Places of Interest in Bali

Information on the main tourist attractions, places of interest and sights to see in Bali...

The island of Bali is famous for its beaches and as a surfing spot, but it also has dozens of tourist attractions including museums, monuments, sacred temples and ancient palaces. Its countryside is spectacular with volcanoes, tropical jungle, deep river gorges and rice fields.

Denpasar

The island's capital, Denpasar, has a number of places of interest and things to see including the Pura Maospahit, one of Bali's oldest temples and the Taman Werdhi Budaya, a complex that includes gardens, an indoor and outdoor amphitheatre and an art museum.

The Pasar Burung is a bird market situated just off the Jalan Veteran with a variety of birds for sale as well as tropical fish. Another popular market is the Pasar Badung, with exotic plants and flowers, fruit, vegetables, fish, textiles, baskets and traditional costumes.

Gunung Agung

To the west of Bali is Gunung Agung, an active volcano standing at 3,142m. The volcano is considered sacred with many Balinese orienting their homes or beds in relation to it. There are two routes leading to the summit, departing from Besakih or Pura Pasar Agung. Visitors must dress respectfully, with a waist sash when climbing up to the summit. On the slopes of the volcano is the most important and largest temple in Bali, the Pura Besakih.

Tanah Lot

Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bali and is a Hindu temple situated on a small island 100m off the west coast. Literally meaning "Land in the middle of the sea", Tanah Lot is thought to have been created by the priest Nirartha to protect Bali from destructive forces.

The shrines can be best seen at sunset, however, this is also the time of the day when there are the most visitors. It is only accessible by foot when the tide is low. There is an entrance fee and appropriate dress is required.

There are a number of temples and shrines situated near Tanah Lot to protect it. These include Pura Batu Balong, Pura Galuh and Pura Jero Kandang.

Ubud

The town of Ubud, situated in the centre of Bali is renowned for its artistic centre, traditional art market and nearby countryside. The towns surrounding and leading to Ubud are also famous for performing arts and their handicrafts. Within Ubud, there are a large number of galleries, craft shops, markets and temples.

Some of the town's most famous sites include the Puri Saren, a royal palace dating back to the 1890s. Both cultural and religious events are held here and traditional dances take place daily in the evening. The gates and walls of the palace are both the creation of one of Bali's most celebrated artists, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, also responsible for the temple, Pura Taman Saraswati. The highlight of this temple is its setting - a water garden with a magnificent lotus pond in the middle. The temple is also home to fine carvings including a padmasana shrine dedicated to the Supreme God and a statue of the demon, Jero Gede Mecaling.

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Near Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, dedicated to the protection of long-tailed monkeys. Within the sanctuary are a number of temples, including a "Temple of the Dead", Pura Dalem Agung.

Uluwatu

One of Bali's most famous sacred places of worship, the Temple of Uluwatu (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) is also renowned for its classical Balinese architecture. The temple is situated on the top of a cliff in the extreme south of the island. Built in the 11th century, it was only open to the princes of Denpasar until the beginning of the 20th century. Highlights of the area include: the Ganesha, elephant-headed guardian statues; the central courtyard (jero tengah) which provides spectacular views at dusk and the three-tiered Meru, a pagoda dedicated to Nirartha. The main gate is also an impressive site with its kala head, thought to guard against evil spirits.

There is an entrance fee to the temple and visitors must be dressed appropriately. Sarongs and sashes can be loaned free of charge at the entrance. The temple area is inhabited by scores of monkeys, renowned for grabbing visitor's objects and running off with them. Keep a firm hold of sunglasses, cameras and telephones while visiting the temple.

The beaches nearby are popular surfing spots. The waves can be very high and are generally considered suitable for advanced and experienced surfers only.