Bali’s earliest inhabitants have been traced back as far as 2000 BC but it was Indian and Chinese influences along with Hinduism in the 1st century AD that created the lasting cultural milieu that is so iconic of Bali today. Despite the overwhelming adaption to tourism the Balinese have maintained their age-old culture for the last 1,000 years and their colourful religious displays and processions have become a major tourist attraction.
One of the most popular cultural sites on Bali is the Tanah Lot Temple that sits on a large rock just offshore in the Tabanan regency. Founded in the 16th century by Dang Hyang Nirartha to appease the Sea Gods, this temple is one of Bali’s largest tourist draws. Tide erosion has meant that access is restricted to local deities but both the site and the amazing sunsets produce a remarkable spectacle.
Perched on a cliff top overlooking the Indian Ocean, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is considered an architectural wonder. Built in large part of black coral rock the temple is one of the 8 Kahyangan Jagat holy temples that are spread across the island. From here a magnificent view of the South Western Bali peninsula can be had.