Bali:: Gianyar, the richest district on Bali

Bali, Gianyar. Some of the many large statues in this area. Close to the center of Gianyar city. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar. Some of the many large statues in this area. Close to the center of Gianyar city. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Traditionally Gianyar has been the richest district on Bali, today about half the population here works in the tourist industry. Gianyar city is the administrative center of the district, while Ubud is the cultural capital and has the largest population. Gianyar city is located about 23 km from Denpasar, and is a junction for north and east bound traffic. Around Bedulu, between the Petanu and Pakrisan rivers, is a 10 km long belt of land known as “the land between the rivers”.

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Sakhalin, Russias largest island

Russia, Sakhalin. Okhotskoye is a small village at the south east coast of Sakhalin, not far from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Residential buildings are mostly made of wood. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Russia, Sakhalin. Okhotskoye is a small village at the south east coast of Sakhalin, not far from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Residential buildings are mostly made of wood. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Sakhalin island, just north of Japan and off the east coast of Russia, has led to many bitter disputes between the two countries. The island is today part of Russia, and is Russia’s largest island.

I visited the island last year, and have added several images to the photo gallery.

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Baku, capital of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku city view with tha harbour and the Caspian Sea in the background. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku city view with the harbour and the Caspian Sea in the background. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Click here to see some newly added images from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. I visited the country last year to do a job there, and had a few hours to spend in the city. Baku is probably derived from the old Persian name Bād-kube, meaning “Wind-pounded city”. It can also mean “Mount of God” from Baghkuh, which one also can compare to Baghdad.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Sun and sand on Senggigi Beach

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Senggigi. The sun sets in the ocean, in the backgrund you can see Gunung Agung on Bali. (Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Senggigi. The sun sets in the ocean, in the backgrund you can see Gunung Agung on Bali. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Senggigi is maybe Lombok’s equivalent to Bali’s Kuta Beach, but is in many ways totally different. It’s far more quiet and peaceful, the nightlife here is also much more limited. The place is located north of Mataram and not far from the airport, many tourists prefer to stay here the first days before they explore the rest of the island, but you can also use Senggigi as your permanent base. Senggigi is clearly the most developed tourist area on Lombok, but stretches over a wide area and is still not overdeveloped.

There are some large, expensive hotels here, but you can also find accommodation of a more simple standard. The number of restaurants have increased in the last few years, but there is still some time before Lombok can compete with Bali. It is recommended to enjoy the sunset from a restaurant by the beach, the nightlife is not as varied as on Bali, but there are some pubs and nightclubs with live music.

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Bali:: Canggu

Bali, Badung, Canggu. Blue sky and sea and golden rice fields. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Badung, Canggu. Blue sky and sea and golden rice fields. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Just north of Kuta is an unspoiled village and beach called Canggu. If you quickly want to get away from the noisy life on Kuta to a nice beach nearby this may be the place. The beach is known for it’s good surfing conditions, but the waves can be large and the currents strong, so in order to take a bath here you should be a good swimmer.

This close to the large tourist spots on Bali it a is remarkably laidback and undeveloped place, there are only a few hotels here. The surfers usually gather around a warung at the beach, where they can exchange their experiences.

Bali, Badung, Canggu. Enjoy blue sky and sea at Canggu. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Badung, Canggu. Enjoy blue sky and sea at Canggu. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Because of the low degree of development most of the population still makes a living of agriculture and fishing, and a traditional life with religious ceremonies is still maintained. You can still see a cremation ceremony in front of the hotels, this never happens on Kuta or Sanur anymore. This is not the place for heavy nightlife, but to get away and relax for a few days it can be a good alternative.

Bali, Badung, Canggu. The Canggu beach looking south towards Kuta. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Badung, Canggu. The Canggu beach looking south towards Kuta. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

On low water it is a nice walk from here to Kuta that may take about 1.5 hours (16 km). To the north you can walk to Seseh and all the way to Tanah Lot, which is about 35 km and maybe best done by car in this heat. If you like to find Canggu on your own you turn west at Krobokan and south at Kayutulang.

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