It was in this part of Bali that the fleeing royalty of the Majapahit dynasty set up their kingdom. Between the 14th and 19th centuries Samprangan, Gelgel & Klungkung were all capitals of the Klungkung Regency. Recognized by other Balinese kingdoms as the most powerful, this regency was one of the last strongholds of the Balinese during the Dutch invasion of 1900’s. The Gelgel dynasty ruled in Bali for over 600 years and throughout their reign the arts flourished
Klungkung Regency Capital – This busy market town on the main route to Besakih and Amlapura is steeped in history and has some noteworthy sites, the Semara Pura Palace complex which houses the Hall of Justice and Kambang Pavilion. The market here sells interesting textiles woven in the eastern part of Bali, one thing to buy is sea salt panned from the nearby beaches.
Taman Gili Palace – Built in the Dewa Agung dynasty, by artisans of the royal court. Not much remains of this palace, destroyed during the Dutch invasion of Bali, except for the main gate and two buildings that were rebuilt and restored in the 1940’s.
Kertha Gosa – Judgment Hall – A Hall of Justice which functioned as the highest seat arbitration in the kingdom. The ceiling friezes depict scenes of horror and punishment. Villains judged here were imprisoned on Nusa Penida Island.
Bale Kambang – This floating pavilion is adjoined to the Judgment Hall, the ceiling friezes here depict scenes of Buddhist folklore and astrology
Bat Cave – Goa Lawah – A cave said to house the scared serpent that guards holy Mount Agung and the cosmos. Teeming with bats, this cave has various passageways, some up to 30kms long, in fact it is said that one leads all the way to the Temple of Besakih.
Gelgel– The royal household was based in the village Gelgel in the fifteenth century. Both the Jero Agung and Dasar temples are worth visiting, the latter being reserved for ceremonies of higher caste or aristocracy of Bali.
Kamasan – A small village near Klungkung from which a style of Balinese painting originated, the Kamasan style, based on east Javanese shadow puppets or wayang.
Kusamba – A salt panning village with a black sand beach.
Lembongan & Ceningan Islands– Small islands of the east coast of Bali, with a number of caves and beaches to explore. Lembongan is a very popular one-day cruise destination.
Paksa – A village famous for re-enactments of ancestral battles. The participants re-enact these battles whilst in a trance.
Penida Island – Originally the penitentiary island for the Klungkung kingdom. The Dalem Peed Temple is associated with myth and black magic.
Nusa Penida – the largest of the three outlying islands measuring approximately 200 sq kilometers. White sand beaches, white cliffs prove that this island is not volcanic but made mainly from limestone. Historically Nusa Penida was a penal colony for the Klungkung Regency, undesirables were sent here after having been judged in the Kerta Gosa. A very dry climate and a local myth of a ferocious giant, giving Penida a reputation as an evil place, maintains the population at about 45’000. For the most part Penidan families fish and farm for a living, with seaweed being probably the largest export of this island. The main town is Samplan, on the north east coast of the island, this and another 18 hamlets make up the extent of the residential part of Penida. Two temples, Peed & Batukuning are interesting to visit. The dive spots on Penida are very challenging as currents are strong.
Nusa Lembongan – a small low-lying island of approximately two & a half kilometers wide by 4 kms in length. This island has white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs and is currently developing as a promising tourist destination. Cruise operators visit this island with diving, snorkeling, glass bottom and banana boat rides being the main focus of tourist attention. The main cottage industry here is seaweed farming and the seaweed gardens are well worth visiting at low tide. A unique place to visit on the island is an underground house which was supposedly carved out of the ground with a spoon! Other attractions include walking around traditional village and catching a small boat to tour the mangroves. Surfers all head over to Jungut Batu on the north east of the island.
Nusa Ceningan – the smallest of the three islands, made up mainly from a sand flat. The name comes from cenik – the Balinese word for small. Seldom visited the small islet is home to a bat cave, incredible coral and marine life.