Around Bali (Part 1)

Bali, the fabled "Island of the Gods", has been enchanting visitor for centuries with its rich cultural traditions and spectacular panoramas. From lofty, mist enshrouded volcanoes and cool mountain lakes down through terraced rice fields to a golden strand lapped by azure waters, every square inch of Bali offers a fresh and unforgettable image.
No less enchanting are its people, some 2.7 million soul whose artistry and piety are recognized throughout the world. Balinese Hinduism, a complex fusion of Indian Cosmology. Tantric Buddhism and homegrown mythology, is the primary faith of Bali's inhabitants, and so deeply woven into the fabric of their daily lives that the line between the spiritual and the material is blurry at best.
Those of you keen on delving into the island's fascinating culture will have plenty of opportunities as colorful ceremonies and traditional performances occur the regularity of the sunrise. Most hotels offer nightly dances shows of one form or another, tailored to tourist audiences but none the less exquisite. The hill town of Ubud, the island's premier arts center, also has a full schedule of performances, and the nearby stone cutter's village of Batubulan is famed for its Barong lion dances.
The Shoppers among you will find Bali a treasure house of handicrafts and fine works of art. The Balinese are incredibly gifted artists and craftsmen, and their material creations are imbued with the same sense of wonderment with which they regard their universe. Stone and wood carvings, traditional and modern paintings  and intricately designed jewelry in gold and silver are readily available in shops and galleries throughout the island.
As for recreation, there is no shortage of options. Nature walks, horseback riding, diving, surfing, even bungy jumping and white water rafting - awaits the adventure here !!

Bali Barat National Park
Bali's largest nature reserve encompasses 70.000 hectares of rainforest and 7.000 hectares of coral reefs and is home to many rare species of fauna.

Batur Caldera
The enormous crater basin of Batur is a spectacular sight, dominating its center is Mt. Batur, a brooding, blackened cone that erupted four times last century. Six small villages eke out an existence within the walls of the caldera. People by a simple mountain folk known as Bali Aga (original balinese)

The cool highland resort of Bedugul on the shores of Lake Bratan has become a popular retreat for tourists and resident alike.

Bali's "mother temple" is a sprawling complex of shrines and pavilions set high on the slopes of sacred Mt. Agung.

Goa Gajah
The ancient hermitage of Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) near Bedulu is one of Bali's most intriguing archeological sites, comprising a man-made grotto, elaborate stone carving and Buddhist stupas.