of Our Bali Villa
The village of woodcarvers, Mas is still the house of Bali’s old masters. A number of art galleries exhibit some of their best works. Mas is also known for its masks. A village of high caste Brahrnin families. This village, which has a special place in Balinese history, is home to many excellent woodcarving shops. Remember to bargain.
Medewi
Pleasant beach for surfing lovers.
Menjangan Island
Part of Bali Barat National Park with its fantastic underwater beauty (snorkelling or diving) and flocks of protected deer.
Nusa Dua 25km south of Our Bali Villa
Part of the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali, Nusa Dua houses some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels on this planet, gracefully integrating the beauty of the white beaches and clear water into the landscape of the hotels. A great place to relax and be pampered, but this is a long way from Balinese village life.
The beaches of Nusa Dua allow you to gently surf along the northern side of the peninsula.
If you care for bigger waves, the southern part of the peninsula – Ulluwatu – can give you a challenge.
Negara
Negara in West Bali is the capital of Jembrana district, and the home of the famous water buffalo races, which run between July and October.
Pancasari
Known for the best golf course ‘Bali Handara Country Club’.
Pejeng
Famous for Penataran Sasih Temple with a big bronze kettledrum inside.

Peliatan
Located between Ubud and Mas, Peliatan is the centre of traditional music and dances of Bali. Wood carving is speciality here.
Penelokan
The literal meaning is ‘place for looking’, the most fascinating viewing spot overlooks the volcano and Lake Batur.
Pulaki
Monkey temple with hot spring nearby on the North coast.
Putung
Scenic point with marvellous panorama stretches to the valleys while a sparkling sea can be seen in the distance.
Rambut Siwi
Temple on the cliff known as the biggest in the West Bali.
Semaratura / Klungkung
This town was once home to an illustrious dynasty, the remains of which are evident at the Kerta Hall of Justice. Most of Bali’s royal families are descended from the Klungkung dynasty, for it was here that the rulers of the Majapahit empire fled in the 16th century as their Kingdom in Java crumbled. Klungkung was the centre of Bali’s ‘golden age’ when the Gelgel dynasty held power for over 300 years, and the arts flourished. If you go to Klungkung, check out the painted ceiling and the bale kambang (floating pavilions) at the Kerta Gosa courthouse. Also, nearby, the village of Kamasan specialises in traditional paintings, the origin of which can be traced back 500 years.
Sangeh 25km
Fifteen kilometres from Mengwi is the famous Monkey Forest and the ancient Pura Bukit Sari Temple, surrounded by 10 acres tall nutmeg trees. But the area is ruled by monkeys and they will try to snatch anything: spectacles, jewellery, watches and handbags. Go late in the day, after the tourist rush, so you can appreciate the serenity of the place.

Sanur 25km east
Palm-lined beach, curving from the Bali Beach Hotel to the south, facing the Indian Ocean towards the east, Sanur is an excellent place to see the sun rise in the morning. Offshore reefs protect the beach against the waves, and make it popular for windsurfing, boating, and other water sports.
Sanur is only a short distance from Denpasar, with public transportations readily available.
It is one of the first areas where one can find good hotels, restaurants, shops, and other tourist facilities.
Sayan
Just west of Ubud, Sayan is little more than a ridge. Views of a luscious ravine and manicured terraces have prompted many foreigners to choose Sayan as a place to live. Steps lead down to a river, which is clean enough to bathe in.
Selat and Iseh
This area was chosen as the home of artist Walter Spies, who settled here in the 193 Os. These are also some of the most beautiful areas of Bali, with fertile soils and the ever present Gunung Agung in the background. It is also an area that suffered badly from the 1963 eruption of Gunung Agung.
Seranan Island
Known as Turtle Island, with diving area and Sakenan Temple.
Singaraja
During the Dutch occupation, Singaraja was Bali’s main port. But now the traffic has moved south, leaving the area in peace. Clean, quiet and culturally distinctive, Singaraja retains a colonial feel to its streetscape.
Sukawati
Art Market with wide selection of artwork and reasonable prices.
Suluban
Excellent beach for surfing.
Tabanan
Tabanan’s landscape ranges from volcanic mountains to terraced rice plains. This is the rice bowl of Bali, with higher yields of rice than anywhere else. Tabanan, with its deserted, black sand beaches and tropical rainforests, is one of the prettiest districts in Bali. Visit the 17th century royal palace in Krambitan.
Tampak Siring 45km
There’s a number of treats in store in Tampaksiring. One is that it is home to numerous woodcarvers, and their wares are available in great quantities from roadside stalls.
Another is the presidential palace, an icon of modernist architecture designed by the man (Soekarno) himself. From an opportunely located veranda, it is said, the president was able to spy the maidens bathing at dusk in the Tirta Empul temple below.

Pura Tirta Empul is the temple of Tampak Siring, built around a sacred spring. The temple and its two bathing places have been used by the Balinese for over 1000 years for good health and prosperity; the spring water has curative power. Regular purification ceremonies take place here. Additionally, the people of Tampak Siring produce artistic bone and ivory carvings.
Tanah Lot 12kms from Our Bali Villa
One of Bali’s most important sea temples, Tanah Lot temple is built atop a huge rock, surrounded by the sea. Build in the 16th century, Tanah Lot’s rituals include paying homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found in the little caves at the base of the rocky island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. Tanah Lot is a simply designed, but dramatically located temple on the Tabanan coast. Built on a promontory only accessible at low tide, this temple is, like Uluwatu, a khayangan temple, one of the most important in Bali. Take a scarf and dress accordingly. Sunset is the best time to visit, when the golden and red sky frames the temple and the waves crash into the rocks.
Tenganan 75kms from Our Bali Villa
Located just west of Candi Dasa is the village of Tenganan, and a visit here is a trip back in time. This is one of the homes of the Bali Aga (original Balinese), the first inhabitants of Bali. The Tengananese believe they have been chosen to honour the royal descendents with offerings, sacrifices and rituals, and by administering the surrounding lands. Only recently has this society opened itself up to outsiders, although strict rules still apply, especially concerning marriage to outsiders. Unique offering ritual dances and gladiator-like battle between youths take place.
Tenganan features wonderful fabrics, one of which is the renowned gringsing double weave ikat cloth. The people believe in the magical power of the fabric

Tirta Ganga
This is the site of a beautiful water palace, built by the last king of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut, in 1947. Much of it was destroyed by the 1963 eruption, but the famous bathing pools remained intact. This is a place of great peace, and an excellent stopover when you’re touring east Bali. There’s a hotel in the palace grounds, and a restaurant, too.
Tova Bungkah
Known for hot spring bathing place by the Lake of Batur.
Trunyan NE
One of Lake Batur’s villages, Trunyan is inaccessible except by boat. At the lakeside you’ll be met by a greeting party of locals wanting money. The Trunyan people believe they are Bali Aga, the original inhabitants of Bali. Hidden away here is the largest statue in Bali, the Pura Gede Pancering Jagat (Navel of the Universe) has an unusual architecture and stands under a massive banyan tree. Cremation is not practised in Trunyan, the dead are simply placed against a sacred tree by the lake, which stops the decomposing body from smelling.
Tulamben
Just north ofAmed, Tulamben is famous for the World War II US cargo ship Liberty that lies wrecked just off the coast of this small village. Its bow only a few meters below the surface, the wreck lies 50 meter offshore. Its coral encrusted bow and resident coral fish are visible to snorkellers, but the best parts are 20-30 meters down, and only accessible with full diving regalia. There are several places to stay in Tulamben. For obvious reasons, it mainly attracts divers. The beaches are pebbly, but the water is clear.
Trunvan
is an ancient village in Bali, inhabited by people who call themselves “Bali Aga” or old Bali. They live in ways that are much different from other Balinese. Instead of cremating their corpses, the Bali Aga simply place them under this banyan tree. The odour is mysteriously masked by a special arboreal fragrance emitted by the banyan tree.

Ubud 35km centre of island from Our Bali Villa
Ubud is the art centre of Bali, which maybe a hard concept to fathom, given the artistic nature of the entire living in Bali. But the Raja of Ubud, historically, strongly encouraged artistic development, especially in paintings. Ubud’s Museum “Puri Lukisan” houses a permanent collection of Balinese painting, dating from the turn of the century.
The Neka Museum is another excellent museum, with marvellous collections of traditional Balinese paintings by local artists as well as foreign artists who lived in Bali.
Ubud today expands to other arts. You should not be surprised to run into a foreigner who happens to be living in Ubud, meditating or soul searching for his next book or poetry collection.. Spectacularly set among lush rice paddies and the stunning hillsides of central Bali, Ubud harbours a number of palaces and temples, museums and art galleries, and a host of cafes and restaurants
Uluwatu
Uluwatu temple is precariously located at the point of a sheer cliff on the island’s southern peninsula. It is one of the oldest and most important temples in Bali, one of the six original sad khayangan (territorial) temples on the island. More recently Uluwatu has also become famous for its challenging surf break (experienced surfers only), and spectacular views from the warungs (restaurants) perched on the cliff.
West Bali National Park
Covers about 70,000 hectares and famous for white starling (Leucopsar Rothchildii) and
wild bull (Boss Javanicus).
Yeh Pulu
Ancient reliefs on a rock wall.
Yeh Saneh
Few people know of this idyllic spot a little further east on the coastal road. A few meters from the splash of the surf is a cool freshwater spring around which a large pool and gardens have been built.