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Travel Guide > Asia > Indonesia > Bali > South Bali

South Bali Sights & Attractions

  
 
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The South Bali region is asscoiated most with shopping, beaches and partying. It is far from bereft of interesting attractions though.

Kuta Beach

Famed Kuta Beach. This 5 km stetch of sand is one of key reasons why Bali has become such a hot tourist destination. With the inevitable crowds nowadays some of the associated romance has gone but it is still a great experience, especially at sunset. There are obvious access points throughout Kuta, Legian and Seminyak but none more popular than the long beachfront road in front of the Hard Rock Hotel (Jalan Pantai Kuta). In Legian, both Jalan Padma and Jalan Double Six run perpendicular to the beach and provide popular access. As you move north toward Seminyak, the beach becomes noticeably quieter and more laid back and the stretch at Petitenget is particularly recommended for those seeking to escape large crowds. The best way in for this northern stretch is via the Petitenget temple car park (Rp 3,000) located on Jalan Petitenget opposite the entrance to the Sentosa villa resort.

Bali Bomb Memorial

The Bali Bomb Memorial is a notable landmark on bustling Jalan Legian in Kuta at the site of the old Paddy's Bar and opposite the former site of the Sari Club (still an empty space next to the Billabong shop). A memorial to the 202 people killed in the dreadful Kuta bombings on 12th October 2002. Please be calm and silent while paying your respects. Every year on the annivesary of the atrocity, the local Balinese community hold a ceremony here to honour the dead and wounded.

Temples

Two of Bali's nine key directional temples lie in the south region and both are popular attractions for visitors. Either can be easily reached by visitors with independent transport and both are offered as headline atractions in organised tours. Please remember that (as with all temples in Bali), an appropriate sarong and sash must be worn when entering. You can either bring these with you or rent them for a nominal fee at the temple entrance.

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot Temple (Pura Tanah Lot) is located up the west coast from the main Kuta/Legian/Seminyak connurbation and takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to reach by car. The temple is located on a rock just offshore and is said to be the work of revered 15th century Hindu priest Nirartha. This is an extremely popular tourist destination and the whole area is often very busy indeed, especially in the late afternoons, pre-sunset. The area between the car park (Rp 5,000 per vehicle) and the beach adjacent to the temple is a maze of souvenir shops selling just about every Balinese trinket imaginable. Once you have fought your way through the souvenir vendors to the beach (entrance Rp 10,000), you will see the magnificent temple perched on a rock just a few metres offshore. There is a footpath to the raised cliff area just to the south from where the views of the temple and the sunset behind it are outstanding. Photo-opportunities abound.

Uluwatu Temple

In the completely opposite direction at the southwestern most tip of the Bukit Peninsula sits Uluwatu Temple (Pura Uluwatu). The location of the temple is truly spectacular perched 75 metres up on a limestone cliff above crashing waves. There are more steep headlands on either side and sunsets over Uluwatu are a sight to behold. Though a small temple was claimed to have existed beforehand, the structure was significantly expanded by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan in the 11th Century. Another sage from East Java, Dang Hyang Nirartha is credited for constructing the padmasana shrines and is claimed to have attained Moksha here. You are free to walk around the temple grounds but the central courts can only be entered during special rituals. The temple is inhabited by large number of monkeys, who are extremely adept at snatching visitors' belonging, including bags, cameras and eyeglasses. Keep a very close grip on all your belongings and stow away your eyeglasses if at all possible. If you do have something taken, the monkeys can usually be induced to exchange it for some fruit. Needless to say, rewarding the monkeys like this only encourages them to steal more. Locals and even the temple priests will be happy to do the job for you.

A trip to Uluwatu combines well with seeing the relatively quiet white sand beaches on the west coast of the Bukit Peninsula. Since the degradation of Dreamland beach by the huge Pecatu Graha development, the most popular and easiest to reach is Padang-Padang. This lies about 4 km north of Uluwatu temple and is accessed from the obvious bridge on the main road (you cannot miss this). The beach is in an attractive cove and is quite deep at low tide. The waves are big here and Padang-Padang is popular with surfers. Only the strongest swimmers should consider entering the water.

Others

  • Bukit Peninsula - the rugged southernmost part of Bali which is home to the stunningly located clifftop temple at Uluwatu
  • Canggu - black sand beaches, surfing and rolling rice paddies
  • Nusa Dua - an enclave of high-end resorts
  • Tanah Lot - one of Bali's important directional temples and a world renowned golf course, the sunset here is to die for




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