Looking to explore Bali beyond the bustling tourist spots? We invite you to take a day or two to explore the island’s bountiful, rich culture and tradition.
One of the most enduring things about Bali is its culture and tradition that remain intact and are very much alive and thriving despite the predominant modernisation that slowly overtaking the island. Everywhere you go, you’ll spot the island’s culture; from the simple canang (Balinese Hindu offering) and parades of ceremonies dotting the streets, to the arts and stone temples hidden in the thick of the forest.
Here are some of the place for you to start getting to know the island deeper.
Sitting rather majestically on the southern slope of Bali’s second highest volcanic mountain, Mount Batukaru, this sacred Balinese Hindu temple is one of the nine kayangan jagat (directional temples) built to protect the island from evil spirits. Erected in 11th century, Batukaru Temple–or locally known as Pura Luhur Batukaru–was dedicated to the ancestors of the kings of the Tabanan regency. However the temple was destroyed in 1604, and rebuilt in mid 90s. Just like many other sacred temples in Bali, this temple hosts a number of shrine with its most important one, 7-tiered meru (wooden pagoda-like structure) dedicated to the God of Mount Batukaru.
Today, Batukaru Temple remains an extremely sacred site for the local Balinese Hindu population. Many of its grounds remain off-limits to visitors even when there is no ceremonies and events throughout the year. Apart from being a site for ceremonies, the temple also serves as a first stop one must make before climbing up to the summit of Mount Batukaru as well as the place the annual pilgrimage where you may see thousands of worshipers trails the path to the mountain at once.
Taman Ayun Temple
Another temple of interest is Taman Ayun Temple, one of Bali’s most sacred temples and boasts tall, ancient pagodas that appear to touch the sky. The temple features relics, four former royal courts, and jaw-dropping views. There are a network of lotus ponds and gardens snaking through the temple that takes you on a spiritual journey through time.
Despite the lavish, star-studded hotels and bustling restaurants in Seminyak, the city does have an ancient landmark hidden away behind designer boutiques. You can visit the Petitenget Temple, a centuries-old temple constructed with red bricks and dotted with shrines and small pavilions.
In fact, the temple is one of many sea temples tasked to spiritually guard the island since the 16th Century. While the temple is not as big or as impressive as other Bali temples, it is worth visiting nonetheless.
For history buffs, the Bali Provincial State Museum is a must-visit destination if you want to gain a well-rounded insight into Bali’s rich history and culture. The complex displays a cluster of several buildings and each building shows objects and artifacts with great historical importance. Displayed items include textiles, ceremonial knives, intricately carved masks, wooden carvings, clothes, and much more.
If you have a passion for archaeology, the museum offers an insight into Bali’s far past into the Mesolithic Period. Here, you’ll discover a vast array of stone tools, including other incredible archaeological findings dating back to 800BC.
Additionally, you can visit a park and a memorial located an hour’s ride away from the museum.
Purpa Fine Art Gallery Seminyak
When in Seminyak, you must visit the Purpa Fine Art Gallery. The gallery is located not far from Hotel Indigo Seminyak and exhibits extraordinary pieces of art on display. Visitors to the gallery will be greeted by Ari, an art collector, artist, and owner of the art gallery.
Ari’s gallery boasts a collection of local art, made by locals as well as international pieces imported from far away. You’ll find many art pieces feature a diverse spectrum of colors, as well as painting styles made by other talented art masters. All in all, the items on display are nothing but breath-taking.
You might find yourself wanting to buy a piece or two and of course, you’ll also learn valuable information about art from Ari. This place is well-loved by many who come here. Needless to say, the Purpa Fine Art Gallery is the place to go for art lovers.