Theme - Nature (p.48-49)



For the Balinese people, nature is the source of life. Nature nurtures us, and it so powerful that we need to respect it. Sunrise is the light of the Gods – It is so beautiful and artistic. Visitors in Bali should really take their time and explore the nature of the Island properly.

Agung Rai
(Founder Of Arma Museum)

From the cliff walls of Uluwatu to the gorges of Ubud and pristine beaches of Nusa Lembongan to the hilly areas of Bedugul, Bali is blessed with breathtaking nature. But beyond its beauty, the Balinese see nature as something mystical that bears a unique aura that evokes peacefulness and establishes balance in life. “Nature doesn’t only give us oxygen to breathe and food to eat. It also creates harmony; this is why the Balinese people treat their nature respectfully,” Agung Rai said.

“This is why whenever something bad occurs in a particular place, it being a car accident or a horrible fight, the Balinese will soon perform a cleansing ceremony in that place to clear off the bad aura from the nature and restore positive energy. We believe that nature is the dwelling of both good and evil. We want to keep the good, and appease the evil to avoid bad things from reoccurring.”

The people of the Island of the Gods have their own unique ways to express gratitude for what nature has provided them with. The Balinese will never cut down a tree for no reason; and if they really must, they will need to ask for permission from nature (normally in the form of a simple ritual). Of course, rice fields, as the home of Dewi Sri or goddess of prosperity, is amongst the places of nature where the Balinese (especially farmers) go to pay homage to their gods.

“Cultivating rice in Bali is not just a matter of planting, putting a good irrigation system in place, and harvesting. The Balinese believe that a rice field is the home of Dewi Sri, our symbol of prosperity. Therefore, a special ritual must be conducted before planting the rice. Prior to harvesting, when the rice has finally turned to gold, we express our gratitude for the abundant harvest through Biu Kukung, a ritual performed on a rice field to welcome the harvesting season.”

Agung Rai further explained that the nature in Bali is much more than the beautiful scenery. “Nature in Bali can tell you many different stories; there’s art, history, myth, civilisation, and even technology in it. That’s why in my Golden Hour Tour during sunrise, I always tell the tour participants to really take their time to explore Bali; that they should talk to someone who understands about Bali so that the time they spend in Bali will be even more memorable, and not just a vacation.”

Get in touch with Agung Rai via


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Uluwatu is home to one of Bali’s most spectacular temples, especially with its position that sits high on a cliff top some 250 feet above the sea level. The Pura Uluwatu is dedicated for the spirits of the sea and to protect the whole island from the evil coming from the southwest area. Aside from the temple, Uluwatu is also a natural habitat for hundreds of monkeys which can be aggressive sometimes. Therefore, precautionary signs are put at the entrance gate and several other places to remind the visitors about their aggressiveness.

Bordering the area of the temple are lime stone cliff walls that add to the dramatic views of Uluwatu. From the clifftop, visitors can enjoy the bird’s eye view of the vast Indian Ocean and crashing waves below. You should explore the smaller, winding road ascending deeper to this southern part of the island. Though more and more buildings are coming in, and the area might look uninviting and deserted – with arid lands and withered trees – especially during dry season. Just drive further, and you might end up at some of the most dramatic beaches on the island.

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Soaking in Bali’s green landscapes comes with ease in Ubud – away from the madness and traffic of Monkey Forest. Campuhan Ridge, also known as the “Hill of Romance,” allows an easy walk upwards on a winding stone path amidst scenic grasslands, hilly and uneven at times, but affording gorgeous views of the river valley below. A lot of locals, especially teenage couples go this place pre-sunset – hence the romance attribute. One thing to keep in mind: Walk leisurely, this kind of thing shouldn’t be rushed.

This walk is best enjoyed early in the morning or around 3-4pm. If you go at around 5pm, there will be a lot of scooters as students return from school. Scooters are not allowed on the stone-path though, so it’s a safe walk. It’s not advisable to go after sunset as the path is not well lit.

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A narrow road with houses of the villagers and rice fields on both sides accompany your journey to the beach. The houses and farming areas soon alter into a beautiful view of ravines crowded with coconut trees on the bottom. Strangely, cactuses are also decorating the area by occupying many grounds. The road ends at a temple that sits just before the dirt track heading to the beach, which is also home to local fishermen.

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Secret Beach is clean; enjoying the crystal-clear water, lying down on the beach and sun bathing is indescribable, especially while listening to the story told by a local lady – who sells drinks – about the beach. During full moon, sea turtles can be spotted coming up to shore to lay and hatch their eggs. She and a number of friends would usually help the turtles hide the eggs to prevent them from not being stolen and consumed by the locals in the area. Here, dolphins can also be seen at times from the beach, usually in the afternoon.

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West Bali is popularly known for its national park, an area that is very varied with rainforest, dry savanna, acacia scrub and lowland forests, as well as more montane forests in the higher centre. One hundred and sixty species of bird have been recorded in the park, including the near extinct Bali Starling, Bali’s only endemic vertebrate species. Mammals found inside the park include Banteng (bull), Javan Rusa (deer) and Indian Muntjac deer, as well as Wild Boar and Leopard Cats which are both quite common but seldom encountered.

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West Bali in general is a place where you can feast your eyes on its awe-inspiring landscapes. The enchanting natural beauty that awaits you certainly justifies the long drive. This region is still relatively quiet (unlike its southern counterpart), and to avoid getting lost, bring a map and familiarise yourself ahead of time with two or three of the towns you will encounter along the route.

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Going further up to the hilly area of Bedugul are twin lakes that used to be one until a landslide separated them at the turn of the 19th century. Bunyan and Tamblingan are sister lakes which can easily be observed from the higher road leading to Munduk village. Stop points are conveniently to be found along the road, with one offering a sideshow atmosphere where passersby can have opportunities to caress a snake and take photos with a huge bat and chameleons.

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Indeed, the bird’s eye view of the two lakes is astounding, but if you’re willing to drive a bit further down the road to the lakes, you’ll be rewarded with something that is even more amazing: Serenity. The calmness of the lakes contrasts the wild forest of the wild surrounding that is commonly bustling with the sounds of insects.


NOW Bali Editorial Team

NOW Bali Editorial Team

This article has been written or uploaded by NOW! Bali's in-house editorial team.