Bali is nicknamed the Island of the Gods for many reasons. The glorious temples, unique culture, pulsating night scene, beautiful beaches, and stunning scenery could easily make you feel as though you are in heaven.
There’s plenty to do outdoors and indoors and, with something for all weather conditions, ages, and interests, there never needs to be a dull moment in Bali.
The island is fairly big, so knowing where to start can give you grief . You don’t want to miss out on any hidden gems!
Our expert team have put together the ultimate list of places to visit in Bali to make sure that you don’t miss a thing.
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Bali:
Flanked on almost all sides by rice fields, the scenery in Canggu is less developed than the other beach towns. The black-sand beaches have more fisherman than bars and visitors will experience a much more laid-back vibe.
- Dance to live music while enjoying a cocktail at one of the weekly parties at Old Man’s Bar or Deus.
- Stay at the best Coworking Hostel – Tribal Bali
- Any one of these awesome activities in Canggu!
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Bali!
We’ve clunked our heads together to bring you the best places to visit in Bali from the well known to hidden gems. No matter where you are staying in Bali, you can find amazing activities and tours nearby.
Here are some of our favourites!
#1 – Besakih Temple – The holiest place to visit in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Besakih Temple (or Pura Besakih locally) is the most sacred Hindu temple in Bali. An important place of pilgrimage for devotees, the magnificent temple sits on the slopes of the volcanic Mount Agung. Split between six terraced levels, the complex is made up of more than 20 individual temples.
A spiritual Hindu site for at least 2,000 years, it is widely believed that the area has been a holy place since the prehistoric period. There are many fascinating shrines throughout, along with a wealth of interesting architecture. Some 70 religious festivals take place at the temple every year!
What to do there: Climb the stairs up the holy mountain, stopping to explore the spiritual buildings and statues on each level and admire the sweeping vistas. Don’t miss the three temples dedicated to the Hindu Trinity: Pura Kiduling Kreteg (dedicated to Brahma, the creator), Pura Penataran Agung (dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer), and Pura Batu Madeg (dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver). See the representations of the levels of the universe, according to Hindu beliefs, at Pura Penataran Agung.
Pura Pangubengan is the mountain’s highest temple, and you’re sure to be impressed by the splendid views. Watch pilgrims clad in white making their way to different important shrines and praying to various deities. Tour the huge complex with an official guide to gain greater insights and understanding. Remember to dress modestly to visit the highly revered Besakih Temple.
#2 – Sacred Monkey Forest – One of the OG places to see in Bali!
Why it’s awesome: Located in Ubud, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a natural forest where many macaque monkeys swing through the trees and scamper across the ground. There are shaded paths leading around, where you’ll spot an array of tropical fauna and flora.
Sacred Hindu temples are scattered throughout the forest, and there are many interesting statues and sculptures too. Although generally well preserved, many of the old structures are covered in moss and slightly overgrown, adding to the wild and mysterious atmosphere. You can explore the site independently or walk around with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about the monkeys and the forest’s significance.
What to do there: Secure all loose items (the monkeys love to snatch and run!) and enter the green and leafy macaque-filled forest. While the monkeys are inquisitive and playful, one of our top recommendations for staying safe in Bali is beware the monkeys; don’t touch the creatures or encourage them to climb on you because of the risks associated with wild animals. Observe the monkeys’ antics and take lots of cool photos. Soak up the pretty views as you stroll through the nutmeg forest and absorb the sense of spirituality at ancient sites like the 14th-century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, the bathing temple of Pura Beji, and Pura Prajapati, which is used for local funeral rituals.
Jalan Monkey Forest (or Monkey Forest road) is filled with quaint market stalls where you can shop and pick up souvenirs.
Insider tip: Leave all your sunglasses, bags and watches in the car. These monkeys are smart and will try to take you for anything you have! Little thieves..
#3 – Tanah Lot Temple – One of the most amazing places in Bali!
Why it’s awesome: A visit to Bali isn’t complete without a water temple trip. Tanah Lot Temple sits on a craggy rock in the sea. ‘Tanah Lot’ means Land in the Sea in the local language, and it is an interesting site with waves crashing around it and the deep blues of the ocean stretching far into the distance behind.
Dating back to the 16th century, it is said that a shrine was built on the rocks to honour the gods of the sea. There are elements from Hinduism and the local Balinese mythology within, and poisonous sea snakes are said to protect it from malevolent spirits and trespassers.
What to do there: You can admire the striking temple from the mainland, perhaps calling into one of the clifftop restaurants to enjoy the views for longer over a traditional meal. Try and spot sea snakes in the foamy waters, and appreciate the fine details that have gone into creating the impressive sea temple. There are many art and souvenir sellers along the pathway leading to the temple where you can pick up local gifts.
Hop on a guided tour around Pura Tanah Lot to learn all the legends. Remember to dress conservatively when visiting Hindu temples around Bali.
Insider tip: If you are hoping for some uninterrupted pics, make sure you get here early for a front row spot!
#4 – Bali Treetop Adventure Park – Adventurous place to visit in Bali!
Why it’s awesome: Set within the lush Bali Botanical Garden, Bali Treetop Adventure Park offers fun for people of all ages. There are seven circuits at different heights; yellow is for smaller kids while black offers the most adrenaline-inducing fun. All safety equipment is provided.
The views from the ropewalks and high activities are beautiful, you can take time to relax in the scenic surroundings. There are more than 70 exciting challenges, ranging from nets and swings to balancing blocks and jumps. The ziplines let you admire the views as you soar through the air.
What to do there: Listen to the safety briefings, and get fitted for your harness and then take to the trees for a fabulous adventure! You can start on some of the easier circuits to gain confidence, and build up to the big thrills and spills. Clamber your way up spider nets, teeter across high rope bridges, swing across gaps holding onto ropes, grip onto trapezes, and whizz through the skies on several flying foxes. See nature all around you and enjoy picturesque views.
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#5 – Nusa Dua – Chilled place in Bali for couples!
Why it’s awesome: Located in southern Bali, Nusa Dua is a lovely beach resort town with a stylish and sophisticated vibe. Home to some of the best beaches in Bali, couples can fall under the area’s spell while dining over amazing food and enjoying some must-see sites.
The soft sands and clear waters are ideal for lazy beach days and swimming in the refreshing sea. It is an easy drive from to all the best places to visit in Bali, including temples, tourist attractions and amenities of central Bali.
What to do there: In Nusa Dua you can hit the beach for a day of relaxation, top up your tan as you sunbathe on the soft sands, and cool down with a dip in the sea. There are LOADS of water sports to get your blood pumping, and to entertain the kids.
Don’t miss Water Blowhole, one of the area’s more unusual natural attractions. Watch as gigantic waves crash against pale limestone cliffs and wait in anticipation as the pressure builds to release in a high spray of water. Be sure to stroll hand in hand with your love along the pretty promenade as the sunsets.
#6 – Sidemen – A nice, non-touristy place to visit in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Sidemen is a scenic village in east Bali. The lush and verdant countryside boasts pretty rice paddies and palm plantations, with local homes speckled across the landscapes. The area is known for being a leading producer of palm wine and palm toddy, and local villagers are great at weaving. The vibe is tranquil and relaxed and it’s a top place to move away from the beaten track, escape the masses, and spend some time in rural Bali.
What to do there: Enjoy long walks or bike rides through the pretty countryside, stopping to take plenty of photographs of the green rice paddies that stretch out before you. Cross small rivers and see rich plantations, sample the locally produced tuak (palm toddy) and arak (palm wine), and enjoy a traditional meal in a simple restaurant. Purchase locally made woven products, which feature colourful and intricate designs. For a more hands-on experience head to Agung Silver, where you can make your own beautiful jewellery. Lap up the peaceful vibe, feel refreshed, and enjoy a blissfully chilled out and calm time in Sidemen.
Insider tip: We wouldn’t recommend Sidemen for an extended stay, but hanging out here for a weekend in a luxurious resort is the perfect way to unwind and detach from busy day-to-day life in Bali.
#7 – Sanur – Best place in Bali for families!
Why it’s awesome: Sanur is one of Bali’s calmest beach towns with everything a family could need. The atmosphere is peaceful and unhurried, there are several cultural, historical, and natural attractions, and you’ll find a wealth of terrific food options to satisfy your appetite!
Sanur is just a short drive away from the happening towns of Canggu and Seminyak, but offers a more relaxed stay.
What to do there: Take a walk along the beachside path and spend a few hours (or longer!) at the beach swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach games. See interesting artworks at Le Mayeur Museum, and learn about an ancient Javanese king’s visit to Bali at the attractive Blanjong Temple.
#8 – Bratan Lake – A majestic place to visit in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Bratan Lake (also known as Lake Baratan) is a picturesque crater lake close to Bedugal in central Bali highlands. The higher altitude means that temperatures are somewhat lower. It’s a great place to beat the heat and enjoy refreshingly cool conditions.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is the main draw to the lake. It’s another incredible temple complex on the water with beautiful architecture, activities and scenery, its well worth a visit! The nearby mountain range offers opportunities for scenic hiking in Bali. You’ll also find waterfalls, hot springs, and other attractions close to hand.
What to do there: Soak up the views of the pretty lake and visit the 17th-century Shaivite water temple of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Watch as people pay their respects to the Balinese water goddess and admire the interesting architecture. Go hiking in the mountains and visit the nearby waterfalls of Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfalls and Munduk Waterfall.
You will be able to find guided tours that tie all these into a one day excursion.
#9 – Tirta Empul – The most religious place to see in Bali
Why it’s awesome: The Balinese water temple of Tirta Empul is used by local Hindus to perform holy bathing rituals, and spiritual cleansing. The name itself means Holy Spring, and it is the start of the Pakerisan River.
A temple was built at the site around 960 (no I didn’t miss a number, its that old!), and was renovated to feature pools and showers. Devotees pray to the Lord Vishnu at this temple. The surrounding mountain scenery is attractive, and there’s a strong air of spirituality and serenity.
What to do there: Dressing modestly is very important for a visit. You can admire the architectural features and decorative details as you explore the ancient religious site. Visit the nearby presidential palace, built to accommodate the first president’s visit to the area.
You can learn more about local beliefs and myths as you view an array of religious items and artefacts throughout the temple complex. Pause at the stalls outside to peruse a variety of souvenirs and knickknacks, and try local snacks and meals.
Join the locals and have a full cleansing experience with a guided tour.
#10 – Canggu – The best place to hang out in Bali
Why it’s awesome: The coastal village of Canggu boasts lots of cool activities and a beautiful beach that stretches for around ten kilometres (6.2 miles). The black volcanic sands create a cool contrast with the blues of the ocean and the greens of the trees that line the beach. There are challenging surfing spots to tackle, fishing boats bob on the waves, and fresh catches are served in local restaurants.
The most popular area for backpackers, Canggu is the place to stay if you are looking to mix tropical living, hectic nightlife, lazy cafe mornings and a little bit of relaxation. Canggu is TBB’s favourite spot in Bali.
What to do there: Stroll along the black sands and admire the views, laze in the sunshine, take a swim in the sea, or have a go at surfing. Pop into a local warung (restaurant) to dine on delectable fresh seafood and watch fishermen returning to shore in the charming fishing village. There are plenty of hip and trendy cafes too. Be seduced by the unhurried pace of life and recharge your soul. For even more bliss, book a treatment at one of the spas. Visit the beach in the evening to watch a splendid sunset. If you’re so inclined, Canggu is a great place to work on your summer bod at a fitness retreat.
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Bali’s most special backpacker hostel is finally open…. Tribal Bali is a custom-designed, purpose-built hostel – a place to work, rest, play and stay. A place to find your tribe and hands down the best place in Bali to hustle hard and make new friends…
#11 – Ubud – Most hippy place in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Ubud is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali. There are A TON things to see and do, with something to appeal to almost any taste. It also has a lot of Bali’s best hostels!
The island’s centre of the arts, Ubud will please crative souls. There are historical and cultural sights aplenty, and natural beauties are just a stone’s throw away. Yo can also enjoy a variety of active adventures including jungle swings and rive rafting. The vibe is relaxed, and there are plenty of ways for people to channel some inner peace.
What to do there: Home to the famous Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the Ubud royal palace, Neka Art Museum, and Ubud art market, there is so much to do here you will need a lot of time to see it all! Make sure river rafting, jungle trekking, market shopping and decadent eating make it onto your to-do list. You could also try a jewellery making class, hot balloon ride, a charitable visit to Villa Kitty, or cooking class – the options are endless! Live your Eat Pray Love dreams!
#12 – Aling-Aling Waterfall – A tropical haven
Why it’s awesome: Located in north Bali, Aling-Aling Waterfall is one of the island’s prettiest waterfalls. Water crashes from 35 metres (114 feet) over a steep cliff, thundering down into a pool below. The surrounding jungle is home to varied flora and fauna, and there are opportunities for hiking close by.
What to do there: Follow the path and steps for around ten to fifteen minutes to reach the stunning Aling-Aling Waterfall. There are viewpoints along the way where you can admire the natural beauty and take great pictures. The route passes through rice terraces and pastoral land, too. Take a guide with you if you want to try swimming in the natural pools, whizzing down the smooth natural stone slide, and jumping into the water.
Do note that, for safety reasons, swimming is not permitted without a guide.
#13 – Uluwatu Temple – A must-see!
Why it’s awesome: One of Bali’s most famous landmarks, Uluwatu Temple is a spectacular clifftop temple with a rich legacy. Sitting at the edge of a 70-metre-high (230-foot-high) cliff, the elevated position provides splendid views. The temple dates back to the 11th century with ancient sculptures dotted throughout, and many rich and ornate Balinese details. Elephant-headed, human-like statues stand near the entrance gates, and a Brahmin statue gazes out over the Indian Ocean. Unusual for the island, the temple features a winged gate from the 10th century.
What to do there: Pass through the small forest at the bottom of the mountain, taking care to keep your eyes open for the cheeky monkey residents — who are not scared to snatch belongings and run away! Climb up to the temple, stopping to admire the views on the way. The climb takes around an hour. You can explore the ancient site, and learn more about local legends and spiritual beliefs.
Try and visit Uluwatu temple before sunset, and linger to see the traditional kecak dance that takes place every evening at the edges of the cliff. Afterwards, watch a spectacular sunset.
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#14 – Lovina – Away from the tourist crowds in Bali
Why it’s awesome: The peaceful coastal town of Lovina is located in north Bali. It has a long black-sand beach, and the waters are safe for swimming. The area still has the vibe of a rural fishing community.
Lovina is famous for the dolphins that swim in the ocean just a short way from the shore. Numerous operators offer boat rides to get up close to the graceful and playful creatures. The nearby highland scenery is easy to access, and there are several cultural places of interest close to hand too.
What to do there: The main thing to do in Lovina is a dolphin-spotting trip. But you can also try out a diving adventure to see more of the underwater world of Bali. Visit the biggest Buddhist monastery on the island – Brahma Vihara Arama—and contrast Buddhist practices with the prevalent Hindu beliefs. Soak away any aches and pain in Banjar Hot Springs, and explore the traditional Balinese villages and orchards of Lovina Hills.
#15 – Taman Festival Bali – A quirky place to visit in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Arguably much more interesting as a spooky relic than it would have been when open to the public for fun and frolics, Taman Festival Bali is an abandoned and decaying amusement park.
A great place for some urban adventuring, deserted trails littered with fragments of glass, rubbish, and rusty metal lead through the overgrown old theme park. Closed since 1997, you can only imagine what the amusement park would have been like in times gone by. Local legends abound, with spooky stories of abandoned crocodiles that turned to cannibalism to survive, and eerie buildings filled with bats.
What to do there: Pluck up the courage (though do take care!) to pass through the long-deserted entrance, passing the disused ticket booths and almost hearing whispers from the past. Roam through the rather sinister abandoned grounds, seeing what’s left of carnival-like games stalls, rides, theatre, and other buildings, and how the effects of time have taken their toll.
Graffiti covers many of the still-standing walls, and forgotten statues stand forlornly in a tangle of weeds. Spot various creatures (though hopefully not crocodiles!) in the wild overgrown surroundings. It will definitely add some diversity to your Bali trip and photo album. Do take care when exploring as many of the structures are now unsafe!
#16 – Mount Batur – An epic adventure in Bali
Why it’s awesome: The volcanic Mount Batur sits between two circular craters, one of which has filled with water creating a scenic lake. The still-active volcano has erupted many times over the years, with the nearby lava field bearing testament to its power. It is possible to climb the UNESCO-listed mountain with a trained guide, for brilliant views and the thrill of having scaled a volcano!
What to do there: Wake up in the early hours and hike Mount Batur, reaching the top in time to watch a magical sunrise. Expect the climb to take around two hours (don’t forget your sustainable travel water bottle!).
It’s highly recommended to hike Mount Batur with a guide, particularly when going up in darkness. Watch as an orange glow starts to spread through the skies, and then, as the light gets brighter, be wowed by the splendid views of the lush surroundings and shimmering volcanic lake.
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#17 – Seminyak – The most cosmopolitan place in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Seminyak is a great place for party animals and night owls who want to hang out somewhere other than Canggu. The atmosphere is a bit more stylish, and there are bars and clubs to cater to different tastes. There are also many places to enjoy a wide range of global fare. Seminyak is also a top place for shopping, particularly clothes, and for taking it easy in a spa. A sunset on Seminyak beach doesn’t suck either..
What to do there: Spend time lazing on the peaceful beach, and enhance your wardrobe with a shopping trip around the many boutiques. Enjoy a delicious top-class meal in some of Bali’s finest restaurants before getting ready for a night of fun and revelry. Hop between Seminyak’s cool bars, listen to live music, sip cocktails and cool beers, and bust out your best moves on the dance floor of a trendy nightclub. After a night on the tiles, rest again on the beaches, or visit one of the excellent spas for a little TLC.
#18 – Nusa Lembongan – Best weekend spot in Bali
Why it’s awesome: The small island of Nusa Lembongan is easy to reach from Bali. The chilled-out atmosphere, peaceful way of life, smaller crowds, and fewer developments make the island seem worlds apart from its larger neighbour. The waters teem with aquatic life, and there are great opportunities to explore more with different water sports. The island also boasts nice beaches, natural attractions, mangrove forests, and a traditional village.
What to do there: Catch an early ferry over to the island and spend a weekend exploring Nusa Lembongan. Chillax on pretty beaches like Mushroom Bay, Jungat Beach, Sunset Beach, and Dream Beach, relaxing on the soft sands and swimming in the sea.
Spot an assortment of fascinating marine creatures with a snorkelling or diving trip. If you’re feeling brave, muster up the courage to try the exciting cliff jump at Dream Beach. Don’t miss seeing the unusual natural feature known as Devil’s Tears; water builds to spurt forth with a crash, with the blowhole said to look like the Devil himself is crying. Visit the traditional Lembongan Village to see how locals live.
Nusa Penida is Lembongan’s more rugged neighbor and is ridiculously beautiful. If you don’t mind some rough roads and lack of infrasctructure, then consider visiting Nusa Penida instead!
#19 – Bengkala – An unknown place to visit in Bali!
Why it’s awesome: Bengkala is a village in north Bali. It is often known as the ‘Deaf Village’ because of the large number of residents who are hard of hearing. Home to around 3,000 people, approximately 50 locals have been born deaf.
In the past, villagers believed this was because of a curse on the homes. Today, the community seeks to be as inclusive as possible, with a large proportion of locals (both deaf and people with full hearing) using a unique sign language to communicate. The sign language, known as kata kolok, is only used in this village.
Tourists are welcomed into the village as a way to raise awareness, create more opportunities for locals, and to boost the local economy.
What to do there: Experience a completely different method of communication and way of life in the amazing village of Bengkala. Interact with locals with the help of an interpreter, and learn more about life in the community. Watch an enchanting dance show (called janger kolok), made all the more incredible when you realise that the dancers cannot hear the music or thudding drum beats. Support the community by buying local handicrafts, and appreciate the beauty of tolerance and acceptance in this small, rural traditional Balinese village.
#20 – Goa Gajah – One of Bali’s coolest historical sites!
Why it’s awesome: Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave, is situated just outside Ubud. The spiritual spot dates back to the 9th century, and is thought to have been built as a centre for meditation. There are pools where devotees take to the waters for ceremonial cleansing, and the cave features ancient rock carvings.
There’s a cave for meditation and there are many statues throughout the courtyard.
What to do there: Walk down the steps to reach the courtyard, where you can see a variety of Hindu and mythological statues alongside ancient stone carvings. Watch as locals perform bathing rituals in the pool, and take note of the water spouts that look like angels in the Hindu beliefs. Go into the cave and see cloth-wrapped statues and rock art. It’s interesting to see the difference between the Buddhist sections of the complex and those that are Hindu focused.
#21 – Pakudui – Best place to sightsee in Bali
Why it’s awesome: The village of Pakudai can be found close to Ubud. One of the area’s main attractions is the stunning Tegallalang rice terraces. Rice grows across the picturesque terraces, using a traditional irrigation system that is said to have been given to local farmers by a holy man. Even when the area is teeming with tourists, it’s still easy to enjoy the views and timeless ambience. The village is also well known for its crafts.
What to do there: Feast your eyes on the verdant valley and marvel at the stretching rice terraces that seem to defy the imagination. Savour the cooler conditions, a welcome break from hotter parts of the island. You can watch as farmers tend to their crops. See local craft workshops, appreciating the skills needed to create such intricate pieces, and perhaps pick up a few souvenirs and gifts to take home with you.
#22 – Amed – Perfect place for diving
Why it’s awesome: Amed is a quiet fishing village that also doubles as an exceptional diving spot in Bali. As well as a plethora of fish and other sea creatures, divers have the chance to explore eerie old shipwrecks hidden beneath the water’s surface.
In Amed there are many places where visitors can treat themselves to a sumptuous seafood feast, and the calm atmosphere is sure to make you feel at ease. The sunset vistas over the ocean are beautiful, and there are terrific views of Mount Agung in the distance.
What to do there: Walk across the sandy beach, savouring the peaceful vibe, and maybe pause for a while to enjoy sunbathing and swimming. Slip on your snorkelling gear to explore the nearby reefs, spotting a captivating array of marine life. Explore even more of the underwater domain on a diving trip. You might even spot sea turtles and reef tip sharks. Discover the wreck of a Japanese patrol ship, and take a trip to nearby Tulamben to dive amid the wreck of a US cargo ship.
Add something different to your trip and visit a salt farm, learning more about the salt harvesting process. Watch small fishing boats bobbing on the waves, and enjoy a seafood meal in one of the best restaurants.
Check out our roundup of the coolest attractions and activities during a holiday in Amed!
#23 – Balangan Beach – One of the best beaches in Bali
Why it’s awesome: Balangan Beach is one of the loveliest beaches in Bali. Green vegetation clings to dramatic limestone cliffs behind golden sands, with a reef and the shimmering waters of the Indian Ocean in front. The beach has a romantic air and it’s also a world-famous surfing destination. The views from the beach are picturesque, with the clifftops offering even more excellent vistas.
What to do there: Walk hand in hand with your sweetheart along the golden sands of Balangan Beach as you admire the stunning views. Watch surfers riding the waves in the distance, and perhaps rent a board to have a go yourself too. Paddle in the refreshing waters and soak up some sunshine from the beach. Prefer shade? There are parasols available to rent.
Find the famous Balangan view point for some epic picture moments.
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Bali never fails to please, with its dramatic landscapes, lush countryside, splendid beaches, and outdoor adventures. Gorgeous temples, interesting museums, and cool art galleries add to the appeal, and there’s a wealth of fun things to do to keep everyone engaged and interested on a vacation in Bali.
Whether you’re looking to have a romantic getaway with your loved one, make memories with your family, have an exciting destination on your own, or fun with your mates, Bali truly knows how to excel.
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