On the move in Bali

Bali Travel Blog

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barong

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.

gunung kawi
The dance was great and very entertaining. I have gained a great interest in the Balinese art especially the sound of the gamelan ( orchestra that accompanies the dances). The dance starts at 9.30am in the town of batubalan, a small village on the way to Ubud.Cost is 50,000 rupiah ($5)

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 river

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.

gunung kawi grounds
I highly reccommed this site if you are in Ubud area.

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.

coffee beans
The whole village takes part and it is not a sad event, I guess the loved ones of the cremated person have already greived over the loss of their loved one. The village holds a parade with the body being transported through the village and then his burnt on sticks, it could be bamboo I'm not sure in front of the local villagers.

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.

raosted coffee beans
The original village of Batur was in the crater, but was wiped out by a violent erruption in 1917, killing thosands of people. The village was rebuilt, but Guning Batur erupted again in 1926, fortunatley they were able to evacuate this time and few lives were lost. The village finally relocated up onto the crater rim.

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.

Pura Besakih is a huge complex of 23 seperrate temples but all related I had heard that the touts were really aggressive here and was expecting to be constantly harrassed but overall they weren't too bad. They will say you need a guide but it really isn't neccessary as they can't get you into the temple anyway so just say no. I heard that the guide service was like 100,000 rupiah crazy that's like 10$. Pura Besakih miost famous temple is Pura Penataran Agung. It is one of the most sacred temples in all of Bali. There was a ceremony while we were there but we could only get a quick look at what was going on. Like Isaid the touts wereN't so bad here so it was pleasant walking around this complex.

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.

besakih
What remains are the impressive Hall of Justice where village disputes were saettled and the Bale Kampang. The ceilings are completely covered in beautiful paintings with each layer connecting the stories, even though this is a small place and not as well known on the sightseeing circuit as other temples or historical places , this was my favourite place in Bali.

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. 

aiohdmg says:
My favorite place in Bali is Unungawi, if you go to Bali on April. It's very green along the way to Unungawi temple.

wow..I agree with Yanti, you can be a guide in Bali.
You did a very good job of Bali trip :)..yeah
Posted on: Aug 26, 2009
bernard69 says:
I agree with Yanti!very informative blog Christian,u were(and perhaps u are) a good husband and father in using a car with driver:))
Posted on: Aug 26, 2009
anupa_rk says:
Sounds like a very interesting experience! Have fun!
Posted on: Aug 26, 2009
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barong
barong
gunung kawi
gunung kawi
gunung kawi river
gunung kawi river
gunung kawi grounds
gunung kawi grounds
coffee beans
coffee beans
raosted coffee beans
raosted coffee beans
besakih
besakih
gunung batur
gunung batur
barong
barong
princess
princess
rangda
rangda
gunung kawi grounds
gunung kawi grounds
gunung kawi grounds
gunung kawi grounds
gunung kawi
gunung kawi
gertha kosa bridge
gertha kosa bridge
gertha kosa ceiling
gertha kosa ceiling
dinner at lotus garden
dinner at lotus garden
Bali
photo by: mr_shanet