Padangtegal

Padangtegal

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Padangtegal is a village in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.[1] It is the home to the Ubud Monkey Forest[2] which contains the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple as well as a “Holy Spring” bathing temple and another temple used for cremation ceremonies.[3]

Celuk

Celuk

Celuk

Celuk is the silver and gold centre of Bali. The flashier showrooms are on the main road, and have marked prices that are quite high, although you can always bargain.

Hundreds of silversmiths and goldsmiths work in their homes on the backstreets north and east of the main road. Most of these artisans are from pande families, members of a sub-caste of blacksmiths whose knowledge of fire and metal has traditionally put them outside the usual caste hierarchy. Their small workshops are interesting to visit, and have the lowest prices, but they don’t keep a large stock of finished work. They will make something to order if you bring a sample or sketch.

Batuan

Batuan

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Batuan’s recorded history goes back 1000 years, and in the 17th century its royal family controlled most of southern Bali. The decline of its power is attributed to a priest’s curse, which scattered the royal family to different parts of the island.

Just west of the centre, the twin temples of Pura Puseh and Pura Dasar are accessible studies in classic Balinese temple architecture. The carvings are elaborate and visitors are given the use of vermilion sarongs, which look good in photos.

Tegallalang

Tegallalang

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There are lots of shops and stalls in this busy market town you’re likely to pass through on your visit to the area’s temples. Stop for a stroll and you may be rewarded by hearing the practice of one of the local noted gamelan orchestras. Otherwise, plenty of carvers stand ready to sell you a carved fertility doll or the like.

You can pause at Cafe Kampung & Cottages, an attractive warung (perfect for lunch) and upmarket guesthouse (r from US$150) with jaw-dropping rice-terrace views. The design makes great use of natural rock. Nearby, scores of carvers produce works from albesia wood, which is easily turned into simplistic, cartoonish figures. The wood is also a favourite of wind-chime makers.

Go about 3km west of town on a small, very green road to Keliki, and you’ll pass Alam Sari, a small hotel in a wonderfully isolated location where the bamboo grows like grass. There are 12 luxurious yet rustic rooms, a pool and a great view. The hotel treats its own wastewater, among other environmental initiatives.

Mas

Mas

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Mas means ‘gold’ in Bahasa Indonesia, but woodcarving is the principal craft in this village. The great Majapahit priest Nirartha once lived here, and Pura Taman Pule is said to be built on the site of his home. During the three-day Kuningan festival, a performance of wayang wong (an older version of the Ramayana ballet) is held in the temple’s courtyard.

Carving was a traditional art of the priestly Brahmana caste, and the skills are said to have been a gift of the gods. Historically, carving was limited to temple decorations, dance masks and musical instruments, but in the 1930s carvers began to depict people and animals in a naturalistic way. Today it’s hard to resist the oodles of winsome creatures produced here.

This is the place to come if you want something custom-made in sandalwood – just be prepared to pay well (and check the wood’s authenticity carefully). Mas is also part of Bali’s booming furniture industry, producing chairs, tables and antiques (‘made to order!’), mainly from teak imported from other Indonesian islands.

Three generations of carvers produce some of Bali’s most revered masks in the family compound of IB Anom, right off the main road in Mas. There is a small showroom with their works, but mostly the appeal is visiting with the family while they create something out of cedar. You can take lessons (from 100,000Rp per day) and expect to have something half-good in about two weeks.

Along the main road in Mas are the Taman Harum Cottages. There are 17 rooms and villas – some quite large. By all means get one overlooking the rice fields. They’re behind a gallery, which is also a venue for a huge range of art and cultural courses. Ubud shuttles are free.

North of Mas, woodcarving shops make way for the art galleries, cafes, hotels and lights of Ubud.

Sukawati & Puaya

Sukawati & Puaya

Sukawati

Once a royal capital, Sukawati is now known for its specialised artisans, who busily work in small shops along the roads. One group, the tukang prada, make temple umbrellas, beautifully decorated with stencilled gold paint, which can be seen in their shops.

In the town centre, the always-bustling produce market is a highlight. Vendors with fruit you’ve likely never seen before are tucked into the corners of the typically grungy main food hall. You’ll also see sarongs and temple ceremony paraphernalia; outside booths sell easy-to-assemble temple-offering kits to time-constrained Balinese faithful. On the surrounding streets you’ll find some stalls with high-quality handicrafts mixed in with those peddling ‘I Love Bali’ handbags. Should you get inspired, there are ATMs at the ready.

About 2km south of town, the much-hyped and very touristy Pasar Seni is a two-storey market where every type of knick-knack and trinket is on sale.

Puaya, about 1km northwest of Sukawati, specialises in high-quality leather shadow puppets and masks for Topeng and Barong dances. On the main street, look for a small sign that reads Mustika Collection, or ask anyone. Inside the family compound you’ll find a workshop for masks and puppets where you can see how cow hide is transformed into these works of art. Nearby, Baruna Art Shop has barongs aplenty. Other workshops nearby are in shadowing rooms behind open doorways; look inside and you might see a fearsome mask staring at you.

Pejeng

Pejeng

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On the road towards Tampaksiring you come to Pejeng and its famous temples. Like Bedulu, this was once an important seat of power, as it was the capital of the Pejeng kingdom, which fell to the Majapahit invaders in 1343.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/pejeng

Singapadu

Singapadu

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The centre of Singapadu is dominated by a huge banyan tree. In the past, these were community meeting places. Even today the local meeting hall is just across the road. The surrounding village has a traditional appearance, with walled family compounds and shady trees. You can visit the Nyoman Suaka Home, which is 50m off the main road, just south of the big tree. Pass through the old carved entrance to the walled family compound and you’ll discover a classic Balinese home. While you snoop about, the family goes about its business. Many pestles are in use in the kitchen producing spices and some of the roofs are still made from thatch on bamboo frames.

Singapadu’s dancers now perform mostly at large venues in tourist areas – there are no regular public performances.

Batubulan

Batubulan

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The start of the road from south Bali is lined with outlets for stone sculptures – stone carving is the main craft of Batubulan (moonstone). Workshops are found right along the road to Tegaltamu, with another batch further north around Silakarang. Batubulan is the source of the stunning temple-gate guardians seen all over Bali. The stone used for these sculptures is a porous grey volcanic rock called paras, which resembles pumice; it’s soft and surprisingly light. It also ages quickly, so that ‘ancient’ work may be years rather than centuries old.

The temples around Batubulan are, naturally, noted for their fine stonework. Just 200m to the east of the busy main road, Pura Puseh Batubulan is worth a visit for its moat filled with lotus flowers and perfectly balanced overall composition. Statues draw on ancient Hindu and Buddhist iconography and Balinese mythology; however, they are not old – many are copied from books on archaeology. An attenuated Barong dance show about the iconic lion-dog creature is performed in an ugly hall; it’s a bus-tour-friendly one-hour-long show. Note that Pura Puseh means ‘central temple’ – you’ll find many around Bali. Some translations have ‘Puseh’ meaning ‘navel,’ which is apt.

Batubulan is also a centre for making ‘antiques’, textiles and woodwork, and has numerous craft shops.

Tampaksiring

Tampaksiring

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Tampaksiring is a small village about 18km northeast of Ubud with a large and important temple, Tirta Empul, and the most impressive ancient site in Bali, Gunung Kawi. It sits in the Pakerisan Valley, and the entire area has been nominated for Unesco recognition.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/tampaksiring