Monday, September 1, 2014

Day Tour on the Island of Bali

We had a day tour booked through For a whole day wherever we want to go, they only charge $55USD. I prearranged the sites I wanted to see by email and I was really happy with what we got. Our driver spoke really good English and he first took us to some shopping places for authentic Balinese crafts. After shopping at a batik place and a wood carving place we went to a Hindu Temple. I do not remember the name of the temple but we weren't too far from Ubud. The interesting thing about the Hindu temples we saw was that they didn't look like the Hindu temples I've seen in places like Singapore and Malaysia with all of the figurines and vignettes everywhere. These were all old stone structures that looked like a mix of Angkor Wat and Buddhist influences. Of course, I may be completely off base, but that's what they looked like to me. 

After this temple we went up into the mountains through lots of rice fields and found Satria Agrowisata. This is a coffee plantation where they have the famous kopi luwak, which is coffee beans harvested from the poop from an Asian civet. It's a nocturnal cat/lemur looking thing. It only eats the fruit with the best coffee beans inside and then passes them some time later. This is the most expensive coffee in the world and it sells for ridiculous prices. 

They have a free tasting of 12 different coffees and teas of all types and flavors. Some of the teas were really good and were flavors that I have never heard of before. The coffees were flavored too, but weren't the kopi luwak. That one you have to pay for to try.

Below is a cup of the kopi luwak that I ordered. At first, I didn't want to get it, but then I thought that not everyone can say they had the most expensive coffee in the world. Here it was just a little more than $4.25USD for the cup. 

This is me drinking the world's most expensive coffee.

After lunch, we were taken to a tourist restaurant that had the most amazing view of a rice field. We sat in our own little hut in the field among some lotus plants. We had our guide eat with us and we talked about Indonesia and Bali while we watched people harvest rice, which is quite a laborious task.

This was the gorgeous sampler of Balinese cuisine and it was amazing.

After we ate lunch, we were not too far from the holy water temple called, Tirta Empul. This temple is the site of a fresh water spring that has cold water coming out of it. They built a temple around it and there are a couple of pools. The idea is that you put your head under each of the 13 fountains to get the blessing.

After the Tirta Empul, we drove through Ubud to get to the Sacred Monkey Forest. This was a really interesting place. It's basically a large park with temples and lots of monkeys in it. You can buy fruit to feed them, but I didn't do it. I've seen monkeys in Malaysia and they were not nice to people that they thought were carrying food. In a way, they were really cute, but also kind of scary.

At one point, I had one hand in my pocket and a monkey thought I had food in there and jumped onto my arm. I was so startled that I let out a scream and eventually shook off the monkey. They are actually really tame and will climb up on you if you put your arm out, but they also fight a lot among each other, which makes them scary.

From Ubud, we drove a long way to the west coast of Bali to Tanah Lot, which is a temple complex on the coast. We arrived just as the sun was setting and it was gorgeous. It was also quite crowded with people trying to get a good spot for the sunset. Every view here was like a postcard.

The part of the temple pictured above is also only accessible during low tide, which it was that evening. We really lucked out with the timing of both the sunset and the tide. Right on cue all these bats flew out of some beach cave like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. After walking around for a little while until it was completely dark, we found our driver and he took us back to Nusa Dua, where our hotel was. But by this time we were hungry for dinner, so we had him drop us off at a shopping and dining complex called Bali Collection, where we ate dinner and did some souvenir shopping before getting back to the Conrad. It was an awesome day touring Bali and it was incredible to see that the island is so large that you really need several days to see all that it has to offer. 

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