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Arts and Culture in Bali

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Much like the many layers of its distinctive rice terraces, Bali is multifaceted and complex. Ancient temples, half-hidden in the rainforest, exist alongside modern beaches, with all the trappings tourists desire. Old handicrafts, passed down through generations, are still sold in traditional markets, while shopping malls sell sleek designer wares. In Bali, there’s always a surprise around the corner.

 

Landmarks

 

Bali may be modernizing at an astonishing rate, but there are still strong ties to an ancient land. Inland, sacred temples rise from mist-laden forests, reaching toward the heavens. So step away from the beach bars and find the island’s spirit.

 

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

 

Of all Bali’s temples, Ulun Danu Bratan is the most well-known, and with good reason. Located on the banks of Lake Bratan in Bali’s highlands, the majestic, 11-tiered temple is reflected in the mirror sheen of the water, dazzling against a backdrop of dusky mountains.

 

Candikuning, Bedugul 82191

 

Taman Ayun Temple

 

Bali’s most sacred temple is a complex of towering pagodas and Hindu relics. It is one of the 4 former royal courts. With a network of lotus ponds and gardens connecting the temple areas, it leads you on a journey through Hindu spirituality, from the realm of man to that of the divine.

 

Jalan Ayodya, Mengwi 82151

 

Museums

 

From the small, religious musuems contained within temples, to bang on-trend contemporary galleries, Bali has plenty for culture-vultures to discover. There are even museums dedicated to individual art forms, such as calligraphy and pottery. The most spectacular treasures, however, are concentrated within Denpasar, the capital city.
Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali

 

Bali’s oldest museum holds a vast collection of artefacts from every facet of Balinese culture. In the main building, the exhibits – including sarcophagi – trace a rich prehistory and early era of civilization, before you’re led out into courtyards and gardens. The central pavilion has the regal air of a palace, and is filled with religious exhibits.

 

Jalan Mayor Wisnu, Denpasar 80232 . Tel: +62 361 222680

 

Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali website

 

Markets

 

As tourism booms in Bali, so does its shopping scene. Shiny, Western-style malls will blast you with air conditioning and entertainment options. But it is at Bali’s traditional, outdoor markets where the culture shines, and where you can peruse local arts and crafts to your heart’s content.

 

Ubud Market

 

Located in this traditional, inland district, Ubud Market is a festival of handicrafts. It’s the perfect place to pause at after a morning of temple sightseeing. You can haggle for handmade purses, sarongs and snazzy woven baskets, or pick up a rainbow picnic at the vibrant food stalls.

 

Jalan Raya and Monkey Forest Road, Ubud 80517

 

Nature

 

Widely regarded as one of Indonesia’s most beautiful islands, Bali has certainly been blessed by nature. The cool, forested highlands invite hiking and horseriding, while the tropical lowlands conceal ancient temples and wildlife sanctuaries. Exploring Bali is rich in rewards, coming from the south, and Ubud is the ideal place to start.

 

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

 

If there is one iconic vista of Bali, it has to be the rice terraces of Tegalalang. In a landscape engorged with tropical palms and long grasses, the sinuous terraces trip down the mountainsides, adding a young shade of green to the scene. Catch them just after irrigation, and the terraces sparkle, mirroring the clouds.

 

Tegalalang, Ubud 80517