Before I begin, I have to tell you this- when I visited Bali, I was living in Indonesia itself. Batam Riau to precise here. So our journey to Bali wasn’t that long. We took a ferry from Batam to Singapore and from there, we caught a flight from Changi to Bali which is probably a few hours of flying. And that was it. So here goes my Bali Travel Blog!
Oh wait, and second of all, the pictures of me that you’ll see on this piece are old… Yes, I am insecure! I’m 18, what do you expect? By the way, I look much different now. Mostly more slim now and with no double-chin hanging from my jaws.
Upon reaching the blessed land
We landed in Bali late in the evening. The night was settling in comfortably. We had just missed twilight by minutes if my memory serves me right. However, we weren’t as restful as the night’s sky. Either the air had a touch of a chilly breeze or we were in too much of a hurry to get our cabs. We had them booked alright. Our group was a big one alright, so we had two vans waiting for us.
Once in, the vans sped across the lanes through the night. I didn’t understand what the hurry was all for. After an hour of driving, I got it. Bali is one of the world’s most popular tourist spot, it sure is beautiful. But what nobody tells you is that all the beautiful places that one should visit here are very far from one another. So, it was approximately over an hour ride to just make it to our stay.
I have to say this was a pretty peaceful place for a vacation. The bungalows had its own pool and its walls so tall that it was secluded from the hustle-and-bustle outside. They were so peaceful that in-fact there were stories of people who would come and stay at these sorts of chalets for vacations… and go nowhere else!
These are the type of people who expect peace and nothing else from their holiday. A spot away from the noise of the cities. Don’t worry, this particular place wasn’t that isolated. They had WiFi alright. You can still check out people’s Instagram posts when you’re out there (just so you know).
On the other hand, the Ombak Putih bungalows were pretty large and had a splendid entrance with a veranda and hints of greenery everywhere. The same was with its backyard. The compound walls built around had been decorated with plants again, making the place a dreamy fortress.
At the time, I remember seeing rabbits in the bungalows too, but I wouldn’t quite say they’re mentioned on the brochure. But if you do find rabbits there- well good for you!
The specialty of Tanah Lot Temple
Some facts you need to know about Bali here. Most of the places that you would be visiting here would be temples. I stayed in Bali for 4 days or so and couldn’t see all of them. On my way through this tourist paradise spot, I saw temples built right after temples. Each temple turning out to be more fascinating than the previous. So why does this place have all these temples?
The country, Indonesia, just has a population of 1-2% following Hinduism. However, more than 80% of Bali’s population consists of Hindus. Hence the number of temples concentrated on a single island. Out of the six official religions in Indonesia, Hinduism comes out to be one among them too. Here’s more about it on Wikipedia.
Let’s get back to the fun-vee side, shall we? So what’s so special about Tanah Lot?
It is said to be one of the most sacred temples in Bali and also considered iconic. If you’re going to Bali, this one is a must-see. No, not just because it’s considered (not saying that is isn’t)famous. Because you’ll find its nature pretty fascinating. We visited Tanah Lot in the morning. Timing is important here.
There are times when the tides are high. The seemingly tiny water body that separates it from the mainland isn’t very ‘tiny’ when these tides go high. In other words, you cannot visit the temple at particular times of the day. That is- if you can’t fly of course.
If you’re into photography, it’s better to visit Tanah Lot between the timings from 4 pm to 6 pm. This time range has a great scope for sunset scenes and also, the tides are moderately low at this time. Also, waves start hitting up harder against the surrounding rocks. Ironic how nature comes together to help you capture breathtaking moments at specific time slots, isn’t it?
Here’s more about Tanah Lot.
Ulan Danu Beratan Temple
Heading back inland from the seashore Tanah Lot to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is another one and a half-hour drive. Just as I told you, hopping around takes more time. We luckily had a bus booked for all our trips throughout our stay in Bali.
Yep, it is the same structure you see on the 50,000 Rupiah Indonesian note. If you hold the currency note beside it, there’s almost no difference. It’s also the temple you see on the list of most popular tourist spots in the world. There’s no doubt about it being an iconic temple now, is there? The water body that it’s located in isn’t the sea. It’s located almost in the middle of the Bali island.
It is built in the lake called Beratan, and hence its name. Also popularly known as the floating temple, Ulun Danu Beratan lies on a high spot where the air’s chilly unlike most of Bali. When I went there, I couldn’t see where the temple was located because of the fog. After a while when the fog slowly cleared up, the temple seemed to mystically appear.
It stood firm just as it appeared in the pictures. A jot of shiver went down my spine, the moment it became clear. Perhaps it was just the chilly weather but it turned out to be worth visiting. The temple doesn’t really float on the lake, which is rather a little disappointing. But it does appear to float when the water level goes up.
Want to try to write a guest travel blog here? I might just have something here for you!
Ubud Monkey Forest
This one’s a little fun for the young ones out there, but they told us to be extra careful of our belongings. I didn’t understand why. By the time we made it through the forest, I got all my answers. They told us not to feed the monkeys anything, but in the sanctuary, people were feeding them bananas. I even saw a lady getting tugged at for more bananas. It was nice to look at, but the lady got pissed off after some time.
We were not to touch the monkeys. Monkeys could touch us, but we shouldn’t touch them as their reaction could be unpredictable. However, an old hefty grandma touched one and it sat on her head the whole time she walked around the place. It just wouldn’t get off! And for the grand finale… we were not to hold our valuables in a manner visible to the monkeys.
Now, even if we did- it was our responsibility to look after it. I didn’t know how the monkey took it, but when I turned around, a blonde man was trying to wave and gesture the monkey to come back to him… the monkey had the man’s camera in its hands! There were several ‘Oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as the guy tried to get back his camera. The monkey just sat happily on a roof, holding his camera.
Personally, this was the favorite part of my vacation. I was informed that the trek up the active volcano- Mt Batur would be a tough one. On the contrary, I found myself getting more and more alive for every step that I took up. The main attraction of this spot was the sunrise view from up there. To see this view, we started our trek at 3 in the morning. We planned it well the previous night so all of us went to bed early. And so the journey started at 3.
We had two guides along with us. It was going to be a four-hour-long trek. We would be just in time to see the sunrise. Though my energy and enthusiasm seemed to go up by the minute, I made sure I followed the instructions. The guides told us to follow their every step. We placed our feet in the spots they did.
There were some pretty sharp rocks (not to mention slippery) that we had to be aware of at all times. We weren’t the only ones climbing up, there were dozens of other groups with their personal guides trekking along too. But we all were in a line. We were all going up on the same path. All of us had torches along. Before we reached the top, we got a piece of news that a 60-year-old man was injured was taken back down for treatment.
I became even more cautious.
Reaching the top of Mount Batur
We reached a point where we already could see the crater looming in darkness before us. So we were somehow at the peak of Mount Batur. However, after some time of the guides showing us steam emerging out of some rocks, they informed us that there was a peak a little higher from where we were and that would be the topmost of the volcano. Half the group had drained out by then.
So only the remaining half started to go up again. I went up too. This was an easier climb. There weren’t rocks here. Instead, there was soft slippery grey soil that would give our feet away if we stood in a single spot. Thus, we had to keep moving until we reached the top.
The view from the previous spot and this spot wouldn’t make much of a difference, honestly. But if you can go up, then why not?
Patung Garuda Wisnu Kencana
You may not have seen much of this around. But we visited some of these other spots as well. The picture above isn’t the main statue of Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park. Lookup for it and you’ll find yourself facing another statue. Though that seemed to have a rich history to it, this one seemed to allure in more people. The Patung Garuda Wisnu Kencana (that I don’t have pictures of) has a history in which it took 28 years and a hundred million dollars to be built!
So if you’re into diving a bit into history, this would be for you. However, back then I wasn’t very interested in history, so I couldn’t enjoy much of the place.
Beaches and the other usual activities
If you haven’t done any water sports before, then this can be a great opportunity to help yourself out. But I used to live by the shore. I had been to beaches in Indonesia several times before (I still go at some time of every year or two). So it didn’t seem much different to me. And the activities by the beach?
They were pretty nice- I daresay even safer. But the prices sure were higher for these and people seemed to pay for it anyway. Considering that we were already on a beach, I did try out scuba-diving and parasailing.
I have to say that I got pretty scared while scuba diving. Here, it doesn’t matter if you can swim or not. Swimming skills can help for snorkeling, but not this. With the heavy tank on my back, I had no choice but to follow the instructions of the guides. The tank unexpectedly turned out to be so heavy that there was no way I could swim up with it.
Of course, the guide was down with me, but when I watched myself descend floors into the sea, panic sipped in. Fortunately, it was momentary. After a while, I started enjoying looking at the fishes around and getting pictures like the one above… not very good, is it? Yep, I can totally agree.
Parasailing turned out to be very exciting before we got pushed up to the sky. There were moments of squeals of excitement as we further went higher with the parachute. But once up, it just felt like a cable-car ride. Without any glass windows or the floor beneath of course. Up there, we three had enough time to discuss what we would have for dinner that evening.
And that was it!
Last, but not the least, a popular tradition in Bali- is the Balinese dance. I didn’t mention this one much before as this form of dance can be found in many places in Bali. They’re also held quite often around because of the huge number of tourists visiting the island. I visited it one evening and it had everyone’s attention till the end.
It wasn’t just a dance. A story is depicted through the dance. The very story relating to the ancient epic- Ramayana. What makes it beautiful is that all the music heard from the show isn’t played as a track. It’s all played live with the dance.
Coming to the end now, there are many more temples that you can visit in Bali. You might even have a better trip than mine, you never know! But this was part of my experience- my Bali travel blog. If you’re thinking of visiting, have a great vacation… Happy Journey!
Here are some other travel blogs of mine: