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.
While Bali is best known for it beautiful beaches -- and rightly so -- the inland portion of the island has its own kind of beauty. Nowhere more so than at Mt Batur. Located in the highlands of Kintamani, Mt Batur rises some 5,633 feet (1,717 meters) above sea level and is one of the region’s most active volcanoes.
To best appreciate the Mt Batur experience, sign up for an early morning trek to the summit. Such excursions typically depart from Ubud at 2 or 3 am and arrive at the base of the volcano while it’s still dark. Trekkers make the two-hour journey to the top of the volcano using headlamps and the light of the moon, an effort rewarded by an amazing sunrise from the top.
Since Batur remains so active, visitors to the peak get to experience a very unique breakfast of eggs boiled on lava-heated rocks. After you’ve made the ascent and descent, nearby Lake Batur offers hot springs perfect for relaxing tired muscles.
Two hours by road from Denpasar in Bali’s north-east lie several villages on the rim of the Batur caldera in an area known simply as Kintamani Volcano. At 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level, the villages (Penelokan, Batur amd Kintamani) have impressive views of the active volcano Mount Batur and the crater lake (Lake Batur).
Many visitors opt for a moderate climb to the summit of Mount Batur to watch the sunrise but less physically-able individuals can still get a good view of the surrounding countryside from the crater rim. As well as the lake and the volcano, Kintamani is home to Pura Ulun Danu Batur, one of Bali's most important temples.
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.
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.
Though not quite as large as nearby Borobudur, the ancient Hindu temples that make up the impressive Prambanan are spectacular in their own right. Built by the Mataram Kingdom in Central Java around 860 CE, the first temples here were meant to honor Lord Shiva. While many of the later temples erected on this site fell to ruins in an earthquake curing the 16th century, Prambanan still attracts visitors from across the globe seeking to experience walking through one of the Hindu religion’s most prized sites.
Prambanan is divided into three main zones, which include an outer open space, a middle zone housing rows of 224 identical shrines, and an inner zone where eight temples and small shrines dedicated to gods are located.
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.
Komodo National Park, located in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 due to its biodiversity and most famous inhabitants, the Komodo dragon. The world’s largest lizard -- sometimes reaching more than 9 feet (3 meters) in length -- are found only on these beautiful and desolate volcanic islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar.
No matter which of the three islands in the park you visit, you’re almost guaranteed to see a dragon or two, but you might also spot Timor deer, water buffalo, wild boar, Rinca rats, wild horses, fruit bats or long-tailed macaque monkeys. The islands also represent one of the riches marine environments in Indonesia, and the diving opportunities on the reef just off the coast are top notch. Outdoor enthusiasts will find hiking trails (though you’ll need a guide) and smaller islands only accessible by kayak.
Pawon Temple is a Buddhist temple situated at the midway point between the Borobudur and Mendut temples, approximately 40 kilometers from the city of Yogyakarta. It features a square-shaped, tiered roof adorned with small stupas and ratnas, which is hidden among the houses that surround it.
This slender temple structure sits on a rectangular platform and features a chamber inside with vents. Architecturally, Pawon Temple is similar to the temples Borobudur and Mendut, with its mix of classic Javanese Hindu and Indian art symbols. Notably, there are reliefs of the Kalpataru tree (the tree of life), as well as of mythical birds and human figures, on the temple’s outer walls.
Denpasar, capoluogo di Bali e sede del più grande aeroporto, è un po’ come se fosse un centro di smistamento passeggeri che arrivano in città per poi partire immediamente e raggiungere altre mete dell’isola. Ad un primo sguardo non sembra abbia molto da offrire ai turisti; al contrario, scoprirete che Denpasar è una città multiculturale, con ottimi ristoranti, negozi, templi e abitanti ospitali.
La città conta 800.000 residenti e il centro è per lo più pedonale. Grazie ai templi e ai musei, potrete approfondire meglio la cultura Balinese: troverete il Museo di Bali, appena fuori Piazza Puputan, con i suoi quattro padiglioni, ognuno dei quali dedicato ad un diverso aspetto della storia e della cultura locale. Nelle vicinanze vedrete il Tempio Jagatnata, uno dei pochi senza alcuna restrizione d'ingresso per chi non pratica la religione indù, nel quale poter ammirare il santuario di corallo bianco.
Amed Beach è un tratto di costa di 14 km a East Bali che ospita diversi villaggi di pescatori. È uno dei luoghi preferiti dagli appassionati di sub per la meravigliosa barriera corallina, vicino alla costa. A pochi metri dalla riva, centinaia di pesci colorati nuotano tra coralli abbaglianti, alcuni dei quali si possono ammirare a soli due metri sotto la superficie dell'acqua.
Spingendosi lontano dalla riva si osservano maggiori formazioni di barriera corallina e un’attiva vita marina con tartarughe, squali, razze e una numerosa varietà di vivaci pesci tropicali. Amed Beach è nota tra i visitatori che si vogliono cimentare in sport estremi come il freediving o per chi volesse immergersi per esplorare il Liberty, una nave relitto statunitense nelle acque di Tulamben.
Visitors will be consumed by the sheer scale of Borobudur, an 8th-century temple that’s recognized not only as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but also the largest Buddhist structure on earth. Towering stone stupas stretch into the skies and a breathtaking natural backdrop of volcanoes and lush landscapes lends an even more impressive air to this already memorable site.
Borobudur consists of six square platforms decorated with more than 2,500 relief panels and some 500 Buddha statues, making it one of the most decorated temples on earth. Visitors can hire a guide to explain the life-like graphics that cover the walls of Borobudur, which locals say tell the stories of achieving Nirvana, karma laws, the birth of Buddah and other essential Buddhist teachings. Two museums are also located on the park grounds and admission is included in the price of a temple ticket.
With a name that means 'mountain of fire,' it’s no surprise that Mount Merapi is Indonesia’s most active volcano. Its treacherous peaks, impossible views and steeply graded trails have made it a destination for travelers looking to explore the outdoors and taste some high-altitude adventure.
While climbing with a guide isn’t required, experts say it’s highly recommended. Trail markings can be difficult to see, particularly in early and late hours, making navigation particularly difficult. Several shelters exist along the path for hikers who need to wait out storms or take lunch in the shade. The most popular time to start climbing is 1 a.m., since the 5:30 a.m. view of sunrise from the mountain’s peak is said to be spectacular.