Our resort in Bali was beautiful, but I’m glad that our four night stay also allowed for some time to explore a little bit more of the island. Our return flight from Denpasar to Tokyo was a direct flight, but it didn’t leave until a little after midnight on Friday. (There is only one direct flight a day between the two cities, operated by Garuda Indonesia.)
Enter Mr. Bagi. Wil learned we could book a driver at a very reasonable rate for a 10-hour private tour around the island, so we checked out at noon on Thursday and let our personable driver show us around his native Bali. I’m so glad we did. The trip was brief, and clearly on the tourist trail, but I’m grateful that we saw an ancient temple, drank some very special coffee, ate some amazing local food, visited art, silver and batik studios and watched a traditional Balinese dance performance, not to mention peered out the car windows at the lush landscape and sometimes chaotic roads.
First stop: The Sari Amerta batik shop and factory in Batubulan. Batik is beautifully designed fabric that is created through a painstaking process of drawing patterns in wax. I was able to take a photo outside of a loom but we were asked not to take photographs inside the shop, where hundrds of sarongs, dresses, scarves, placemats — you name it — all featured vivid designs. Upstairs, we found numerous wall hangings depicting Balinesia myths and stories. We picked out a midnight blue square featuring white palm trees, a full moon and a wooden boat. Our next stop was Yan Yan Silver in Gianyar where we viewed beautiful delicate pendants and rings and observed the staff at work. Later we stopped for lunch at Rapuan Cili Restaurant in Obud where we sat on the second floor and gazed out at rice fields and a temptingly blue swimming pool.
Next: A visit into the jungle to Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism. There’s no real way to say this delicately: We drank coffee there that is made from coffee cherries that were digested and, um, expressed by the Luwak, an Asian Palm Ciwek. (Okay. Yeah. Pooped out. There. I said it.) It tastes a lot better than you’d think. We also sampled a wide variety of teas and more traditionally-made coffees.
I found the ride from location to location to location fascinating. Motorcycles — some piled high with entire families — were in abundance as were numerous roadside statues and temples heralding the island’s Hinduism.
Late in the afternoon, we visited Batuan Temple. Upwards of 1,000 years old, it was filled with beautiful sculptures and ornate altars. We donned sarongs — not everyday I get to see my hubby wearing one of those — and explored its courtyards almost by ourselves. It was lovely. My camera battery fizzled while we were at the temple, so a few of the pictures below are Wil’s. (I love his B&W with single color.)
We ended our day with grilled snapper on Jimbarin Bay, our table and feet firmly in the sand, but before that we took in a show. We watched an evening performance of a kecak, a traditional Balinese dance accompanied by a chorus of 60 men chanting. We sat in an outdoor amphitheater as the sky grew black and watched as they danced the story of Ramayana, an epic Indian love story. I can’t say I understood much of what went on stage, but it was yet another fascinating aspect of Balinese culture on an already intoxicating day.
*Like travel blogs? Check out more #MondayEscapes below.*