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Gianyar Sight Seeing

Gianyar Place of Interest

Gianyar is the very heart of Bali a modern and prosperous center of the arts with a history dating back a thousand years. Most of the cultural activities relating to tourism on the island from painting and woodcarving to dance and music are focused here, as is a broad range of agricultural activities.
Gianyar is the second most densely populated district of Bali (after Badung), with the majority of its 340,000 people relying upon tourism for their income. Nevertheless, the region is quite diverse, economically as well as geographically. The old harbors of Ketewel and Kramas down on the coast are still fishing villages, while up in the mountainous plateau above Ubud, vanilla, coffee and cloves are grown. The rich volcanic soils in between are fed by two of Bali’s major rivers the Ayung and the Petanu and from these soils grows some of Bali’s best rice.

Batubulan Village: Home of the Barong

Ten km northeast of Denpasar, Batubulan is a village known throughout Bali for its ornate door-guardian statues, carved of soft paras volcanic tuff. Until these became popular for secular use earlier in this century, the carvings were only used in temples or palaces, but this artform has spread extensively in recent years and is today found in homes and public buidings. Batubulan is also home to three famous Barong

Dance troupes who perform Seven times a week at 9.30am on their own stages before bus-loads of enthralled tourists. The development of these groups parallels that of tourism in Bali, but even so the Batubulan barong troupes are relatively young. The first, the Danjalan Barong Group, was established in 1970, while the Tegaltamu and Puri Agung groups were formed later. The three troupes also perform on a large stage that was constructed especially for this purpose in the outer courtyard of Pura Puseh Bendul in 1986.

Celuk Village: jewelry of silver and gold

Although many arts and crafts have prospered in Celuk, the village has evolved into a center for silver and gold smithing. Almost every home in the village contains small scale production facilities fufilling orders placed by large shops and exporters. Bracelets, rings, earrings and brooches, to name a few of range of products produced here, have started to enter the export market. The silver and gold craft trade was pieered by the Beratan clan of smiths (pande). Nowadays most Celuk residents, whether or not they are members of the pande clan, have become gold and silver smiths.

Singapadu Village: village of the 'twin kings'

The history of the small village of Singapadu, just up the road from Batubulan, goes back to the reign of I Dewa Kaleran, a king of Kalianget who assisted the ruler of Sukawati, I Dewa Agung Anm, to defeat the king of Mengwi with the aid of two powerful kerises.

As an expression of gratitude and to strengthen family ties, I Dewa Agung Anom offered his sister to be Dewa Kaleran’s bride. Impatient at the long wait for his sister’s pregnancy, I Dewa Agung then presented another Pnncess to Dewa Kaleran, this time one who was already pregnant.

This princess gave birth to a boy, called I Dewa Agung Api. Meanwhile Dewa Agung’s first wife also became pregnant and gave birth to another son, Dewa Kaleran Sakti. With the birth of both sons, two princes had rights to the throne, and the name singhapadu meaning "twin lions" was given to the place.

Sukawati Village: Ancient court and Bali's best dalangs

Conveniently located midway between mountain slopes and the sea on the main road north of Denpasar on the way to Ubud, Sukawati is a modest town of few tourist attractions as such, yet it is rich in cultural traditions and offers much for the interested visitor.

At one time, Sukawati stood with Klungkung as one of the two great negara or kingdoms of Bali. From Tegallalang to Ubud to Singapadn. topeng mask dancers still interprete the history of the old realm of Sukawati before rapt audiences. Here the arts have remained vital, thanks to royal patronage and commissions from other parts of the island. Sukawati is best known, however, for its many shadow-puppet masters or dalang. As many as 20 of these artists and their troupes are available for hire for ceremonial occasions and they travel all over Bali to perform. The Balinese say that the dalang of Sukawati are the best on the island because of many generations of experience.

The commercial center of town is the Pasar Seni or Art Market. With patience and a sense of humor one can find bargains here on everything from woodcarvings to paintings. Along the main road, shops cater to local needs such as baskets and ceremonial umbrellas.

Batuan Village: village of Ancestral Spirits

For over a thousand years Batuan has been a village of artists and craftsmen, old legends and mysterious tales. Batuan’s recorded history begins in A.D. 1022, with an inscription that is housed in the main village temple, Pura Desa Batuan. The name ”Batuan” or ”Baturan” mentioned here prompts villagers to joke about being ”tough as stone” or ”eating rocks” ” as batu means ”stone” in Balinese.

But it likely refers to an ancient megalithic tradition in which standing stones served as meeting places and ceremonial sites for the worship of ancestral spirits. Because Batuan became a center from which Buddhist priests and brahmans spread to the main court centers of south Bali, the village has an unusual preponderance of brabmans. DeZoete and Spies, in their famous book Dance and Drama in Bali, describe it almost entirely a brahman village.

Besides the dances, performed in the central part of the village, Batuan is also famous for its wayang wong, masked performances of stories from the Ramayana. This is exclusively performed in the banjar (hamlet) known as Den Tiis. From Den Tiis also came the inspiration for the modern Batuan style of painting call The ”Batuan style’.

Mas Village: woodcarving village

The village of Mas lies on the main road, 20 km to the north of Denpasar and 6 km before Ubud, in a hilly countryside covered with ricefields and irrigated year-round by the waters of the Batuan aud Sakah rivers.

Today the village appears as a succession of palatial artshops, as Mas has developed into a flourishing center for the woodcarving craft. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what the village was like before dozens of tourist buses started to drop in everyday yet Mas actually played an important role in Balinese history during the 16th century, as it was the place where a great priest from Java, Danghyang Nirartha (also called Dwijendra), had his hermitage (griya).

During the 1930s, under the influence of Walter Spies and Pita Maha, a new style of woodcarving developed here. The motifs were more realistic, and inspired by everyday scenes featuring humans and animals. Several of these early works may now be seen in Ubud’s Puri Lukisan museum.

During this period, woodcarvings began to be appreciated and purchased by foreigners, but only after 1970 did the real boom take place. The first art shops in Mas were those of Ketut Roja (Siadja & Son), followed by Ida Bagus Nyana and his son Ida Bagus Tilem, and Ida Bagus Taman (Adil Artshop). At first they all produced works of quality in limited quantities, mainly working with locally-available woods.

Peliatan Village: home of legendary legong

Peliatan is best known for its legong ” a graceful dance traditionally performed by two pre-pubescent girls in glittering costumes. Indeed, the first Balinese dance troupe to travel abroad was a legong group from Peliatan that performed at the Paris Exhibition in 1931 under the leadership of the late Anak Agung Gede Mandera (affectionately known as ”Gung Kak”) a man who excelled in both music and dance. The group’s performances created a sensation, it was then, for example, that French actor Antonin Artaud first witnessed the Balinese barong.

Peliatan is also a village of carvers and painters. Everywhere you go you see orchids, fruits, frogs, ducks and birds being fashioned out of wood. These are all of course for tourists.

Ubud Village: village of haven for the arts

Far from the madding crowds, Ubud has long been a quiet haven for the arts. Set amidst emerald green rice paddies and steep ravines in the stunning central Balinese foothills, some 25 km north of Denpasar, the village was originally an important source of medicinal herbs and plants. ”Ubud” in fact derives from the Balinese word for medicine ” ubad.

It was here that foreign artists such as Walter Spies settled during the 1920s and ”30s, transforming the village into a flourishing center for the arts. Artists from all parts of Bali were invited to settle here by the local prince, Cokorda Gede Sukawati, and Ubud’s palaces and temples are now adorned by the work of Bali’s master artisans as a result. Unfortunately, the tourist boom has transformed Ubud into a bustling business center, complete with traffic jams and fast food outlets.

Petulu Village, place of Herons

Petulu is the pace to witness white herons hovering over the village as they alight in lofty trees at sunset. Mention any of the above names, and villagers will point you the way.

Goa Gajah: Elephant Cave

The first major site encountered coming from the south or from Ubud, just 2km east of the Teges intersection, is the complex known as Goa Gajah the famous ”Elephant Cave.” It overlooks the Petanu River and consists of a Siwaitic rock-cut cave, a bathing place, a monks’ chamber, a number of Buddhist rock cut stupas and statues, and several foundations. It received its name from the archaeologists who discovered it in 1923, because there is a giant head with floppy ears above the entrance which was at a first glance thought to represent an elephant.

Yeh Pulu

A couple of kms to the east, in the direction of Bedulu just off the main road, are the antiquities of Yeh Pulu, dating from the late 14th century. These consist of reliefs cut out of the rock and a sacred well. The reliefs are in a naturalistic style. Click here for more informations.

The Moon of Pejeng

The area north of Bedulu, around Pejeng and Intaran, contains many antiquities. The most important is the Pura Penataran Sasih, which forms part of a group of three temples. Sasih means ”moon” and refers to the ”Moon of Pejeng” a giant bronze kettledrum kept high up in a shrine in the temple.

Pura Pusering Jagat

This area was also once considered the ”navel of the world” and there is a temple bearing this name, the Pura Pusering Jagat in Pejeng. It contains several interesting Hindu antiquities, probably dating from the 14th century, which are now placed in shrines.

Pura Kebo Edan

Another temple in Pejeng, the Pura Kebo Edan, possesses the statue of a standing giant 3.60 m tall. He is called Kebo Edan, the Mad One. The figure has a huge penis with four ”penis pins” pierced through it right under the glans. The use of such pins to increase a woman’s sexual pleasure is an old custom known throughout Southeast Asia.

The giant stands in a dancing position and tramples a human figure, its face covered with something which may be a mask, as it is tied with ribbons at the back. The figure may represent a demonic manifestation of Siwa as a dancer. There is another statue representing a fat, crouching demon holding a big skull upside down in front of his chest The demon is wearing a diadem decorated with small skulls on his curly hair. The style of these statues points to the 13th-14th century.

Archaeological Museum

While in the Pejeng area, stop in also at the Archaeological Museum, located just two km north of Bedulu on the main road. Here are displayed quite a number of stone sarcophagi, neolithic axe heads, bronze jewelry and figurines and Chinese ceramics.

Goa Garba

Goa Garba lies northeast of Pejeng, on the western side of the Pakrisan. The complex can be entered via steep steps through a gateway at the back of the Pengukur-ukuran temple in the village of Sawah Gunung. One arrives at a hermitage consisting of three caves with slanting roofs.

There is an inscription in Kadiri square script in one of these saying "sri" a lucky sign. On the basis of the script, the complex may be dated to the late 11th century. Water basins with spouts are hewn in front of the niches. There are sever pedestals with fragments of stone statues a lingga. In the temple above, two stone Ganesas, a lingga and a winged stone snake with an inscription dated AD. 1194 are found.

Krobokan, on the eastern side of the Pakrisan (near the village of Cemadik), dates from the 12th century. Where the waters of the rivers Krobokan and Pakrisan flow togetger, a 6 m high, oval-shaped niche with the facade of a temple in relief is cut into the rock. It is flanked by a small hermit’s cave with a rectangular aperture and a slanting roof.

Gunung Kawi, Mountain of Poet

From Pejeng, the road begins a slow but steady ascent of Mt Batur. About halfway to the top, just near the source of the Pakrisan River, are two sites of great antiquity. The first, near Tampaksiring, is a famous complex of rock-cut monuments dating from the late 11th century and known as Gunung Kawi the ”mountain of the poet.”

Tirta Empul

In an inscription dated AD. 960 discovered in Pura Sakenan temple in the village of Manuk Aya, mention is made of a double pool dug around a well near the source of the river Pakrisan. The king transformed this into a holy bathing place, called Air Ampul. This is the present-day Tirta Empul one of the most sacred spots on Bali. It lies just north of Tampaksiring along a well marked road.

The sanctuary consists of an outer courtyard with a basin for public use and a central courtyard with two adjacent, rectangular pools (for those who fought Maya Danawa and were cleansed by the God Indra) containing clear, transparent water all surrounded by a low wall of recent construction.

There are 15 spouts in these pools. The inner court has two pavilions, one of which is for the god Indra (Maya Danawa’s adversary), and more than 20 small shrines with newly-carved and freshly-painted wooden doors decorated with reliefs. Among these is one devoted to the rice goddess (Dewi Sri), one to the Lord of Majapahit, and one to Mt Batur.

Bali Beachfront Resorts

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Sanur Beachfront Resorts

Location : Sanur

Sanur today is a golden mile of Baliesque hotels that has attracted millions of paradise seeking globetrotters. And yet, within the very grounds of the 11story The Grand Bali Beach Hotel, a war-reparation gift from the Japanese, nestles the sacred and spikey temple of Ratu Ayu of Singgi, the much feared spirit consort of Sanur’s fabled Black Barong.

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