Accidental hiatus has come in place, but it's not because I didn't want to write. No, on the contrary I've actually been itching to write but I've only just returned from Bangkok with 3 of my closest friends! And you know what that means? More travel posts! Before that though, let's get on with some of my Bali-ventures!
BARONG KET DANCE
We started out nice and early the very next day when our driver came round at 8.30 AM to pick us up for our first destination: To watch a Barong Ket Dance. Just for a bit of background, a Barong is a myth believed by many in Bali and takes the shape of a lion-like creature. He's been said to be the king of spirits and the leader of the hosts of good, as well as the enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders.
The performance costed us IDR 100,000 per person as an entrance ticket and we were first whisked into taking a picture with one of the dancers. The entire show lasts for about an hour, and you'd get a paper printed handout of the story line as it runs from scene to scene so you could understand the fight between good and evil that the locals believe in.
Best performer of the show: The monkey.
Live music playing.
While there were several tourists who left halfway, we stayed throughout because the performers really did put in a whole lot of effort into putting up the show. From their heavy costumes to intricate music playing by hand, the Barong Ket Dance is one of those dances you could only enjoy if you're into learning about the Balinese culture. It does get a little slow at some points and you'd just wish they can get it over and done with but the performance is interesting nonetheless.
Barong Ket Dance
Entrance fee at IDR 100,000 per person
Ask your local tour guide for local showtimes!
Following our hour long show, our driver then took us up to the Tegenungan Waterfall in Gianyar. It was my first visit as far as I could remember to a waterfall, though pictures with my family when I was much younger proves otherwise.
To reach the waterfall you'd have to take the stairs right down, and the only thing in my head was how I would then climb back up after. I didn't regret the climb though, because the sight could only become prettier when we got to the waterfalls. Granted, there were tons of visitors around but the crisp, clear waters were a real treat even when we didn't jump right in.
It was a cooling affair even when all that was soaked were our feet, and we spent a good half hour or more just enjoying the mists of water that would come across us when the wind blew. There were moments where I really wish we could have ripped off our clothes and jump right in too, but our after plans didn't allow for that to happen because we had no change after.
Nakedness not tolerated here!
Loved every moment by the waterfall.
As he went deeper...because he was taller.
And then I made him take this for me!
Note: Removed the random people behind me. All hail Photoshop.
You'll also get to clean yourself up after a good soak in the waterfalls in you need as they provide you with toilets on the way back up, so that's some good planning being put into thought!
Entrance fee at IDR 10,000 per person
THE TRADITIONAL DANCE
Our sightseeing adventure of the day was cut short however when our driver invited us to his home as he had a performance at the temple to attend to. So instead of taking us around the island, we got immersed in a 100% local experience when we joined him for a traditional dance performance right in his home ground in Tampaksiring.
We were first brought back to his humble abode, where we said hello to almost everyone in his family including his parents, children, and his very lovely wife. Traditional clothing were draped on us by him and his wife, and he whisked us off in a 3-minute drive to the paddy fields nearby. As it turns out, our driver was not just a tour guide but also a multi-talented musician who plays in a traditional band at the temple when they gave thanks for their paddy harvest. He then revealed that he even played in a band that has several tracks on YouTube! Talk about being a man of many trades!
Midway through his show, my other half and I decided to take a walk round the paddy fields with one of our driver's guest to have a good look at the greenery in front of us. It felt really refreshing as compared to the times we were in the city center, because it was just nature at its best. We truly enjoyed the time we had there, just forgetting about the realities of what awaited back home.
We left as evening came and the performance came to a close, and he sheepishly drove us back while we praised him for the kind of talent he hid away from us. It was then that we both decided that we were lucky to have found him, because we would otherwise never be able to experience something as local as this.
Entrance fee with a stroke of luck!
UBUD CAT CAFE
Thought our day would end right there? Think again! For someone who loves cats to death, my other half got extremely excited when I first told him about the cat cafe that was near our homestay. Located about a 15-minute walk away, we visited the Ubud Cat Cafe that very evening after a quick dinner at the local warong near home.
True to its name, the Ubud Cat Cafe is home to about 10 or perhaps more cats where they could roam freely as they liked in the space. Visitors would first be greeted by a staff who would remind you to remove your shoes and to wash your hands before you entered, as a way to safeguard the cats from germs our hands carried. You could tell by now that they really love their cats too!
My absolute favourite, the cat with 2 faces.
Each furball was as lovable as the other, and most of them would just laze around; oblivious to the throngs of human touches that came and went in the cafe. The cat cafe is free to enter for an unlimited amount of time, but each visitor is required to order a minimum of a drink or food item from the menu. We settled for a cup of Bali Coffee each at IDR 20,000 and it was some phenomenal coffee that was aromatic but did not keep me up that night.
We left around an hour after we arrived, and would have definitely stayed if it were a little cooler. The space was quite warm from a malfunctioned air-conditioning but it didn't smell at all. The place was clean and there would a robot vacuum freaking the cats out every now and then to clean the floors, so it's definitely a good visit if you're a fan of these furry animals who ignore you as you stroke their royal fluffiness.
Ubud Cat Cafe
Free to enter but every visitor MUST order an article of food
Open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM
We ended the day with a customary Balinese massage for IDR 80,000 per person for an hour, and a dessert run nearby before going home to rest for the day. I've been living the good life in Bali, really...and I can't wait to go back again.