On the move in Bali
Bali Travel Blog› entry 7 of 12 › view all entries
For 450,000 rupiah ($45), we had the pleasure of being driven around Bali. Our driver picked us up at 8am in the morning and was asked where we would like to go. My wife and I had really enjoyed the Kecak dance the other night, so we thought it would be nice to see the Barong dance that rivals the kecak for the most popular dance.
The Barong dance is a battle between good (barong) and evil (Rangda) The Barong is a shaggy dog, lion while the widow witch Rangda is bad. The story features a duel between the Rangda and the Barong, whose supporters draw their kris (traditional dagger) and rush into help. The Rangda throws them into a trance, making them stab themselves. The Barong casts a spell that neutralises the kris power so it can not harm them.
Back in the car, we were on our way to Tampaksiring, 18kms northeast of Ubud. Tampaksiring is well known for Gunung Kawi an ancient site that has been nominated for Unesco recognition. This site is in the lonely planet book but I really wanted to come here after reading and seeing pictures from JC's blog last time he was in Bali.
Gunung Kawi is Bali's version of Cambodia's Ankor Wat, no one know the true meaning of this site but legend relates that the whole group of memorials were carved out of rock face by one hard working night by the mighty fingernails of Kebo Iwa .Cost of the entry to Gunung Kawi 6000 rupiah (60 cents) Once paid you then have to make the long walk down steep stairs that lead through beautiful rice fields and lush , green river valleys, the stream is a beautiful clear water with small rapids flowing.
Your first glance of Gunung Kawi amazes you when you see the 10 memorials cut out of rock face in imitation of actual statues, standing 8 metres high sheltered into the cliff face. Like i said no one knows the true meaning behind this historical site that dates back to the 11th century but each memorial is believed to be a memorial to the 11th century Balinese royal family.
Next we started to climb up the steep road towards Kintamani, the traffic was slow and eventually came to a stop in small village, we wondered what was happening and the driver asked an important looking person wearing a smart uniform, the man said that the village was preparing for a cremation. A cremation in Bali, I had done research on the internet about this and would of really loved to see this, but the person was to be cremated the next day. Cremations ceremonies are very different to the funerals in the western world. The familes have to save a lot of money for this after the persons death, usually around 2 or 3 years after they have saved ebough money, the body is dug up from its burial grave and then cremated.
Once we were able to pass through the village, the traffic then spread out, we stopped at a coffee plantation, looked at the coffee plants and smelt the coffee beans, a lady gave a brief explanation about the growing of the beans and then we were able to try some samples of coffee overlooking a beautiful valley. If there is one thing I cannot go without ,it is coffee after sampling 4 or 5 it was off to the showroom to buy some.
After our shopping spree of coffee, spices and teas we travelled futher up to the KIntamani region which offers stunning views of Gunung Batur which is the second most important mountain in Bali and its beautiful lake in the bottom of the crater.
We stopped at a buffet restraunt that overlooked the crater offering breathtaking views , the food was horrible definately the worst food I had eaten on this trip before eating the sky was a beautiful blue, but soon thick grey clouds rolled in and covered most of the mountain and lake so the meal was terrible and when I was ready to take some great snaps the view was nearly covered haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
With it starting to get late, we could only go south down the mountain, towards Pura Besakih.
Our last stop for the day was the beautiful Taman Kertha Gosa which was a palace built in 1710 when the Dewa Agung dynasty moved here, the place is very peaceful unfortunately the palace was mostly destroyed by the Dutch attacks in 1908.
Around 7pm we arrived at our Hotel 11 hours of private touring around a beautiful island for only $45 wooohooo. Dinner was had at the Lotus garden near NUsa Dua. From the outside really beautiful with great lotus ponds but the food was only average but the one thing that was great was the Ayam Soto(chicken soup) beef redang was quite nice but the rest of the food was quite plain.