Bali, an island blessed by nature and protected by the Gods themselves! Bali is famous for the volcanic mountains, beautiful beaches, and treasured culture. We experienced it all on our recent trip to Bali. What impressed us were the clean and well-maintained roads, English speaking people and their warm welcomes.
On our journey from Ngurah Rai International Airport, we came across many huge and beautiful statues at the centre of the squares and Barong, a monster-like statue guarding almost every house, temples, shops and restaurants. Barong is the mythological character and is believed to be the king of the spirits and host of goods. Our driver told us that during ancient ages Barong protected the temples and saved Bali’s people from the evils.
Balinese have preserved many things from their history and culture and local art is one of them. We passed many sculptors’ shops and houses throughout our trip and saw the beautiful sculptures and Ganesha, Arjuna, Krishna and Buddha idols. About 80% of Bali’s people are Hindus so you’ll see Hindu Gods and mythological characters almost everywhere in Bali.
Speaking of the culture and tradition, beauty and architecture of the temples in Bali leave us mesmerized. As I write this I’m remembering the small Buddha temple (near the famous Goa Gajah temple) situated within the heart of nature. As we descended the stairs the sound of the stream falling from a big rock caught my attention. On the other side was a small lake filled with lotus and a narrow pathway at the centre led our way to a very small Buddha temple.
During our trip, we visited many such mesmerizing places and famous Bali attractions, which I’m writing about in this blog post.
5 Must-visit Instagram Spots and Tourist Places in Bali
- Goa Gajah Temple
Goa Gajah Temple or Elephant Cave is one of the famous temples and tourist attractions in Bali. The entrance of the cave or the temple is again a menacing face. Inside is a beautiful idol of Lord Ganesha carved in stone. Lord Ganesha features a head like an elephant hence the temple is also known as Elephant Cave. Goa Gajah Temple is built by the river nearby Ubud and served as a sanctuary once. The temple has statues and imageries carved that represent Hindu and Buddhist culture. There’s also a beautiful fountain and bathing pool near the temple. The Buddha temple I mentioned earlier is not far either.
- Mount Batur & Lake Batur
Mount Batur is an active volcano and a sight for sore eyes! Mount Batur is one of the forcefully evolved and erupted volcanos on the earth above the sea level. The inner caldera of Mount Batur was formed during the formation of Bali, which is approximately about 28,000 years ago. The volcano’s first eruption is documented to be in 1804.
That’s the brief history and info about Mount Batur. As for the sight-seeing you can watch the scenic Mount Batur and Lake Batur from the nearest view-point built and developed by the Government. And if you want to make the trip adventurous you can trek the mountain to its central caldera! That’s of course with the help of local trekkers and guides. If not, take as many pictures as you wish and flaunt your photography skills on Facebook & Instagram just like I’m doing right now.
- Tanah Lot Temple
Situated on an elevated rock by the beach Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most popular tourist places for iconic photography in Bali. Built on the offshore rock shaped by the ocean tides, Tanah Lot (Land in the sea in Balinese) temple is one of the seven sea temples around the coasts of Bali. While we were at the temple we witnessed local people wearing whites were descending stairs having completed their prayers and traditional dance inside the temple. During that time no tourists were allowed in the temple.
As for the view we had to stop on our way so many times and climbed the rocks to see and capture the picturesque views of the sea and offshore rocks just before the sunset. I have never clicked so many pictures in my life as I have while visiting Tanah Lot temple and during our whole trip.
On a relative note, I would suggest you wear comfy clothes and footwear while visiting Tanah Lot temple as you have to walk down the stone stairs and on the slippery rocks on the way to the temple. You might have to climb the rocks to click the best Instagram photos, stories and moments of your life. So be comfortable so you can enjoy more!
- Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Tirta Gangga Water Palace was one of the tourist places that helped me decide whether to go on Bali trip. It’s another scenic place for your best Instagram photos and stories. Tirta Gangga was a royal palace now known for its water gardens nearby Karangasem, Bali. The water palace was built by the Karangasem royal in 1948. The water garden is a maze of fountains and pools surrounded by lush grass.
One of the pools has octagonally shaped stones to step on and wander over the pool. There’s a stone bridge at the centre of the water palace with two stone dragons on both sides. When you visit Tirta Gangga Water Palace don’t hesitate to click pictures standing on the stones in the pool and around the garden. But don’t forget to capture and enjoy the beauty of the place with your eyes first!
- Puri Agung Karangasem
Puri Agung Karangasem is a palace built by the king of Karangasem in the 19th century for the Dutch regime. The palace has two parts to welcome the guests. The visitors are received through the first entrance to the huge hall in the first section.
The special guests, however, are welcomed to the spacious rooms in the second section. These guests could see and experience the beauty of the pond in the second section surrounded by the special rooms. There’s also an old garden of lychee trees called ‘Jaba Tengah’.
The place was no doubt beautiful and spiked my curiosity as I love to explore and learn about the culture & history of different places. However, we didn’t get a chance to enter the palace as it was being renovated at the time. Despite having limited access I tried to get as many pictures as I could and know about the palace from the native people. If you’re not into the history or don’t feel like visiting the palace do it just to enjoy the mesmerizing journey to the palace through the hilly roads surrounded by lush grass, trees and beautiful rice paddies.
What surprised me were the close ties of the king with European countries at the time. The inner court of the palace ‘Maskerdam’ where the king received more prominent guests was named after the city of Amsterdam. To the north of Maskerdam lays ‘London’ that housed the king’s kitchen!
More Places to See & Things to do in Bali
Bali is the perfect place to relax, spend time with your friends and family and experience the beauty and calming power of nature, which we don’t get to experience in cities. By the end of this blog post if anyhow you picture Bali with only temples and palaces then please wash out that image right now because there is another side of Bali- beaches, art village, Bali Safari and tourist shopping places. You’ll also find the lavish resorts and hotels, restaurants, big shopping malls, bars and lounge- a party-centric city life of Kuta, one of the first tourist developments in Bali.
Whether you choose the cultural or the adventurous side of Bali for your next trip you won’t regret it for a minute. The calming water, mesmerizing nature and warm welcomes of Balinese will definitely replace your stress and worries with joy and wistful memories.
PS: For first-time visitors to Bali, here are the Essentials for the first-time Bali Wanderers written by a fellow blogger.
PPS: Take a look at the video below and experience the beauty of Bali by yourself.