Tajen - The Balinese Cockfighting

Cockfights, which in Balinese are known as tajen, meklecan or ngadu, are required at temple and purification (mecaru) ceremonies. No one knows when they started. The Tabuh Rah ritual to expel evil spirits always has a cockfight to spill the blood. Tabah Rah literally means pouring blood. There are ancient texts disclosing that the ritual has existed for centuries. It is mentioned in the Batur Bang Inscriptions I from the year 933 and the Batuan Inscription from the year 944 (on the Balinese calendar). The blood of the loser spills on the ground, an offering to the evil spirits. Three cockfights are necessary for this purpose. Only men participate. Women do not even watch.

To the Balinese cockfighting is much more than a religious ritual. Raffles in his History of Java commented,

"their predominant passions are gaming and cockfighting. In these amusements, when at peace with the neighbouring states, all the vehemence and energy of their character and spirit is called forth and exhausted."

Men in villages tend their roosters lovingly. They identify with them and much conversation turn on them. It is good sport. The vast majority of men own at least one rooster. They are symbolic expressions of their owners. The sound of roosters crowing to each other early in the morning is the normal wake-up call. It is common throughout Asia.

The roosters, often of very splendid colours, are kept in wicker, bamboo cages placed outside their owners' houses. It is important that the roosters get used to the commotion of everyday life. They are trained not to be distracted by unusual sounds when they get to the all-important fight. They are fed a special diet of maize. Red pepper is pushed down their beaks to give them spirit. The birds are at their fighting peak at about three years old.

A cockfight is an offering: see the article entitled Balinese Offerings. Cockfighting is a sacred matter. The rules are written down in the ancient lontar palm books, which are village heirlooms. The umpire's word is final. In the case of cocks dying at virtually the same time, he decides. Before the cockfight begins, a pemangku priest will present offerings to the evil spirits and also the gods. Then the serious business begins.

In pre-colonial times cockfights were normally held on market days. The ring is usually near the market in the wantilan in the centre of the village. The fights were taxed and the taxation was a major source of revenue for the princes, who were patrons of the fights.

If you see a large number of motorbikes parked outside a field or a temple - usually in the late afternoon, the chances are that a cockfight is being held. Cockfights are frequently held in Pura Dalem in Ubud next to Kunang-Kunang II, Murni's shop. Anyone can attend. It is a noisy, busy affair. Be careful during the fight, the cocks have lethally sharp steel blades attached to their spurs. They can cut a finger off.

There are usually about nine or ten matches. It goes on for three or four hours until sunset.

The fight
Men travel to cockfights with their roosters. They sit in a circle in the wantilan or an open area. Women sell lawar (mixed vegetables and meat), grilled pork, chicken satay, snacks and colourful drinks.

Each fight is treated equally and, as soon as one fight ends, men look for a suitable match for the next. They try to match cocks of equal ability for a good fight. The fight should be unpredictable. If there is an imbalance, the spur on the stronger bird is adjusted slightly to give him a handicap.

The expert spur affixers affix the spurs. The sharp steel spurs, called taji, are single blades, about four or five inches long, tied around the leg with string. Spurs are sharpened only at eclipses and during a dark moon and should not be seen by women. The word for cockfight, tajen, comes from tajian, the taji being the blade.

Once done the cocks are placed on the ground in the middle of the ring. The timekeeper sits at a desk on the right hand corner. He pierces a coconut with a small hole and puts it in a bucket of water. It takes about 21 seconds to sink. At the start and end he beats a kulkul, a slit drum. During this time of 21 seconds the cocks must be left alone. If they have not fought, they can be picked up and encouraged.

The process is repeated. If they still refuse to fight, both are put into a wicker cage and they always fight then. If this is not necessary and they fight on their own, as soon as one is injured, the cock that landed the blow is picked up, so that both birds are not injured.

The coconut is now sunk three times. Then the one that landed the blow is put down to walk around for another coconut sinking period. He is then picked up and the coconut is sunk twice more and the fight has to start again. The interval will have taken about two minutes, during which time the injured bird will be tended. The second round is the final one. Usually the one that landed the first bow lands another fatal blow. The loser is the one that dies first.


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Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot, one of the most popular places of interest in Bali, and one of the place which being “place to go” by tourist for they vacation.

Tanah Lot is located about 12 kilometers from Tabanan City and 20 kilometers from Denpasar.

The area comprises a wondrous mixture of natural beauty and sheer human effort. Here lies an idyllic white sand beach with crashing waves, complemented by a small yet majestic temple.

This temple, known as Pura Tanah Lot, juts out to sea on a rocky background. he temple stands on the top of a huge rock, surrounded by the sea and is one of Bali's most important sea temples.

Tanah Lot pays homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Ancient rituals pay homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found in the caves at the base of the rocky island are believed to be guardians of the temple, standing Virgil against evil spirits and intruders.

At the base of the rocky island are poisonous sea snakes believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. The best time to see Tanah Lot is in the late afternoon when the temple is in silhouette.

Tanah Lot attracts throngs of both locals and tourists daily. Most come here longing to catch a glimpse of the romantic Tanah Lot sunsets, a regular occurrence during the dry season (April to November).


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Wayang Wong of Batuagung

The wayang is very popular among the Balinese. The meaning of the word is highly controversial, but it is generally applied to any pictorial representation of the figures of mythology, although it appears to have deeper, more significant religious meaning, perhaps related to the cult of ancestors. On the other hand, wayang means shadow-the shadow of life as in wayang kulit – the puppet shadow play.

In line with this ancient theatre, there is wayang wong(the human puppet), the archaic of masked drama. Unlike the puppet shadow, wayang wong is rare traditional theatre. The sacred wayang wong could be found at Perancak temple, performed only as part of temple ceremony during its temple festival.

Another could be found at family temple of brahmin castle at Geriya Batuagung, north east of Negara. It is performed during temple festivals, cremations and other ceremonies. Nowdays, it is also performed during the annual Bali Art Festival.

A group from Japan was enthusiastically watching the masked drama based on Ramayana and Mahabarata epics, performed in front of the family temple at Batuagung. Before the performance, all playersor artist pray to the god at the temple. During the performance, some of them are in trance, they dance on wood fire.

The performance is staged on request. The visitors enjoy the performance very much. There are some reasons, why such a tourist attraction is enjoyable-interesting for tourist. The tourist product could not be moved to another place. The authenticity, originality and local atmosphere are the main elements in this performance. Visitors can witness the artist preparing the costumes and attires before dancing-the activity behind the satge. They also see the architecture at both house and family temples.


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Puri Agung Karangasem

Puri Agung Karangasem or Karangasem Palace was built in 19th Century by Anak Agung Gede Jelantik, the first king of Karangasem Kingdom. This tourist destination is visited for its unique architecture, which is the combination of Balinese, Chinese and European architectures.

As it was mentioned before, the architecture of Puri Agung Karangasem is the combination of three different styles. Balinese architecture can be found on the carving of Hindu's statues and the relief on the wall of the building. The European influence is seen on the style of the main building with its large veranda, while the Chinese architecture is implied on the style of the window, the door and its other ornaments.

Puri Agung Karangasem consists of three parts, namely Bencingah, Jaba Tengah, and Maskerdam. Bencingah is the front part of the Palace, where traditional art performance takes place. Jaba Tengah is set as the Palace Garden with a big pond. In the middle of the pond, there is a building called "Balai Gili" or floating building, here we can also find 2 old lychee trees. The third part is Maskerdam, of which the name was given after the name Amsterdam, a city in Netherlands. This building was constructed when the King of Karangasem started opening relationship with the Dutch government.


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Bali Botanical Garden

Kebun Raya Eka Karya is the official title for Bali’s botanical gardens that stretch majestically across a plateau between two minor mountain ranges in an area known as Bedugul. The gardens provide a recreational destination for family gatherings, staff outings and international visitors interested in local species of flora.

Elevated high above sea level in the cool forest plains of the Tabanan regency, the botanical gardens cover approximately 154 hectares of fertile landscape and were established during the 1950’s as a branch of Indonesia’s national gardens in Bogor, outside the capital of Jakarta.

The gardens are within the vicinity of the landlocked Lake Beratan where the crisp air is a welcome escape from the humidity of Bali’s tropical south. There is also a traditional market close by where stalls are laden with locally grown fruit, vegetables, spices, vibrant potted orchids and other plant varieties suited to temperate conditions.

The gardens are crossed by a series of winding asphalt roads that can accommodate a family car or mini-bus for those who prefer to sightsee in comfort without overly exerting themselves. Alternatively, visitors can wander around and explore on foot to experience the clean country air and marvel at the diversity of native flora. Coloured tracks mark different routes that lead through pathways sheltered by towering trees to expose designated areas filled with roses, orchids, ferns and other plants that are cultivated for their medicinal properties.

A recent addition to the gardens is an innovative activity called Tree Top Adventures where a mini assault course, featuring suspended ropes, ladders and pulleys, is directed around a network of trees that soar into the sky. Participants must wear a safety harness and clip themselves onto the security cables as they make their way around the course. Designed to harmonize with the landscape and respect all existing flora, this activity introduces visitors to the natural beauty of the gardens and at the same time safeguards its existence for future generation to appreciate.

Trips to the botanical gardens can be arranged through any reputable travel agency and the journey, which is nearly 2-hours from Kuta, takes in some of Bali’s most stunning rural scenery of farmland, terraced rice fields and tropical forests. The gardens are extremely popular on weekends and public holidays when the Balinese like to come in extended family groups to a enjoy picnic luncheon and then pray at the nearby lakeside temple that is dedicated to the Goddess of water.

By mid afternoon a thick mountain mist begins to shroud the entire landscape of the gardens. The air becomes quite chilly and visibility is poor. Most visitors decide that this is the best time to pack up and make a few purchases at the market before venturing home. For those who decide to stay overnight there are plenty of simple guest bungalows in the Bedugul area that ideally suit travellers’ seeking a relaxed pace away from the hustle and bustle of Kuta and other major tourist destinations.


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Gunarsa Museum of Classical and Modern Art

The Gunarsa Museum of Classical and Modern Art is situated in Klungkung just one hour north of Ngurah Rai International airport. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, between 9 am and 5 pm, and the entrance fee is Rp.10.000,-

The Gunarsa Museum of Classical and Modern Art and attached Cultural Centre embrances many elements of Balinese artistic and cultural heritage. The main collection is divided into two main buildings, which are set amongst lush botanical gardens which make up the museum grounds.

The first main building, houses some 250 classical balinese paintings dating from the 15th century. Displayed alongside these are traditional carvings, Balinese puppets and collection of Kris. Part of the Classical Art Museum is made up of a separate temporary exhibition room, which displays the work of both national and international artists, who can apply for exhibit in this room.

The second building houses a collection of modern paintings. This display is made up of paintings by Indonesian artists belonging to “Sanggar Dewata� group alongside of other international artist. The same building also houses some 400 original water colours, pastel and paintings, by the famous Balinese artist and founder of museum, Drs. Nyoman Gunarsa.

The cultural centre aims to keep the spirit of Balinese tradition alive within the younger generation of Bali. Some 150 local children, aged between 5 and 12 years old, visit the centre on weekly basis for lessons and introduction in Balinese traditional dancing and gamelan music. The centre plays host to twice weekly performances of traditional dance and gamelan by these young students of Balinese tradition.


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Taman Soekasada Ujung

Taman Soekasada Ujung has been announced to be a cultural tourist object for it is noted as one of several cultural heritages exist in Karangasem regency.

The complex of this water palace is the combination of Balinese and European architectures. There are 3 big and large ponds inside the area. In the middle of the main pond, there is a building that connected to the edge of the pond by 2 bridges.

On the most tip of the highest level of this complex, we will find a great statue of "warak" (rhinoceros). Beneath the warak there is a Bull statue. From this high place we will see a marvellous view of sea, hills with lush and green forest, the beauty of Mount Agung combined with the green terraced rice fields.

The greatness of Ujung Water Palace had been destructed by the explotion of Mount Agung in 1963 which was made worst by the great shake happened in 1979. However, the recovery effort had been performed to bring back the glory of this complex of water palace by holding a reconstruction and revitalisation project on it. Although it is not as great as it was, the amaze of the past still can be seen here this moment.

Taman Soekasada Ujung lies at Tumbu village, Karangasem district. It is approximately 85 km from Airport Denpasar and 5 km from Amlapura.

Ujung Water Palace, which by the local people is called as Taman Soekasada Ujung, was built in 1919. However, the launching of this complex of water palace was performed in 1912.

The water palace was constructed by the late King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik, that reigned in Karangasem between 1909 and 1945.

Ujung Water Palace was majestically built to welcome and to serve important guests and Kings from neighboring countries, besides for the pleasure of the King and his royal family.


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Kintamani and Penelokan

The villages of Kintamani and Penelokan provide a great view of the active Mount Batur and its fantastic lake. Seven miles of diameter and sixty feet of deep, boiler of Batur are astonishing simply. Of Penelokan, to take the Kedisan way in the borders from the lake in where the boats can be rented to cross themselves raises to Trunyan. The spectacular mountainous region around Kintamani with its deep lake crater and hot means that bubble, makes this region to must visit. The Batur lake is the greatest lake of Bali and of the supplies of the region some of the visions more spectacular than will be anywhere in the island.

The Batur lake also provides the water for an underground network of currents and means through the southern hills of the mountain. Kintamani is really great for the trips of the day, senderismo or simply to obtain far from him everything by some days. District is the well-known kingdom more early of Bali, dating as of the tenth century. The afternoons obtain here ascending fresh but he is well worthy of the stay at night to raise the volcano and to watch the exit of the sun. Many cheap cabins are available here.

Kintamani can work with Payangan or of Denpasar with the forest, the Plague and the Lampu of the monkey of Sangeh, arriving at the north of Kintamani. Bemos to Kintamani is available of Ubud via Sakah (remarkable for its enormous statue of the “baby”). Also they work via Tampaksiring and Bangli. Of Denpasar the bemos go away behind schedule for Kintamani of the terminal of Batubulan until last. The trip to Kintamani is a very impressive experience where the area of Kintamani has very beautiful panorama located in plateau and also surrounded by the atmosphere of the mountain with windblast of the Mount Batur. The carpet of the lake Batur Vista far down and also is house of the local resident on the other hand of the Batur lake there. Next to that, Mount Batur that to date still is active growing their beautiful one for the area of Kintamani.


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Padang Bai

Padang Bai is a harbour where small and big ships drop their anchors. This area develops as a tourist object for some attractions it has, such as white sand, the beautiful surroundings and the amazing underwater panorama. Besides, the daily life of the traditional fishermen and the busy crowd in the harbour becomes another plus point of this area.

This tourist object is also known for its sacred temples, Silayukti temple and Tanjung Sari temple. Silayukti was built by Empu Kuturan. Besides these two temples, there is also Penataran Agung Temple, that is located on the west side of Padangbai.

This tourist object is located at Padang Bai village, Manggis district, about 53 km from Amlapura. Except being famous for its tourist attractions, Padangbai is the gateway to enter this island.

This tourist object is located at Padangbai village, Manggis district, about 53 km from Amlapura. Except being famous for its tourist attractions, Padangbai is the gateway to enter this island.

Food stalls, small restaurants and small hotels are available here, besides other facilities needed by visitors to enjoy their visit.


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Kedisan Village

The fishing and farming village of Kedisan, the community almost directly beneath Penelokan (three km), has foodstalls, pasar area, extensive gardens (oranges, corn, peanuts), souvenir shops, bemo terminal, a big parking lot, ticket office, and boat landing. The weather is exceedingly mild and enjoyable. Few mosquitoes but some flies due to the extensive gardens. No telephone or fax machines. There are a number of accommodations, several in attractive settings only minutes from the water. These are the best places to stay if you plan to take a boat trip across the lake. The lake is clean and nice to swim in. Sometimes a bit noisy with dogs at night and cocks in the morning. Always park your vehicle within your hotel grounds, where it will be safe. At night restaurants are convivial meeting places.

The big drawback of Kedisan's accommodations is the swarm of peddlers demanding you buy sarung, shorts, and paintings. They flash you large, sad eyes, show you their guestbooks filled with signatures of satisfied tourists who've bought from them before. Don't fall for it unless you want to buy mass-produced and tacky merchandise and encourage obnoxious behavior in so doing. Kedisan is also full of people trying to get you to pay them to guide you up the mountain. Again, don't do it; you don't need a guide. If you feel you must employ someone, choose I Wayan Pineh, a legendary figure who works out of Surya Homestay. Ask him about the 1963 eruption, when he led a geologist safely away from a fountain of hot lava. His knowledge of the region's volcanoes is extensive and his friendly character and exceptional skills make him the undisputed king of volcano guides.

Cheapest is Segara Bungalows near the ferry terminal and close to the road, next to the bar/restaurant and shops. Turn right after descending from Penelokan and reaching the road along the lakeshore. Five basic rooms with mandi cost Rp200,000 single, Rp150,000 double. The restaurant offers the standard menu, though it would be nice if someone taught them the basics of cooking; it's a shame a chicken has to die to be covered in such a vile sauce. North along the western side of the lake toward Seked village is Segara Homestay, separated from the lake by peanut and cabbage fields. The 33 rooms start at Rp300,000 s for bargain rooms with mandi and go up to Rp650,000 for larger rooms. Clean with big comfortable beds, fans, bathtubs, shower, hot water. In some rooms the hotel water exudes fumes-dangerous. Have the roomboy try it out first. The staff is helpful and friendly-the hotel has good vibes. A buffet is offered each night in a nice dining area; people from most of the surrounding hotels come here to eat. The restaurant also serves Indonesian and Balinese food, as well as margaritas and other mixed drinks. Another appreciated feature is the big, secure parking lot. Segara can also provide experienced guides for climbing Gunung Batur.

A few meters farther on you'll find Surya Homestay and Restaurant offering 22 rooms with private baths, showers, and good views of the lake. Rooms cost Rp200,000-250,000 s or d with cold water; Rp400,000 with hot water. Laundry service. Tariff includes breakfast of pancake, toast, egg, and choice of coffee or tea. The restaurant serves very good food, a mixed menu of Indonesian and Western dishes (fried noodles Rp50,000, to cream of asparagus soup Rp10,000. Particularly good is the fresh lake fish (ikan kapur). The lake is only a two-minute walk.

Vicinity of Kedisan
In Buahan, two km from Kedisan on the western shore of the lake, stay at seven-room Buahan Homestay, Rp10,000 s, Rp15,000 d including breakfast-nice, clean, friendly, and quiet. The asphalt road from Kedisan to Buahan to Abang is roly-poly, hugging the land between the lake, the gardens, and the mountains. Abang is about six km from Kedisan, and two km before Trunyan. To walk from Kedisan to Abang and back takes about 2.5 to three hours at a moderate pace.

The small village of Abang, relocated more than once due to shifts of the mountain slope, offers a small, primitive marketplace and several shops selling cold drinks. Every morning lines of village women from the other side of the mountain climb down the steep slope carrying sweet potatoes and vegetables to exchange for a few fish from the lake. After your visit to Trunyan, return to Abang and negotiate for a canoe or motorboat back to Kedisan or across to Toya Bungkah. From Toya Bungkah, it's about seven km along hair-raising terrain back to Kedisan.

You can also take the good trail from outside Abang up to the outer crater rim-steep in places, but easy enough to handle. It's on the left about two kilometers from Abang (if heading toward Buahan) emerging on the road from Besakih. From here, walk to the main Denpasar-Kintamani road, a beautiful stroll above the lake. It's an hour's walk from Segara Hotel to the turnoff path up the mountain, then another hour to the main Denpasar-Kintamani highway. Inquire after guides in Abang or at a Kedisan hotel.


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Bali's Traditional Markets

Bali is known as a treasure house of interesting goods to buy. Products of various kinds from traditional antiques to the latest quality fashions in extraordinary displays await the shoppers. It is quite common to bargain in markets, shops and art shops for buyers, so having a good price is partly dependent upon one's smartness in bargaining. Splendid local hand woven materials, silver and gold works, woodcarvings, garments and many other interesting things can be found at any market or art market. You will find that shops selling similar items are generally grouped together. This makes comparing prices easy as you just have to go next shop to find the something. Remember to bring your cash, as not all places accept credit cards.

The Kumbasari Market near the river gives an interesting overview of an Indonesia market with household wares and clothing on the third level, spices and dried goods on the second level and traditional market in the basement.It can be a bit dark in the basement. Nearby is Jalan Hasanuddin, a whole street of gold shops, selling 18-22 carat gold jewelry. Not far away from jalan Hasanuddin is jalan Sulawesi where all manner of fabrics are available. The whole street consists of fabric stores on both sides with a few household ware stores in between.

Kuta Art Market has a multitude of shops selling a wide variety of goods including, sarongs, handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, furniture and leather goods. You can find some good pieces if you look carefully and smart bargain.

Sanur's main shopping street is Jalan Danau Tamblingan and it is more peaceful then shopping in Kuta. Sanur has an interesting variety of shops with lots of nice restaurants.There are still a few hawkers but they are not as aggressive, except at the beach market. You can find woodcarvings, sarongs and other handicrafts in Sanur Art Market.

Sukawati has a new art market and a traditional market on the main road and side streets. Set in a two-floor building, the market sells everything from statues to dance costumes, all at reasonable prices. A large assortment of woven baskets can be found here along with Balinese ceremonial items made from colorful "Prada" - gold painted cloth. These include dance costumes, fans, umbrellas and clothes worn at tooth filings and weddings. Bargaining is a must.

The area of Ubud often regarded as the cultural center of Bali. It is where the image of Bali as a land of artists was created. Ubud gives you the opportunity to see the real Bali. The Ubud Market has kept much of its traditional charm, with squatting Balinese sellers haggling loudly among spices and vegetables. The market also sells handicrafts, many made in the neighboring villages of Mas, Tegalalang, and more.


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Toya Bungkah Village

Lying on the western shore of Lake Batur, along the roller-coaster road from Kedisan to Songan, the resort village of Toya Bungkah features an invigorating hot springs, massive cinemascopic views, and a black-sand beach. Many travelers choose to stay in Toya Bungkah rather than Kedisan because the latter has too many Bali Aga while the former is more a mixture of Balinese and Javanese. Watch your gear in both places-lotsa thieves.

Toya Bungkah gets busy only during July and August, otherwise there's little traffic or motorboat noise. Just roosters crowing, flies buzzing, children playing, and pool balls socking. There are worse places to stay for a few days. Free of city lights, at night the stars are brilliant and the air fresh, filled with the sound of generators supplying power to the restaurants and color TVs. Electricity only comes on from 0630 to 2400. Bemo run in front of most hotels and it's a very easy matter to get to and from the village to Penelokan, eight km distant.

Just before the village is a tollbooth where you're hit with another irritating entrance fee: Rp1050 per person, Rp1000 per vehicle, Rp200 per motorcycle. Keep your entrance ticket so you can reenter each day. Popular tourist activities include bathing in the lake, fishing (Rp1000 for bamboo poles and worms), touring the lake via motorized boat (Rp40,000 per hour with boatman), visiting Trunyan and/or the cemetery on the other side of the lake, walking along the scenic shore, getting up at 0400 to climb Gunung Batur, or simply hanging out and enjoying the view and the cool air. At least five small open-air pool halls liven up the evening and somewhat occupy the many shiftless young men of the village. Although Toya Bungkah presents fewer hassles than other Batur communities, the males can be pretty aggressive to single women.

Getting There
From Penelokan, there's a good paved road via Seked and Prajurti. Since Toya Bungkah gets little traffic, bemo drivers first want Rp1500; when you get in, the price suddenly skyrockets to Rp15,000, eventually falling to Rp8000. Just wait until a public bemo comes along and pay Rp1000. Alternatively, you can hitch a ride down to the crater from a tourist or a truck, then walk to Toya Bungkah from Kedisan in an hour. Or take a boat from Kedisan.

Place of Interest :

Hot Springs
This sulfurous hot springs is known to soothe muscle aches and pains, as well as cure rheumatism and skin diseases. The volcanically heated water bubbles up from under the lake in several places among the lava rocks. The water is not really that hot, though it becomes warmer as the day progresses. A private hot springs lies north of Amertha's. Admission fee of Rp300 just to look, Rp1000 for hot-tub style baths. Facilities include changing room and toilet. Bring your own towel. Signs ask patrons not to wash clothes, shampoo, or wear shoes in the bathing area. Be warned, the pool is untidy and unappealing, not that private, and swarming with vendors.

The public air panas is on the other side of Amertha's and free. However, since villagers wash their clothes and cows in these shallow pools, and there's lots of litter around, you don't always feel like bathing here. After a long, relaxing dunk, swim Finnish-style from the mineral pools straight into the chilly lake. Very therapeutic, especially fresh from a hike up Gunung Batur.

The Art Center
Also called the Balai Seni Toya Bungkah. Above the air panas is a retreat for the study of the arts, including a dance academy and amphitheater. Rooms and bungalows spread out among nice peaceful gardens (see "Accommodations," below). If you stay here, you can watch the dances and an occasional wayang kulit for free. Good selection of books available to guests, with the emphasis on painting, from Dyer to the Fauvists. If no visiting study group is in town, the center seems virtually deserted; no one can provide any information on anything other than the rooms and restaurant. When an event is going on, the place is bustling.

The center (tel. 0362-7802719) was established in 1971 by Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, a North Sumatran novelist, philosopher, and painter. Known as "The Father of the Indonesian Language," Alisjahbana played a pivotal role in developing Bahasa Indonesia as a tool for sophisticated intellectual and technical usage. The old professor now spends but a few days a month here; the rest of the year he's in Denpasar or Jakarta.


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Bali Scuba Diving Site: Secret Bay

Secret Bay is the more poetic name given by Bali's diving community to Gilimanuk Bay, adjacent to where the ferries to and from Java dock. It is about 20mins by road from Labuan Lalang/ Menjangan and located in West Bali National Park. The bay is about 2km wide, very shallow (3-12M), contains two small islands, and has some areas of mangrove. Being the only bay off the narrow Bali Strait, where currents can reach 7knots, means that Gilimanuk acts as a catch tank (a big underwater nursery!) for many larval fish. A reef lying just outside the mouth of the bay creates a channel through which these waters are swept; this is what makes Gilimanuk an extremely interesting dive site. These strong tidal currents mean that the fish and invertebrates are extremely healthy, colourful and well-fed (also that the water is colder than generally found in Bali, around 25C).

Entering the bay, as these macro critters do, from the channel, the bottom is fine black and grey volcanic sand. The channel contains no coral although the sides are scattered with bommies full of angelfish, butterflyfish, schools of razorfish and tiny reef fish that include cardinalfish and multitudes of damselfish.

Secret Bay is muck-diving (ie: diving with a mud bottom) in shallow water with no water movement. Therefore, too much fin movement and/or less than perfect buoyancy control will stir up the bottom, leaving you with low visibility in that area.

The best time to dive is on the incoming tide or around high tide, it doesn't matter if it's early or late in the day, as the bay will have filled with clear water from the Bali Strait. At this time, visibility can be 30M+ although there's a fair amount of rubbish floating around.

Mandarinfish, Secret Bay, Bali Gilimanuk Bay contains many rare macro-photography subjects that include nudibranches, gobies, crustaceans, dragonets, abundant seahorse/pipefish, juvenile Batavia batfish, large areas of long-spined sea urchins with clingfish, and many, many other organisms. At other sites it's difficult to see juveniles as they hide to avoid predators. However, as the bay is shallow there are very few large fish, therefore juveniles have very little to fear, to hide from.

Night-diving at Secret Bay is a unique experience! Cephalopods of all shapes and sizes, crustaceans wandering in search of dinner, other weird and wonderful creatures.

While Bali offers great diversity of dive sites, Gilimanuk Bay is unique within Bali. It is the very definition of muck-diving. No rich coral reefs, no depth to speak of, it is in basically a site for macro-photographers, not wide-angle, and maybe for the occasional recreational diver looking for something different from the norm.


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Bajra Sandhi Monument

Bajra Sandhi Monument is monument of Balinese People Struggle. This Monument is recognized by the name of Bajra Sandhi because its form looking like Bajra or Genta or bell used by all Hindu Priest in reading off Weda holy sentence (mantra) at religious ceremony. This monument is built in the year 1987, opened by president of Megawati Sukarno Putri on 14 June 2003. the purpose of this monument development is to immortalize the soul and spirit of Balinese People struggle, at one blow dig, looking after, developing and also preserve the culture of Bali to be bequeathed to a router generation as advancing capital stroke tread a world of loaded progressively with the challenge and resistance.

This monument comprise 33 diorama depicting the history journey from a period of prehistory (300.000 S.M) what its human being still go about and very base on the nature, come up with a period of filling the independence (1950-1975) where Bali is built in all area that are politics, economic, and social cultural. Knowing and comprehending the history journey, soul, and spirit of Bali People struggle from time to time, expected can tighten the spirit and cultural, more tourism in Bali. So that can be developed to become the cultural tourism in order not to drift in globalization current, considering its rapid of external influence effect from the technological progress in information area, transportation and tourism.
The Building Monument of Bajra Sandhi

The building physical existence is strongly with the meaning of Hinduism philosophy, namely Yoni colossus. Its monument as colossus device whiles the building base as yoni. From other side the Yoni colossus as described also story of twiddling of Mandhara Giri at Ksirarnawa which is taken away from passage of Adi Parwa (Hindu's Book).

This building Monument is consisted of :
  • Jar of Amertha symbol by Kumba (a kind of pot) what is seen on the top monument.
  • The Dragon Basuki tail existed near by Swamba and its head at entrance gate.
  • The body of Bedawang Akupa realized at its base of monument and the head at entrance gate.
  • Mount of Mandara Giri realized by monument boosting high .
  • Pool encircle the monument, supposed as Ksirarnawa (milk ocean ).
With the existence of Bajra Sandhi monument, adding list of places of interest, place to visit, places to see, tourist places, tourist destination in Bali.


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Ubud's Royal Palace

Ubud has been a "royal town" for over a hundred years. Its princes, who bear the title "Tjokorda" or "Agung" still live in traditional palaces, called "Puris". Be aware, however, that every place called "puri" is not a royal palace. The word has been used quite liberally of late. Also be aware that there is not one palace in Ubud, but many, most of them clustered around the main cross-roads near the Bud market. There are several other "royal" towns in the Bud area, too, with their own palaces, most of which have close family ties to the Bud Tjokordas. A web of connections is maintained by incidental and arranged marriages among the respective offspring of princes in Sayan, Pejeng, Singapadu, Peliatan, and Payangan's puris.

If you're interested in seeing a palace and observing the way life is conducted inside, there are opportunities to do so, but remember that for the most part, they are private homes, not public throughways. Many of the Ubud royals have opened hotels and restaurants within the walls of their homes, so you can, in fact, sleep of eat in one of the Ubud palaces, enjoying accommodations from the most modest bungalow, to the modern luxury rooms. I some cases, you have a chance to meet the palace residents and join them for family and community ceremonies.

Puri Saren Agung is the central palace where the public dance performances are held. Located at the northeast corner of the central cross-roads, it's pretty hard to miss. It was the home of the last "king" of Ubud, and now his descendants live there. It is essentially the "father palace" of the other Ubud palaces, which are more or less its "spinoffs," built as the family extended. It was also Ubud's first hotel, opening its doors to paying visitors in the 1930s. Still operated as a small homestay style hotel. Parts of the gardens and some of the bales are quite grand and formal, with generous lashing of prada (gold leaf) applied to the carved woodwork.

Puri Saren Kangin is the eastern portion of Puri Saren (kangin means"east"), and is a private residence for several branches of the Ubud family. In front is Puri's Bar, which was a hip, relaxed hangout for Balinese and wandering bohemians in the early eighties.

Pura Saren Kauh Kauh means "west," and accordingly, this is the occidental portion of the palace. There are accommodations within this part of the palace, too,but they are accessed via the reception desk for Puri Saren Agung.

Puri Kantor is across Jalan Suweta from Puri Saren, with a forecourt which has become a parking lot for some of the family's vintage autos. There are a couple cafes, and Banyan Tree Bungalows attached to Puri Kantor. An espresso bar affiliated with the palace will be opening soon, just a few paces north of the main gate in Jalan Suweta. Kantor means "office," and according to the heads of the resident family, the name was given in jest, in reference to a "pagoda" which once towered in the middle of a big pond where Puri Kantor Sosrobahu now stands. As Ubud was a rather modest village at the time, this multi-storey edifice reminded locals of nothing so much as an office building.

Puri Kantor Sosrobahu is a sister of Puri Kantor, both of which were established during the last generation's heyday, when two wives of one prince were offered the chance to build their own digs. The "Sosrobahu" part refers to the storey of Arjuna carries the wight of the world on his shoulders. The head of this palace family invented a method of constructing highway overpasses, which was named "Sosrobahu" as an acknowledgement of its superior load-bearing capabilities. The name was transferred to the palace, since much of it was built from the profits earned through overpass construction. Puri Kantor Sos' now boasts an elegant, small hotel called Prada, plus a restaurant and wine bar (not quite ready to open at the time of writing). Have a look at the stuffed tiger in the quest lounge.

Puri Kawan is a private house behind Ary's Warung, which used to offer public accommodation. It is now the quiet residence of the proprietors of Ary's and its various offshoots. Kawan (sometimes spelled kauhan), means "western," reflecting the fact that this palace is west of the centre of town.

Puri Menara is a bit further west, and was until recently a centre for studying Balinese dance and culture, with a library. The books have recently been distributed to other libraries, notably ARMA. There is still a restaurant here, and bungalows. Rumour has it that there may be plans underfoot to redevelop the whole site, which sits smack dab in the commercial centre of town.

Puri Saraswati is across the street from Tino's drugstore in Jalan Raya. It is the home of a branch of the Ubud royal family, where they run a bungalow-style hotel with a swimming pool. In front they also operate Cafe Lotus, Lotus Studios (a high-end shop), and Mumbul's Restaurant. In back they have a huge lotus pond and a temple dedicated to Dewi Saraswati, the divine embodiment of learning, arts and literature. You can't miss the enormous, elaborate stone sign, with its brilliant-white, pseudo-classical statue of Saraswati herself standing proudly on top. Cok Wah, who operates the business is an avid bird fancier, a ham radio operator, and he collects various extraordinary vehicles.

Puri Anyar is a little way up Jalan Suweta on the east side of the street. Cafe Anyar sits in front, and a few expatriates who are acquainted with the family, including a notorious painter, live inside.

Puri Muwa is located on the east side of Monkey Forest Road about 120 metres south of the main cross-roads. This branch of the royal family has two separate bungalow businesses which are very inexpensive, three shops, a cafe, a pharmacy, and a medical practice on Wednesdays and Sundays.


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Bali coffee tasting at Seribatu village

Besides rice, Bali grows various kinds of plants ranging from flowers, spices, fruits, and coffee. If you tour to Mount Batur, you will pass a village called Seribatu village (ca 15 kms from Kintamani). The villagers here, instead of planting rice, plant coffee, chocolate, cloves, vanilla, jackfruit (not johnfruit), snake skinned fruit, durian, and pineapple. You can stop here briefly and have a taste of Bali coffee and Bali chocolate. I have found out that most of you coming from UK, Australia, or US think that our coffee is strong. At least stronger than what you're used to.

How do Balinese like their coffee? Okay, I know that in the west you need to make seven decisions to have your coffee (is it white or black, late? decaffeinate or not? cream or no cream, milk or no milk? sugar or no sugar? and so on), here we always have our coffee black with little sugar. That's all. And we like strong coffee, maybe as strong as Turkish coffee, if not less.

For those of you who don't drink coffee, you can try a sip of our wonderful chocolate. You will also many chocolates trees growing in this village, and there is also green beautiful scenery of various plantation that blanket the hills. That's going to be your different experience while having a vacation in Bali.


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Puncak Mangu Temple

Puncak Mangu Temple is located on the rim of the caldera above Lake Bratan. What the temple on top of Gunung Abang is to the people of the Gunung Batur region, this temple is to the people of Bedugul. Though it's one of the sacred sad-kahyangan temples of Bali, it's difficult to access and little known.

If you're in reasonably good shape, the six-km hike along the northeastern edge of Lake Bratan requires about 2.25 hours of hard climbing through a canopied rainforest. Bring water. Ask at the ranger station about a guide-you'll need one, especially if you intend to take the steep and arduous path down to the lakeshore.

Reach the trailhead by turning right off the main road at the Y before Bedugul. The well-marked path starts by the ranger guardpost just as the small road turns left 180 degrees to Bedugul's lakeshore recreation complex. Register at the guardpost, then walk past the trash pile.

The first segment of the trail is gradual, winding through bean and cabbage patches, then it climbs through a dank lantana and pandanus forest with glimpses of the lake down below. You really start to climb as the mist sets in-up one steep hill, then a saddle before an even steeper section where you must pull yourself up by the roots of trees up through a slippery, muddy slope. The last 500 meters is pure torture.

At the top is a flat shady area, inhabited by gray monkeys. Gaps in the dense forest provide stupendous views of Gunung Batur and Gunung Abang to the east and the mountains of west Bali to the west. Ancient Pura Puncak Mangu, built by Mengwi's first raja, is a simple, peaceful temple with a padmasana, shrine, a 'linga', some nice relief and two 'meru'. Camping is allowed under the temple's several bale. Unless a festival is going on, it's unlikely that anyone will be there.

On your return, after about one and a half km (45 minutes) there's a path to the right-marked by plastic bottles-that is very steep, slippery and scrabbly, with loose dirt jungle weeds, scratchy vines, leading straight down for 700 meters to the lakeshore. This trek is impossible in the rainy season. There's also a path from the back of the temple that leads down the other side of the mountain and emerges on the main road above Pancasari, but you'll definitely need a guide for this.

From the bottom, walk three km past grazing cows and thriving market gardens of cabbages, carrots, parsley, scallions and potatoes. See Goa Jepang on the way. The path soon turns into a small road which leads to a village on the north shore, your vehicle can meet you here or you can flag down transport on the highway one kilometer farther north


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