The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a Balinese Hindu site at the bottom of Monkey Forest Road and populated by cheeky long-tailed macaques. It's a popular site with visitors to Ubud who come to see the monkeys and the temples within the sanctuary.
There are hundreds of monkeys living in and around the monkey forest. You can purchase food for them at the entrance gate but be warned that the monkeys are aggresive opportunists - particularly in their pursuit of food. They will think nothing of climbing on you or raking through your bag in search of something edible.
There are 3 temples within the forest, Pura Dalem (death temple), the Holy Bathing Temple and Pura Prajapati (funerary or cremation temple). All 3 of these temples are sacred, as is the forest and the monkeys, who are believed to protect the area from evil spirits.
Ubud’s Agung Rai Museum of Art, or ARMA as it’s more popularly known, is a museum, gallery space and cultural center founded by Agung Rai, a Balinese entrepreneur who got exposed to the world of Balinese art while selling souvenirs in Kuta. Inspired by visits to the Puri Lukisan and Neka museums, Agung Rai began collecting paintings to which he felt a spiritual connection, including works by Balinese and international artists.
Today, that collection makes its home in ARMA, a series of traditional buildings in a vibrant garden setting. It is divided thematically into four sections: Kamasan, Pre-war, European Living in Bali and Modern Traditional. Of particular note is the collection by Russian-born German painter Walter Spies, who came to Bali in 1927 and greatly influenced the 1930s Balinese art movement with his primitivism-style paintings. Also on display are works by Raden Saleh, a pioneer of modern Balinese painting.
With a name that loosely translates to “something divine at the end of the land”, Uluwatu Temple has become a destination for travelers seeking incredible views of the Bali countryside. Perched on the edge of an ocean cliff, the temple overlooks some of the country’s famous surf breaks and is considered one of the six most important structures of its kind in Bali. Wander the well-kept grounds and take in the beautiful picturesque views, but do all you can to avoid the wild monkeys, as they can get aggressive quickly. Stay until sunset and enjoy one of the nightly traditional Kecak dance performances before heading back into town.
The Royal Temple of Mengwi is one of the most important temples in Bali. Built in 1634 by a King of the Mengwi dynasty, this impressive complex stands on an island in a river, its inner temple surrounded by a moat. Its Balinese name Pura Taman Ayun literally means ‘Garden Temple in the Water’.
Part of a network of directional temples that protect Bali from evil spirits, Pura Taman Ayun was built as a series of garden terraces with courtyards on different levels. The entire complex was designed to symbolize the mythological home of the gods, Mount Meru, floating in the sea of eternity. An eleven-tiered meru (at the far end, in the right-hand corner of the complex) is dedicated to the rice goddess Dewi Sri. The third bale on the left is believed to be the abode of several different gods.
Pura Taman Ayun was enlarged in 1937, making some of its structures the most modern temple architecture in Bail.
Some 22 separate temples dot the hillside of Mount Agung, where the Mother Temple of Besakih has been perched for more than one thousand years. This complex of Hindu temples is the largest, holiest and most important in the city. Travelers can wander the stepped terraces, and brick gateways that line the rocky crags of this active volcano and explore the ancient temples where Hindu people still come to pray.
Although this site remains a popular destination for visitors to Bali, many travelers choose to avoid the Mother Temple due to aggressive touts who try to force guests on “compulsory” tours for unfair fees and local “guardians’ who request payment at every road and pass.
The lush volcanic hillsides of Mount Batur and Mount Abang surround the crystal-clear—and bitter cold—waters of quiet Lake Batur. Travelers can spend their morning soaking up sun and scenic views along the shores of this chilly lake that was formed by an ancient eruption. Hop a boat across the river to Temple of the Dead, or spend the afternoon canoeing in the placid waters of the lake. Avid hikers can navigate the trails of Mount Batur and enjoy epic views of the countryside from the volcano’s peak, while cyclists can tour the black lava fields by bike.
Amed Beach is a 14-kilometer long stretch of coast in East Bali incorporating several fishing villages. It has been on the radar of keen divers for a while due to the vast coral reefs, which are following the coast line closely. Just a few meters away from the shore, hundreds of colorful fish meander gracefully over dazzling corals, some of which can be admired only two meters below the water surface. Further out, divers can enjoy big reef formations and coral gardens teeming with marine life, such as sea turtles, reef tip sharks, rays and a variety of vibrant tropical fish. Amed Beach is also a popular base for visitors learning the extreme sport freediving or wanting to dive to the Liberty, a US cargo ship wreck in Tulamben.
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