It is when you think you have seen it all that you find new discoveries. If you go to the Northern side of the island, you will discover the Regency of Buleleng, which is the widest regency in the island and one of the cultural and historical cradle of Bali. The region abounds of relics from the different invasions Bali underwent and has a very peculiar atmosphere, as it is the closest part to Java. There, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Catholics live in harmony elbow to elbow and the influence of their different cultures throughout time can be noticed when wandering around the regency.
1. Old Buleleng Harbour
This harbor is located in the northern coast of Bali in Singaraja (which means Lion King) where the very special Regency of Buleleng sits. It used to be the main entrance for tourists before the opening of Ngurah Rai Airport. Until the capital of Bali moved to Denpasar (south of Bali), it was one of the most important shipping center of the island too. Merchants from India, China and the Persian Gulf would come to Bali through this harbor, which explains the multicultural landscape in this region today. Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics and Muslims cohabit there in peace. We can also still see the keepsakes from the Dutch colonial time through the remains of the heritage building.
In the area, one of the few Chinese Temple – Ling Gwan Kion – was erected back in the day from the emerging descendant Chinese community. It is surrounded by lotus and is worth visiting.
2. Banjar Hot springs
Banjar Hot Springs also known as “Air Panas Banjar” were founded during WWII under the Japanese colonisation. Located 25km west of Singaraja and only 5 km from the very famous dolphin spot Lovina, Air Panas Banjar has become a major retreat and recreational center for both locals and tourists in the north of Bali.
Its 37 degrees Celsius sulphuric waters coming straight from the volcanos are scattered in 1 area. They are said to have therapeutic and healing benefits and to be able to cure skin problems and rheumatic ailments. For those who do not want to bath, they can still enjoy the lush tropical garden that surrounds the Hot Springs.
3. The Royal Palace of Singaraja
The palace also known as “ Puri Agung Singaraja Royal Palace” was built in the 17th century. It is located in the heart of the capital of the Regency of Buleleng, Singaraja on Jalan Mayor Metra. It remains today the home of the royal family and the Ki Gusti Anglurah Pandji Sakti. Inside, you will discover a beautiful Balinese architecture, pieces of Balinese art and photographs of late royal family members.
4. Gedong Kertya
The museum houses the oldest Balinese scripts and written art works of the island. These manuscripts cover subjects such as: literature, mythology, history, art, religion and are using “lontar” as support. The “Lontar” makes the manuscripts so special and the Gedong Kertya Museum. What is “lontar”? It is a paper made out of Asian palmyra Palm leaves that only grow in dry countries.
5. Agung Pulaki Temple
This temple was built in the early 16th century and commemorates the venue of a Javanese priest. It is one of the most sacred temples in Bali. This black-stoned made temple is remarkably famous due to its location, which is between the mountains and the sea but also because it is the home of hundreds of monkeys that are believed to be its guardians.
What is your favorite historical place in Bali?