Day Trip — Bali Wonders 1 — Indonesia 6/9
We have been getting up at 4:00am these past few days because of jet lag, but today was the first day that I could’ve used a little more sleep. Our tour guide was supposed to meet us at 8:00 in the morning, not too early, but I found it quite difficult to get ready and finish my breakfast. Breakfast, however, was superb as usual! Our guide, Gusti, showed up in traditional clothing shortly past 8 and immediately we were off. I was more than excited to leave Kuta as the novelty of the high tourist density/surfer town was starting to wear off. I think Keith felt the same way, and I just can’t wait to see what else Bali has to offer.
Canangs We booked the Bedugul Day Tour through Bali Traditional Tours, and that means we get to go to the mountains today. Gusti brought us to a traditional market first. However, because this is an early morning market, many of the vendors were already starting to close up. Nevertheless, we were able to see how the Canang offerings were made. These Canangs are seen throughout Bali, in front of every door, on the streets, in corners, and on statues. They are offering that the locals put out at least once a day. They are made of young coconut leaves and consists of, usually, a coin, a cookie, a cigarette, and some flowers. They represent what the gods gave to them, and in turn, they are offering some back to the gods. Personally I love these Canangs, I think they are beautiful and represent an extremely thoughtful gesture.
Taman Ayun The next stop was Taman Ayun, a temple situated on a beautiful garden surrounded by what seemed to be a moat. The sun was bright and the garden grounds looked perfect under it. The main temple area is blocked off from tourists but we could see over the walls. This temple is still being used by villagers on a regular basis but during times when it’s not being used, only priests and other temple keepers gets to go in.
Taman Ayun We didn’t stay long, and left for Jatiluwih directly after. Jatiluwih is a Unesco heritage site as well. It’s not a historical building but instead an entire area of rice fields. These rice patties are different than most others as they are situated on hills. The villagers are diligent in trimming these rice patties so they look like clean cut tiers. I’ve seen plenty of rice patties in my life time as well as pictures of Jatiluwih, but nothing is comparable to the real thing. The area of these rice fields are much bigger than what I thought they would be, and the hills look a lot steeper in real life. The magnitude of this rice field is unbelievable, I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever have an opportunity to see something like this again.
Jatiluwih We had lunch right beside the rice patties, our table directly across from them. The weather was amazing, much cooler than Kuta. We went on a short trek around the rice patties after lunch, then headed towards Lake Bratan.
Ulun Danu Bratan In addition to Jatiluwih, this was the place I came to see. I saw pictures of the Ulun Danu Bratan temple on the internet and was mesmerized by how beautiful it is. It’s situated on the Lake and looked like it was floating in the picture. But there was a really bad drought in Bali for the past few months and the Lake had receded back, exposing the foundation of the temple. What’s worse was, there were some major construction going on and totally shattered my fantasy of how this temple would’ve looked like in real life. The upside though, was the tons of flowers grew on the sides of the temple and it accented the temple really nicely. We took some pictures and headed on back towards Ubud. We had requested to see ceremonies or private residents if we could, long and behold, just as we were heading out from Ulun Danu Bratan, we saw a long parade of people carrying a giant Ganesh statue. Our guide explained that ceremonies of this magnitude happens almost monthly.
Family Temple On the way to our guide’s home, we stopped by some random people’s house. They seem to be very wealthy, and after our guide explained why we are here, they were kind enough to let us in. Housing quarters are always the same: North quarters for the elderly, Kitchen in the South, West is the bedroom for the rest of the family members, and the temple in the East. It was surprising to us to find out that there is a family temple in every Balinese housing compound. The one we stopped by was very fancy, bright colours and hand carved wooden doors/pillars. They even offered us to stay for food, but we kindly declined. Their hospitality definitely left an impression on us though.
Gusti’s Village Temple Our guide’s home is much more modest than the other one we saw. But it feel more real. We met his father, wife, and son. And in the back, we saw his pig too! After visiting his home, we went to visit his village temple. There was a huge Bodhi tree behind the temple. It made me want to just be beside it, maybe build a home next to the tree. It made me feel like it would protect me. It was shortly past 6pm when we arrived at our villa in Ubud. The Umae Villa, tucked away in a curvy drive way, had a beautiful entrance. We were very tired from our day of wondering around the island, and were eager to turn in. But the receptionist was hassling us to book tours through them, we quickly turned them down and went to our villa.
Umae Villa The villa was exactly as shown in the pictures. It’s gated, has a plunge pool with very cold water. There was a small kitchenette and a dining table, some lounge chairs, and an outdoor bathroom. We had never stayed anywhere this fancy and absolutely loved it. It was an amazing feeling resting in a bed surrounded by glass windows so we could see the sky and trees around us. There were black out curtains all around and we fell asleep feeling like royalty.
To be continued…
Originally published at searchingforjoyinasplitsecond.blogspot.com on February 24, 2017.