Monday, October 19, 2009

Buleleng: Beautiful vistas aplenty

Buleleng regency has unique social and cultural characteristics that set it apart from the rest of Bali. Stretching across almost the whole of northern Bali, its 144-kilometer coastline beckoned many foreign ships to drop anchor in bygone days.

Arab and Chinese traders had a lasting influence on the people of this regency, and as a result their culture and arts evolved. An example of this is the Gong kebyar, in which two dance groups compete to the strains of gamelan music.

Old Buddhist temples, such as Kalibukbuk Buddhist temple, and Mongolian relics can be found in Buleleng.

On the way to Lovina for a dolphin viewing tour, domestic tourists often stop in Singaraja to savor the local fare. Local specialties include Sudang Lepet, jukut undis (grilled crispy fish in savory sauce) and Syiobak babi (roasted pork), which can be washed down with Es Bir (young coconut juice with a tinge of lemon).

Lovina, located nine kilometers from Singaraja, the capital of Buleleng regency, is a long stretch of beach ideal for swimming, snorkeling and watching beautiful sunrises. And, of course, for dolphin viewing tours. Tours cost Rp 60,000 per person, start at 6 a.m. and last for three hours.

Historic remains include Puri Buleleng (Buleleng palace), which reflects the glorious days of the Buleleng kingdom. There is a bounty of sights for nature lovers, like Air Terjun Gitgit (Gitgit Waterfall) and Ambengan rice terraces in Sukasada district.

Menjangan Island offers great underwater panoramas. The island is nicknamed the mini Bunaken after the Bunaken in Manado, North Sulawesi, which is internationally acclaimed as a diving destination.

Buleleng also has an ecotourism village, Desa Wisata Pemuteran, located in Gerokgak district.

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