Don't miss out on the wonders of northern Bali
THOUGH the northern part of Bali is less popular among tourists than the south, it is actually home to plenty of natural attractions and unique traditional cultures.
Here are some things to do when exploring this less crowded, yet very exciting area.
CANYONING AT GITGIT WATERFALL
Nestled in Singaraja, Gitgit village is blessed with several beautiful waterfalls that are popular with tourists. It is especially famous as the "it" destination to do canyoning.
Canyoning at Gitgit means exploring its waterfalls and caves, slipping down the natural water slides, rappelling down the waterfalls and cliffs, and swimming in the natural spring basins.
The canyoning operators usually offer packages according to one's level of experience and physical condition.
Pick one that is safe, yet challenging enough to test your agility and physical endurance.
DOLPHIN-WATCHING DURING SUNRISE OFF LOVINA BEACH
Stretching from Bali's northern coast to the west of Singaraja, Lovina is blessed with gorgeous sunrises and pods of dolphins swimming in the open sea, and has been a very popular destination among tourists seeking to enjoy both.
When you first arrive at the spot, you may find that its narrow black sandy beach and scenery are not that appealing.
But if you visit the place just before dawn and rent a jukung (traditional wooden boat), you will discover one of the most beautiful sunrises on the whole island, thanks to the addition of the many dolphins surfacing and leaping out of the sea.
Other than taking a mental picture, bring a long-focus lens along with your camera to share the experience back home.
Many of the visitors are families with young children because, of course, which kid would not get excited watching dolphins playing in the sea?
TREKKING MOUNT BATUR
Kintamani is home to at least two very attractive natural sites, Lake Batur and Mount Batur.
Mount Batur is actually a sacred place for the Balinese Hindus, but visitors are allowed to trek it to enjoy the gorgeous sunrise from the top.
As the activity is getting more and more popular, you can easily find tour operators in Bali that offer local guides to help you reach the summit, which takes around two hours to reach from the bottom of the mountain.
VISITING THE TRADITIONAL TRUNYAN CEMETERY
Also in Kintamani, there is a place called the Trunyan cemetery in Trunyan village, which has a very interesting tradition.
While the Balinese people usually cremate or bury their dead, the people in Trunyan have their own tradition of laying them out in bamboo cages at the cemetery. Strangely, while a dead body decomposes, there is no unpleasant smell.
According to the locals, the stench is absorbed by the cemetery's gigantic Taru Menyan tree.
Only 11 bodies can be laid in the bamboo cages. Thus, when a new one arrives, the Trunyan people will move one of the older bodies to the other side of the cemetery, while the skulls will be put next to the tree. You can see a collection of skulls lying on the stone platform next to the tree, and bones in the area.
The people of Trunyan village themselves are also interesting; they are considered to be the old Bali Aga, which literally means the Balinese who live in higher lands and still preserve their own unique customs.
Situated at the eastern part of Lake Batur, you can reach the village by renting a motor boat at the Kedisan port.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK