“Handmade” tour in Bali… between Ubud and Sanur

Renting a car with a driver is one of the easiest things you can do for one tour in Bali and, given how chaotic the traffic is in some areas, it is even a recommended decision to explore the island. What you don’t have to do is not make the reservation online but negotiate the price with the driver “face to face”. You can find them everywhere …

We thought we would use the day we were to make the transfer from Ubud to Sanur for our first tour of the Island of the Gods. About our first contact with Sanur, you can read here! So we wrote to the driver who brought us from the airport to the hotel in Ubud to ask if he can help us with this transfer. Unfortunately, being busy that day, he had to refuse us, but not before giving us a friend’s phone number. With whom we agreed: one full day tour (around 10 hours), pick up point different from drop off point, the itinerary is chosen by us (but advised by the local for the order), the price 750000 IDR (approximately 45 euros), fuel and parking taxes included.

So that morning, my wife, child, and our luggage, we started enthusiastically our tour in Bali in front of the hotel where we were staying in Ubud. The first stop was at a coffee plantation. Here I had the opportunity to enjoy one of the most expensive coffees in the world: Kopi Luwak. It is obtained from red coffee beans that have been ingested by an animal, the palm civet (a small creature, similar to a cat). Even if the inside of the coffee bean is not digested, it is chemically altered by enzymes in the animal’s digestive tract, enzymes that flavor coffee and destroys proteins to reduce the bitter taste of the coffee. The excrement of this animal is harvested, then carefully washed and lightly fried so as not to destroy the complex aroma they acquired as a result of the digestion process. A unique and expensive taste!

The next place we saw was Pura Ulun Danu Beratan or Pura Bratan. Is a major Hindu Shaivite Shiva temple in Bali, Indonesia. The temple complex is on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. The water from the lake serves the entire region in the outflow area; downstream there are many smaller water temples that are specific to each irrigation association (subak). In Bali, Hindu temples are known as “pure”, are designed as open-air places of worship in walled compounds. The compound walls have a series of intricately decorated gates without doors for the devotee to enter.

The design and plan of the holy Pura follow a square layout. A typical temple is laid out according to ancient Lontar texts with three courtyards separated by low walls pierced by ornate gateways. The outer courtyard is for secular pursuits, with pavilions used for meetings, resting performers and musicians at festivals. Food stalls are set up here during festivals. The middle courtyard is a transition zone between the human and divine sections; here offerings are prepared and temple paraphernalia are stored. The inner courtyard is the site of the shrines and religious ceremonies. The shrines are known as merus and are square structures with brick bases and multiple pagoda-style thatched roofs; the number of roofs reflects the status of the deity and is always an odd number. Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the nine ‘Kahyangan Jagat’ temples on Bali. The temple complex consists of five various shrines dedicated to other Hindu gods as well. (source: wikipedia)

When is the best time to visit Bali?

We then continued our way to Jatiluwih to admire the impressive rice terraces, and where we had lunch at a restaurant that offers delicious Indonesian food and a spectacular view. The Jatiluwih rice terraces in the namesake upland village in West Bali are most famous for their dramatic and exotic landscapes. The cool highlands and the breathtaking scenery of this village at the foot of Mount Batukaru make for wonderful photo opportunities and serves as a soothing retreat away from the island’s crowded south. Once a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site candidate, the Jatiluwih rice terraces comprise over 600 hectares of rice fields that follow the flowing topography of the Batukaru mountain range.

These are maintained by a traditional water management cooperative known as subak, which dates back to the 9th century. The cooperative itself eventually won recognition as a dominant factor in Bali’s ‘cultural landscape’ entry on the heritage list. Here you will find the largest and most picturesque expanse of paddies in Bali, and probably in the whole of Indonesia, here. Another sister area with similar views is the village of Pupuan, also in Tabanan. Lush green views will already come into view upon approaching the region, while the main vantage point lies further up in the village. Entrance to the main area requires a fee that goes to the local village cooperative fund, and which is usually covered by tour operators. Halfway up, the view is truly impressive, with 180 degrees of gently sloping terraces as far as the eye can see.

Jatiluwih walk

At one point the driver asked us if we agreed to take a short detour to go to a village with some of his friends to buy a bag of rice. Of course we agreed. Moreover, we could not leave without buying red and black rice. the local recommended to his wife that he prepare rice pudding for the child from the black one. It was delicious!

We left especially for our last stop, to enjoy the spectacle offered here by the sunset, the Tanah Lot temple. Tanah Lot should be on your ‘must visit’ list when you are in Bali. It has a mysterious, yet classic, beauty. The sea temple, which is built on a huge rock right in the middle of the ocean, takes you way back into its timeless journey, leaving you in great awe as you discover the little secrets while walking around it.Tanah Lot is a family-friendly spot, as there are adequate facilities such as shops, restaurants, cultural parks, shops, emergency facilities, washrooms, rest areas and information centers.

If you are planning only to visit Tanah Lot, we’d recommend entering the premises at about 5 pm. This will give you enough time to explore the area, visit the sea temple and surroundings and allow you to relax and watch the amazing sunset at about 6-630pm while having a fresh coconut at one of the food stores perched on the cliff. For avid photographers, this is the golden hour, and if the weather is merciful you will enjoy a spectacular sundown sight. However, the temple is equally beautiful when the tide is high. The site of the temple being marooned at sea will take your breath away and forever be etched in your memory.

About what I didn’t like in Bali, you can read here!