Indonesia > Bali
We do a quick one-day tour of northern Bali, while en route to Komodo National Park (500km to the east, near Flores island). Renting a car, we make quick stops at the icons of Bali — Pura Besakih or Mother Temple of Besakih, Kintamani with its picturesque (but dangerous) volcano Batur and lake, and finally sunset at the ever-romantic Pura Tanah Lot.
Pura Besakih is Bali’s largest and holiest temple complex, said to be constructed as early as the 8th century. The epicentre of Balinese Hinduism, it’s a must for visitors. Set 1000m up the slope of active volcano Agung, which last erupted 1963 (killing 17,000 people), it is a very culturally pleasant place to visit. The only drawback is the existence of a horde of dodgey ‘guides’. You can engage them — some are nice and very knowledgeable, but after haggling for a reasonable price. The 1963 eruption of Agung almost destroyed the complex, but the lava flowed away from the temples at the last minute, thus enhancing the holiness of the site.
Kintamani is a very touristy spot, where people normally stop for overpriced lunches, but it has a splendid vista of the majestic Batur, another active volcano which last erupted in 2000, and its beautiful lake. The black solidified lava of this eruption can be seen from the Kintamani eateries. The whole area is actually inside a huge caldera of a much larger eruption which took place a long, long time ago.
The Pura at Tanah Lot is truly magical, but you need to be there at high tide in order to experience the illusion of a ‘floating temple’. In any case, sunset is also a much sought-after event at Tanah Lot.
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