The last day of our Balinese adventure was dedicated to the temples of the island. Coined as ‘Island of the Gods’, the revered island province of Bali is known for its verdant forested mountains, iconic rice paddies, and beaches and coral reefs. Unlike most of Muslim-majority cities of Indonesia, about 85% of the total population of Bali adheres to Balinese Hinduism - a combination of local beliefs and the Hindu influences from mainland Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
This is just one of the reasons why Bali stands out.
Pura Taman Ayun
We left our hotel at around 8AM and made our way to our first destination - Taman Ayun. It’s an hour drive from Kuta Denpasar (downtown Denpasar) and being a night owl, I was asleep the entire trip. Don’t bother asking me for directions. Google Maps is the answer (addendum: it’s 18km northwest of Denpasar). Upon arrival at Taman Ayun, our driver, Nur, dropped us a few hundred meters from the temple's entrance thus we need to walk from where he dropped us. Wala juy buot! Hahaha! Maybe it’s one of his ways to say, “Hey! Y’all looked tired and lazy! You need to work out your legs!”.
Taman Ayun, which literally translates to ‘beautiful garden’ is a compound of Balinese Temples with a lush garden surrounded by a man-made lake. It is regarded as one of the most attractive temples in the island of Bali. This complex was built in 1634 by the Raja of Mengwi. This was built to honor the deified ancestors of the Raja Dynasty of Mengwi. The complex has broad canals surrounding the temples and can only be accessed by a bridge leading to the outer courtyard.
Entrance fee’s not that expensive at Rp. 40,000 (~USD 3).
Mekar Sari Coffee Luwak Farm
We were on our way to Bedugul when our driver suggested that we should visit a coffee plantation nearby. We agreed knowing that we still have enough time. Bali is also known for its delicious coffee, particularly Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee). We were guided by a young girl who spoke English fluently and toured around the vast plantation. Basically, we tried some of their flavored coffee (the coconut coffee was really delicious) and tea. Kopi Luwak is Rp. 60,000 per cup.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Bedugul Temple)
We drove for almost an hour while traversing the mountain ranges of Central Bali (this time, I wasn’t asleep, all thanks to the free coffee samples earlier). We arrived there at half past eleven in the morning and it was more crowded with both local and international tourists. Entrance fee is priced at Rp. 10,000 per person. There are no words to perfectly describe this temple complex - I immediately fell in love with this place. It’s so picturesque that it can be seen at the reverse side of the Rp. 50,000 bill.
Located on the shores of Lake Bratan, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Bratan Temple) was built in 1633 and was used for offering ceremonies to the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu. Lake Bratan is the main source of irrigation in the whole island of Bali.
Tanah Lot Temple
A day before my Bali trip, I binge-watched the 28th season of The Amazing Race. On the 9th episode, they featured Bali. I’ve seen Bali in the previous seasons and they always feature this iconic temple. Tanah Lot Temple is located at a rock formation off the coast of southwestern Bali. This was built in the 16th century by Dang Hyang Nirartha and has been part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The main deity of the temple is Dewa Baruna or Bhatara Segara (sea god). What’s more interesting is the presence of venomous snakes at the base of the rocky coast of Tanah Lot. It is believed that these snakes guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. This is the only place in the world kung saan tinu-trust ang iyong mga Bes. De, joke lang.
Due to the high influx of tourists, the area leading to the temple is highly commercialized and guests are required to pay an entrance fee of Rp. 40,000. To reach the temple, visitors must walk through a set of Balinese market-format souvenir shops which cover each side of the path leading to the sea. On the mainland clifftops, restaurants and restrooms are provided for tourists.
I never thought I would spend my 26th birthday here in Bali, Indonesia. The fun part was, I’ve visited three temples in my birthday alone (this does not include the temples we visited days before). I feel so blessed, most especially that we witnessed a stunning sunset at Seminyak while enjoying good food.
|Sunset at Seminyak|
Bali is not your ‘once in a lifetime’ destination; you’ll keep on coming back here. Now I know why some of my friends visit Bali from time to time. There’s so much activities to do and places to visit. On top of that, it's relatively cheaper here than in Jakarta.
Bali, I shall return.