A plethora of some stunning places to visit in Candidasa make this part of Bali a must-visit location. Set in the Eastern part of the island, Candidasa is a treasure trove of ancient villages, mystical temples, along with the rugged landscapes of rocky hills and the azure blue sea around it.
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Candidasa has earned the title of “Pearl of Bali”, as this charming little town never ceases to impress you with places like Lotus Lagoon, Tirta Gangga Water Palace, and Kerta Gosa Hall of Justice. Some of the most pristine beaches also surround Candidasa.
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Here are some of the best places to visit in Candidasa:
Lotus Lagoon in Candi Dasa has umpteen number of admirers from all over the world since it displays an amazing sight with an expansive water body brimming with pink and fuchsia lotuses and there is a small garden with statues in the centre. Tourists as well as locals come to enjoy the sight of Lotus Lagoon every day. While you come across the road, you will be able to see a temple on a higher elevation and the temple is the reason why the area got its name.
There are two shrines situated amidst the densely forested hillside. Once you reach there, you will be getting a better sight of the lagoon as well as the sea and the beach which together make Candi Dasa look so pleasant and glamorous.
Highlights: The lagoon will always be beautiful with a number of lotus in it and people who would love to spend some time to relax with peaceful environment, this is the best choice.
Location: Jl. Raya Candidasa, Sengkidu, Manggis, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia
Feast your eyes with the jaw-dropping views of Candidasa town from the peak of Gunungan hill that is located in the eastern quarter of Bali. From this point, you can gape the exotic scenery of the town where the sea meets the shore. Another striking feature of this place is that it is known for snorkeling and travelers from both near and far come here to explore the bounties of water.
If you are looking for unexploited yet serene beauty then this is the ideal place for you. Make sure that you plan a visit in the months from June to September as the views of the valley are embraced by the plantations that are all covered by the coconut trails.
Highlights: Scenic views, ideal for snorkeling, farming terrains encircled by coconut groves.
Location: Nyuh Tebel, Karangasem, Karangasem Regency, Bali 80811, Indonesia
Timings: 24 hours open
Entrance Fees: None
Lempuyang Temple is also known as Pura Lempuyang Luhur and it is one of the oldest and most visited temples in Bali. The majority of Hindu population in Bali comes to this temple, thus it has gained much popularity among the tourists coming to Bali. The main temple that is the mother temple lies about 1175 meters above sea level on the peak of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali. One can reach the heights via a steep staircase that would posit some real life adventure and you will be challenged to count 1700 steps watching the irresistible attractions in the surrounding.
The hordes of long-tailed macaques will surprise your visions. The ardent lovers of hiking and trekking will fall for the matured blend of mountains and the serenity bowing its head before you. You can ask for motorcycle taxis of the locals to take you till the asphalt ends at the Penataran Agung and then again you have to climb other thousand steps that would lead you to immerse in extraordinary sights.
Highlights: However, there is a strong belief among the villagers that you have to maintain a respectful behavior and you should not complain about the challenging way up. If you climb up the steps with a heavy heart, you cannot reach the top but lose your stamina in between. The calm and cherish-able serenity at the top would let you bewitched for long and the small temple owns rather a heightened mysticism.
Location: On top of Mt. Lempuyang, Indonesia
A hidden beach in Indonesia which is the supreme attraction now is Pasir Putih Beach with several nicknames like White Sand Beach, Virgin Beach, and Hidden Beach etc. The 400 meters wide white sandy shore is a shocking surprise for the first time visitors. The shore is made absolutely beautiful with the presence of several tall palm trees that sway synchronically with the wind blows. It is nestled amidst a small village called Perasi, quite far off from the main city.
A lot of tourists from different parts of the world come to spend a quality time at the beach, alone or with their family. Tourists arrive here will stay at the guest houses and hotels located along the coast of Ujung or in Candi Dasa. The secluded beach is extended between two hills between Bugbug and Perasi. The beach is lying about 4.5 km east of the main hub of Candi Dasa.
Highlights: Since the beach is nestled amidst two hills and lush greenery, it is kept hidden from the outer side of the village and that is the supreme peculiarity of the beach. Also, there are a lot of cafes and small restaurants arranged in a line on the beach which serves tasty seafood delicacies and other items familiar on the island.
Activities: Swimming and snorkelling are two important activities people love to do at the beach. Boating is also an overwhelming activity. Those who love to have a tropical relaxation can find the beach as the best. There are spaces just to lie down and relax looking at the water cuddling the shore. You can enjoy playing football or volleyball on the sand or do sunbathing as well.
Location: From Kuta, it would take around 2.5 hours to reach the beach. Drive east from Kuta toward Sanur. From Sanur, you can connect to the Kusamba Bypass and continue driving on the coastal road along Candi Dasa and when you reach Perasi Village, you can seek help from the village to reach the beach.
Karangasem Regency in Bali is filled with many historical sites. Ujung Water Palace is one among them which was formerly a palace and now it is called Ujung Park or Sukasada Park. From Amlapura, it lies about 5 km away. The palace houses three large pools. In the middle of the pools, there is Gili Bale, the main building. It is connected to the edge of the pool by the bridge.
The palace was built by the King of Karangasem, Gusti Bagus Jelantik. The ownership of the palace was given to Karangasem Royal family. The construction of the building was finished in 1909 under the guidance of a famous architecture from China and the Dutch. It had faced nearly devastation by showers of hot ash in 1963 which was followed by the eruption of Mount Agung and an earthquake in 1979. Restoration of the building happened afterwards and retained its splendour and now it is one of the most features attractions in Bali for locals and visitors.
Highlights: The palace displays a great combination of Balinese and European architecture so well. The three large ponds enhance the beauty of the building to a greater height and they are connected to each by long bridges and pathways.
Timings: 07:00 am to 07:00 pm
Location: Desa Ujung, Jalan Raya Taman, Tumbu, Karangasem, Tumbu, Kec. Karangasem, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80811, Indonesia.
A village with pure legacy of thousands of years in the regency of Karangasem in Bali is Tenganan Pegringsingan. Before coming to the knowledge of outer world it was known by anthropologists as one of the most important secluded societies on the archipelago. Since 1970s, the village has been going through some changes and variations and developments. From then on, tourism started imposing its clutches on the soil of this village.
What attracts people toward this village is its unique culture and preserved customs. Bali Aga is the predominant culture here which holds the original traditions and rules of the ancient people intact and the atypical architecture was also a talk of the town.
Highlights: The village’s specialties lie in its peculiar music that is Gamelan selunding music and geringsing double ikat textiles. The legends about the village say that the inhabitants of this village were selected by Indra, the god of war to administer a territory which to be a microcosm of the world and they were suggested to keep the territory pure and clean. Thus the concept of territorial, spiritual and bodily purity has a lot of significance in the village.
The Bali Aga people are believed to be originated or descended from the pre-Majapahit kingdom of Pegeng. The rules are very stringent for those who live in the village and only those who have born in the village are allowed to continue staying there. Anyone who marries outside the village should leave the territory and go out of the community. The houses in the village are arranged on both the sides of the north to the south concourse with the doors of them opening onto it.
The narrow entrances of each house allow only one person to enter or come out of the house at one time. There are two temples on both the entrances of the village.
Rituals: Almost all the rituals in the village are closely similar to the main ones Balinese culture follows but one of the unique features is the wide use of geringsing. People believe that geringsing is capable of keeping impurities and any kind of danger out of their village as well it protects humans from adverse influences during the transition from one phase of life to the next.
Location: Jalan Raya Nyuh Tebel, Tenganan, Manggis, Indonesia. It is located northwest of Candidasa about 5 km away from the main road.
One of the most prominent temples in Bali is Goa Lawah which is a huge complex constructed around a cave. The cave houses hordes of bats and thus its name flourished as Bat Cave. The temple’s birth was claimed to be in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan. He was an early priest who was the reason for Hinduism to come to the land of Indonesia, experts say. Located in the village of Pesinggahan Dawan, the temple is the major landmark to be visited on your tour of Candi Dasa or Bali.
The story of the temple says a prince from the Mengwi kingdom had chosen the place to hide away from the enemies and eventually reached at Besakih Temple on the foot of Mount Agung. The story was not proved right or wrong till date. The locals and the temple community say that the cave leads to three locations viz. Mount Agung, Talibeng and Tangkid Bangbang and various accounts declare that when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, ash came out of Goa Lawah.
Highlights: It is a large complex situated on the north side of the Jalan Raya Goa Lawah main road. Those who come to visit Bali would take a short break to visit the temple for prayers. At the entrance of the temple, you can see two large banyan trees and as you enter the temple, you will come to see a central courtyard. Three bale pavilions at the three corners of the complex. Also, there are ages-old shrines that holds nectar bats and a Shivaite shrine which was there for thousands of years. It was once a place for meditation for many sages.
Location: Jalan Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan Village, Dawan District, Klungkung
A former royal palace in eastern Bali is Tirta Gangga which is located about 5 km from Karangasem near Abang. The fame of the palace is the contribution of its water palace owned by Karangasem Royal. It was designed and constructed in 1948 by the last Raja of Karangasem. The water gardens are the most important contribution of the king and the island people were surprised to see the Raja working with the labourers to help the construction of the garden. The prime feature of the gardens of the water palace is the atypical blend of Balinese and Chinese architecture.
Highlights: The grounds of the water garden are made of three separate complexes and each has ponds and beautiful sculptures. The lowest complex possesses two large ponds and a water tower while the second complex consists of water pools. The last or the third one has the main complex which is the home of the former Raja. Now, there are restaurants and four bungalow units for rent in this complex.
You can see an underground pipe system that goes to the upper swimming pool. It emerges out through the mouth of a demon statue and flows into a lower level pool. From there, it flows into some ponds and into the rice fields that are creating the border of the gardens. The water is always considered holy and used for religious purposes also. There are some ceremonies held during spring led by the local temple priests.
Timings: It will be open from 08:00 am to 11:00 pm on all days.
Location: Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia. It is located about 6 km away from the town of Amalpura and at a distance of 83 km from Denpasar.
A famous volcano in Bali is Mount Agung or Gunung Agung which is the highest point on the island. This is a stratovolcano influencing the climate of the surrounding area. Agung’s west part is lush green and rich in biodiversity since the rainfall is more there. The east part which is unreachable because of the mount is dry and barren.
The people of Bali strictly believe that Mount Agung is the replica of Mount Meru which is considered to the central axis of the universe. There is a legend floating around the island that this mount is a fragment of Meru brought by the first Hindus of Bali. Pura Besakih is the famous temple in Bali located high on the slopes of Agung.
Highlights: Eruptions happened several times in the past and the last one was in 1963-1963 but it still seems active with deep crate that emits smoke and ash occasionally. The tall conical mountain appears to be a perfect picture. From the top of the mountain, one can see the peak of Mount Rinjani located on the island of Lombok though clouds are intermittently present between them. To reach up to the mountain, you have two routes.
One from Pura Besakih to the higher peak in the west at around 1100 meters and the second one from Pura Pasar Agung near Selat leads to the south part but it took almost five hours to reach the top. A path that connects the southern and the western ascent will be open during the dry season. The climb from Besakih is quite difficult and the most important trek available here is the sunrise trek that starts around 10:00 pm at night and reach the top to witness the holy fresh rays of sun from the east.
Elevation: 3031 meters
Besakih temple, the mother temple of Bali for more than 1000 years is on a great height of 1000 meters above the sea level on the slopes of the famous mount in Bali that is Mount Agung. A unique temple complex that showcases brilliant architectural as well as artistic aspects includes 86 temples and the main temple is Pura Penataran Agung and 18 others.
The biggest temple on the island is Besakih that is peacefully flanked by extensive rice fields, mountains, streams, valleys and hills. Balinese people believe that the visit to Besakih is an irreplaceable act of pilgrimage. Since the location of the temple is a mountain, its features are not usual yet immaculate. As you proceed to the mountain through the stairs, you will reach the different tiers of temples depending on the types and functions.
Structure of the temple: Besakih temple features three temples for the Hindu trinity. Pura Penataran Agung is dedicated for Shiva while Pura Kiduling Kreteg on the right side is for Brahma. Pura Batu Madeg is for Vishnu and located on the left. Pura Besakih has a lot of temples inside but many of the temples’ courtyards are for the pilgrims mostly.
The largest among the temples in the complex is Pura Penataran Agung has multiple areas representing seven layers of the universe. Pura Batu Madeg displays a central stone that indicates the area where the temple is sitting was already a holy place since ancient times.
History of the temple: There is a legend saying that in the 8th century, a Hindustani monk got revelations in order to build homes for people during his isolation. Thus, the construction of a shelter started and during the process, many of his followers died due to illness as well as accidents.
When the construction was over, the structure got the name Basuki, the dragon deity inhabited Mount Agung and as time passed, the name was transformed into Besakih. The other shrines in the complex were built gradually and after years, Pura Besakih was proclaimed as the main temple during the conquering of Bali by the Majapahit Empire in the year of 1343.
Highlights: Pura Besakih is the only one in Bali which is open to all equally from any caste group. It is because of the nature acting as the prime center for all ceremonies to be conducted. The temple was nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1995 but yet not conferred upon it. Other major feature of the temple is that it conducts around 70 ceremonies or celebration each year.
Timings: The best time to visit the temple is early morning and in the evening. You can get a guide to visit and explore the temple complex by paying a certain amount. Also you have to wear sarongs and sashes before you enter the temple. You can get them for rent outside the complex.
Location: Desa Besakih, Rendang, Besakih, Rendang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80863, Indonesia.
Taman Gili Kerta Gosa is the official name of an important historical landmark in Candi Dasa that is Kerta Gosa. It is located in the town of Klungkung and it forms the part of the famous Puri Semarapura royal palace. The building consists of a grand hall or which is locally known as Bale Kerta Gosa.
The ceilings of the hall are decorated with Kamasan or wayang style paintings and the other structure is the Bale Kambang or the floating hall.
Its construction dates back to 1686 and it was commissioned by Dewa Agung Jambe. He was the then ruler of the Klungkung kongdome. Since the construction, the complex was subjected for restorations and renovations and the last one was done in 2014.
Currently this is one of the most visited and primary historical sites on the island. Public are always welcome to visit the site and know more about the ancient architectural influences Indonesia had.
Highlights: The building was almost demolished by the Dutch in the early 20th century but the Hall of Justice remained intact and preserved itself from the attacks to attract many tourists. The complex shows the typical Balinese architectural style. The wayang style paintings are the most appreciated attraction in the complex.
The paintings portray the traditional Balinese figures. Puri Kerta Gosa is the famous painting placed in the complex. There are two bridges that lead to the floating hall and they are adorned with an array of statues that symbolize the characters from epics.
Timing: 07:00 am to 06:00 pm on all days
Entry fee: 12000 IDR per person
Location: Jalan Puputan Klungkung, Semarapura, Klungkung, Indonesia, Bali
A ceremony indigenous for Tenganan village in Bali is Mekare-Kare which if famously known as Perang Pandan. It is an offering ceremony that is for paying tribute to Indra or god of war and the ancestors of the village. This annual festival is held in June. The Tenganan village belongs to one of the old villages of Bali which are called Bali Aga village and it is surrounded by hills and boasts its sturdy structure that resembles the shape of a fortress with only four entries.
The peculiarity of this village is that it has written rules called awig-awig and the natives believe Indra is the god of all gods. The story of the festival starts from the ages of gods. It is believed to be the commemoration day of Indra’s war with Maya Denawa.
Highlights: The festival will last for 2 days and happens only during Sasih Kalima that falls on the fifth month of the calendar of Bali and it is conducted as a part of the famous ceremony called Sasih Sembah, the largest religious fest in the village. It happens in the middle of the village hall. It starts at 02:00 pm which invites all the citizens in traditional clothes and men are supposed to partake in Pandanus war, a fighting ceremony on a stage of 5*5 meters square.
Before the start of Perang Pandan, there will be a ritual for the surrounding villages to seek for salvation and then a ritual to drink palm wine. Then the attractive Pandan war starts. The happy fight will last three hours or more and everyone would be happy to take part in it.
Best time to go: The festival happens in June and if you go to Bali during that time, you can witness the rare festival in its purity and authenticity.
A cottage style factory situated near to Jasri Beach is Charlie Chocolate Factory, a paradise of good chocolate. It was the concept of a US expat, Charlie came into existence as a beautiful chocolate factory. He started with some natural products like sunblock from cocoa, soaps made of coconut oil and cinnamon-orange, skin gel from sea-weed and of course chocolates. Another important fact about the factory is that most of the staff includes young women who are living near to the factory.
They come to work with their kids. Here, they use the naturally collected cocoa beans from the island and cold pressed to make them healthy, dark chocolate. You will get chocolates with 85% of cocoa as well. Narkabo is the label in which chocolates are sold which does not have many varieties but chocolates with 69% or 85% cocoa in them.
Highlights: There are currently 12 people from the village employed here. The products are distributed at Bali Buddha, Zula, Sari Organic etc. Also, there is a soap factory in the premises and the soaps are coming to the market under the name Island Mystik. The chocolate factory is a calm, serene spot where people would love to come and spend some quality time. Kids will definitely enjoy being here.
Location: The factory is located north of Candidasa, about 15 minutes away. It is on the banks of Jasri Beach. The cottage style factory is nestled amidst several coconut trees and offers the best view of the island.