Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bali sightseeing Day 1

Today is my first full day in Bali. After a simple breakfast at the hotel, we set out to explore Bali from Sanur. The destination is Penelokan by Lake Batur to view the volcano Gunung Batur. Along the way, we passed Celuk which seems to have silver and gold smith shops everywhere. We did not stop at any but instead we stopped at a woodcarving factory near Mas. The wood products are very nicely done but the price is also very, very nice.

We stopped at a smaller shop along the way where the price is cheaper. This is generally the case where the smaller shops have cheaper prices but less choice and also you need more time to hunt around.

Next stopped was at Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), we just had a walk around but did not really enter the cave itself since we were not really history buffs. There were the usual souvenirs stalls near the entrance to the cave.

Further along the journey, we stopped at BAS Agrowisata near Tampaksiring. This is an agriculture park growing spices, coffee and other products. The most famous coffee here is the luwak coffee where the coffee seed is eaten and then passed out by civets and this is supposed to produce coffee of the best quality. There is a small coffee shop by the side of the hill where you can try a cup of luwak coffee for RS30,000 and you get 5 other cups of drinks for free - lemon grass tea, ginger tea, ginseng coffee, hot cocoa and bali coffee. This is quite a good deal and without doubt, the best of the lot is the luwak coffee and you get a good view of the surrounding hills. There is a souvenir shop selling their products but the price is not cheap.

Finally, we arrived at Penelokan in time for lunch. Since this is one of the popular tourist spots of Bali, there are plenty of vendors pushing their stuff and some are quite aggressive too. Here you get a panoramic view of Lake Batur and in the background the volcano, Gunung Batur. Unfortunately, it was a bit hazy and so the view was not very clear. (The driver refer to the place as Kintamani but I thought it is further away so maybe the district is Kintamani. Readers who are more familiar with Bali may want to correct me if I am wrong.)

One of the favourite tourist activity is to patronise one of the many restaurants there with outdoor platform to take in the view. We had buffet lunch there and enjoyed our meal together with the view. The buffet cost RS70,000 (or was is RS75,000?) and the food is nothing to shout about but you actually pay for the view and the atmosphere.

After that, we made our way to Ubud for some shopping. Along the way, we stopped at Tegallang to look at the paddy terrace. The timing was right since the paddy has just started to grow so we can make out the steps of the terrace clearly. You can also sip drinks at some pavilion at the slope to enjoy the view. As usual, there are plenty of vendors hawking their wares, quoting very tempting prices. The driver warn us that once you get an item in your hand, it would be very difficult to push it back to the seller.

There are also many handicraft stalls along the way. You won't find many petrol stations around but do not worry as you can buy petrol in bottles in many of the stalls along most of the roads.

Ubud was very crowded with tourists and traffic was congested due to some road diversion. After some souvenir hunting, we headed to one of the temple complex nearby. On the way, we tried the famous babi guling but to me the roast pork back home taste better. Maybe we did not buy from the right shop.

I just cannot remember the name of the place or the temple we visited. Maybe the photos below may help some readers who have visited the place to give the name. There are plenty of structures within the temple complex and visitors have to wear the sarong provided for a donation before one can enter the area.

After the temple visit, we made our way back to the hotel via the capital of Bali, Denpasar. This place is one hugh traffic jam and I am glad that we have engaged a driver. We just ate near the hotel since we were too tired to venture further away.

Ronald Kwok

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