Bali-ventures: Day 1

Days since my last post: 4

Now that I'm done with my Japan adventures, let us now fly somewhere a little closer to home; to an island called Bali in Indonesia! Our tickets were purchased last year during the AirAsia sale, and costed us about RM 250 or so for a two-way travel. With a whole lot less planning and a whole lot more of an adventurous bone in us, off we went on our 5 day 4 night Bali-venture!

TIRTA EMPUL

Rated a high 4.5 stars out of 5 on TripAdvisor, Tirta Empul is a Hindu Balinese water temple located near the town of Tampaksiring in Bali. It's been said to have been found in 962 A.D  and is famed for its holy spring water in which locals believe is the perfect for ritual purification.

Watching everyone else go through the purification process.

We weren't quite ready for the purification process, where you would have to step right into the temple pond and go through all 30 pieces of showers providing you fresh spring water to purify your body and soul. 
Roaming the temple grounds.

We also got to roam the temple grounds a little bit, and we were really intrigued by the workmanship of the temple structure. There were many things unexplained however, and for a while I felt like we really should have gotten a proper tour guide like the other tourists around us.

In matchy sarongs! 

 My favourite photo spot with my favourite human.

It was still an interesting visit though, and I felt like everyone should at least a visit here once. We then moved on to our next spot but it wasn't without its own challenges.

Tirta Empul
Entrance fee at IDR 15,000 per person, sarong rental is free although donations are welcome

GUNUNG KAWI

If you've caught my previous blog post (read here) you would have noticed that I mentioned we couldn't get an UBER driver after arriving at Tirta Empul. We then decided to embark on a 20-minute walk to Gunung Kawi from Tirta Empul, and I ended up returning with an unexpected sunburn. I wouldn't complain though, because it was from here that we learned every Bali trip would require a personal driver.

Arriving at Gunung Kawi.

To get to Gunung Kawi however, you'll have to go through a really REALLY long flight of stairs that leads you down...which also means it'll be a crazy climb back up when we're done. What welcomes you after is the temple itself and the candis or the abode of Candika (Also known as the Goddess of Death), the consort of Lord Siva. A total of 10 candis are found at the Gunung Kawi temple, and each one with its own story. 

Sarongs required.

Similar to our visit to the Tirta Empul, we were also required to wear a sarong when we entered the Gunung Kawi temple. Pushy sellers are all along the road as you enter the temple, each one of them telling you that you need a sarong when you enter. But you should just say thanks and walk away though because sarongs are provided for free by the temple authorities. Unfortunately we couldn't spend much time at Gunung Kawi because we really had no idea what was ahead of us, and I was also dying from the heat and our 20-minute walk, and so we left almost as soon as we arrived.

Gunung Kawi Temple 
Entrance fee at IDR 15,000 per person, sarong rental is free although donations are welcome

LAKE BATUR
After our visit to the Gunung Kawi Temple was when we finally decided to hire a personal driver to take us to any place else. We then got him to take us to the famed Lake Batur which was right beside Mount Batur, a mountain that tourists can climb for the best sunrise views and a live volcano supposedly resides. 

Shrouded by clouds.

Up above. 

Unfortunately when we got there, the mountain top had already been shrouded by clouds and it began to rain a little. According to our driver, we were there during the rainy season which explains why it was raining when we got there. We were also really high up for the scenery, so we were nearer to the rain clouds hence we got the rain before everyone else in Bali did...or so our driver said. It would have been nice to have enjoyed a meal by the cafes around the sightseeing spot though, but we rushed away when the rain fell on our faces instead. 

Lake Batur, Kintamani 
Entrance fee at IDR 30,000 per person and an extra 10,000 IDR for the car if you're driving up

KOPI LUWAK

Also known as the civet coffee, no visit to Bali seems complete without trying the world's most expensive coffee. Our driver took us to the Alam Bali Agriculture Park for a taste of the Kopi Luwak, and what we really liked about it was that the coffee beans came from wild civet cats instead of the ones they rear. 

The coffee beans.

The park also provides you a short walkthrough several of their plantations of other plants which are then turned into coffee and tea additions, and you can try them all for free! You're at no obligation to pay for the tasters, and you also don't necessarily have to make purchases of the tea and coffee bags there. 

Mini cups to taste! 

Oh hi there.

And oh hi you.
 
You can alternatively make an order for the famed Kopi Luwak at IDR 50,000 per cup, and it will be brewed fresh in front of your eyes. We decided to split the cost between us both and give it a go. The guide explained that most people enjoy the coffee because it has little to no caffeine, yet provides a robust flavour and the aroma of great coffee.

Watching the brewing process.

Like a coffee connoisseur.

Luckily for my other half, I didn't enjoy the coffee as much and he got to gulp most of it down. The coffee had an acidic finish which was something I didn't like, but the aroma was pretty impeccable. It was quite an experience I guess, but I definitely wouldn't be paying a premium for it anymore. 

Alam Bali Agriculture Park
Entrance is free, but you can opt for Kopi Luwak at IDR 50,000 per cup

TEGALALANG RICE FIELDS
We made our final visit of the day to the Tegalalang Rice Fields as it was on the way for us to get back to Ubud from Kintamani, and it was the prettiest sight I've seen of nature ever. While all the paddy has already been harvested and all that was left was a vast piece of empty land, it was still amazing to see how they had tiered rice fields for paddy plantations! 

Hello Tegalalang, I wish I could come back for you.

We were told by our driver that this wasn't even the biggest rice field in Bali, yet we were already impressed. Visitors were aplenty as well, and many chose to trek down the fields for better picture opportunities. 

We were here! 

In case we'd lose our jobs, guess he can become a farmer. 

The same could not be said for me.

When I asked about why they chose to plant in tiers instead of a flat land, I was told that it was due to the nature of the land they obtained. These rice fields were located on a higher ground where no land was flat, hence tiered plantations helped them use the land to its maximum with no wastage at all. I'd definitely hope to return to these fields just before the harvest season just so we could see the fields in all its glory. 

Tegalalang Rice Fields 
Entrance fee at 10,000 IDR per person

We returned to Ubud at about 5 PM because our driver had a prior arrangement, to which we then asked if he could be our driver for the entire trip as a whole. He agreed and we quickly said our goodbyes, exchanging numbers and deciding that tomorrow would be a different adventure. We decided on a simple dinner by the warong or stall near our homestay, then went for a 2-hour massage for about IDR 120,000 per person. It was worth every cent, because I deserved it. 

It's been a long, long, post but really because I'm trying to consolidate everything into a single post for easier reading. Here's to clearing all my backlogs from the blog drafts, and until then... I shall go for more adventures! 

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