"I would rather be amongst forest animals and the sounds of nature, than amongst city traffic and the noise of man..."
30 January 2006
Day-1 : The Island of dreams
The plan for the holiday was made in haste but it turned out lovely and wonderful. Even the Kuta and Jimbaran bombings did not marred Bali's tropical loveland image.That morning we drove from Putramas Apartment early and parked our car at KLIA. Our flight was at 9 a.m. and we reached Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport around noon. As soon as we stepped off the plane we could sense the difference. There were the combination of the friendly people, the smell of flowers, and in the distance you could hear the sound of gamelan music.
We were greeted by our friendly tour guide, who brought us to Wina Cottage Hotel in the Kuta area. After we checked-in and freshened-up, the guide brought us to Arum Spa for a 2-hour relaxing aromatherapy massage and scrub. The spa session offered rejuvenation of the both body and soul. After the spa treatment, the driver sent us to a Nasi Padang Restaurant where we had our late lunch. He later dropped us at Kuta Square, Bali shopper's paradise particularly selling t-shirts and casual clothings, locally made jewellery, handicrafts, antiques and artifacts. In fact, prices are so cheap, and bargaining at the street markets is a must. The sun sets early in Bali so we walked along the Kuta beach and watched the beautiful sunset…
31 January 2006
Day-2 : Kintamani Volcano Tour
Today we had a full day tour to Kintamani. The tour bus picked us up at 9.30 a.m. and there were two Chinese families from KL joining us for the tour. Our first stop was at Batubulan for the Barong and Kris Dance. This Balinese dance is about a contest between the opposing forces of chaos and destruction, the "Rangda" and the "Barong". After the show we visited a famous coffee factory and ended buying aromatic tea instead. We stopped at the gold and silversmith village at Celuk and the batik traditional hand weaving at Tohpati.
A scenic drive over small roads overlooking beautiful rice terraces brought us to the mountain village of Kintamani. The journey took nearly two hours. It was raining very heavily and it was cloudy on top of the mountain. In between the rain, cold and cloudy conditions and some aggressive souvenir sellers, we had a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Mount Batur and its lake. We listen to a local boy playing the flute, while we were having lunch at Batur Sari, a restaurant overlooking the majestic volcanic cone of Gunung Batur and the lake that fills half of the surrounding, one of Bali's most spectacular landscapes. On the way back we stopped at a suppliers’ shop and the Art village at Ubud.
We reached the beautiful rock temple at Tanah Lot just before sunset. This picturesque Balinese temple was built in the 16th Century on a huge rock off Bali's West coast and is surrounded by the sea during high tides. The temple silhouetted against the setting sun, perched on a rocky outcrop at the sea's edge. The Scenery is nothing less than spectacular. At the foot of the rock temple is a spring of holy water. We could see thousands of tourists visiting the temple during sunset.
It was already dark when we reached Jimbaran. We dropped the chinese family at one of the seaside Spa. The rest of us went to Roda Seafood Restaurant and had a sumptuous dinner of seafood platter of fish, crab and prawns while being serenaded by a local band.
1 February 2006
Day-3 : The 'Mother Temple' Tour
The van picked us up at 9.30 a.m. and we started off immediately towards Besakih. Today’s tour was arranged especially for the two of us and we have the driver and the van until night. The journey to Besakih took more than two hours. The scenery along the way is so picturesque and immaculate it could almost be a painted backdrop. It has rice paddies tripping down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soaring up through the clouds, dense tropical jungle and friendly people who don't just have a culture but actually live it. Half way up the mountain, we stopped to have lunch at Puri Boga Restaurant which offers the peace and tranquility of a resting place high in the hills with spectacular landscape. When we reached the entrance of the oldest temple, we were asked to wear a sarong to show respect. The "Mother Temple" in Besakih is Bali's most holy and Indonesia's biggest Hindu temple. It was build in the 11th Century in an altitude of 1,000 meters on the slopes of Mount Agung – Bali's holy mountain – is also regarded as one of the eight chakra points of the world.
Gods and spirits have been an important part of Bali's daily life for hundreds of years and in this temple we witnessed people coming with offerings on their heads and solemnly worshipping their gods.We passed picturesque rice terraces on the way back. In the villages we noticed the quietness and wisdom in old people's faces, and the interest and respect in the young's. Old men sit at the roadside caressing their fighting cocks. We witnessed a religious procession where beautifully dressed women walk proudly carrying offerings on their heads to the temple. On the way we stopped to see the famous painted ceiling at the old Palace of Justice in Klungkung and visited an old Balinese house. With the sunset as the backdrop, we watch the Kecak Dance, a ritual dance combining the chorus of the "Sanghyang" trance dance with a story from the "Ramayana" legend. Two little girls danced in trance followed by the Fire Dance where a male dancer exorcised by spirit danced barefooted among glowing coals. The show was very impressive with its circular chorus of over 100 bare chested male singers. After the show we had dinner at one of the famous Nasi Padang Restaurant.
2 February 2006
Day- 4 : Time Sharing Packages
This morning we skipped breakfast as we were promised a free breakfast for two at a holiday villa in Jimbaran. A tour guide picked us at 9 a.m. and transported us to Jimbaran where we were brought to a restaurant for a hearty breakfast while a salesperson briefed us on the Holiday time-sharing packages. We were shown a beautiful chalet and inspected the facilities. Of course we were really interested to listen to get more information but time was running short. We have to be at our hotel for the Airport pick-up at 11 a.m.