Weird and Unusual Places in Bali

Bali offers unique sights that you’ll unlikely see elsewhere, and even if you think you’ve seen them all, there are just plenty of hidden spots waiting for you to discover. For the adventurous at heart, we’ve compiled the most unusual places to visit on the island. Some places are outright bizarre, others eerie and mysterious – spread out across Bali, from the remote central highlands to the offshore island of Lembongan. You might want to break away from the confines and usual offerings of your five-star luxury resort and seek out the unknown, the odd, and the peculiar in Bali. If you think you’ve seen Bali temples, here are some outright exceptional ones. Discover Bali’s strangely beautiful, and beautifully strange, and satisfy your curiosity with our list of unusual and odd places to visit in Bali.

 

1.  Taman Festival in Sanur

Taman Festival Bali is an abandoned theme park on Padang Galak Beach, a remote coast about 7 km north of central Sanur. The site is often called the spooky ghost town of Sanur, as locals believe long-abandoned sites are home to lost spirits. Even if you’re not a believer of paranormal beings, the park’s desolate surroundings can be rather unsettling.

Exploring Taman Festival Bali Established in 1997, the theme park was shut down shortly after due to marketing and financial difficulties, and handed over to the local government. You’re free to explore the park grounds, where deserted entrance gates, ticket booths, empty cafeterias, and deteriorated structures with partially collapsed roofs give it a creepy sensation even in broad daylight. Dense foliage and creeper vines have grown over broken windows, while ornamental stone figures loom over in the open spaces, making it an excellent post-apocalyptic setting to try your nerves. Taman Festival Bali is popular among photographers looking for a desolate or ominous setting for shoots. While this ghost town makes for interesting urban exploration, take extra care during your visit as the rusty and crumbling structures can cause injuries.

Location: Jalan Padang Galak No.3, Kesiman, Kota Denpasar, Bali.

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2.Teruyan (cemetery littered with skulls and human bones)

Trunyan Village, oftentimes also spelt ‘Terunyan’, is a remote mountain village on the eastern lakeside of Mount Batur, in central Bali’s Kintamani highlands. The settlement is known for its indigenous Balinese community, known as the Bali Aga, who have unique burial rites. Their deceased aren’t cremated in lavish funerary ceremonies as like the majority of Balinese Hindus, but rather laid out on the ground within the village’s literal boneyard. Getting to Trunyan Village usually requires a boat ride from a local dock in the village of Songan, on the caldera lake’s accessible western side. The crossing provides you with panoramic shots of the lake and mountain. Also a highlight is the village’s Pancering Jagat Temple with its towering statues.

The main graveyard site of Trunyan Village lies an approximate half kilometre north of the main settlement. When a villager dies, their remains are wrapped and brought by boat to this site, then laid out on the ground around a large old tree believed to only grow here, referred to by locals as taru menyan (the origin of the village’s name) that loosely translates as ‘myrrh tree’). The locals say this tree, together with the cool mountain air, miraculously neutralises any odour from the decomposing bodies. In another part, there are mossy stairs piled with stacks of skulls and bones – a truly macabre backdrop for selfies if you fancy. Going to Trunyan with a local guide is highly advised, and opting for a pre-booked tour will ensure smoother and convenient access.

Location: Trunyan, Kintamani, Bangli, Bali, Indonesia

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3.     Goa Lawah (bat cave and temple)

Goa Lawah is one of Bali’s most important temples. It features a complex built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and its name translates to 'Bat Cave’. This temple was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, one of the early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island. It’s a popular stopover for holidaying locals, who come in with offerings and short prayers before continuing with their journey. For travellers, it’s often included in many temple excursions and one of the first stops on tours to Candidasa and regions within the Karangasem regency. You can see the outline of Nusa Penida Island on the horizon from Goa Lawah.

 Once a place for deep meditation for priests, despite seeming impossible to do so amid the chirping, with the hollow cave opening amplifying the noise. Many people believe the constant natural high pitches aided in their focus of thoughts. During the Piodalan temple anniversaries, Goa Lawah's scene becomes truly exotic with pilgrims in temple attire carrying colourful parasols and banners. One mystery that's yet to be solved is whether the legend that tells of the secret cave passage through to Besakih Temple, some 25 km northeast at the foot of Mount Agung, is true. Good to know about Goa Lawah Temple The tale goes that a prince from the Mengwi kingdom hid away from enemies inside the cave and subsequently followed through, eventually emerging at Besakih Temple on the foot of Mount Agung, which is northeast from this location. No one has attempted to prove or bring light to this interesting tale. According to the locals and the temple community, the cave leads to 3 different locations: Mount Agung (Besakih), Talibeng and Tangkid Bangbang. There are various accounts of ash emerging from Goa Lawah when Mount Agung erupted in 1963. The best time to visit is in the mornings when most of the locals living in the nearby villages come for their daily prayers. However, afternoons are also pleasant, as the large trees provide a balance of shade to cool the sultry southern beach breezes from across the road. At dusk, hordes of nectar bats swarm the skies over the temple to feast on airborne insects. Goa Lawah’s piodalan (grand temple anniversary) takes place every 210 days on the Balinese Pawukon calendar. It also shares the same anniversary day with Uluwatu Temple. With its constant flow of pilgrims and visitors, the temple is well-managed and maintained. Expect a denser flock of pilgrims up to the Nyepi holiday, when rituals of Melasti take place on the Saka New Year Eve. Long pilgrimages from various temples including Goa Lawah towards the coastlines take place when sacred heirlooms and temple items are blessed near the sea.

Location: Jalan Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan Village, Dawan, Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia
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4.  Bengkala 

 Bengkala, a village in the district of Kubutambahan in north Bali, is known as the ‘village of the deaf’ due to over 2% of its population are congenitally deaf. The village has seen high incidences of deafness that spans over 7 generations. Its people, known locally as ‘kolok’, have developed a sign language known as ‘kata kolok’. The kolok people have developed their own style of performing arts, from deaf dances to martial arts. They also have a unique social system for carrying rituals and social roles. There is a belief in a deaf god, which both the deaf and hearing villagers share.

Location: Bengkala Village, Kubutambahan, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia

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5.Lost Plane in Jimbaran

 

One of 4 abandoned planes in Bali, this Boeing 737 is in a slightly hidden location up in the hilly limestone area of the southern Bukit Peninsula. Surrounded by a wall of shipping containers, the site is within only 1 km north of Pandawa Beach and sits on a privately-owned hectare of a carved limestone hill. You can visit and take photos of this abandoned aircraft for a small fee.

 Location: Kutuh, South Kuta, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
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6.    Goa Giri Putri Temple

 The Goa Giri Putri Temple is one of Nusa Penida Island’s major cultural attractions. The large cave temple is in the village of Suana, on the north-eastern part of the island. Clear signs lead you to the site along the Jalan Ped-Buyuk main road. A shrine and a priests’ praying shelter guards its entrance. The entrance itself is uniquely a narrow opening in a rock face. You'll need to stoop down low to be able to squeeze and get through. Inside, you’ll discover a spacious temple courtyard. Floorings before the main shrines in the cave’s corner are partly covered in white marble. As your eyes adjust to the dim lights inside, the scene is nothing short of magical.

 

Another unique feature of this cave temple is the final praying spot. This is devoted to Chinese deities such as Guan Yin, or the Goddess of Mercy, as well as the god of the earth and sky. It's adorned with red Chinese lanterns and ornaments that you would usually find at a Chinese temple. Many pilgrims pray here and ask for blessings of better business and prosperity. As this is a sacred site, proper attire must be worn when visiting Goa Giri Putri. If you didn’t bring a sarong and sash, you can rent them at the temple’s base. Lighting inside the cave is adequate, but if you’re planning to take photos, a tripod and a camera or smartphone with low-light capabilities would be best.

Location: Suana, Nusa Penida, Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia

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7.  The Ghost Palace Hotel in Bedugul

Bali's Ghost Palace Hotel is an abandoned mountain resort that you will easily notice on your trip to the central highland, particularly on your visit to the Beratan Lake or the Ulun Danu Temple. The crumbling, abandoned and haunted building is the PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort, a project that was halted midway in the early 1990s. The hotel has been around for approximately 20 years, so extra caution must be taken around the deteriorating structures. Location: Jalan Raya Baturiti, Batunya, Baturiti, Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia.

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Source: Bali-Indonesia Magazine. 

 

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