Bali travel blog — The paradise island of Indonesia

Tanah Lot temple seems even more mystical in the dwindling light as the sun slowly dips into the Indian Ocean. The soothing rush of waves on the coast whispers peace to lovers strolling hand in hand on the high rock overhang. Let us now explore the honeymoon destination with this Bali travel blog.

Bali owns a number of most gorgeous resorts in the world with infiniti pools overlooking to the ocean Photo: skyscrapercity

On a trip from Singapore to Bali eight years ago, I was a bit embarrassed when I learned I was one of the 1% of single tourists to this island known for honeymoons. The mood aboard the aircraft was upbeat, with grins on everyone’s cheeks and kisses being shared between couples. That flight took place eight years ago. I’m back in Bali, and I’m still one of the 1% of single individuals on the plane.

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Bali, ideal place for honeymoon. Image of Bali travel blog

Bali, to me, is not only the vision of pure green mountains, woods, and the famed Ubud rice terraces, or the soothing waves from the lovely beaches, but it is also the attractions such as Hindu temples with straw roofs situated beside turquoise lakes. Simply said, Bali is a couples’ paradise for a romantic getaway.

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Image of Bali travel blog

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Image of Bali travel blog

The island is approximately 144 kilometers long and 80 kilometers broad. On my return visit, I was once again captivated by the fact that each sub-region of the island had its own particular characteristics. Bali, as a destination, evokes thoughts of traditional five-star resorts situated on white sandy beaches where the waves softly sweep onto the shore. There are also spas in the resorts that provide Balinese ancient spa therapies to assist enhance blood circulation and rejuvenate your body after a long day of seeing the island. The island also draws visitors with its famed spit-roasted pork, known as babi guling.One may enjoy this meat by cutting some from a small pig fat enough to create a natural and tasty flavor, while it is still being roasted on the fire. The beautiful beaches bring tourists a lot of amazing experiences, particularly for those who love water sports such as windsurfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and skydiving.

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ingredients, Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, Bali, Indonesia
The public market in Ubud is a colourful place to shop for ingredients. Credit: Edmund Lowe/Alamy

 

Spices, Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, Bali, Indonesia
Spices are used in many Balinese dishes. Credit: Ian McCarney/Alamy
Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, Bali, Indonesia
Babi guling. The roasted pig’s golden brown skin chips off like paint. Credit: age fotostock/Alamy

 

Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, Bali, Indonesia
Babi guling is best served with vegetables, rice and spices. Credit: dbimages/Alamy 

Hinduism Imprint

Around 100 BC, Hindus from Java arrived on Bali island and imbued it with a distinct flavor that distinguished it from the country’s 17,000 islands. Contrary to what I expected when I first arrived in Bali, Hinduism in Bali is extremely different from Hindu culture on the banks of the Ganges river in India, and it is commonly referred to as Bali’s Hindu civilisation of Java. Hidden among the green coconuts are buildings created in an architectural style reminiscent of the Hindu epic Ramayana and the Balinese people’s distinctive Lara Jonggrang architecture.

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Tanah Lot Temple

 

Visiting Bali for a modern and unique culture experience Photo: The famous Royal Temple – vnatravel

Every morning, I like to wander through the tiny roads, smelling the frangipanis on the small alters in front of the local people’s houses. They are prepared for religious rites. Many girls wear frangipanis in their hair when going on the beach with their spouses. Such little altars are known as sesajen, and as part of a worship rite, Balinese people present a tray of neatly arranged herbs before each of their three daily meals. The tray’s main contents include flowers, sticky rice, cakes, and salt, all of which are said to bring wealth and pleasure into one’s life.

Folk dancing shows, Babi guling, Bali, Indonesia
Folk dancing shows are common at island resorts. Credit: Hemis/Alamy

I go to the Basakih temple in Kintamani, near the Batur volcano, to learn more about the Hindu culture of the island and to see the famed Lara Jonggrang architecture of Bali. Batur volcano is reflected in beautiful details far below in the lake as seen from the temple on top of the mountain. The 700-metre-high mountain, which rises from the lake’s surface, was created around 23.000 years ago by lava welling up from beneath. Besakih Temple, commonly known as the “Mother Temple,” is made up of 22 lesser temples. These temples are mostly dedicated to the Hindu gods Siva, Bramah, and Vishnu. The central stone temple’s construction dates from the 9th and 12th centuries.

Basakih temple
Basakih temple

In the 9th century, the two strong dynasties of Sailendra and Sanjaya arose. Both attempted the construction of massive temples to display their authority. If the Sailendra dynasty constructed Yogyakarta’s Borobudur Buddhist temple, the Sanjaya of Mataram state built temples in the Lara Jonggrang style that are still standing today.

The Lara Jonggrang complex is made up of hundreds of large and tiny temples spread across three square yards that depict the three worlds: the hearing world, the holy world, and the divine world. The center plaza, with three great temples, worships Hinduism’s ultimate deities: Shiva (the god of destruction – representing death), Vishnu (the deity of protection – representing the present life), and Brahma (the creator god – representing birth).

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A sequence of stone culptures surround a box housing the statue just below the tower. Every two boxes come together to form a cube floating out in the distance, representing the gods sitting in the lotus pose. Softness, refinement, and natural movement characterize such sculptures. Sculptures in the Lara Jonggrang style are just as precious as those at Borobudur, and they also focus on depicting the Hindu Ramayana legend. It is impossible to discuss ancient Central Java culture without discussing Lara Jonggrang, because both Borobudur and Lara Jonggrang capture the period’s Javanese civilization.

Romantic Sunset on the Indian Ocean

People go to Tanah Lot and Kuta Beach or Pura Luhur Uluwatu to watch the sunset gradually fall in the Indian Ocean. This is a memorable experience for any one visiting this place. For me, I prefer watching the sunset in Tanah Lot as the dimming light illuminates Tanah Lot temple.

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Sunset at Uluwatu temple. Image of travel blog.

Tanah Lot is the second most visited location in Bali, after the Water Temple, and has been featured in travel publications. Bali literally translates to “land in the middle of the sea” in Balinese. The temple was constructed on a cliff in the middle of the sea, with the front facing the Indian Ocean. Nirartha, a Brahmin monk, constructed the temple in the 15th century. He traveled from Java to Bali and decided to stop for a rest when he saw the magnificent cliffs. He spent the night there, and the next morning he had the notion to build a temple to honor the sea deity in order to preserve Bali. The idea was shared with fishermen and the temple construction began. Underneath the foot of the temple a giant sea serpent is engraved. According to legend, this serpent fought against evil and protected the temple.

tah na lot temple sunset bali travel blog
Tanah lot Temple sunset. Image of Bali travel blog

 

Puru Ulun Danu Beratan, Bali
Puru Ulun Danu Beratan, Bali

Sunset at Uluwatu temple. Image of travel blog.

When the sun begins to set, it covers everything. In the delicate golden rays of sunshine, the picture of Tanah Lot temple fades and becomes more magical for a brief period. Couples stroll hand in hand on the high rock, listening to the murmuring waves and soaking in the crimson sunset. Some people place their heads on their partners’ shoulders and exchange love vows.

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I decide to pay a visit to a tiny stage approximately 4 kilometers away to witness the Jalan Sanghyang dance (also known as “Kecal”), which reenacts the Ramayana tale. This morning, I saw the Bali Barong traditional dance, which also represents this story, although there are a few portions that I still don’t fully understand. This dance originated on the Indonesian island of Bali in the 13th century. The Balian people have kept it alive to this day.

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According to legend, after King Dasarata promised one of his wives (as arranged by the Rahwana demon lord), he banished his son Prince Rama (the King and Queen’s son) and the Prince’s lovely bride Sita, together with his younger brother, to the forest for ten years. When the Rahwana demon ruler saw Sita in the woods, he sought to make her his bride.

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Kecal Dance. Image of Bali travel blog

The passage of the gods torching and begging Vishnu (a deity) for Rama impressed me in the Rupture Sanghyang dance performance. As I see the scenario, I believe that the world is approaching a period of darkness; evil is darkness and is covering the good, which is the lonely lamp in the dark night.

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Kecal Dance. Image of Bali travel blog
kecak dance bali travel blog (1)
Kecal Dance. Image of Bali travel blog

When the sun entirely dips into the water, the city lights in Bali’s Kuta harbor brighten people’s lives. Each café and restaurant has its own music band that performs a wide range of genres ranging from rock and jazz to pop and classic. I’ve just walked into the restaurant and ordered my dinner when the musicians on stage welcome me and ask where I’m from and what music I’d want them to play. All I have to say is “Hello.”

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Kuta beach

When I’m eating a dinner under the gloomy light and listening to my favorite piece of music, I feel very warm and romantic. People in love are amorously looking at each other at neighboring tables. They kiss in front of the light. Offshore, the waves of Kuta bay continue to roll on the beach, making a whispering sound like to lovers whispering in each other’s ears. It’s a sea of affection.

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Image of Bali travel blog

Further Information

  • Flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Bali are offered by Air Asia Tiger Air, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways.
  • Bring with you USD which has a series from 2000 on. In Bali, USD which a series of 1996 or earlier is difficult to exchange and the exchange rate is also very low.
  • The easiest way to get around the island is taxi. Blue Bird taxi company (refer to: www.bluebirdgroup.com) with its blue cars is available at most of the tourist attractions of the island. The cost is paid according to the meter. In addition, visitors can rent bicycles ($ 3 / day) or motorbike ($ 10 / day) to go around the island.
  • When you reach Bali, do not forget to visit Pura Luhur Uluwatu, a mysterious temple which was built atop a rock cliff at Uluwatu. Entrance fee is Rp 5,000 ($ 0.5) and visitors must wear a sarong when entering as a sign ofreverence for the gods.
  • In Bali, tourists should try babi guling (roasted pork), a specialty of Bali. Perhaps this dish is most delicious in the Ubud area because the pork is from hybrid pigs which are farmed in the wild and natural areas between the hills. Pigs of about 5 months age are put on bamboo skewers over a fire for roasting. The skin is thick and fat enough to make the meat crispy and retain the natural flavours to create an unforgetable experience for visitors. BU Oka restaurant is the best choice for travelers to Bali.
  • If you want to enjoy the famous peking duck of Bali, tourists can come to Tepi Sawah restaurant (www.tepisawahvillas.com), Bebek Bengil (www.bebekbengil.com) or Pondok Tempo Doeloe Restaurant (8 Jalan Sunset. Tel: 62,361,919 6868). These restaurants are famous for the traditional food of Indonesia at affordable prices such as fried fish (gurame Goring), rice cooked with coconut milk (liwet nasi) and grilled chicken (ayam Bakar) …
  • Take a relaxing massage and experience the traditional style of Bali. You will feel the difference which is hard to describe in words. The massage venues and spasalways bring satisfaction to visitors. These include: Jari Merani, Royal Kirana Spa and Bamboo Spa.
  • In addition, going to the Potato Head Beach Club bar, The Rock Bar and Ku De Ta will help you fully relax at night time.

 

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