Bangli (regency)

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Bali Bangli

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Introduction

Bangli is the only regency of Bali without access to the sea, being surrounded by five other regencies: Badung, Buleleng, Gianyar, Klungkung, Karangasem. So Bangli has no beaches. For tourists Kintamani district is by far the most important part of Bangli. Its main touristic attraction is the Batur caldera with its crater lake and Mount Batur, Bali’s most active volcano.

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Geography

Bangli regency has an area of 500 square kilometres or 9,2% of Bali. Only 2855 hectares are wet rice fields, compared to 25102 hectares dry fields and 9341 hectares forest. While the capital Bangli lies in relative lowland, two thirds of Bangli regency consists of the Kintamani highlands from 920 to 2151 metres above sea level. A large part of these highlands has been declared a UNESCO Global Geopark, because of its unique geology, endemic flora and fauna, and original Balinese Hindu culture. The park includes several areas of protected forest and of course Batur caldera. Actually there are two calderas, one within the other. 29,000 years ago an eruption created the outer caldera; a smaller eruption 20,000 years ago produced the inner, less pronounced, caldera. The outer caldera rim has two peaks: Mount Abang (2,151 m) and Penulisan Hill (1,745 m). Within the caldera lies crescent-shaped Lake Batur at an elevation of 1,030 metres above sea level.

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History

Bangli counts its history from 10 May 1204 AD, when king Ida Bhatara Guru Sri Adikunti Ketana ordered his people to return to their village. They had deserted it after an epidemic had decimated their numbers. However, inscriptions on stone (prasasti) prove that the temple Pura Kehen was already a centre of worship around 900 AD.

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Towns

  • Bangli - capital of the regency. Bangli district, the larger area around Bangli town counted 50,00 inhabitants in 2016.

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Villages

  • Penglipuran – Penglipuran village deserves a visit for three reasons. In the first place for the main street along which live exactly 76 families. The gates to their yards are placed symmetrically, facing and equidistant from each other. The street is for pedestrians only, visitors can park at a short distance. Although the gates look identical, the houses behind them can be arranged differently; some gates hide a shop or a warung. At one of those warung you can taste the traditional drink Loloh Cemcem. The second reason to visit Penglipuran is the bamboo forest, located around the temple at the northern end of the main street. And at the other end of the street is the Taman Pahlawan (heroes cemetery), commemorating the Banglinese who gave their life for independence. Location: five kilometres north of Bangli town.
  • Terunyan

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Sights and Activities

Kintamani District

  • Nature Tourism Park ‘Gunung Batur Bukit Payang - In 1982 increasing tourism numbers induced the government to designate 20,75 square kilometres around Batur Volcano as a Nature Tourism Park. Among foreign tourists this is now the most popular destination in Indonesia. This popularity comes with a price. For one thing, souvenir sellers can be a real nuisance. For another, an attempt to go hiking on Batur mountain without a guide arouses the enmity of the local guides. The main sights of the park are discussed below.
  • Penelokan – Most visitors arrive at Batur caldera rim from the south, Denpasar or Ubud. Here, along Jalan Raya Penelokan (Penelokan Main Road) at 1,400 masl, are several viewpoints where one has the first and perhaps the best view of the whole area. Hence the name: Balinese penelokan means ‘the place to look’. If you come up from Ubud via Tegalalang, on reaching the caldera rim you face an old crater, Bukit Payang, mentioned in the name of the Nature Park. Incidentally, the approach to Kintamani from Singaraja in the north is the more scenic.
  • Batur Geopark Museum – Before attacking Batur Volcano one may well pay a visit to Batur Geopark Museum. Following the designation of the UNESCO Global Geopark, the museum aims at showing the biological, geological and cultural diversity of the area. One diorama explains how the island Bali came into existence by volcanic activity under the sea 23 million years ago. Across the road from the museum is one of the best viewing platforms. Location: at the eastern end of Penelokan Main Road. Hours: Monday-Thursday 8am – 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am – 2pm, Fridays and national holidays closed. Tickets: adults IDR 20,000, children IDR 15,000.
On Batur's crater rim, ©Julie McKenna

On Batur's crater rim, ©Julie McKenna

© theo1006

  • Batur Volcano - Between the years 1804 and 2000, Mt. Batur erupted at least 22 times. The last three eruptions, in 1965, 1974 and 1994, left a vast lava field on the western flank of the mountain. The trek to the summit is popular and can be done by everyone with an average condition. It takes at most two hours one way. But many climbers forgo the additional walk around the main crater when they see the narrow on the ridge, which at places is cut out on the steep outer side of the mountain. The circuit is not without danger: in 2009 a Swede fell 150 metres to his death and in 2020 a Balinese student died by a 40 metres fall. That’s why the Bangli authorities have made the services of a guide compulsory. He should be an official, trained guide, who one can hire at the office of the Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides at the start of the trail in Toya Bongkah. The office is open from 3am - to accommodate sunrise trekking - until 1pm. The guides will fiercely oppose anyone intending to make the ascent without a guide. So, if you prefer finding your own way, better try another volcano; there are so many of them in Indonesia. Unlike at Bromo, where the village cooperation has set a fixed fair price, the rates at Batur are negotiable. And unfortunately the finances of the Association are not transparent, there being doubt how much of what you pay goes to the government, into the pockets of the officials at Toya Bongkah, and to the guide. The latter seem to get the short end of the stick. So instead of paying more than a fair rate (IDR 400,000 for a group of four is reasonable), keep the surplus to give as a tip to the guide. If you don’t like bargaining, the alternative is an all-in tour booked through an agent or your hotel; the fee for the guide is then included.
  • Mount Abang - Mount Mahameru is the abode of the Hindu gods in India. A legend says that god Shiwa took its top and moved it to Bali, where he split it in two. One half is Batur Volcano, the other half is Mount Abang, the highest peak of the caldera rim. With a height of 2,151 meters, Mount Abang is the third highest of Bali. From he summit one looks down on Lake Batur and easily overlooks Batur Volcano (1,717 m). If the idea of queueing up the volcano does not appeal to you, Mount Abang is the alternative. The most used trail starts at the Mount Abang Trekking Office at Abang Songan, southeast of the lake. Itleads mostly through forest and one can reach the summit in two to three hours. There is an alternative and still seldom used approach from the east. It takes longer, but is more scenic.
  • Lake Batur – The crescent-shaped volcanic lake located at 1,031 metres above sea level is what makes Batur caldera so special. The lake is seven kilometres long and 1,5 kilometres wide. Its depth would on average be 50 metres. The lake feeds many sources downhill that are essential for rice cultivation in Bangli. Villagers living around the lake also pump the water to irrigate their fields. And they cultivate fish, mainly tilapia, on rafts of bamboo. A variety of boats is for rent by tourists, from dugout canoes to kayaks and motorized dinghies. Most visitors hire a boat for crossing the lake to Terunyan village.
  • Ulun Danu Batur Temple is the most important temple in Kintamani district. Dedicated to the goddess of the life-giving water of Lake Batur (Danu Batur, it was originally located on the south-west base of Batur Volcano. However, by the eruptions of 1917 and 1926 it was largely destroyed, together with the village where it stood. In the same year the temple was rebuilt at its present site at an elevation of 1450 masl. The main festival at Pura Ulun Danu Batur takes place at the 10th full moon in the Balinese year, usually late March or early April. Location: Jalan Raya Kintamani (main road on the crater rim), Baturanyar hamlet, Batur Selatan village.
  • Batur Natural Hot Spring – At the shore of Lake Batur a spring used to release hot water which quickly dissipated into the lake. By fencing off part of the lake pools have been created where one can soak in water of 39 degrees centigrade. It is a welcome place to relax from the effort of trekking on Mount Batur. The pools are part of a resort run by the local Pekraman Desa community. They are also known as Air Panas Toya Bungkah, which translates as ‘hot water from the rocks’. Price: domestic IDR 50,000; foreign USD 10; the price includes a welcome drink, soap, shampoo and towel.

Other Districts

  • Kehen Temple – Pura Kehen is one of the oldest temples in Bali, an inscription from the 9th century already refers to it. The temple is classified as a national cultural heritage. The kori agung or main gate is not the usual split gate (candi bentar), but a candi kurung. That is a door in a richly decorated wall. The temple is built on a hill. On top of the hill stands a centuries old banyan tree. According to local belief a disaster will occur when a branch of the tree breaks off. There is a cell for meditation high up in the tree. Location: Jalan Sriwijaya No.8, Cempaga village, Bangli district, on the northern border of Bangli town.
  • Narmada Garden – Taman Narmada, or by its full name: Taman Narmada Bali Raja is a water garden of 5,000 square metres. It is not as splendid as Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung in Karangasem, but much older and more natural. The buildings in the garden are of historic significance. These are the Maha Gotro Tirta Harum temple, the Bale Emas (Golden Pavilion, restored in 1986), and the Jempeng Raja (King’s Toilet!). Location: Taman Bali village, Bangli distict, five kilometres south of Bangli town.
  • Solas Fountains – The Solas Fountains or Pancoran Solas are a public bathing place in the deep ravine of Melangit river (where one can go rafting). The ten spouts in a row are named by ten letters of the Balinese Alphabet: Sa, Ba, Ta, A, I, Na, Ma, Si, Wa Ya. If you stand under them all successively, your body and mind are said to be cleansed. Location: Guliang Kangin hamlet, Taman Bali village, Bangli district, 6,5 kilometres south of Bangli town and 2,5 kilometres south of Narmada Garden.
  • Dusun Kuning Waterfall
  • Tukad Cepung Waterfall– The fall in Cepung river is unique and can best be described as a fall in a cave. Access from the parking is not easy. Put a voluntary donation in the box and you will be guided by local youth throuigh a green ravine. Location: Jalan Tembuku, Penida Kelod hamlet, Tembuku village, Bangli district, eight kilometres by road east of Bangli town.
  • Tangkub Waterfall – Air Terjun Tangkub is also known as Air Terjun Slau after the river which it is part of. It has a height of 25 metres in a green canyon, the pool below is about hip deep. Location: Undisan Kelod village, Tembuku district, ten kilometres by road east of Bangli town.

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Eat

Bangli town

  • Ayam Be Keren - The speciality of Bangli is Ayam Be Keren: roast chicken wrapped in palm leaf. It used to be prepared on special days, but few cooks still know how to prepare it the traditional way, i.e. cooking the chicken with spices for 15 hours. One restaurant where they serve it is found at Jalan Cendrawasih, gang II no. 3, Kawan region, Bangli town.
  • Jaja Geti-Geti – These sweet cookies one can find on the market of Bangli town. Can't miss them, they are creamy white with black specks. They are made of crunched mustard seeds mixed with palm sugar.
  • Mujair Menyat-nyat – The Bangli way to prepare tilapia fish. The method is called nyat-nyat, which means cooking in liquid until all the liquid is gone. Tilapia tends to smell of mud, but the special cocktail of spices gets rid of the smell. Served with rice, water spinach, sambal and fried peanuts at Rumah Makan Matsya Kencana. Location: at the parking of Pura Dalam Pingit, Kesumayudha street, Kawan region, Bangli town.

Kintamani district

  • Resto Apung Kedisan or Floating Restaurant at Kedisan village is located on the southern shore of Lake Batur, close to the jetty. It’s not really floating but built on poles over the lake. On the menu of course is fish from the lake, mainly tilapia (nila in Indonesian). Accommodation in a few wood-and-bamboo villas is also available.

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Drink

  • Loloh Cemcem – This traditional drink can be found in many markets in Bangli, but is originally from Penglipuran village. It is made with a mix of several natural ingredients, that’s why it is also called Minuman Hijau Enam Rasa (Green Drink with Six Tastes).

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This is version 56. Last edited at 12:26 on May 19, 20 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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