|High Flyers Bali|
Tanah Lot is also famous for its magnificent sunsets. Every dusk tourists flock to witness the fantastic starkly-outlined temple against the glowing horizon. The best view is from the cliff overlooking the temple.
The city of Tabanan is a modern, prosperous home to a substantial ethic Chinese community. It is the birthplace of Mario, a dancer who revolutionized Balinese dance in the 30's with his kebyar and kebyar trompong dances, and commemorated by The Mario Theatre.
Southwest of Tabanan is Kerambitan. The enchantment of this place lies in the fact that it is still to be affected by modernization. It is particularly noted for the beautiful old buildings and low large palaces.
The Tabanan highlands mostly consist of volcanic areas, with Mount Batukaru (2275m), Mount Sanghyang (2093m), and Lake Bratan, one of three lakes that make up the Bedugul resort area. The area has the last remaining tropical forest on the island. The tranquil botanical gardens of Kebun Raya Eka Karya in Bedugul are home to 650 species of trees and a unique collection of ferns and orchids.
The Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club is an excellent base to explore Bedugul and the surrounding areas. Bedugul is a small lakeside village over looking Lake Bratan. It gets quite chilly in Bedugul so bring a sweater. It can get so cool at night that every room in Bedugul is reputed to have a fireplace.
At Lake Bratan you can hire motorboats and canoes. Parasailing and water skiing are also available. If you paddle across the lake you can see some caves used by the Japanese in WWII. From there you can also follow a path to the top of Mt. Catur, which has an old temple at the top Watch out for the primate residents!
The Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya) are located near Bedugul-look for a huge corn cob which marks the road leading to an entrance to the gardens. Encompassing 120 hectares the gardens were established in 1959 as a branch of the Bogor National Botanical Gardens. There is a large collection of native plants and over 500 specimens of orchids.
Because of the climate, the area surrounding Bedugul is particularly suitable for growing all types of produce. The Bali Berry Farm which produces most of the strawberries on the island is located here. Many flowers such as chrysanthemums and hydrangeas are cultivated here and the Bedugul market is renowned for it's variety of tasty fresh fruit and vegetables. The market is also famous for potted plants, particularly orchids. If you continue further on the road to Munduk, you will drive through clove and coffee plantations.
While in the area you can also visit the Pura Ulun Danu in the town of Candi Kuning, a Muslim town a few kilometers north of Bedugul. This lakeside temple is a Hindu/Buddhist temple dedicated to Dewi Danau, the goddess of water. The gardens are beautifully landscaped with an abundance of colorful flowers.
Lake Bratan offers water skiing and boating, but is better known for the Pura Ulun Danu temple. Built on the shores of the lake at Candikuning, it has eleven tiers of thatched-roof meru as well as an adjoining Buddhist stupa.
In the morning, when the air is still clear and free of clouds, the drive leading south provides superb panoramic views over Kintamani, Mount Agung to the east, and down to the sea in the south.
At the foot of Mount Batukaru, to the southwest of Bedugul, is another Balinese marvel called the Pura Luhur temple. The temple has a 2 metre meru to Maha Dewa, Mount Batukaru's guardian spirit. Grandly located among the lofty trees of the rain forest, this is a unique encounter between man and nature. The road to the temple branches out at Pacung, where a restaurant overlooks the rice paddies.
Also perched on the slopes of Mount Batukaru is the small village of Jatiluwih. Its name means "truly marvelous" and the view truly is, encompassing a huge region of southern Bali. A hot spring, Yeh Panes, is located on the road northwards from Tabanan.
The small village of Blayu is located midway down the plain, on a parallel side road running from Pacung to Bedugul. Here, traditional songket sarongs are woven. Used for ceremonial use at festivals, they are woven with intricate gold thread.
Marga, just north of Blayu, has an unusual monument to Lt. Col. I Gusti Ngurah Rai, who in 1946 led his army in a futile battle against the Dutch forces. The Balinese fighters refused to surrender and all 94 were killed.
To the south of Blayu and Marga is the Bukit Sari monkey forest. The monkeys here have been known to steal visitors hats and glasses and the place is cleary geared for tourist.
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