Travelling around Bali affords some spectacular scenic views and panoramas. Of course not everybody’s tastes are the same. Some like beaches, others mountains whilst some prefer the green textures of rice paddies clinging to hillsides.
The delightful thing about Bali [and in fact, the rest of Indonesia] is that wherever you go, your senses are tantalised by sheer beauty. After nearly four decades wandering the archipelago of Indonesia it can be truly said that I have seen some spectacular scenery.
But, I am always touched by the panoramas that are afforded us all on the island of Bali. If I was asked to choose a few that really left me speechless then I would have a hard time sorting them all out. However, I narrowed it down to six of my favourite spots on the island.
Located in the region of Tabanan, Jataluwih is the most striking examples of terraced agriculture in the world. The road north from Tabanan to Jataluwih takes you through some of the most famous rice-paddy views on the island. There are expansive panoramas over the gently sloping terraces and it truly is surreal. It is, without a doubt, Bali’s oldest and most complex example of the Subak rice terrace system of agriculture.
Located in vary convenient places along the road are some great, small restorans to sit and view the splendour. After you have completes all your photography of this stunning place then I would recommend sitting in the Jataluwih Café and enjoying a cold one whilst watching the sunset.
On the road north to Pupuan is a small place called Belimbing and although you really can’t see the village from the road you will see an isolated warung that is a great place for a rest stop.
When you walk through the back of the shop to the rear of the premises there are some shaded wooden tables and chairs. It’s not the delightful setting or the lovely gardens that are appealing but rather the fabulous views of terraced ricefields at the rear of the place.
What I found most intriguing about this place are the massive fruit bats that hang from a small tree in the courtyard. I walked right past them without even noticing. Candika found another nice thing about this place and that is they sell a fabulous collection of packaged spices and nuts. Naturally, she bought quite a few!
Gunung Kawi is located about a kilometre north of Tampaksiring and is one of the oldest religious places in Bali and contains candi or tombs built to honour an 11th Century king.
The entire site sits in a small river valley (the Pakerisan River) and the hike down a set of steps affords some spectacular views as you pass local vendors strategically located as you descend (the reasons become obvious as you ascend the steps!). The scenery is delightful with rice fields in constant view and the further you descend the temple complex comes into sight.
On the way down the 300 or so steps, you reach a stone archway that has been carved out of the rock. You will be instructed to stop, bless yourself with holy water from the pot and continue. There are 4 Queen’s Tombs which maybe for King Anak Wungsu’s attendants. These are complimented by 5 Royal Tombs across the narrow river, which are thought to be for the king himself and his 4 favourite wives.
On the road north of Pupuan I came across a great view. As you enter the Kapbupaten of Buleleng along the main Antosari to Mayong road there is a small village, Kekeran. Just off the side of the road you will notice a small one table warung hastily put together with a few old planks and sheets of iron roofing. It is owned by a cheery fellow, Nyoman. His wife is quick to sell you freshly cut Papaya, Mango, and Watermelon and the most delicious Krupuk Pisang, or sliced and fried banana.
But it is the view from the mountain road that is the attraction. Below in the valley expanse, a river winds its way through there, the terraced padi fields symetrically line the faces of the mountains and fields, emerald green and the sheaths of padi sway in the light breeze.
From the warung you can see as far as ten kilometres and even the road you were just on to get to this point. Nyoman was telling me he has had this spot for five years and delights in meeting all the visitors who come to his plot of soil. It is a great place to stop for a rest, satiate your thirst and imbibe in some fresh fruit whilst being spoilt by the beauty before your eyes.
Abang & Ngis
One place on the east coast of the island that is seldom seem by regular tourists that, in my opinion, is the most stunning and beautiful panoramic view of rice fields on the whole island is a place called Ngis, a small village barely visible from the main road.
If you travel to Amlapura on the east coast then head north from there to the village of Abang, just in between these two places you will come to a sharp bend in the road and here you will find the heavenly view. There are small gravel places to park off the side of the road. The best time to really appreciate this stunning panorama is late afternoon and an ideal time for taking photos.
Danau Buyan & Danau Tamblingan
Located north of Danau Bratan about five kilometres on the road to Singaraja there is a lookout point where the valley below looks into dense jungle.
Here you will find a troop of monkeys playing on the road and some sitting on the road barrier waiting to be fed by passing travellers. The monkeys are not so friendly so be careful. However, opposite there is a road that veers sharply to the left. Follow this road for about five kilometres and before too long the vast northern lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan come into view.
There are several parking areas with wooden tables and benches along this road. The ideal place to view this spectacular panorama is roughly half way between the two lakes. There are literally dozens of vantage points for photographers and I suggest you take a slow walk along the road and take as many photos as possible. This is one sight you will never forget.
Well, there is the concise version of my six favourite scenic places on the island of Bali. What are yours? And when are you going to Bali?