Our plane took-off at exactly four in the morning and I fell asleep ten minutes after. The next thing I knew, the sun was already up and we were already banking to the right, preparing to land in Bali, Indonesia. Honestly, I kept my expectations low as I didn't know what was in store for us in the next three days!
Since we still have hours to kill before check-in, we went to a nearby mall and ate breakfast. Downtown Denpasar (or Kuta Denpasar) is reminiscent of a typical resort destination in the Philippines. Picture Boracay Island, only bigger. A huge bulk of tourists come from Australia, China, Japan, and South Korea.
We paid a quick visit to the famed Kuta Beach, and I have to admit that the water's REALLY tempting. This is one of Bali's surfing hotspots. Also, this is one of the best spots to planespot in Denpasar. The airport is just at the other side of the island, perfect place to watch planes land and depart runway 09 of the airport.
|Spot the red AirAsia airbus.|
The trip to Uluwatu Temple was the highlight of our first day in Bali. Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu in Balinese, is a sea temple located at Kuta South, Badung. The temple sits at the edge of a cliff and offers a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean especially during sunset.
|Uluwatu Temple cliff.|
The entrance fee is priced at Rp 20,000 and guests are required to dress appropriately. If you’re unsure with your attire, sarongs are available at the gates and can be rented for Rp 10,000. The temple grounds are open to the visitors but the central courtyard can only be accessed during special Hindu rituals.
As we made our way to the temple, the pillars and stones of the temple complex are intricately decorated with Hindu deities, most of them are figures of elephant-headed men. There’s a mini-forest where the monkeys of Uluwatu dwell. One should exercise extreme caution when encountering with these monkeys as they might steal some of your small belongings, so keep your valuables in your pocket. Yup, they’re not friendly to tourists.
Uluwatu Temple is not just about the dramatic sunset and the temple perched at the edge of the cliff. When in Uluwatu, don’t miss watching the Kecak Dance, an onomatopoeic title for the sound of their cultural performance. The performers chant the words ‘Cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak’ (pronounced as Ke-chak) repeatedly while other performers dramatize the epic Hindu story of Ramayana.
|Epic of Ramayana|
As the performance approaches its climax, the sun sets and the sky becomes a hue of red, orange, and violet. It was an amazing experience! Tickets are priced at Rp 100,000 (Php 350) regardless if you’re a local or an international tourist and the show lasts for an hour.
|A wild monkey appeared.|
Traffic in Denpasar is really terrible especially on peak hours. The streets are narrow and are perpetually filled with cars, motors, and people! The best way to tour around the island is to rent a car for Rp. 500,000 for 12 hours. Another great option is to rent a motorbike.
Despite the lack of sleep, our first day in Bali was a blast! At night, we rewarded ourselves with a feast of delicious fresh seafoods at Jimbaran Bay. Dinner by the seashore. What a perfect way to cap off the night!
|Dinner at Jimbaran Bay.|