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travel to east bali

A Day to The Far East of Bali

Everyone wants to travel at one point or another to cool off from life’s routine worries and hard work. But travelling is not only about visiting from one place to another, it is more about satisfying one’s inner yearnings for taste and class. Many people assume that travelling to the far east of Bali is time consuming, which is not entirely a wrong assumption. However, it is actually doable for a day trip.

Some destinations in the east coast are just magical! They are a combination of unspoiled surroundings, remote locations, intense vistas and snuggly warm people. For adventure lovers, this is probably it; an opportunity to engage with the natural wonders. In addition to that, the presence of Balinese historical sites along the area is such a delight for those who want to go deeper into an understanding of Balinese culture. Definitely worth the time and effort!

Starting early in the morning is a must. Driving 2.5 hours from Denpasar, you will reach at Candidasa. You can make a quick stop here. Feel the tropical climate and smell the fresh morning air from the ocean, it creates an intoxicating perfume to mark the start of the day.

Driving another 30 minutes further up, you will pass by Bugbug village. Since you are here, you may want to consider visiting Bukit Asah Bugbug. If you are looking for a silent and a peaceful scene, this semi-hidden spot offers green hills with the exotic expanse of blue sea. While hearing the roar of the ocean waves, embrace the blowing cool breeze to maximize the relaxation of your solitude. Morning visit doesn’t attract many visitors, which is a perfect time to retreat from the frenetic city.

Moving on from your solitary moment, the next stop is the neatly crafted garden of Tirtagangga Water Palace. Quite well known for its holy water and religious ceremonies, this location consists of three separate complexes each having its own set of ponds and attractive sculptures which simply add to the beauty of the overall water garden. As you enter the place, the first thing that comes into view is a long row of sculptures of guardian figures. You will also notice the neatly placed polygonal stepping stones to tour the area over the ponds and pools. Pools in the complex have designs from the olden days and created with natural materials like sandstone. There are a lot of stories behind the creation of this garden.

 

Another historical site nearby is Ujung Water Palace. Located at Tumbu village, a short distance from Tirtagangga, Ujung Water Palace was basically the resting and entertainment place for the Kings of Karangasem and their guests. On similar lines like Tirtagangga, this place has a beautiful park with huge fish ponds surrounding the heritage buildings. From the highest level of this palace, you can have an enchanting view of the sea line and hills with absolute greenery. It also displays the beauty of Mount Agung and nearby green terraced rice fields.

 

Driving another 30 minutes to the north, slightly after lunchtime, you will arrive at Amed Beach. Almost 90 percent of the population in Amed relies on fishing, which explain the traditional fishing boats line the beach area. Apart from fishing, hospitable people can also be spotted selling salt, trinkets, and other items to support their families and the community. Unlike in the southern coast, the local people of Amed are genuinely warm and friendly to visitors. With the large number of tourists flocking to this part of the island each year, this village has transformed from quiet fishing village and is currently on verge of change. Amed village has now become backpacker’s area near the coast with ease of access to Jemeluk Bay, which is the next stop.

Jemeluk Bay is only a short drive up from Amed Beach. Be prepared for a bumpy road! However, the view is breath-taking. One of the first beautiful glimpses of the Jemeluk Bay is from the sunset point. Along with the scenic view of Amed Beach coastline, it is easy not to capture Mount Agung of your sight. Several options for lodging have come up in this area along with new restaurants and shops popping up, making it a much sought-after tourism destination.

With easy access, Tulamben Beach is located 30 minutes’ drive from Amed village. Overlooking the Lombok strait, the sea water in this beach is calm and clear with gradations of bluish green colour. Rich in marine bio life with a thousand-year-old shipwreck and coral gardens, Tulamben is an all-year diving destination for the diving enthusiasts. A perfect place for underwater photography. With the overall surge in tourism, the small village of Tulamben is developing.

Not far from the beach, Paibon Tulamben Temple is just around the corner. This temple signifies and highlights the Balinese Hindu culture and religion. Like many other temples on the island, Paibon Tulamben Temple signifies the honour shown to the Sea Gods. The temple complex has multiple temples in it and each one is visible from the next one forming a chain. This was built as early as the 16th century during the Majapahit era to offer spiritual protection to the people living in the area.

There you have it! A one-day trip to the eastern part of Bali doesn’t seem impossible to do. Of course, there are still tons of places and hidden spots need to be discovered. However, the list mentioned above suits for either tourists who have limited visiting time and scheduled plans or local people who need to get away from the chaotic southern part over the weekend.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

A Departure to The East Side of Bali

Away from the tourist-packed, chaotic, happening places of Bali lies a mystical land. Quite forgotten by everyone, Eastern Bali is a world in itself. The black sand beaches, spill down mountains, gigantic volcanoes, ancient temples, lush rice terraces offer nothing less than tranquillity and food for the soul. For all those who wish to spend a day or two in the arms of nature, exploring the rich historical heritage of Bali, basking in the natural sensations of the volcanic mountains and crystalline beaches and absorbing the traditional lifestyle in the typical Balinese villages, a trip to the Eastern Bali is compulsory. Let’s travel to east Bali.

There are loads of places to explore in Eastern Bali. In order to enrich your spiritual value, Goa Lawah Temple can be an option. Located in the Pesinggahan Village, around 2-hour distance from Denpasar city, this temple is built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and hence called the ‘Bat Cave’. In the centre, you will see Shivaite shrine, thousands of year old together with a bale adorned with the motifs of Balinese mythical dragon. The huge banyan trees keep the atmosphere in the temple cool and breezy, and will make you feel refreshed instantly. Another worth visiting temple in the east of Bali is the ancient Besakih Temple, which also known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’. Over 1,000 years, it sits 1,000 metres high on the south-western slopes of Mount Agung. The high location of Mount Agung gives the temple a mystical quality. Besakih Temple features three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. You will witness a cluster of temples and shrines, each having their own story and uniqueness.

Bali is considered to be an all year diving destination for the diving enthusiasts. As the famous diving spot, Tulamben comprises of a black sand slope with a thousand-year-old shipwreck and coral gardens. It contains a stunningly diverse underwater ecosystem, and therefore the main dive sites offer different physical environments. The wreck is humongous and a fantastic playground to explore, while you can also find the rare pygmy seahorse in the area. It is the perfect place for underwater photography. Amed is another famous diving spot for soul and body relaxation. Gear up your diving suits to explore the underwater flora and fauna. The teeming marine life here includes various tropical fish, sea turtle, reef tip shark, rays and vibrant coral gardens. You can also spot the traditional Balinese wooden boats called ‘Jukung’ available for fishing charters.

For the beach-goers, the recommended beaches in the east of Bali would be Bias Tugel Beach and Candidasa Beach. Located very close to Padang Bai Port, Bias Tugel Beach is also known as the Secret Beach. You have to walk through a fairly steep and rocky terrain to reach the white sandy beach. The clean water allows you to dive or snorkel to see the beautifully coloured coral reefs and various ornamental fish. Travelling further along the eastern coast of Bali, you will spot Candidasa Beach. This beach offers a tropical climate with thriving coconut trees, perfect spot to unwind. The wind mixed with the smell of the ocean, and the scent of the trees creates an intoxicating perfume. If you are carrying a picnic bag, you may want to stop by and relax for a few hours.

The trekking addicts have a lot of mysterious and adventure spots to explore in the east part of the island. Kintamani is the most favourite trekking destination. The magnificent view of the Batur caldera lake serves as the main attraction, surrounded by the captivating Mount Batur range. In no time you will feel yourself sinking in the beauty of Lake Batur, Kintamani highlands and the fascinating coffee plantations. While at the foot of Mount Abang, you can choose to trek up through dense tropical forests. The trek is considered to be a pilgrim to top of the high spirited atmosphere. The view from the top is simply breath-taking with cloud hovering over the lake and the volcanic cone of Batur on one side, and Mount Agung along with a magnificent shoreline on the other. If you are one of those serious hikers, you could consider taking the trek to Mount Agung.

For those who want to spend their day enhancing their knowledge on the local culture and lifestyle, Ujung Water Palace will bring you closer to Bali’s historical heritage. This famous palace consists of large pools and historic structures set against a backdrop of Mount Agung and the eastern shoreline. You will be fascinated by the blend of Balinese and European architecture. The whole park covering an approximate 10 hectares of land gives you enough space to stroll around and marvel at the ancient structures. While on the historical journey, make sure to visit Tirta Gangga. On entering the site, the first thing you will notice is a pond where rows of guardian figures holding cudgels are neatly arranged. The polygonal stepping stones will allow you to tour on the pond. The huge towering fountains, marvellous ancient springs and huge banyan trees will be a cool retreat in the humid afternoon. The Klungklung Palace in Semarapura can be another famous historic attraction in the east. The palace includes a floating pavilion, main gates and the court of justice. You will be amazed by the paintings that lead up to the ceiling. The grounds are easily walkable and absolutely gorgeous. In the floating pavilion, you would find Balinese artists creating wonderful paintings.

If you are keen to blend with the locals, Sidemen Village would be perfect for strolling around lazily. Located near Besaikh Temple, this village will feed you well with lush, green paddy fields, river valleys and wild pastures, all nestled along the slopes of Mount Agung. Take a walk in the rice fields and interact with the villagers to understand their lifestyle closely.

The Eastern part of Bali has lots to offer, both to the eyes and to the soul. You can choose from an array of mountains, temples, beaches, paddy fields or royal palaces, and plan the itinerary yourself. The list is so exhaustive that it is impossible even for a local person to visit all paces in one go. So, either you are a tourist or a local resident, Bali will never stop to amaze you. “The more you read, the more you will Know. The more you Learn, the more places you will go.”

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine