Island of Bali is famous for honeymooners, surfers and others who just love to be in touch with nature. If you have read the book of Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love or watched the movie of the same title with Julia Roberts as the lead actress, for sure you will grab your suitcase or backpack and will catch a flight to Bali, Indonesia and the rest of the countries mentioned on the book/movie. Where I grew up we have many islands but Indonesia has more. They have more than 18,000 islands. Bali is known to be as the Island of Temples or Island of God’s. Rich in cultural beauty, artistry and very exotic.
I made Ubud as my base and stayed in a Kupu Kupu Barong hotel.To find out more about the resort kindly check here. The resort is 10km or 6miles from Ubud centre, you can arrange transport from the hotel or any other rent a car services with a driver. The hotel is one of the best hotel I have stayed in. I like their Smoked Salmon:-)
Bali’s famous temples and some sights are far and it takes 8 to 12 hours a day for tours. I arranged my tours with a local driver and not from a travel agency. These are the places I/we have visited: First, watching the Barong Dance. It is a dance performed when there is a misfortune or illness on the land; it is about a story dance of good and evil.
Then Agung- my tour guide took me to the Art Village, where you see how statues, painting, sarong (batik), wood and stone carvings are made.What I am interested in, aside form paintings or embroidery displays is the Balinese stone wall carvings and statues, but it’s very difficult to carry. Nowadays, some shops they offer shipping either by sea or air cargo. It’s really beautiful to have it for garden, the way how they use/display it in their gardens and houses. Very artistic.
We visited the Batuan Temple. It is one of the beautiful temples with a parking space, a hall, and a courtyard. In Philippines Batu means stone , similar to Indonesians it means tough like a stone. Before you enter you need to put the ‘kamben’ (it is like sarong but more of a traditional Balinese costume)to show your respect. It is for free and you can return after. You can also give some donations on the temple.
During my visit, they have this ceremony where the men wear white shirts and headbands and they have sacrificial rituals of killing the chickens and some food offerings and incense. The ceremony is called Odalan. It will last for two or 3 days. Women are required to wear Balinese type of clothes-Sarong and a long sleeve lace or blouse type carrying with them their offerings.
Next stop is the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. I appreciate it, as we have also Rice terraces in Philippines- The Banaue Rice Terraces.
Before continuing my Volcano Tour, we went for lunch in Kintamani. It is far . The area is on Mount Batur caldera. The restaurant is simple but gives you an amazing view of Mount Batur and the lake. For the food, they have many choices. I ate rice, chicken barbecue, deep fried swamp cabbage, and tempura.
After lunch, we went to visit the Coffee Plantation and tried five different coffees including the Luwak Coffee (Civet Coffee) which they say, the most expensive coffee beans in the world.Would you like to try a cat poop coffee? You can read more about Luwak here.
And the last we visited the Tirta Empul Temple or the Holy Water Temple. It is one of the busiest temple dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu God of water. Bali’s population are 83% Balinese Hinduism and followed by Muslim, Christians and Buddhism. Water plays an important role for Hinduism’s routines and rituals purifying the body and soul.The admission fee is 15,000 Indonesian Rupiah.
We ended our tour by visiting Ubud center to check for some souvenirs and try Balinese cuisines. I bought some Buddha head painting for 150,000IDR (12$), and carved Buddha head made from Ebony wood for 110,000(8$). This Volcano Tour started at 8am and we reached past 8pm. That would be 12 hours on the road. A day well spent!
If you have more time, include The Besakih Temple, Gunung-Kawi temple, Elephant Cave Temple and Tanah Lot temple.
The rest of my Bali trip will be posted later.