Bali Day 3 (17 Sep 13) – Exploring the Temples

I have always wanted to visit Pura Ulun Danu during my previous visits to Bali. However the temple is rather out of the way and I did not catered time to pay a visit to this temple. From the pictures I have seen, this place is quite scenic. During this trip, I was determined to pay a visit to this temple. Since this is the first time my friend had been to Bali, I thought to show him this temple would be quite apt. Prior to the trip, I did numerous research in how to get to this temple. This temple is in the middle of Bali, to get there one would have to get a private transport. I arranged for a guide to show us around to this temple and of course the famous Tanah Lot. Our guide, Arlan, came on time and is very friendly and knowledgable. Prior to the trip, I communicated with Arlan via email, stating that the sights I want to visit are Pura Ulun Danu, Pura Tanah Lot and the rice terraces that Bali was also famous for. Arlan spared no efforts in bringing us to a couple of sights that are along the way.
We woke up early and ordered breakfast. As there are no dining facilities in the villa grounds, breakfast (included in the stay) will be delivered to the room. I had pouched eggs again as I was unsatisfied with those I had the day before. Well at least the villa got the pouched eggs right, it was not overcooked and the bacon with the pouched eggs were tasty too. We met up with Arlan after our breakfast and soon found ourselves traveling around Bali. Along the way, we discussed with Arlan the places we want to visit, and got Arlan to propose any sights he find interesting along the way. Arlan propose to bring us to the Royal Temple in Kuta area – Pura Taman Ayun as it is nearby. We readily agreed and indeed this temple is around 30 mins drive from where we put up.
Breakfast is served in the villa

Pura Taman Ayun

As we parked our car, we saw the split entrance of the temple being built. It seems that this entrance is a later addition to the monument. The entrance is mere minutes walk from the temple. Arlan explained to us that there is a moat that surrounds this temple, a typical feature of a Hindi Temple, very similar to that of AngKor Wat that I have visited some years back. We paid for the tickets and entered temple grounds through the gate. As we passed the gates we were impressed by the well kept garden, which was a stark difference from the scenery before the gates. Perhaps this is a holy ground, moreover this is the Royal temple, more attention was paid to the upkeep of its grounds. As we were eagerly walking towards the temple to marvel at the typical Balinese architecture, Arlan pulled us one side and brought us to this huge pavilion by the side. He explains that this is a wax figurine of a typical scene of cock fighting. As cock fighting is now illegal in Indonesia (due to the involvement of gambling), the only times that cock fighting is allowed is festive periods. We did not stay long here as we were eager to see the temple.
We walked further into the temple grounds and saw some towers by the side. Arlan explained that there is a bell on top of the 2 storey high tower. The function of this bell is to notify the residents near the temple. He went on to explain that a typical Balinese temple does not only serve the purpose of prayer to the gods, it is also a gathering place for people to resolve disputes, for celebrations as well. As the inner temple is closed for public to enter, we can only marvel the sights through a low wall surrounding the temple. Arlan did a great job in explaining that the way to differentiate a temple from any other building lies with the colour of the roof. Temples are always covered with black straws, which is harvested from trees; while that of any other buildings is covered with brownish straws, which is harvested from the ground. I reckon this symbolises the holiness of the temple. We were brought to the back of the temple, where we can see towers after towers, that makes up the temple. Here is where we also saw a statue of garuda, a mythical creature that serves as a mount for one of the 3 hindu gods. The whole temple is well kept and the architecture is simply stunting. There is nothing much to see other then taking pictures with the temple, we hurried ourselves to exit the temple and head on to our next destination.
As we were about to exit the temple, we wanted very much to scale the bell tower. We asked Arlan if it is alright to do so, he gladly accommodated to our request. The bell tower has only one flight of stairways leading up to it and the way up surrounds the tower itself. I thought we would be able to get a good view of the temple and the surrounds, however the tower being not very tall, the views are limited. Despite that we do enjoy the breeze up at the tower. We stayed at the tower for a mere 5 mins before heading down and towards our next destination.
The add-on gate at the Royal Temple
View of the temple from across the moat
Entrance of the temple
A mock-up cock fighting ring
Guardian statue of the temple
Me and Arlan crossing the causeway into the temple grounds
Guardian statue around the temple
At the Royal Temple grounds
Watch Tower from afar
Entrance to the Royal Temple
Guardian statue in the temple grounds
This section of the temple is closed to visitors
Around the temple grounds
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
Zoomed in view of the temple
Me at the Royal temple
Balinese architecture in the temple
Garuda guarding the temple
Close up shot of Garuda
Prayer section of the temple
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
Around the Royal Temple
Watch tower up close
Ceiling of the watch tower
Me at the top of the watch tower
Around the temple grounds
Around the temple
View of the temple grounds from the watch tower
Watch Tower

Tegal Sari Coffee Plantation

Before we headed to the rice terrace plantations, another sight Bali is famous for, Arlan asked if we wanted to head to the coffee plantation, where we can taste the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak. We readily agreed to do so. This coffee plantation is rather small and was rather inconspicuous. I had half suspected this is one of the tourist places, where they entertain tourists to earn their foreign money. Nonetheless, no harm us taking a look. As we were walking through the plantation towards a hut where we tasted some of the beverages that was being produced locally, prior to that, a staff from the plantation, seemingly the “tour guide” of the plantation, brought us along and showed us how the coffee beans of Kopi luwak is being prepared. Every process is traditionally prepared and still very manual. We then headed for the hut where the staff prepared a sample of a various types of drinks that was produced on the plantation. We had to pay IDR50,000 for a sample of Kopi Luwak, since my friend has yet to taste it before, we opted in for it. Kopi Luwak is naturally decaffed and the taste of it isn’t as bitter compared to other blends of coffee. After tasting, we were led to a shop where they sell all the drinks that we have tasted that was produced in the plantation. After shopping for awhile, we decided to head towards our next destination.
Heading towards the plantation 
Plants in the plantation
Plants in the plantation
Plants in the plantation
Plants in the plantation
This is the cat which produces the world’s most expensive coffee
Refreshment sampling
Introduction to the various coffees produced here
Kopi Luwak sampling

Rice Terrace Plantation

Our next destination is high up in the mountains. From here we can see the terrace plantations at a distant. It is not what I imagined it would be as compared to that I have seen some years ago. Nonetheless, we still managed to get a good glimpse of the rice terrace. The climate up here is rather cooling, contrasting with the humid climate in Kuta or Seminyak, mainly due to the higher altitude. We had our lunch here, where there is a restaurant serving simple Indonesian cuisine. The food served here is nothing to brag about, however the view at the restaurant is stunning, the cooling climate and the superb view, making lunching here an excellent choice. As the food served here is buffet style, we grabbed a few rounds and called it quits. After lunch we took some pictures with the rice terrace (which unfortunately was a little too far to be visible in the pictures. Arlan the embarked us on our next stop – the Pura Ulun Danu in Bedugul.
Driving towards the rice terrace view point
View of the rice terrace afar
At at the rice terrace
View of the rice terrace afar
Lunch time
Lunch time

Pura Ulun Danu

Pura Ulun Danu is situated on a lake, surrounded by mountains. This is the temple that I have always wanted to visit, but due to the location, which is rather in accessible if one does not have private transport, visitation to this temple is always cast aside in my previous stays in Bali. I was glad to have been able to make this trip this time round. As usual, once we paid for the tickets, our guide brought us through the split gates of the temple. Prior to approaching the temple gates, Arlan pointed out to us the Buddhist stupa just outside the temple grounds. He further told us that this is the only Balinese temple that features a Buddhist structure on the island. The stupa is a simple in design, however it remains a harmonious feature of the temple that blends the 2 different interpretations of Buddhism in Bali.
As we entered the temple grounds through the gate, Arlan brought our attention to a closed gate by the side. He told us that this is another temple that allows devotees to enter to pray. At this point in time, we were not too sure what he meant by that. Arlan quickly seized an opportunity to help my friend and I to take some pictures outside the temple gates (as there were hordes of visitors waiting for their turns to take their pictures here). As with the previous temples that we visited so far today, the doors into the temple remains closed. Arlan seemed to be able to tell that we were hungry to see the sight that we have set out to see here, the temple on the lake. He wasted no time in bringing us to the famous sight of Bali, the Pura Ulun Danu. The walk towards this temple is just a mere minutes, the solitary temple that rested in the claim waters of the lake was soon standing in front of us. I was awed by the sight, the settings of this temple, though with the noises produced by tons of visitors, remains peaceful. As this temple rests on the higher planes of Bali, we could feel cool air that blows across the lakes. Arlan told us that during the end of the year, the water level in this lake will be high, due to the rainy season and the location of the lake, which forms a bowl to capture all the water flowing down the surrounding mountains. After taking some pictures in front of the temple, we headed down to the lake. The cool water coupled with the surrounding cool wind is a stark difference from the humid and hot weather we experienced back at Kuta and Seminyak area. We did not stay at this temple for too long before heading to our next destination of Pura Tanah Lot.
Entrance to Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
The lake Pura Ulun Danu is built on
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Me at Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
This is the area where prayers are being conducted
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Quieter side of Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
The lake at Pura Ulun Danu
A buddhist pagoda outside Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu
Pura Ulun Danu

Twin Lakes

Before we set off for Tanah Lot, Arlan asked if we would want to visit the view point for the twin lakes and Arlan make known to us that the drive to the view point is less then 30 mins away. We readily agreed to visit the view point. On the way towards the view point, we past by some monkeys which Arlan told us that these monkeys are the residents of the nearby forest and would usually settle by the side of the roads as they had known that passing by tourists would feed them food. Arlan pulled over to a group of monkeys for us to take some pictures before continuing our journey towards the view point. He also mentioned that these monkeys can turn violent and wanted us to stay in the car. We did just that.
As Arlan has promised, the view point is just 30 mins drive away an we found ourselves being presented with the picturesque view of the twin lakes. The views here is stunning, coupling with the cool mountain air, this is indeed a relaxing view and a mark difference from the hassles and bustles from the scene in Kuta. At the view point, we saw some tables, and some tourists enjoying lunch, ordered from a nearby restaurant. I can imagine the tranquility associated with lunching here. We spent some time absorbing the tranquil and the beautiful scenery, as though it is lifted from some paintings here before heading towards Tanah Lot.
View of the Twin Lakes
View of the Twin Lakes
View of the Twin Lakes
Rice Terrace that we drove past
View of the Twin Lakes
View of the Twin Lakes
View of the Twin Lakes

Pura Tanah Lot

The drive towards Pura Tanah Lot was a long one. It was around 5pm when we reached Pura Tanah Lot. As with the other temples we visited today, we paid for the tickets and found ourselves walking towards the split gates of the temple. What lies in front of us and beyond the split gates of Tanah Lot is the scenic coastal line where the temple overlooks the sea, coupled with the rhythm of the waves hitting the cliffs where the temple grounds are situated. From where we were, there seemed to be having 3 sections to Pura Tanah Lot. One temple to the far right, which seemed like 500m from the gate, and 2 on the left of the split gates. We were more excited about visiting the famous temple on the little island where it was built on, which is the icon of Balinese temples. We walked towards the left side of the split gates towards the island where the famous Tanah Lot temple is situated. Prior to landing on that island, we stopped by briefly on the temple that was built by the cliff overlooking the sea for some photo taking. From here we can see hordes and hordes of tourists by the coast and walking towards the island temple through an underwater pathway. As we wanted to see the sunset, and we were about 1 hour away from sunset, we made known this intention to our guide, who proposed that we can spend the next hour shopping around. However he warned that most of the stuff that was put up on sale is targeted at tourists, meaning the price would be higher then elsewhere. We browsed the market for abit before heading back to the temple grounds anticipating the sunset.
Sunsetting at Tanah Lot
View from of the coastline at Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot Temple
Zoomed in view of Tanah Lot Temple
The temple near to Tanah Lot
View of the cliff at Tanah Lot
View of the coastline
Me at Tanah Lot
Sun setting
Sunsetting
Low tide at Tanah Lot
One of the sub-temples at Tanah Lot
View of the shore from Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Guardian at Tanah Lot Temple
My friend and I soon found ourselves by the coast where most of the tourists are. We loved watching the sea hitting against the coast, the rhythm produced by the seawater is rather therapeutic. Here we can see tourists trying to take pictures of themselves with the picturesque background of the wave, which seem angry with the coast working their poweress to erode the coast, as though they are trying to expand their territory. We soon find ourselves couldn’t resist the calling of the temple. By the time, the path linking the shore and the temple is hardly visible. We ask Arlan if it is okay for us to visit the temple, whom subsequently told us we could get blessings in the cave under the temple. As we were walking towards what seemed to be an underwater path towards the temple, we saw a handful of temple staffs acting as shepherds escorting visitors towards the island temple. They seemed to know where to walk despite the invisible underwater path. We followed the footsteps of a couple of visitors being escorted by the staffs and soon found ourselves on the island. We got our blessings and went to the side of the temple, where there is a stairways leading up the temple is visible. As with the other temples in Bali, entrance to the temple is closed as well. We took some time to take some pictures of the coast from the temple. As the sun has set, we decided to head back to the coast. By this time, the tide has almost submerged the path that we came from. However the staffs saw us trying to walk towards the coat and came over to escort us. At this point in time, the seawater has reached our knee level, we walked carefully following the staffs who seemed to know where the path is without even the need to look at them. We soon found ourselves at the coast and met up with Arlan. As this is the last itinerary of the day, it is time for us to head back to our villa. As Arlan was preparing to drive us back, we requested him to drop us off Hard Rock Hotel in Kuta so we can grab a bite at Hard Rock Cafe. After dinner we walked around Hard Rock Hotel before hailing a cab back to our villa to rest for the night.

Up close to the shore
Tanah Lot Temple
Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Coastline at Tanah Lot Temple

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