Travel Diary: Bali, Indonesia

Bali Adventure
Bali has always been my memorable trip overseas? Why? Aside from being my first vacation trip outside the country, I was also in a romantic place with my partner. Sounds cliché but that is the truth. Aside from that, Bali is famous for their beautiful beaches, rich culture, beautiful arts and crafts and stunning scenery of forests, mountains and lakes.

Bali is one of the province of Indonesia, with Denpasar as the capital. Getting around the area, it is best way to hire a Balinese driver, drive yourself or hire a motorbike. This way, you can truly explore as much as you wanted and let you reached as many destinations that is inaccessible to the public transport. Likewise, if your hotel offers Bali tours, you may consider booking it; it saves a lot of time.

Given that Ubud is recommended by people to stay if it’s your first time visitor, we booked a hotel in that area. While searching through the internet for the list of affordable accommodation, I found Umah Gran the cheapest and yet cozy plus their hotel review is all positive. Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali.  
Bali offers wide range of activities and destinations and as much as we wanted to visit them all, 3 days is not enough to cover them all. Here’s where we go and what we do while we were in Bali:

Temples in Bali

1. Temple Visit
We visited a fairly number of temples in Bali, which is listed in a must see temples. These are Taman Ayun, located at Mengwi Village, Ulun Danu Temple, Tanah Lot Temple, and Pura Ulun Danu Temple of Batur. Though they have similar structural design, each of these temples is unique of its own. Taman Ayun which means “beautiful garden” is a royal temple of Mengwi Empire. It is also regarded as one of the most attractive temples in Bali. Dedicated to the gods of lake, Ulun Danu Temple provides a beautiful backdrop view of mountains. Aside from that, because it is situated at Lake Beratan, the temple seems to float when the water level of the lake is high. Another important temple after Bali's mother temple, Pura Besakih, is Pura Ulun Danu Temple of Batur. Situated 900 meters above level of Kalangyar Village, the temple is a complex of a nine different temples which consist of 285 shrines and pavilions. It also faces the west side where Mount Batur serves as a magnificent backdrop view around the temple while Lake Batur adds beauty to the place. Prayers at Pura Batur are conducted to strengthen economic prosperity.  Lastly, my personal favorite of all temples I visited is the Tanah Lot Temple simply because it is beautifully situated on a large offshore rock and it has magnificent view of the sunset. It has been one of the most popular places of interest in Bali. However, the sunset didn’t emerge during the time we were there. It is too cloudy and the sun is hiding behind it. It’s a little bit disappointing but it’s not a reason enough not to enjoy the place.

Temples are very important part of their culture. It is their place of worship and some sacred activities. To pay respect for their sacred place, wearing a sash or sarong before entering their temple is a must. Take note also that pregnant women or women with monthly period are unlikely not allowed to enter because they are seen impure during the period of menstruation. Taking pictures during their time of praying is also being prohibited.

2. Ubud on foot
Exploring the streets of Ubud, we have the chance to see some of Balinese culture. Arts are everywhere in Ubud. Every house displays their art paintings and sculptures of animals and other stuff. There are also several temples located here, of which I noticed their intricate architecture and the manifestation of statute of demons, divinities, and mythical animals that adorn the walls and the entrance gate. Aside from that, a vast scenery of rice paddies is a sight everywhere in Ubud where the color of greens is very appealing to the eyes. Likewise, mobile shops, dress boutiques and convenience stores are also everywhere to cater your personal needs.

Exploring Ubud

3. Jatih Luwih Terraces
Another interesting in Bali is the Jati Luwih Terraces which gives you a breath taking view of their Rice Terraces. Tucked away from Tabanan, West Bali, the place is very peaceful due to the fact that it is inaccessible to public vehicle or tourist bus. Only those who have a car, motorbikes or hired driver can reach the place easily. Furthermore, there are also hotels offering accommodation in this area. The landscape of lush and green of rice fields makes the place worth a visit.

Jati Luwih Terraces

4. Wildlife in Sacred Monkey Forest and Bali Butterfly Park
Monkey Ubud Forest is located in Padangtegal Ubud. As the name implies, it is inhabited by monkeys known as long-tailed macaques who are swinging freely in the tree while some interacts with the visitors. The forest is a sacred place for the residents of Padangtegal as it holds the village of Pura Dalem, or temple of death, where the cemetery and cremation area are located. Aside from that, the Holy Spring bathing temple is also located in the forest.

Sacred Monkey Forest

In Bali Butterfly Park, a various species of colorful butterflies and rare and endemic species are dwelling here. Among them are the spectacular Bird Wing Butterfly and Swallow Tails (Omithoptera and Troides) and Great Mormon (Papilo). It is located in Wansari Village, Tabanan Regency. The park has a nice and friendly staff. Also, you will have the opportunity to have a close encounter with the butterflies as the guide will put them in your body while explaining facts about them.

Bali Butterfly Park

5. Experience Bali Beach
Bali is famous for its beaches and night life, so we really wanted to see some sands and sea before we wrapped up our trip in Bali. We’re looking for Kuta Beach but end up in Sanur Beach instead. My expectations on the beaches of Bali are quite high because this is Bali, famous for beautiful beaches.  However, as we enter the beach premises, I was a little disappointed. Honestly, it was not something I picture in my mind. But perhaps, our timing is not right when we reach the place (we arrived at around past 5pm, in time for sunset which we haven’t witnessed because the sea is on the west side). The ambiance is gloomy, though there are quite number of tourists enjoying soaking up in the water.

View of Sanur Beach