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Singaraja
Old and new come together

Both the beauty and the cultural uniqueness of Buleleng make it rewarding to visit, and tourism continues to increase each year. If you like the sea and are looking for a place that is scenic, quiet, clean and culturally distinctive, include Buleleng on your itinerary.

The following information on the sights of Buleleng is divided into two sections. The first treats sights in and around the capital of Singaraja, located in the central part of Buleleng, and the region to the west. The following section concerns sights in the area to the east of the capital.

Tour of Singaraja

The sights of Singaraja reflect the city's successive historical incarnations first as a royal court center, then as the center of Dutch commerce and administration on Bali, and now as a modern district capital.

Starting in the western end of the city visit Pantai Lingga, just before the Banyusari bus station. The road to Pantai Lingga ends at Bukit Suci ('sacred hill') an old Chinese cemetery bordering on the sea. Some of the graves are most unusual, such as that of an illustrious member of the Chinese community. Surrounded by a rail, it is guarded by lions and two life-sized black guards swathed in white turbans and bearing lance. Walk through the cemetery to Pantai Lingga, a swimming spot much favored Locals

From Pantai Lingga head east to Jalan Dewi Sartika 42. This is the Pertenunan Berdikari Hand Woven Cloth Factory, specializing in beautiful replicas of antique Buleleng textiles, many in silk and all highly-priced. Watch thread being spun, cloth being woven and buy direct from the manufacturer.

East of the main crossroads of town lies Singaraja's main Shopping District. A few shops sell tourist souvenir items, though generally-speaking the shopping is much better in south Bali. Interestingly, however, basic items tend to be cheaper here. The Buleleng Market (pasar) is down a narrow lane runs behind a northeast group of building. Around dusk this area turns into an animated night market - not to be missed.

From the main shopping district it is just a short drive to the Old Harbor. The few old buildings lining the port date from the Dutch colonial period. Have a look at the gigantic Yuddha Mandalatama independence monument with an Indonesian fighter bearing the flag. An unusual sight in the same vicinity is the Chinese Temple or klenteng, one of the few on Bali and evidence of this community's long presence in the town. While one may not enter the temple, a good view can be gained from within the compound. It houses many exquisite antique pots and cloths.

At the southern end of Singaraja, overlooking the junction of Jalan Ngurah Rai and Jalan Veteran, stands the imposing statue of Singambararaja. A winged lion who gazes imperiously over the city. The name "Singaraia" means "Lion King."

Heading east from here along Jalan Veteran, stop in at No. 22 on the fight-hand side. Ibis is the Gedong Kertya, a library founded by the Dutch in 1928 for the preservation of lontar (palm-leaf) texts collected in Bali and Lombok. A glass display case in the second room contains these traditional manuscripts, as well as several Prasasti (ancient copper plate indiscretions). You may be fortunate to witness one of the employees copying an old lontar onto new Palm-leaves, or even see the now rare art of making prasi (drawings on palm-leaf).

Directly behind the Gedong Kertya (entry on the left) is Puri Kawan (the "Western Court") - part of the former palace of the king of Singaraja. It is currently the location of Perusahaan Puri Sinar Nadiputra, a textile mill where sarong are woven.

A few meters to the east is a major crossroads with a market on the southeast corner. To the southwest is the Sasana Budaya (the Buleleng Arts Center), and to the northeast lies Puri Kanginan (the "Eastern Palace'), formerly part of the Singaraja court and now a private residence.

Two sites to the south of Singaraja, Bratan and Git Git, are well worth a visit. The village of Bratan a few kilometers away is a center for silversmith. They make religious items and, less frequently, jewelry. You can watch the craftsmen at work and buy directly from them, or purchase their wares at shops located on the left-hand side of the main road.

If you have private transport, a visit to Git Git is a must. Ten kin south of Singaraja, this is the site of Bali's most dramatic waterfall. The road to Git Git climbs steeply, offering fine views along the way. The waterfall, located about 500 in from the main road, is surrounded by lush vegetation. A fine, cooling mist hangs in the air, providing a refreshing welcome after the walk down. Dip your feet in the rushing river below. A rest area suitable for picnics has been built near the base of the falls.

To the west

The major attractions of western Buleleng are mainly concentrated between Singaraja and the village of Seririt, 21 kilometers west along the coast, as well as in the hills to the south.

Six km west of Singaraja, the popular beach resort of Lovina is a long stretch of black sand bordering the coastal villages of Anturan, Tukad Mungga, Kalibukbuk, Kaliasem and Temukus. Numerous hotels and restaurants have sprung up here, lining the coast for some 7 km. The pace of life at Lovina reflects the calmness and safety of the sea. This is an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling, particularly near the reef, and local boats are for hire. The sunsets at Lovina are particularly spectacular.

The name "Lovina" was coined by the last king of Buleleng. A convert to Christianity, he gave the name to a small tract of land that he purchased at Kaliasem, where he built the Tasik Madu ("Sea of Honey") Hotel in the 1960s. The name Lovina signifies the "love" that is contained "in" the heart of all people.

From Temukus it is 3 kilometers to the twin villages of Dencarik and Banjar. Pass through Dencarik to the neighboring village of Banjar Tegeha, home of the splendid Buddhist Brahma Arama Vihara. This wihara is the residence of Bali's only Buddhist monk and it plays a central role in Buddhist religious life and education. Opened in 1971, it replace another founded in Banjar in 1958. It combines architectural and iconographic elements found throughout the Buddhist world. Quiet, cool, and set high in the hills, it commands a view down to the ocean. For 10 days each April and September the wihara is closed to the public while people from around the world assemble here to practice meditation. Visitors are requested to dress in a respectful manner, to speak softly, and to remove their shoes before entering.

Banjar is also the site of the so-called Air Panas, a sacred hot-spring. In 1985 the sulphuric spring water was channeled into public bathing area consisting of 3 pools, set in a tasteful blend of jungle and garden. The water is a pleasant 38' C. There are changing rooms, showers, toilets and a restaurant.

If traveling by public transport, it is easy to reach the wihara and Air Panas from main road. At the entrance to Dencarik and Banjar you can pay a man to take you there by motorbike.

Just three kilometers west of Banjar lies Seririt; the former commercial center of Buleleng. It was devastated by an earthquake in 1976 and was subsequently rebuilt. Seririt does not in itself warrant a visit. However, if you have private transport, there are two scenic drives worth taking that commence there.

Turn south at Seririt and follow the r as it climbs through the villages of Bubunan, Petemon, Ringdikit and Rangdu. The further one ventures along this road the more impressive the scenery becomes. At Rangdu you may take a right turn at the T-intersection, which leads to Denpasar via Pupuan. Alternatively, you may choose to continue along the road from Rangdu to Mayong, Gunungsari, Banyuatis and Kayuputih, spectacular views are to be had of rice terraces, coffee and clove plantations, the surrounding hills and, behind, the Buleleng coast. From Kayuputih it is a further 13 km to Munduk, located 1200 m above sea level. Although presently undergoing repair, the road between Kayuputih and Munduk is neither for the faint-of-heart nor for vehicles with bald tires. It comprises a series of narrow hair-pin turns and alternates between asphalt and dirt, with many deep potholes.

From Munduk the road runs atop hills that surround two lakes - Tamblingan and Buyan (the latter is also visible on the left hand side of the approach to Singaraja from Bedugul). These lakes were one body of water until a landslide split them in 1818. The road then emerges at Wanagiri near l1ancasari, just north of Bedugul.

Seririt to Teluk Terima

After Seririt the road leaves the coast, taking a sharp turn inland - for much of the rest of the journey to the west, the ocean is no longer visible, and the landscape is dominated by the mountains and hills of the south.

The sheltered harbor of Celukan Bawang, 16 km west of Seririt, now serves as the port for Buleleng's import and export trade.

Further west, near the village of Banyupoh, experience the delights of Pantai Gondol, a superb beach with clean sand and a beautiful coral reef Pantai Gondol is a marvelous spot for swimming and snorkeling. It is also the site of a fishery research project.

A cluster of temples, the most important and easily accessible of which is Pura Pulaki, lies some 30 km past Seririt on the coast. Pura Pulaki is located in unusual terrain - a rock-face rises perpendicularly on the left-hand side of the road while the glimmering ocean laps the right-hand side. Pulaki, the home of monkeys who have a reputation for snatching bags and cameras, has recently undergone restoration and extension. The temple has a fascinating history that is linked to the legendary personage of Nirartha, a Javanese priest who migrated to Bali in the 16th century. It is told that prior to his arrival, a village of 8000 people existed here. When Nirartha visited, the village leader requested a boon that Nirartha granted: the entire village was to be given supernatural knowledge that would enable it to attain an immaterial state. The invisible occupants of this village became known as gamang or wong samar and form the entourage of Goddess Melanting, whose abode is the nearby Pura Melanting.

The Balinese in these parts fervently believe in the existence of the gamang and routinely make offerings to them. For example, it is held that the entry of gamang into one's house yard is heralded by the howling of dogs. Occasional reports even circulate of the sighting of gamang who have momentarily materialized - they are said to have no upper lip and carry a plaited bag over one shoulder.

The final stage of this journey through western Buleleng passes through Taman Nasional Bali Barat, the West Bali National Park. Past Labuhan Lalang jetty, boats to Menjangan Island can be hired.

At Teluk Terima, a short distance down the road, visit Makam Jayaprana, the gravesite of Jayaprana. According to Balinese legend, Jayaprana was an orphan who was raised by the ruler of Kalianget village. As an adult he married the lovely Nyoman Layonsari from the neighboring village of Banjar. However, the ruler himself became enamored of Jayaprana's bride and schemed to kill Jayaprana to have her for himself. He dispatched Jayaprana with an army to contain a band of pirates who he said had arrived in northwestern Bali. On arrival at Teluk Terima the ruler's minister killed and buried Jayaprana. When the ruler asked Layonsari to marry him, however, she chose to remain faithful to her husband and committed suicide.

The temple marking Jayaprana's grave is a long and steep climb but the views from about halfway across to Mt Semeru on Java, to Menjangan Island, and to Gilimanuk at the western tip of Bali, make the effort all worthwhile. The temple, which contains a glass case displaying statues of Jayaprana and Layonsari, is pure kitsch.


Last revised on January 28, 2010
    
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