Bali - East

Time seems to stand still in East Bali. Oxen plowing the rice fields, roosters crowing in the morning, the crumbling palaces and water gardens of the kings of Karangasem are a gentle reminder of life in Bali over the centuries.

Climb Gunung Agung - Gunung Agung, the volcanic mountain in east Bali, is often shrouded in clouds. Hiking up the mountain takes you above the clouds for a spectacular panorama of the entire island. On Gunung Agung you do feel as if you are in the morning of the world.
The hike up the mountain is awe-inspiring but not for small kids and kids who are not experienced hikers. Don't worry about getting to the crater at the top, just go as far up as the kids want to go.
A guide is required.The trail is not all that well marked and it goes straight up and straight down. It's recommended to start early (in the middle of the night) to beat the tropical heat. This also has the advantage that you get a spectacular sunrise while on the mountain. Bring a windbreaker/fleece for chill winds and cold you may encounter as you climb up. Real hiking shoes are essential.
Pura Besakih - Besakih, located on the slopes of Gunung Agung, is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bali. To be close to the mountains is to be close to the gods - as you climb the wide stairs, and pass through the split gate into the temple courtyards, it's simply spine tingling. The complex has three temples, one dedicated to Brahma, another to Wisnu, and the largest is dedicated to Siwa.
Tirta Gangga - Tirta Gangga in East Bali is a fantasy water garden built by the last raja of Karangasm. The pools are decorated with carved stone dragons and mythical animals, water cascading from stone pagodas in the middle. There is a large swimming pool and restaurant on the grounds. This is a great day trip.
Amlapura (Karangasem) - Stop into the Puri Agung Palace, home of the kings of Karangasem, once one of the most powerful kingdoms in Bali. The 19th century palace has a mixture of styles - a Chinese-style pagoda entrance to the palace compound, one room filled with furniture presented by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, other rooms have Balinese gamelans (musical instruments). Don't miss the dance pavillion surrounded by a moat with floating lotus flowers.
Down the road, next to the beach, you can also run around the crumbling "Floating Palace" at Ujung. The artificial lakes are quite large, and a good place to picnic or just stretch your legs.
Amed -
This fishing village is the perfect spot for snorkeling, warm clear water, coral and gorgeous tropical fishes. Tip: While snorkeling, be aware of motorized boats zipping through the lagoon.
Go for a sail in a Balinese outrigger (it may be a genuine Balinese fishing outrigger).We sailed with a fisherman off the coast near Amed and for a time it looked at if we were headed straight to Lombok (we did turn back eventually). My kids were fascinated when the fisherman rotated the sail to come about and used a coconut to bail out the boat.
Kerta Gosa (Klungkung) - Today Klungkung is a pretty busy city, but it was once the royal capital of Bali, presided over by the raja of Klungkung. At the Kerta Gosa, the Palace of Justice, the raja and his judges sat to decide legal cases. The roof of the Kerta Gosa is decorated with the most amazing paintings of Bhima Swarga, the adventures of Bhima in heaven and hell.
The paintings depict the adventures of the stout-hearted hero Bhima, accompanied by two fat clowns, Twalen and Mredah, as he travels for hell to rescue his father and mother. Bhima fights and defeats the lord of Hell and his armies. Bhima reclaims his parents, but before they can enter heaven, Bhima and the clowns go on another quest to heaven to obtain holy water. In heaven, Bhima wages war with the gods, dies, is brought back to life, and finally battles the gods into giving him the holy water. The holy water restores his parents giving them eternal life and a spot in heaven.
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