Well, today we played the tourist. Took a Tanah Lot Bedugul Tour costing A$40. We were lucky that we were the only ones in the car so it was like a private tour.
Set off across the Ayung River to Mengwi passing Balinese planting rice by hand, and many wide open rice paddies until we reached The Royal Family Temple. Large crowds were in attendance but we still enjoyed the manicured grounds and the Temple Structures surrounded by a moat (under repair). On this road we passed a motorbike with 2 men on it with the rear one holding onto a wheelbarrow while travelling at about 60kph!
After the Temple we followed a wide road towards Denpasar and then turned off to Tanah Lot to see the famous seaside temple. The 50 buses in the car park looked ominous and our driver said” They are all Chinese” He was correct! The site was magnificent as the temple actually sits upon a giant rock outcrop in the ocean. Like nothing we had seen before but the crowds were so large we decided not to join the que to enter and explored the surrounding grounds instead. One of the “must see sights” in Bali.
Next we headed north towards Bedugul stopping at Uma Luang to view the rice terraces. Erica had done research on this that said the Café from which you view got really bad reviews for food and facilities so we had to just urge our way in to get some pics. The food people were eating from the buffet seemed to match the reviews!
Now we were climbing and the smoke started to thicken. It was coming from Mainland Indonesia on the westerly wind and is from seasonal forest burning there. It almost started to feel like night time. Arrived at Bedugul and Lake Beratan on the shores of which is situated Ulundanu Beratan Temple.
The Temple site was superb although the smoke blocked our view of the other side of the lake which is the verdant rim of an old volcano. It would qualify as one of Bali’s best views. As they say “You cannot win them all” Maybe next time. The crowds here were also huge but less Chinese and mainly European.
Onwards to the highlight of our day, The Holy Monkey Forest at Sangeh. Only a few other tourist were there. The Forest is over 300 years old many of them being Pala trees all dead straight. A guide/Monkey keeper attached himself to us and explained it all to us. We came upon two lots of Brides and Grooms getting their pre wedding pics and they were happy to let us take pics too. Judge for yourself but they were in the most beautiful and tranquil place. The temple there is also about 300 years old and was superb. We spent an hour in that peaceful place and it was a pleasant break from Bali’s incessant traffic.
Erica befriended a couple of monkeys one of which sat on her shoulder and the other older one on her lap! We had become tourist like everyone else!
Found out a couple of facts today from our driver. Petrol is about A$0.75 a litre here. There were no Chinese Tourists coming here 5 years ago and they now are the largest group to visit Bali at around 23% of visitors.
Off to find some dinner.