Bali: Attractions

The first few days, we stayed right in the middle of Kuta. Since we arrived in Bali bout 3-ish, we decided to go on a self discovery walk. But nothing beats seeing the streets via a horse carriage ride! We went all around Kuta and even Legian passing by rows and rows of night entertainment outlets, eateries, massage parlours, reflexology centres and plenty sidewalk stalls.

The following day, we signed up for a local tour at our hotel and the first place we visited was Mengwi Pura Taman Ayun (Garden Temple in the Water). It was apparently a great royal temple that was built in the 17th century which also served as the family temple of the Mengwi Dynasty (whose kingdom survived until the late 1800s). This temple is famous for its exquisite wooden "merus" i.e. pagoda-like shrines.

One thing peculiar bout the temples in Bali is that there are no altars where one could pray and offer offerings like our Chinese temples here. All we see are pagodas after pagodas of different heights. But that doesn't mean that there are no offerings made cos offerings of flowers and joss-sticks are left on the sidewalk everywhere (yes, on the floor).

The next stop was Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. Although there were a lot of monkeys here, they all looked fierce and menace... At the start of our walk, our local guide told us to hide our sunglasses and to zip up our bags. In fact, we were told to walk around with our palms wide opened so as not to be seen as hiding food from the monkeys!

Next stop was Tanah Lot; which was one of the most popular places of interest in Bali. Tanah Lot means land to the south and this place is dramatic because of its ocean-front location. The temple is built on a small protruding rock and is only accessible at low tide. During high water, the rock takes on the appearance of a large boat at sea. We arrived in the evening during low tide thus I was able to stand where I was standing...

According to our local guide, sunset is the best time to visit Tanah Lot, when the golden red skies frame the temple and waves crash into the rocks. And indeed it was... the sunset was beautiful!!! Then again, the sunset in Bali seemed to be beautiful everywhere! But nothing lasts forever cos though the sunset was breathtakingly beautiful, it was kinda short-lived. In Bali, the weather's extremely hot in the day but after the sun sets, the temperature drops drastically.

That night, we had our dinner at the Jimbaran beach. Jimbaran is located at the south of the Ngurah Rai International Airport and the beach is cluttered with lots of seafood restaurants. We went to the one called "Aroma". Apart from the fact that it was a pleasant place to dine in (think sounds of crashing waves, tables and chairs by the beach and performances by locals), the food was nothing to shout about. Kuala Selangor has better seafood at a fraction of the price! Had it not been so cold, it would've been a romantic dining experience. I wasn't prepared for the drastic weather change and thus was freezing in my ass! Alan had to borrow a jacket from one of the waitress cos I was practically shivering non stop...

The following morning, we were whisked off to Ubud to watch the "famous" Barong & Keris Dance. "Barong" is a creature that looks something like our Chinese lion and apparently is a temple guardian / protector. However, the dance was rather confusing cos till the end, we couldn't distinguish the good from the bad.

Since Ubud is famous for arts, crafts and music, we were taken to a "Batik Factory". There were live demonstrations outside the factory and thereafter... the usual la, the Batik boutique where they charge you an arm and a leg for anything and everything Batik!

Same goes for the "Carvings Factory". Live demo outside and boutique inside. The thing with Bali is that wherever you go, you will see carvings of "cock" as in the male anatomy in different shapes and sizes. Made us wonder if demand was really that high for those carvings. Alan and I wouldn't be caught dead having one in our home. Can die of shame if relatives visiting our home says... "Wah, this "cock" so big hor"! Hehehehe...

One of the things I like most about Bali is their famous "Canvas Oil Painting". There were abstract ones, traditional ones, religious ones and loads more. If it wasn't cos our place is still not ready, we would've brought one of the abstracts one back.

Next stop was Kintamani. It was one of the favourite tourist destinations cos it has an active volcano called Mount Batur which has apparently erupted 24 times since 1800 and still active up till now. Next to the volcano is a beautiful lake called Lake Batur and it is one of the biggest lake in Bali. Here, the scenery was breathtaking and beautiful plus the weather was extremely cooling and windy. A definite must see for all those visiting Bali!

On the way to the next attraction, we stopped by Tegallang to see rice terraces. Nothing much to comment bout cos it's just terrace after terrace of plantations that come to think of it doesn't resemble rice / "padi" at all.

Our final stop for the day was Besakih Mother Temple. The temple is called Mother Temple cos it was one of the biggest temple in Bali and it sits on the western slope of Gunung Agung. The temple guide told us that many years ago, when Gunung Agung erupted, the larva went around the temple instead of drowning it, thus the temple was still intact even after the eruption. Till today, this temple is regarded as one of the most holy place for Balinese Hindus. Here, it is mandatory for everyone to wear a "sarong", regardless of whether you're a male or female, that's why we both in "sarongs". What I didn't like about this place was the fact that you are forced to make a donation at the entrance before you can enter. No issues with donations but it is the way the locals speak... almost as if they were extorting us. But the good thing is that, with the donations, you are then given a local guide who will take you around the temple.

On our last day at Kuta before we moved to Nusa Dua, we walked around the entire Kuta again shopping for souvenirs. Here, there are plenty of small stalls selling anything and everything under the sun.

I must say that the trip was a pretty productive one given that we managed to cover quite a number of attractions in our 5 days 4 nights there... :)


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