Saturday, June 18, 2016

Bali Indonesia; Hindu Temples; Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport; Royal Sanur - Royal Bali Beach Club; Sanur; Denpasar; Mount Batur; Ubud Monkey Forest; Pura Tanah Lot; Pura Ulu Watu.

My wife and I love to go new and exciting places on vacation.  We have been to so many wonderful places, especially in Asia, that we were looking for someplace new.  Friends of ours told us we really should think about going to Bali.  It will be a wonderful new experience for you both.

We did some on-line research and found some very interesting facts.

Map Courtesy of internet

Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. Coral reefs surround the island and people come from around the world to snorkel and dive in these fertile waters. To the south the beaches have white sand, such as the beach side city of Kuta that also has has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns.  The beaches to the North and West are mostly black sand beaches.
In the North & Central part of Bali is a diverse mountainous reqion with several high mountain peaks over 9000 ft. in elevation (approx. 3000 meters). The highest peak is Mount Agung (3,031meters (9,944 ft.)), known as the "mother mountain" which is an active volcano that erupted in 1963 killing thousands of people. 

The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.  Bali is home of most of Indonesia’s Hindu population and over 80% of the island’s total population is Hindu.”   Today, the population is about 5 million people.

This island is truly an island of religion, adventure, site seeing, shopping, and just enjoying a beach vacation.  The culture is rich and everywhere you go there are wonderful artisans making furniture, art objects, paintings, stone sculptures, and much more.  So, you can imagine that we were very excited about our trip to Bali… much to see and do! 


We arrived at the Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport south of Denpasar, the largest city in Bali.
We stayed at the Royal Sanur: Royal Bali Beach Club, a modest and cozy RCI time share resort less than 1 km to the beach.

Serene Swimming Pool

View from Pool

Pool View from our Room

Pool View from inside Front Lobby

Lobby - Courtesy of Resort Web Site

Pool Area - Courtesy of Resort Web Site

Pool and Fountains - Courtesy of Resort Web Site

Sanur is an area along the coast and at the South Eastern end on Denpasar, and the Hotel is situated along the J1 By Pass Ngurah Rai.  It only took us about 15-20 minutes from the airport to our quiet and comfortable hotel resort.

Located in Sanur, Bali’s biggest traditional village and one of the most established tourist areas, this newly refurbished property with good restaurant food and and modern entertainment. The Hotel offers many daily tours to areas in Bali such as the Kintamani Volcano, Lake Batur, Puri Tirta Empul Temple, Bedugul, Bali Botanical Garden, Bali Bird Park and more.

You can relax by the pool in beautifully landscaped surrounding or take a leisure walk along the paved beach side path running the full length of Sanur where you can check out a multitude of shops & restaurants.  Ubud, Bali’s cultural center featured in the famous book and movie with Julia Roberts, “Eat Pray Love”, is only a short drive away. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the peace, tranquility and privacy of this resort.  The staff was very attentive, and we received first class service quality.  The hotel offers private island tours, and one of their drivers at the hotel, Rahwi Dewa, actually gave us great service and information about Bali during the scenic tours we enjoyed around the island.   We recommended this driver to our in-laws that went to Bali after we had such a great time.  They were very happy with the hotel and the great service from this very nice young man.  Here is Rahwi at a restaurant where we cooked our own BBQ style food at the table.

Rahwi Dewa starting our BBQ......  Yummy!!!!

One of our first tour stops was a local theater where the locals put on a play in their native language.

Interesting Music and special Music Instruments

Great Costumes!
The next stop was a small but very beautiful) factory where they designed, made the material, and produced Batik pattern clothes for locals and also tourists.  These Batik clothes were so unique and beautiful, that I just had to buy a Batik shirt for myself and a stunning dress for my wife.

Batik Factory workers Sewing clothes

Working on a pattern design & color


On the way through the North and Central areas on the island, we stopped at a very unique coffee plantation.  This plantation produces one of the world’s most expensive coffees known as Kopi Luwak or civet Coffee.  These coffees can have retail prices reaching €550 / US$700 per kilogram, and over US$1,100 price for the Black Ivory coffee.

Coffee Beans Growing on the Plantation

Black Ivory Coffee on Bottom

In Bali, the ripe coffee berries are picked and fed to Asian Palm Civets that part-digest coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the civets.  The civet eats the cherries for the fleshy pulp, then in the digestive tract, fermentation occurs. The civet's protease enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids.  Passing through a civet's intestines the cherries are then defecated with other fecal matter and collected.  While thinking about the way this coffee is produced, I was not so interested to even try a sip, let alone buy this expensive coffee.  But, when the sample was free, I must say, this was very special and delicious rich aroma coffee!

Asian Palm Civet

Civet Coffee for sale at the Plantation


We visited the Taman Burung Bali Bird Park, where we spent more than a half day walking through this huge natural environment bird park and being thoroughly amazed by the variety of beautiful birds that I have never before seen in my life........even a huge lizard!

Looking for FREE food handouts at the snack bar

The habitats at this bird park are very natural, clean, and some of the best I have ever seen.  At many exhibits, you have to take your time to find the birds roosting in the foliage, nesting, or just walking the habitat.  Yes, they do have many talking birds at the park!

It is said that there are over 10,000 Hindu shrines and temples on this small island.  Some of them date back over 1000 years, such as the Mother Temple of Besakih which is the most important, the largest and holiest temple in Bali. With so many puras, Bali in Indonesia is also known as "the Island of a Thousand Puras".

Along our Island travels, we had the chance to visit many Hindu temples including the Ulu Watu Temple along a high cliff that is inhabited by wild monkeys (which will steal visitirs possessions if you are not careful), the island temple Pura Tanah Lot, Ubud Monkey Forest which has three (3) different temples  on the forest grounds, and many other small temples which we stopped to visit.  Seeing the architecture, carved stone statues and temple structures (such as the gates) were just very wonderful  and special experiences.  If we walked through the inner grounds of the temples, we had to wear wrap around skirts to cover our legs.

Inside Ubud Temple

Inside Temple Grounds and Lady wearing long Skirt

Tanah Lot Island Temple

Photo Shoot at Tanah Lot Temple

Split Gate near Tanah Lot (If I remember correctly)

Monkey in Monkey Forest Temple

Ulu Watu Temple on High Cliff

Monkey and Baby in Monkey Forest Temple

Monkey and Baby in Monkey Forest Temple

There are two types of gates in Hindu temples within Balinese architecture.  These are the split gate, known as candi bentar, and the roofed tower gate in Paduraksa style, usually called kori agung.  Below are an example of each that we visited.

Split Gate

Roofed Tower Gate
In every little village and rural area, we saw hundreds and hundreds of small Balinese art and furniture making businesses.  These included fine teak and other Balinese wood carvings, stone carvings for decoration and for small Hindu alters and temples, as well as art paintings,   

Absolutely beautiful and detailed wood carvings !!!!

Incredible stone sculptures

Notice Painting on left of Mona Lisa !

Mount Batur

Lake Batur at base of the volcano

As we approached the mountainous region near Mount Batur (volcano) the weather changed quickly and the clouds rolled in fast. We decided to stop at a scenic restaurant offering a buffet lunch with a lot of different foods including local Bali specialties.

Food from the buffet


On the way back to our resort from Mount Batur taking a different route, we again saw many local villages and artisan shops.  It soon started raining and in minutes, the rain turned into a tremendous downpour that almost instantly flooded these narrow village roads.  At times, it almost felt and sounded like we were under a huge waterfall, and not simply some full rain clouds.  It was exciting.  By the time we got near our Resort, the rain stopped, the air was clean and fresh smelling, and soon you could not even tell there was a massive rain storm on the island!    

If you enjoy a peaceful and tranquil vacation while you explore this fascinating Island and its rich Hindu culture, Bali should be on your vacation Bucket List!

No comments:

Post a Comment