Omgiven av orörda vita sandstränder, fantastiska korallrev och förtrollande undervattens, är miljön Menjangan Island en perfekt definition av vad naturlig skönhet handlar om. Beläget ca 10Km nordväst utanför stranden av Balis fastland, utgör den lilla ön Menjangan en del av West Bali National Park Conservation Area. Ordet "Menjangan" på det javanesiska språket betyder "Rådjur". Enligt Wikipedia gavs namnet av lokalbefolkningen som observerade vilda hjorthönter som simmade till ön varje vår och täckte ett avstånd på cirka 2 km.

Denna lilla ö är faktiskt där dykning började på allvar på Bali redan 1978 under sponsring av den indonesiska flottan, när den arrangerade en sammankomst av landets största dykklubbar -Possi, Ganesha, Nusantara och Trisakti. Denna sammankomst ledde till att Menjangan etablerade sig som den främsta internationella dykplatsen på Bali och många av deltagarna fortsatte att bli pionjärer inom kommersiell dykverksamhet i hela Indonesien.

Ön själv är omgiven av ett korallrev, kännetecknat av djupa avlämningar på nära 60 meter och av komplexa bergformationer. Dessa särdrag har gett upphov till ett stort antal stora och små grottor, festooned med svamp och mjuka koraller och ofta bebodda av stora groupers, moray ålar och av unga snappers och batfish i de mindre grottorna. Havsbottnarna är också rika på stora fatsvampar och livliga havsfläktar, varav några verkligen är enorma. Med tanke på djupet, det måttliga flödet av strömmar och dess skydd mot starka vindar är det vanligt att se tonfisk, stim av jack-fisk, batfish, angelfish, havssköldpaddor och ibland också hajar, särskilt utanför öns yttre hörn.

Ön är också känd som platsen för den bästa väggdykningen på Bali, med en mycket ljus & färgglad undervattensvärld och massor av olika platser att välja mellan. Dessa dykplatser är rika på marint liv och sandstränder för att koppla av över lunch.

På ett djup av 45 meter hittas Anchor-vraket. Även kallad Anker eller Kapal Budak (Slave Ship), platsen är ett gammalt träskeppsvrak som sitter på havsbotten på den västra spetsen av Menjangan som antingen är ett holländskt fartyg från 1800-talet som sjönk under andra världskriget eller ett som sjönk mycket tidigare under den nederländska kolonialtiden medan det förmodligen bar balinesiska slavar till Batavia (nu Jakarta). Vraket innehåller en last av keramik och glasflaskor och koloniseras helt av mjuka koraller; en utmärkt plats att träffa sköldpaddor och hajar.

Uppkallad efter en stor koloni av trädgårdsål, ligger Eel Gardens dykplats på den västra punkten i Menjangan i ett grunt område med en bländande vit sand som är ett trevligt i sig. Dyket börjar på en fin vägg (ca 40m) med många vackra gorgonier och andra havsfans fortsätter sedan över toppen av revet till en sträcka av vit sand. Förmodligen säger vissa att detta är den bästa delen av Menjangan Island.

Och det finns en stor överraskning för makrofotografer, videooperatörer och marinbiologer på Secret Bay". I den lilla viken nära färjehamnen Gilimanuk har en märklig lek i strömmar gjort vattentemperaturen här mer, högst 25 grader C, vilket har skapat en livsmiljö för Arter i Stilla havet och Indiska oceanen, med ofta hybrider mellan de två. De leriga grunda sängarna, blandade med alger och skräp, är värd för verkligt konstiga marina varelser, av vilka några nyligen har upptäckts av marinbiologer för första gången, till exempel de 4 typerna av fiskare inklusive Sargassum Anglerfish, Spotfin Anglerfish och en i synnerhet som har skapat stort intresse bland biologer, lokalt kallad Tono's Anglerfish. Förutom marulken är viken värd för många olika sjöhästar, dragonets, ghostpipefish, nudibranches, lionfish som vi Blåfenade lejonfisken, bandål och mycket mer. Denna unika vik har varit och är fortfarande den föredragna platsen för några av världens mest kända undervattensfotografer och filmskapare, liksom forskare och marinbiologer.

Surrounded by unspoilt white sandy beaches, stunning coral reefs, and enchanting underwater, environment Menjangan Island is a perfect definition of what natural beauty is all about. Located about 10Km North West off the shore of Bali’s mainland, the small island of Menjangan forms part of the West Bali National Park Conservation Area. The word "Menjangan" in the Javanese language means "Deer". According to Wikipedia, the name was given by the local population who observed wild deer herds swimming to the island every spring covering a distance of approx 1.2 miles.

This small island is actually where diving first started seriously on Bali back in about 1978 under the sponsorship of the Indonesian Navy, when it arranged a get-together of the country’s main diving clubs -Possi, Ganesha, Nusantara, and Trisakti. That get-together led to Menjangan establishing itself as the premier international dive location in Bali and many of the attendees went on to become the pioneers of commercial dive operations across Indonesia.

The island itself is surrounded by a coral reef, characterized by deep drop offs of near to 60 meters and by complex rock formations. These distinctive features have given rise to a great number of large and small caves, festooned with sponge and soft corals and often inhabited by large groupers, moray eels and by young snappers and batfish in the smaller caves. The sea beds are also rich in large barrel sponges and vibrant sea fans, some of which are truly enormous. Given the depth, the moderate flow of currents and its protection from strong winds, it is common to see tuna, shoals of jack-fish, batfish, angelfish, sea turtles, and on occasion also sharks, especially off the outer corners of the island.

The island is also known as the location for the best wall diving in Bali, with a very bright & colorful underwater world and lots of different sites to choose from. These dive sites are rich in marine life and sandy beaches to relax over lunch.

At a depth of 45 meters the Anchor wreck is found. Also called the Anker or Kapal Budak (Slave Ship), the site is an old wooden ship wreck sitting on the sea floor on the western tip of Menjangan which is either an 19th century Dutch ship that sunk during WWII or one that sunk much earlier during the Dutch colonial era while supposedly carrying Balinese slaves to Batavia (now Jakarta). The wreck contains a cargo of ceramics and glass bottles and is completely colonized by soft coral; an excellent place to meet turtles and sharks.

Named after a large colony of garden eels, the Eel Gardens dive site lies on the western point of Menjangan in a shallow area with some dazzling white sand that is a pleasant dive in itself. The dive starts on a nice wall (about 40m) with a lot of beautiful gorgonians and other sea fans then continue over the top of the reef to a stretch of white sand. Arguably, some say that this is the best part of Menjangan Island.

And there is a big surprise for macro-photographers, video-operators and marine biologists at the Secret Bay”. In the small bay near the ferry port of Gilimanuk, a strange play in currents has rendered the water temperature here to be more, at most 25 degree C, which has created a habitat for Pacific and Indian Ocean species, with often hybrids between the two. The muddy shallow beds, mixed with algae and debris, are host to truly strange marine creatures, some of which have recently been discovered by marine biologists for the first time, such as the 4 types of anglerfish including the Sargassum Anglerfish, Spotfin Anglerfish and one in particular that has created great interest among biologists, locally called the Tono’s Anglerfish. Apart from the anglerfish, the bay is host to numerous different sea horses, dragonets, ghostpipefish, nudibranches, lionfish such us the Blue Finned lionfish, ribbon eels and much more. This unique bay has been and still is the preferred location of some of the world’s most famous underwater photographers and filmmakers, as well as researchers and marine biologists.

Ubud Traditional Art Market locally referred to as 'Pasar Seni Ubud' is located opposite the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and is open daily. Ubud Art Market is the best art market in Bali, where you can find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, handmade woven bags, baskets or hats; statues, kites and many other hand-crafted goods.

Most of the goods found at the Ubud Traditional Art Market are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. The location of the Ubud Traditional Art Market which is centred among the art producing villages, and being just opposite the royal palace which is a centre point to Ubud itself, make it a strategic shopping place for Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs.

The Ubud Traditional Art Market also serves as a setting for the Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love, which shows a scene where actress Julia Roberts opposite a male character strolling through the stalls which are frequently visited by foreign and domestic visitors in real life. Naturally, bargaining is essential.

Ubud Traditional Art Market lokalt kallad "Pasar Seni Ubud" ligger mittemot Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace och är öppen dagligen. Ubud Art Market är den bästa konstmarknaden på Bali, där du kan hitta vackra silkeshalsdukar, lätta skjortor, handgjorda vävda väskor, korgar eller hattar; statyer, drakar och många andra handgjorda varor.

De flesta av de varor som finns på Ubud Traditional Art Market tillverkas i de närliggande byarna Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan och Peliatan. Platsen för Ubud Traditional Art Market som är centrerad bland de konstproducerande byarna och ligger mittemot det kungliga palatset som är en centrumpunkt till Ubud själv, gör det till en strategisk shoppingplats för balinesiskt hantverk och souvenirer.

Ubud Traditional Art Market fungerar också som en miljö för Hollywood-filmen Eat Pray Love, som visar en scen där skådespelerskan Julia Roberts mittemot en manlig karaktär promenerar genom båsarna som ofta besöks av utländska och inhemska besökare i verkliga livet. Naturligtvis är förhandlingar nödvändiga.

Sukawati Art Market, referred to locally as 'Pasar Seni Sukawati', is Bali most distinguished and long-standing art market. It is where visitors can seek and purchase distinctively Balinese art items such as paintings and sculpted wooden figures, curios, handicrafts and traditional handmade products. The two-storey Sukawati Art Market was established in the 80s and is located on the Jalan Raya Sukawati main road in Gianyar, approximately 20km northeast from the main tourism hubs of Kuta and Denpasar. The art market? main building is often packed with shopping holidaymakers and locals sourcing household and daily necessities. It is an alternative, inexpensive and complete shopping destination conveniently situated along most tour itineraries to the central and northern regions of the island.

Sukawati Art Market, som lokalt kallas "Pasar Seni Sukawati", är Balis mest framstående och långvariga konstmarknad. Det är där besökare kan söka och köpa distinkt balinesiska konstverk som målningar och skulpterade träfigurer, kuriosa, hantverk och traditionella handgjorda produkter. Den två våningar höga Sukawati Art Market grundades på 80-talet och ligger på Jalan Raya Sukawati huvudväg i Gianyar, cirka 20 km nordost från de viktigaste turistnav kuta och denpasar. Konstmarknaden? huvudbyggnaden är ofta full av shopping semesterfirare och lokalbefolkningen sourcing hushåll och dagliga nödvändigheter. Det är ett alternativt, billigt och komplett shoppingmål bekvämt beläget längs de flesta resvägar till de centrala och norra regionerna på ön.

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park, simply known as GWK, sited on the Bukit Peninsula, the limestone plateau with beautiful and serene park southern Bali. The cultural park is dedicated to embrace as well as preserve for art, cultural and spiritual aspects of the Island of Bali. Set in 250-ha this park becomes one of the favorite places for art & cultural performances, exhibitions, and conferences. GWK offers a breathtaking view spot for tourist to spend the day enjoying spectacular sunset.

The main icon is the incredible monument of Garuda Wisnu Kencana , the tallest and largest modern statue with 120 meter tall and 64 meter width, conceptualized by Nyoman Nuarta, an Indonesia’s finest modern sculptors. The statue is depict the Hindu God Vishnu riding aloft on his winged mount Garuda. Vishnu is considered a member of the holy trinity of Hinduism along with Shiva and Brahma. He is the most important God of Vaishnaism, the largest Hindu sect. Garuda is a bird creature from Hindu mythology that has a mix of eagle and human features. Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue surrounded by more than 60-ha of Cultural Park.

Both projects are initiated by Garuda Wisnu Kencana Foundation with the vision of becoming the landmark of Bali’s world known tourist destination. GWK is now offering number of facilities ideal for various types of events both local and international.

The commercial complex feed and entertain Garuda Wisnu Kencana's visitors such a highest ground area of Wisnu Plaza , culinary and shopping path of Street Theatre, the main venue Lotus Pond, Traditional Balinese performance at Amphitheatre, Indraloka Garden, Tirta Agung where the sample of Vishnu’s hand is located here, as well as Boutique & Souvenir shops that has completely set. Visitors also can share their memorable moment with Balinese traditional outfit in GWK Photo Studio. GWK can be challenging area to cover. If you don’t have enough time or energy for walking around do take a “Segway” advance two wheel vehicle and try gliding around the area. The scenic restaurant Jendela Bali is open for business and provides authentic Balinese food and daily entertainment while a new additional restaurant, The Beranda, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet with overlooking Jimbaran Bay.

 

Get There

Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park located in Ungasan, Badung Regency or about 10-15 minutes driving from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, 25 minutes driving from Kuta. A round trip shuttle bus provides from Denpasar City with cost IDR 3,500 for one trip. A visit to Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park can be arranged with a local tour agency or your hotel. Open daily from 8am to 10pm.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park, helt enkelt känd som GWK, ligger på Bukithalvön, kalkstensplatån med vacker och lugn park södra Bali. Kulturparken är tillägnad att omfamna såväl som bevara för konst, kulturella och andliga aspekter av ön Bali. Denna park ligger i 250 hektar och blir en av favoritplatserna för konst & kulturföreställningar, utställningar och konferenser. GWK erbjuder en fantastisk utsiktsplats för turister att tillbringa dagen med att njuta av spektakulär solnedgång.

Huvudikonen är det otroliga monumentet Garuda Wisnu Kencana , den högsta och största moderna statyn med 120 meter hög och 64 meter bredd, konceptualiserad av Nyoman Nuarta, en Indonesiens finaste moderna skulptörer. Statyn föreställer den hinduiska guden Vishnu som rider upp på sitt bevingade berg Garuda. Vishnu anses vara medlem i hinduismens heliga treenighet tillsammans med Shiva och Brahma. Han är vaishnaismens viktigaste Gud, den största hinduiska sekten. Garuda är en fågelvarelse från hinduisk mytologi som har en blandning av örn och mänskliga egenskaper. Garuda Wisnu Kencana staty omgiven av mer än 60 hektar kulturpark.

Båda projekten initieras av Garuda Wisnu Kencana Foundation med visionen att bli landmärket för Balis världsberömda turistmål. GWK erbjuder nu ett antal anläggningar som är idealiska för olika typer av evenemang både lokala och internationella.

Det kommersiella komplexet matar och underhåller Garuda Wisnu Kencanas besökare ett sådant högsta markområde på Wisnu Plaza, kulinarisk och shoppingstig på Street Theatre, huvudplatsen Lotus Pond, traditionell balinesisk prestanda på Amfiteater, Indraloka Garden, Tirta Agung där urvalet av Vishnu's hand ligger här, liksom Boutique & Souvenir butiker som har helt satt. Besökare kan också dela sitt minnesvärda ögonblick med balinesisk traditionell outfit i GWK Photo Studio. GWK kan vara utmanande område att täcka. Om du inte har tillräckligt med tid eller energi för att gå runt, ta en "Segway" framåt tvåhjulsfordon och försök glida runt i området. Den natursköna restaurangen Jendela Bali är öppen för affärer och erbjuder äkta balinesisk mat och daglig underhållning, medan en ny extra restaurang, The Beranda, serverar en allt-du-kan-äta-buffé med utsikt över Jimbaran Bay.

Ta dig dit

Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park ligger i Ungasan, Badung Regency eller cirka 10-15 minuters bilresa från Balis internationella flygplats Ngurah Rai, 25 minuters bilresa från Kuta. En pendelbuss tur och retur avgår från Denpasar City till en kostnad av 3 500 IDR för en resa. Ett besök i Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park kan ordnas med en lokal resebyrå eller ditt hotell. Öppet dagligen från 08:00 till 22:00.

At the bottom of a lush river valley running through the little town of Tampaksiring just northeast of Ubud, lies one of Bali's largest ancient temple complexes, the Candi Gunung Kawi. Comprising a collection of ancient 'Candi' or shrine reliefs carved directly into the face of a rock cliff, this is definitely one of the most stunningly unique archeological sites besides being an important sacred place for the Balinese.

Gunung Kawi was also on the 44th US President Obama's itinerary when he and his family holidayed in Bali in late June 2017.

Overlooking the sacred Pakerisan River, which also flows by the Tirta Empul sacred Water Temple a kilometer up north, the main complex consists of 10 shrines – memorials cut out of the rock cliff face in imitation of actual buildings. They stand in awe-inspiring 8m-high sheltered niches cut into the sheer cliff face.They take their general form from the free-standing ancient temples or Candis of East Java, which show very similar architectural forms and decorations. There are four shrines on the west side and another five on the eastern side of the river, while to the south across the valley hides another.Evidences suggest that these Candis were probably once protected between two massive rock-hewn cloisters.

In their shape, the candis resemble small buildings surmounted by massive three-tiered roofs bearing nine stylized lingam-yoni fertility symbols. Each candi actually looks like a doorway, carved in relief, but going nowhere. Instead, there is a small chamber beneath the candi, accessed by a sloping shaft from the front, in which a stone plaque (peripih) with nine holes containing symbolic offerings of food and metal objects, representing the necessities of earthly existence, were placed.

Small stone caves that actually serve as meditation sites complement the shrines, where Buddhist monks used to sit and contemplate. Indeed, Balinese history has shown that the two religions coexisted and sometimes fused in harmony. Across the river and beside the first rock shrine complex is the functional temple courtyard that the locals essentially refer to as Pura Gunung Kawi. Inside are what you would commonly find in any other Balinese temple courtyard, complete with various shrines surrounding the temple's main grand pavilion or 'bale'.

To reach the temple from the main Tampaksiring highway, be prepared to descend hundreds of steps before you reach the temple complex. As with any other temple visit in Bali, and especially to temples held sacred, proper attire consisting of a sarong cloth with a sash around the waist is required for all visitors, while women during their periods are not permitted entry into the Gunung Kawi Temple complex. The sash and sarong are available for rent at the ticket purchase booth before the stairs down to the valley. During the 'piodalan' temple anniversary every year the temple is beautifully decorated following the Purnama Katiga or 'third full moon' on the Balinese calendar, allowing for a most festive and exotic setting for photographs.

Dedicated to the kings from centuries past, the complex radiates a certain mystical atmosphere of ancient legends and long lost tales of forgotten Balinese kings.Legends relate that the whole group of memorials was carved out of the rock face in one hard-working night by the mighty fingernails of KeboIwa, a renowned military commander in ancient Balinese Kingdom who possessed supernatural powers.

The candis of Gunung Kawi are believed to have been constructed in the 11th century (1080 AD) by King Anak Wungsu in honor of his father, the great Balinese ruler Udayana and the Warmadewa Dynasty. According to history, the monuments on the eastern bank are dedicated to King Udayana, Queen Mahendradatta and their sons Airlangga, AnakWungsu and Marakata. When AnakWungsu ruled Bali, Airlangga ruled eastern Java. In history, Airlangga was known as the legendary king of the kingdom of Singosari, whose remnants can still be seen not far from Surabaya. 

The four monuments on the western side are, by this theory, are dedicated to Anak Wungsu's chief concubines. Another theory has it that the whole complex is dedicated to Anak Wungsu, his wives and concubines while, in the case of the remote 10thcandi, to a royal minister.

 

Getting Here

The temple complex is easily accessed, only a few hundred meters east from Jalan Raya Tampaksiring main route, from where you continue down on foot to a paved walkway that is lined with art shops and small local warungs. Along a further 300 steps towards the river, lush paddy terraces and gorgeously green valleys blend to transport you back in time away from modernity. Where the stairs end, proceed through a stone archway with small pillars each holding an earthen vase filled with holy water, which you sprinkle on yourself before entering the complex.

Rising majestically on the western slopes of Mount Agung, and referred to as the Mother Temple of Hindu Bali, is Pura Besakih, or the Besakih temple, covering a vast area that offers breathtaking mountain scenery surrounding this beautiful and artistic temple complex.

Facing Mt. Agung’s highest peak, believed to be the abode of the gods, and located at an altitude of 900 meters, Pura Besakih is built in the village of Besakih, in the eastern part of Bali. The name Besakih comes from the word “Basuki”, derived from the word “Wasuki” which means Salvation in the classical Sanskrit language. Whereas, in the Samudramanthana mythology, the same name “Besuki” in fact refers to the Dragon-God “Naga Besukian”, who inhabited Gunung Agung, the main volcano in Bali.

This grand temple complex has been revered as a holy place since ancient times. The first recorded mention of its existence comes from an inscription dating back to 1007 AD. It is known that since the 15th century Besakih was regarded as the central temple of Hinduism in Bali.

Pura Penataran Agung, or the “Great Temple of State” is the center of the temple complex and is is Bali’s main place of worship, a complex comprising twenty-two temples on six rising terraces set on parallel ridges.

This complex expresses the essential belief of the Balinese known as Tri Hita Kirana, meaning that life on earth must be lived and kept in balance and harmony between man and God, man and society and his fellow human beings, and man and his natural environment.

During a full moon, Balinese and pilgrims throng to the temple. During the festival of Odalan, the temple is most elaborately decorated. Odalan is celebrated on every 210th day.

 

Get There

This temple is very easy to find, as most people know it as one of the best tourist destinations in Bali. There are several starting points that you may choose to take:

From Kuta, it takes about 2 hours to get here. Simply head east towards Sanur, then follow the fast coastal route, which is connected to the Kusamba Bypass at Tohpati. Then go north until you find the road sign to Besakih, and after a few kilometers from this point turn north. If you are staying around Klungkung, then Besakih is about 20 kilometers north of the town center. Take the Bemo – the small public buses– that will take you to Besakih from Klungkung. Bemos are most frequent in the morning, and it is recommended to change bemos at Rendang, halfway between Klungkung and Besakih.

If you come from the north of Denpasar, it is about 25 kilometers to reach Besakih by car. However, if you stay in the eastern part of Bali such as at Tirta Gangga, Candidasa, or Amed, you can reach Besakih by taking a smaller inland road from Karangasem. This will lead you to the crossroad between Besakih and Klungkung at Rendang, and then turn right to reach Besakih Temple.During your hour-long drive, you will enjoy beautiful views traveling through forests, villages, and rice fields. If you are willing to make a short stop in one of the villages, you will see how the locals live, and learn a bit about their unique houses.

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