Uluwatu Temple and the Kecak Ramayana Fire Dance.

They say that every visitor to Bali should see at least one dance and if you plan to see only one then this should be it. The combination of ancient ritual, dance, humour, drama, sunset and cliff setting makes the Kecak Ramayana Fire Dance one of the most spectacular performances imaginable. Accompanied by a choir of chanting men with it truly is a special memory that will stay with you long after you leave. You need to arrive around 5pm ( aim earlier as it gets sold out most evenings and traffic can get hectic on the way up the Bukit. Under an hour from Kuta, make your way to one of the most famed Temples on the island. There are loads of monkeys hence our local friend Suweni made the boys a scary stick to keep them at bay. Don’t take food, bananas sunglasses etc as they are well known for taking these from you. have ever if they do a sneaky cookie or something could make them drop your possessions for the treat. You need to pay around 10 000 donation to the temple for a sash and sarong which you need to return. You then can go in and explore the temple, the specially built monkey pool and walk along the tragic cliff edge where 100’s of Balinese ended their lives rather than be ruled by the Dutch many years ago. However don’t leave it too late to head to stunning amphitheatre to grab your seats. Set high on the cliff top, this is truly a moving experience with the priest blessing the performance prior to the show commencing. There was actually a storm brewing out to sea tonight so it was incredibly dramatic as the sun set and rain clouds swirled. The chanting men were mesmerising , the costumes elaborate and the white monkey Hanoman hilarious, be warned he may pick on you! my boys were absolutely fascinated with the show, with love, large knives and dancing and humour. Will Hanoman make it out of the fire alive ? that is the question ??? It is a fantastic show that lasts around 50 minutes I highly recommend it !

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Taman Nusa Cultural Park

For those of you who love a bit of history and culture,  you might enjoy the new Taman Nusa Cultural Park ( just near the Bali Safari Park)  which aims to offer comprehensive information on the cultures of Indonesia’s various ethnic groups.  You can see Indonesia in one Afternoon! It offers  comprehensive information on the cultures of Indonesia’s various ethnic groups in an attractive and interactive way, and is situated on 15 hectares of land.  Visitors are invited to explore and experience Indonesia’s journey throughout the ages beginning from the prehistory, bronze age, kingdoms, and an archipelago of Indonesian cultures. The journey continues to the early national era, independence, modern times and finally to the nation’s future. For more details check out the website.

http://www.taman-nusa.com/?page_id=1548

Taman Nusa 7

Taman Nusa 2

Taman Nusa 4

Taman Nusa 5

Taman Nusa 6

Taman Nusa Borobudur

Taman Nusa

~ The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud ~

So credit where credit is due this little guy is pretty cute, as long as he is only in 2D and on my computer screen. To say I am scared of monkeys would be a huge understatement, after several devastating traumatic events. Including being bitten ( hard, drawing blood and instilling the fear of rabies ) by an alleged pet at a dodgy villa we stayed at, having a 3 foot tall male monkey in Ulu’s try to steal my baby ( or perhaps it was the mango we were sharing still undetermined) and being deep in the Sacred Forest, 8 months pregnant and having my “friends” (yes you know who you are) and the banana seller lady (with the  big stick) think it funny to throw bunches of bananas at my feet and call all 605 monkeys in from the forest to feed off me ( or the bananas again undetermined).  I think I am quite within my rights to never want to look at a monkey again. However the novice Bali traveller may wish to visit the Sacred Monkey Forrest in Ubud. There are approximately 605 (according to the website)  long tailed macaques which live in the monkey forest being of 4 distinct troupes. Within Balinese Hinduism, monkeys represent positive and negative forces. The Balinese both loathe and revere monkeys for example the ones that that occupy sacred Balinese Hindu temple sites (like the Sacred Monkey Forest) tend to be revered and protected by the Balinese. One reason for this is that monkeys, in the form of a Barong, are believed to be capable of guarding temple sites against evil spirits. However, they are also of the belief that monkeys can be negative in nature which is reinforced when, for example, they raid rice fields or snatch items from their shops. There is a small fee to enter the forest and I recommend you do not have any items like sunglasses, water bottles, snacks or phones in your pockets or on you, as they will be taken by the monkeys. You have been warned !

Monkey Forest Road, Padangtegal Ubud.
photo Copyright © Kalle Kiander ( http://www.kiander.se )

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Taman Kupu Kupu ~ Bali Butterfly Park

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Learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and get a hands on experience with giant bugs. Taman Kupu Kupu is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Kuta depending on traffic. Its like being in Alice in Wonderland walking through the tropical gardens you will notice stunning caterpillars as the prettiest butterfly’s float around you. You can have photos with all the leafy and long legged creatures on you as well. Its approximately $30 USD for a family. You could make a day of it by going to Tanalot Temple prior to the park and also 10 minutes up the road is the Yeh Panas Hot Springs for a therapeutic soak in the special pools. Bali Butterfly Park Taman Kupu Kupu
Jalan Batukaru, Sandan Wanasari, Bali 80351, Indonesia
+62 361 814 282; 814 283

Finn’s Beach Club ~ The Bukit

283 295 275 253 246 235 280 342If you are planning a day trip then perhaps consider a drive up to the Bukit ( near Uluwatu ) to spend the day at Finn’s Beach Club. Entrance is via the Semara Luxury Villa’s and it is $25 USD per adult ( kids under 12 free) which is redeemable for food and drinks. You can enjoy the sun lounges and a swim for the day. There are many stairs to go down and you have a ride in the inclinator which was my favourite part. This place is not cheap , however it is beautiful , plan to get there around 9 to ensure a lounge, it can get busy on the weekends. You can actually walk along the beach to the Nammos Beach Club. I personally prefer Finn’s xxx.