Guide to Natural Wonders in Bali
Bali is a paradise for nature lovers. Seemingly, gods of this island have granted Bali with myriads of natural beauty, from the most idyllic beaches surrounding the island to lush jungle and mountains occupying its heart. The island itself is nature’s gift made of tropical wonders to grand to miss. For those who would like to explore the island further than the urban party scene, Sun Island Bali composes a simple guide to natural wonders in Bali.
The most accessible wonder in Bali is the magnificent beaches outlining the island all around. Almost everyone comes to Bali for one mutual destination: beautiful beach. Whether for surfing, diving, sun-lounging, sunset-seeking, or simply swimming, Bali has varieties of beaches that might suit one’s preference.
Beaches around Kuta, Legian and Seminyak or even Sanur and Nusa Dua might not suit the ‘natural wonder’ term for being highly industrialized, but shades from those beaches’ natural beauty are intact.Uluwatu and the surroundings are paradises for golden-sanded beaches with unique rock formation, exotic cliffs and adventurous waves. To name a few, Balangan Beach, Padang Padang Beach, and Blue Point (a.k.a. Suluban) Beach are some prima donnas.
North Bali conceals idyllic beaches with similarly wonderful underwater. Amed in Karangasem is haven for those who love snorkeling and diving. Meanwhile, Lovina offers a beautiful glimpse of natural dolphin habitats.
Read our highlight of 10 Best Beaches in Bali for closure.
Mountains and Volcanoes
In the heart of Bali, mountains and volcanoes stand tall conquering the landscape. The most important (which happens to be the highest) one might be Gunung Agung, an active volcano standing at around 3124 meters tall. Dubbed as ‘Mother Mountain’ along with its temple, Pura Besakih, called as ‘Mother Temple’, Gunung Agung is perceived as the most sacred place by locals.
Gunung Batukaru is Bali’s second-highest mountain at 2,276 meters. The name means ‘coconut shell’ in local tongue due to the shape of its crater. Batukaru is surrounded by pristine forest making it even more difficult to climb compared to Gunung Agung.
Another famous volcano is Gunung Batur, standing at 1,717 meters in height. It is a stratovolcano which has multiple crates; and it is Bali’s most active volcano to date.
Up on the mountainous area of Bangli, Lake Batur—Bali’s largest and widest lake—lies at the feet of two majestic mountains, Gunung Agung and Gunung Abang. With an area of around 18 square kilometers, the lake is surrounded by crater rim and Gunung Agung at one side. There are some hot water springs surrounding this lake, including one located in the midst of the lake.
In Buleleng, three lakes formed inside an ancient caldera—Lake Tamblingan, Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan. Each lake is surrounded by pristine vegetation, mountains, as well as small-sized ancient temples on the shore of the lake and the vicinity.
Amazing Rice Fields
On the rural facet of Bali where agricultural society lives, green rice field structures fill the scenery before they turn golden during the harvest season. Balinese unique farming system, which includes the traditional irrigation system, is responsible for the rice field terrace structure.
Jatiluwih rice terraces in Tabanan, which have been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, provide a green escape to those loving agricultural scene. Another famous rice field structure in Bali is located in Tegallalang in Ubud. The scenic rice field idyll will immediately remind ones to some images on postcards from Bali.
Local botany in Bali reflects a unique tropical richness. Bali Botanic Garden, also known as ‘Kebun Raya Bali’ in Bedugul, conserves Bali’s natural environment and preserves more than 2000 species of plants. In this garden, selections of heavenly botanical treasures can be found for educational purpose. There are herbarium, seed bank, as well as some glasshouses in this garden for visitors to learn Bali’s green treasures.
Another botanic garden is located in Ubud, en route to Penelokan Village. Botanic Garden Ubud is a five-hectare Balinese garden with glasshouses. The garden showcases various orchids, other endemic Bali-grown plants (i.e., cinnamons and vanilla), and unique cacti from East Bali. There’s a majestic lotus pond, too.
Bali’s best natural wonders are hidden away deep in the heart of mountainous area, far from the coastline. Most of the waterfalls are located deep in the forests; therefore, they can sometimes only be reached after a long trekking.
GitGit Waterfalls in Singaraja is probably the most well-known due to its highly accessible location. In the same area, seven waterfalls of Sekumpul are Bali’s best-kept gem. In Bangli, Tibumana Waterfalls stands tall as a hidden gem surrounded by luscious garden with exotic birds and butterflies around. Tukad Cepung Waterfall, a waterfall hidden in natural cave formation, is also located in the same regency.
Read our highlight of 9 most beautiful waterfalls in Bali for more insight about the island’s waterfalls.
Green forests are covering most part of Bali and are spread to many areas, including mountainous areas and shorelines. Ubud Monkey Forest is one of the most famous sites. The nature reserve with Hindu temple complex is officially named as Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It is a home to horde grey long-tailed macaques.
There are other famous monkey forests in other locations, too. Sangeh Monkey Forest is a six-hectare forestland ornamented with ancient giant nutmeg trees. Uluwatu Monkey Forest is located in South Bali white cliff, with Indian Ocean as the background.
A different kind of forest—mangroves—lies on the shoreline of Bali. The most famous mangrove forest is Suwung Kauh Mangrove Forest located on Jalan Bypass Sanur. This mangrove conservation area is known for the boardwalk which becomes an attraction for tourism as well as education purpose.
West Bali National Park (a.k.a. ‘Taman Nasional Bali Barat’) in Buleleng is a conservation area that makes up most of central-western Bali. The park covers unique ecosystems ranging from mangroves, lowlands, mountains and savannahs.
Bali is surrounded by tiny, exotic isles preserving natural wonders and serenity Bali used to be well-known for. From the famous three Nusa (‘nusa’ means island in local language), exotic northwestern island to the magnificent Gilis, the isles save magnificent sunset, picturesque underwater beauty, and extraordinary wildlife like the main island.
Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan are often named as calmer, smaller Bali. Those isles are accessible by boats from Sanur or Tanjung Benoa and are known for the majestic beaches.
An hour from the shore of Bali, the Gilis—Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air—are located. These islands are home for more atmospheric island life compared to nowadays Bali; they are almost always compared to the retro-Bali.
Menjangan Island in the northwestern shore of Bali as a part of West Bali National Park is known as snorkel heaven and natural habitat of ‘menjangan’, a species of local deer.
Read our highlight of exotic islands around Bali for more for more information.
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