Arriving on the island of the Gods
Indonesia is a compilation of 17,000 islands, 6 of which make up nearly 80% of the total surface area, a whopping 2 million square kilometers. This time my family and I traveled to Bali, the 6th biggest island with 4 million people, where we would spend our Chinese New Year vacation.
” Look at the Lightning mom!”
These were my first words as we approached Denpasar, the capital of Bali, consisting of nearly one million people. As we deplaned, every single one of us felt the overwhelming gust of heat hitting our air-conditioned bodies. We then passed a bored custom agent who asked us about 2 questions and just like that we were in one of the most bucket-listed countries in the world. Thanks to my dad’s taxi reservation, we had a traditional taxi driver waiting patiently with a small cardboard sign saying JM and family. After a grueling 1 hour of rugged country-side “roads” at 3am, we arrived at our traditional Indonesian villa. Our villa consisted of 3 ravishing rooms with long sliding doors and a view on a large private lap pool. The pool was even made of handcut stones that were quarried in Bali. There was also a large covered patio with a long wooden table were we could just sit and relax with a cool breeze wafting towards our faces. Anyways, now to the real reason we came to Bali: to meet our friends Benedicte, Brent, Melia and Jayden who are on a trip around the world!
Temples and some more temples
We started off our day with a quick breakfast at our villa, a dish of perfectly cooked fried rice with a side of heart-shaped watermelon. Fortunately, this breakfast held me full for the next 4 hours of temple-seeing. So we grabbed a taxi and headed towards the highly praised Gunung Kawi temple, a Hindu worship center completely carved in rock! Incredible. In order to access the temple, we had to come down many steps which eventually led the way across a river to an open space where we could see the absolutely magnificent temple carved into the cliff. We took numerous photos before reaching the worship place for the king of all kings. This shrine was decked out in all possible ways with lanterns, flowers, buckets of water, food offerings and everything in between. Then, after a stop at a local restaurant, we headed towards a temple also carved into stone called Tanah lot. When you arrive at the view point near the entrance, you are completely astonished with a gorgeous view of an island of rock surrounded by water at high tide with several temple shrines emerging in the midst of a vast ocean bay. This would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the numerous bus loads of tourists unloading to see the Tanah Lot temple. Many people recommend coming in the evening for sunset, I would recommend coming in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Tic tac, tic tac. We woke up this morning with the constant sounds of dropping water on our wooden roof. This rain would follow us for the rest of the day. So we hopped on a taxi and headed toward Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a Hindu worship center located on a large lake. This temple was a perfect spot for a classic jumping photo:
We then left in the direction for the Jatiluwih Rice terraces, which are protected by UNESCO. These terraces were so beautiful as nearby volcanoes rose up in the horizon like an island in a sea of clouds and mist. We took our time to absorb this beautiful site and even took a walk amonst the rice fields. We then had a different perspective as we saw the reflection of the sky on the water filled terraces. We had to return as the path was too muddy and the rain started to poor. On our way back to our villa in Ubud we stopped at the renowned spice market in Bedugul and found delicious mangoes, rambutans, passion fruits and I satisfied my craving for carrots! Once in Ubud we had an interesting trip grocery shopping with our friend Brent, a professional chef, who selected local ingredients and spices and prepared a delicious Indonesian inspired dinner.
BALINESE MASSAGE AT THE SPA