Published: November 3rd 2009October 25th 2009
Sunset in Tanah Lot
Would we ever meet that man sitting on that rock? He sat there for just a few minutes, but he made this amateur shot more interesting, I think. How can we not witness this beautiful sunset in Bali?
From the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur to the beaches and ricefields of Bali. Dreams of sunrise and sunset photos of Tanah Lot and Uluwatu Temples and other Balinese-inspired architecture.
So when our local guide Diwa told me that there may not be enough time to cover all the sites listed in our itinerary in time to catch the sunset at Tanah Lot, I was on a warpath. Well, not exactly. But you can say it did not draw out the best in me. One by one, we checked out the sites only to find that Diwa has included visits to a silversmith and a one-hour Barong dance performance. Naaah..... I enunciated every word, every syllable of "Please do not change our itinerary. We paid for it based on those listed sites and Paul reassured us that there is enough time to see all, and most especially to catch the sunset at Tanah Lot."
End of discussion. Diwa soon learned that everything goes as scheduled. Not one site to be missed. And all in good time. Don't dare mess with the spinsters. Naaah. We were friends after that encounter. And he turned out to be a good, caring man, along with
our driver Dede.
Wheeling Into Bali
There is always a first time. My friend Elizabeth pushed her luck too far in Yogyakarta , dragging her foot all around Prambanan and Borobudur Temples, as well as in Sultan's Palace and up and down going to the Water Castle and Bird Market in the city center. By the time we were to take our flight for Bali, she has no energy left to refuse using a wheelchair . Ibu
will be a good patient. Right up to the time she was wheeled out of the Denpasar Airport all the way to our waiting car driven by Dede (pronounced Didi). We explained to Dede our predicament with Beth, but all that concern was for naught when we reached Oasis Benoa Boutique Hotel and Spa. This is a good hotel except that it is not friendly to handicapped people. No ramps, no elevators from the hotel front, no wheelchair available.
We passed the door used by hotel staff and walked quite a distance to reach the elevator by the breakfast lounge. Our room was on the third floor and nearly by the end of the corridor. No
View from the balcony of our room
Though we didn't get the Ocean Suite fronting the beach, our room's balcony peeks into this lovely view of the hotel pool and the beach.
wheelchair, remember? Then having walked this far, we found that the corner room is a suite fronting the beach. The 3 of us decided then and there to upgrade from our standard room to that corner suite........but no luck, the room is being prepared for a pair who had earlier booked it. It was all we can do, before asking our driver Dede to leave us in the hotel and just pick us up later to bring us to the nearest Catholic Church to hear Sunday mass.
Meanwhile, we discovered the views from the balcony of our standard room. Not bad. There's the lovely hotel pool and the beach. By the corner of and right within the pool is a tree standing tall and undisturbed -- a testament to Indonesians' love for nature. Admirable.
Protestant or Catholic?
The afternoon nap must have energized my 2 buddies , and we were all ready by 5:30pm waiting for Dede to bring us to church. We got there early enough for the 6pm mass. Except that it was the wrong church.
Dede claims his boss instructed him to drive us to the Protestant Church.
A Catholic Church in Kuta
We were first brought to a Protestant Church, so we arrived a tad late for Sunday mass here. There was a good crowd of locals and tourists in the church.
I told Dede that I have emailed Paul long before we arrived that we wanted to go to a Catholic Church and that he assured us that there is one with a 6pm Sunday mass in Kuta. So, off we went to Kuta, missing the mass by just a few minutes.
We were however surprised to find the church full with Sunday mass goers. I mean, Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country and Bali is mainly Hindu. Looking around, there was a good mix of locals and tourists in that Catholic Church that Sunday. A pleasant surprise.
Seafood Dinner at Jimbaran
From Church, we went past Kuta to eat dinner in Jimbaran. Here you will find a row of seafood restaurants lining the shore. Tables are set up facing either the shore or the tiny stage put up by every restaurant, each one simultaneously running some cultural show. Barong or Becak dance, who can tell? The first is a dance of a mythological character in Balinese culture. The king of the spirits, which can either be a lion, a tiger, a dragon or snake, or a boar. The second, Becak, has dancers making
Forgettable dinner here. And it's pricey too! But there was fireworks and a cultural show.
all these staccato moves, much like those puppets we saw "perform" in Yogyakarta's Sultan's Palace. Now, I wonder if the puppets imitate the dancers , or if the dancers imitate the puppets.
I was ready for my Bintang beer, while my friend Emy ordered us some seafood. Dinner was grilled fish, some salad, and another forgettable dish. When the bill came, we were not too happy about how pricey that forgettable dinner was. Perhaps the bill was inflated to absorb the cost of putting up that cultural show, plus some fireworks. So much for Jimbaran. We will survive without it.
Ubud and Around: Gunung Kawi, Tegalallang Rice Terraces, Kokokan Village
We planned to take off early today to make that 1 1/2 hour trip to Ubud. Not too early, which is fine, to leave some time to do the beach. I was late just a few minutes to catch the sunrise. I took one of the beach chairs, closed my eyes, and heard many early morning joggers pass behind me. It was a lovely morning. I walked towards this pagoda off the beach, looking out to the few boats floating undisturbed. On
Gunung Kawi Temple
Going down the stairs, past rice terraces, to reach this temple is easy and exciting. But wait till you climb back to exit. There is no way but uphill....all the way!
my way back to the hotel, I found some seaweeds in the oddest of colors, purple. Then, a few seashells to take home for the little ones.
Breakfast at the hotel was buffet style. Nothing fancy, nothing to rave about. But the coffee's good. Reminds me of the coffee plantations in Lovina which we will not have the chance to see. Maybe next time around. For today, it will be Gunung Kawi Temple, the rice terraces of Tegalallang, the village of Kokokan, and not to forget......sunset at Tanah Lot Temple.
On our way to Gunung Kawi, we stopped by a woodworking and handicraft shop to buy a walking stick or cane for Beth. Emy found some fans too. I found a woodwork showing this half-naked Balinese woman with her children reaching up and all over her. Nice piece of work. Knowing we have a full day, we got ready to pay and leave . Then Beth realized her wallet was missing. Oh oh. We crossed our fingers hoping that she just left her wallet in the hotel and that we'd find it there when we get back later tonight. Both our driver and guide were as
Tegalallang Rice Terraces
I would not mind having Balinese coffee here , while viewing the rice terraces.
worried as we all were. But not much we can do really. We decided against calling the hotel to check on it, and prayed it's waiting to be found by us.
When we reached Gunung Kawi, we left Beth with Dede and with some of our money to spend shopping. Emy and I would be out a good hour visiting the temple. We "splashed" ourselves with what appears to be holy water entering the temple. There was no crowd except for a group of French nationals who amused us with their excitement over wearing the required sarongs before entering the complex. We found some stone statues down below and the "standard split gate" characterizing most Balinese structures. Going down past several rice paddies was easy, but coming back up was sheer torture. It was uphill all the way. By the time we reached the gate wherefrom we entered, we found Beth looking cheerful as she showed off some of her purchases. She was also busily eyeing a local lamp made of coconut shell. If her wallet wasn't missing, I bet she would have made more purchases. We then proceeded to view the rice terraces in Tegalallang. Just off
the road, where we stopped for just a few minutes to take photos and browse in the nearby oleh oleh
shop. I took a photo of a very pretty Balinese child who looked like she got a lot of training selling some oleh oleh. Her siblings were playing not far from where we were, guarded by her father with a mutilated ear, oblivious to the girl's selling antics. From here, we drove to Kokokan Village which is like a sanctuary for the kokokan, a kind of bird very much like the egrets, feeding off rice paddies. By this time, I am pining for a better camera. Seeing those kokokans all lined up in a cable made me wish for a higher-grade camera. Oh well.
Before leaving the area of Ubud, we asked to be taken to the Bebek Bengil Restaurant. Bebek Bengil translates to "dirty duck". We invited Diwa our guide and Dede our driver to join us for lunch. But I will not write about this culinary adventure here as I have decided to write a separate blog on it. Coming.........soon.
Sunset at Tanah Lot
We got here
Tanah Lot, Once More
Now, I\'m really pining for a better, higher-grade camera!
with plenty of time to spare before sunset. Going to this Hindu temple set on a big rock requires a long stroll past many oleh olehs
. These guys must make brisk business off the many tourists. Emy and I left Beth by the stairs, thinking that's how far she can go with her ailing leg. We climbed up a small rock where we decided to sit it out, waiting for the sun to set. Before long, Beth came to join us.
The sunset view did not disappoint. Tanah Lot looked even lovelier as the sky turned orange and the lights faded. There was a man who climbed up the rock and sat for a few moments. We didn't waste the chance to snap a few photos with that man making our amateur shots actually looking more interesting. Soon after, the crowds headed for the exit. We waited till the crowd thinned, and then leisurely walked back to our car. We passed a group of men with children holding this huge boa constrictor to the delight of some tourists and children. Holy snake? Don't ask me.
A Short Stop at Uluwatu Before the Airport
I can only imagine a sunset shot here..........lovely cliff view.
Our flight back to Jakarta is at 6 pm. That means we don't do sunset at Uluwatu. Darn
When we got to this Hindu temple by the cliff, we were told to wrap this colorful belt around . Not knowing why, we checked out the signage right by the entrance to the Temple. What it says is that:
1. One must be properly attired. (I guess wearing a belt is the equivalent of being properly attired)
2. Anyone menstruating can only go as far as the steps.
I promised myself I'd go check the Net why this is so. For the moment, your guess is as good as mine.
We walked all the way to the cliff where we were rewarded with this awesome view of the sea and the temple. Gosh, I can only imagine how this place must look at sunset. Sob. Even Emy who has always been afraid of heights took the chance to pose for that posterity shot with the cliff and the sea as background. Elizabeth was not to be outdone. She went a bit far, and gave Diwa our guide a heartburn. Poor fellow. I saw him
shaking his head from left to right , several times. He was truly concerned over my friend's safety. Come to think of it........there is truly a danger if there was a bunch of tourists competing for that small space for a good shot. One may accidentally bump off another, who will likely be thrown off the cliff screaming all the way down. Yay. What a scary thought!
As we prepared to exit, we met up with a few monkeys --- not at all aggressive like the ones I met back when I visited Nepal. I reminded Beth and Emy to take care of their stuff as these monkeys make good pickpockets especially when your pockets have good stuff to eat. The animal lover Beth divided up her chocolate bars to a couple of monkeys, while a third snatched a piece away and gobbled up the food as quickly . Greedy, greedy.
By the time we reached the airport , we had lots of time to kill. So, why not a Balinese foot massage while munching something to eat? I know, that is not exactly the protocol........but why waste time when you can do both? We started
Horse Monument Near Denpasar Airport
Took this shot as our car sped by.........not bad, huh?
with a half hour foot massage (leaves the hands free to eat , he he), then decided to go for a full hour. That done, my friend went on to have a hand massage. The whole procedure was over by the time we got ready to board our plane. Not bad. We certainly made good time. Not a second wasted in Bali. Oh, by the way, we found Elizabeth's wallet in the bag she left inside our hotel room. Not a penny missing. All credit cards intact.
There are more photos below