There are some islands people go to see and there are some where people go never to leave .
If I ever got a choice of one island where I would want to spend the rest of my life , I would without a blink chose Bali. It's mysterious for the gods to put so much into such a little place. How come a place so diluted with different cultures from the hoards of tourists and travelers alike still hold its cultural values so upright.I have always been amazed with Bali , from the books I read, the tales I heard from the visitors - Bali was top on my calendar but unlike many travelers not for the pristine beaches, colorful underwater life, Surfing or to be lost in the mighty jungles of Ubud . I wanted the temple run , the soul of Bali . the very pillars what made it stand apart from rest of South east asia .
So armed with the list of places I did not want to miss , we arrived at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali on the evening of my husbands birthday. Their was excitement in the air , with the airport
filled with travelers either in transit from a different holiday destination or jumping off after a hectic life to this magical island to let the time stand still .We checked into the Marriott Bali , at Nusa Dua where the whole beautiful beach stretch is owned
by five stars resorts lined one after another .The resort itself was big and beautiful .As we sat for having the dinner at the beach club restaurant - we got the first taste of Balinese culture,where the beautiful Ramayana play was being enacted - The act being that of Ravan's abduction of Sita . Even being from India this was my first traditional play and everything looked so beautiful there .
The next day early morning we chilled out in the private beach of resort and enjoyed the Golden sun. In the afternoon we hired a motorbike and took off for Uluwatu temple famous for it sunset and the famous kechak dance .
Situated in South Bali and Founded in 16th Century by Majapahit Monk Niratha -Uluwatu temple is one of the six sea temples built to honor the sea gods.Seated atop 70 feet high on a cliff giving a stunning view of the horizon as well its either side ornamented with similar cliffs,Uluwatu is certainly one of the best places to spend watching the sunset from .
After spending the afternoon walking along the beautiful path created on the cliffs and seeing the magnificent sun immerse itself into the Indian ocean we moved to the courtyard of pura ulluwatu to see the Kechak dance which starts at 6 pm everyday.
The dance consists of around 50 men seating in circle and chanting the words Cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak, in rhythm, over and over again while the Ramayana story is presented in form of a dance.For this reason they are called the Kecak .The next one hour was again mesmerizing for us .Engrossed in the rhythmic chanting and vivid expressions and emotions of the actors we were felt the pain of Sita being abducted to the excitement of Hanuman burning the whole lanka.
The next day morning we hired a taxi and left for ulu Danu beratan temple situated inside beratan lake in Bedugul -western bali.The Bedugul area is in the uplands with weather in between the coolness of the north and warm breezes of south Bali .we stopped on route in one the tea plantations Teba sari Bali agrotourism to see how the world renowned infused teas as well the Luwak coffee -world costliest coffee is made and processed .We saw the various herbs, spices and tea plant and tasted different kind of tea .
coffee luwak is made when the small cat like animal Palm civet locally known as Luwak digests the coffee beans along with some other herbs .The Feces are then collected and processed to make the one of the tastiest and expensive coffee in the world .
In an hour we reached Ulu Danu beratan , The 17th century temple is dedicated to the goddess of the lake Ida Batari Dewi Ulun Danu and also has temples for the hindu Trinity Gods Brahma ,Vishnu and Shiva .The Floating Temple complex comprises of five temples and one buddhist stupa.The temples are spread across the well maintained garden .The one thing I really liked about the all the temples , mosques , and structures in Indonesia is the layout has been planned so well , with no encroachment or building near them .Well covered with lush gardens with places in peace to sit ,retrospect and be with the nature .
You can hire a motorized boat to a have a tour around the beautiful lake or rent a jet-ski.
We hurried back for our trip back to Nusa Dua as we wanted to catch the sunset at Tanah Lot one of the other sea temples situated in northwest Bali. As you start walking from the parking lot towards the beach of Tanah lot you would find multiple shops showcasing the tremendous artistic balinese culture - beautifully carved idols out of satin wood ,filigree silver design or batik aritifacts. The temple situated atop a rock few meters above the volcanic sandy shore is one of the most photographed temples in asia.The site is well maintained as many tourist come here to pray to the guardian spirits of the sea.
After watching the sun go down we walked towards the Pantai Nyanyi Beach , which was less crowded and serene . There are few restaurants too at the sunset terrace from where you can dine in and watch the sunset across the Tanah lot temple .
We had a sumptuous dinner in warung segara which had western vegetarian dishes . We were already tired with a long day covering western Bali and returned back to Nusa Dua to do some thrift shopping and have a satisfied Sleep in our hotel .
We returned back to Jakarta next day , with a promise to see more wonders of Bali in our coming trips . Bali has amazing mysteries in her heart .
There is more to Bali to know culturally and the temples are just a glimpse of what it has to offer .You can go the Bali Mas Village in Ubud to see the artists make simple logs of wood into marvelous idols .There is also the famous hike to Mount Batur in Kintamani which has a soothing sunrise to its name. But all these we will dream about in our future blogs as one life is not enough to feel everything in Bali .
If possible i would always suggest to visit Bali during Nyepi , its Balinese day of silence ,fasting and forgiveness thats commemorated during Saka new year.Its a public holiday in Bali and even the airport is closed on that day.People are not allowed on the beach,to work or to go out unless emergency. The days before Nyepi are fun filled and a delight to watch , but on the day of the Nyepi you would enjoy the lost silence in your life .
How do I get the Visa:
refer to my blog on Indonesia
How do I reach Bali :
Through Air :
Ngurah Rai International Airport ,Kuta is around 13 kilometres from the main town of Denpasar. All major airlines regularly fly in and out of the Airport. From here, take a taxi to your destination.
Through Sea :
Star Clipper Cruise Ships have operations from Jakarta and Singapore. Super Scoot provides fast boats services to and from Lombok , the Gilli islands and Bali .
Indian Alert :
When Rabindranath tagore visited Bali he famously said -"Wherever I go on the island, I see God" .Wherever you will go you will hear indian music or dubbed Bollywood movies and serials .Bali being predominantly Hindu , vegetarian food is readily available but the taste might vary.We tried few Indian restaurants with dine in as well as home delivery services Queens Tandoor -seminyak,Queen's of India -Kuta,,Ganesha ek sanskriti and many more have sumptuous Indian cuisine .Bali is a place which will keep both the elderly and young busy .