Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels
Bali Hai 3 - 7th to 9th October 2011
DAY 1 - 7TH OCTOBER 2011
We arrived in the morning and was met by Made our regular van-transport provider. He picked us up and whisked us off to Besakih. On the way we stopped by for at this restaurant for an early lunch and was coincidentally greeted by this sleepy fruit bat at the entrance. How appropriate, I was just as sleepy as this bat, having woke up in the wee hours to catch the Air Asia flight to Bali and not sleeping well during the flight - that's just my peculiarity, I am one of those who can't sleep while flying, just like the bat too.
The unassuming entrance of this humble restaurant belied the great scenery that it overlooks. We were seated at a balcony with a view of this great sight. The buffet fare offered by the restaurant is nothing to shout about, but eating there amid the beauty of the place itself was worth paying the slightly than higher price that they charged.
After that encouraging meal, Made drove us even further up hill to Besakih itself, passing through narrow and winding rural roads. When we arrived, we prepared ourselves to enter the temple.
As is customary at holy places in Bali, one is required to wear sarongs to cover any inappropriately exposed part of the body. Oddly, although both of us were hardly "exposed", we were required to rent some sarongs to wear too. Seems this is some local way of making money off the tourists. But since we are in a foreign land, there is no point in arguing over trifles - When in Rome do as the Roman does! Anyway the rental of the sarongs were not exorbitant.
Just like our visit to Tanah Lot during our previous trip, we were in luck again. There was an ongoing wedding ceremony - a chance to experience culture for real. Here as part of the ceremony, devotees are climbing up to the top temple. Tourist take note, many parts of the temple ground (including this top temple) is opened only to devotees.
Later the devotees gathered at the central compound for more rites to be carried out. Most of the devotees were dressed in white, the color of pureness as the temple is on pure grounds.
Besakih Temple situated on Mount Agung is the largest, most important and holiest temple to the Balinese. They call it is the Mother Temple and it was built around the fourteenth century.
On the way to the hotel, we stopped by this way-side coffee garden, it has a small plot of land, about 3 acres, planted with different types of coffee plants and some fruit trees. We went on a walking tour of the garden, the guide showing coffee plants from all over the world - Kenya, Brazilian, Sumatra, etc. Most importantly we were shown the Luwak coffee, the pods of which are eaten by civet cats, digested and excreted bean. We could see the excretion of the ground with, with the beans still intact.
After that we went to their coffee stall and was served Kopi Luwak. It tasted heady, with an acrid taste and a good aroma. At USD8/- per cuppa, it was by far the most expensive coffee I have taken. That is some costly shit, and I had to put the visions of the excretions out of my mind while drinking it!
After that we were sent to our hotel, the Cendana Resort & Spa to check in. The receptionist was happy to see us as this would be our second time staying with them. We love the tranquil live of Bali, and will be staying in Ubud as a base to travel to other interesting areas.
We stayed in this double-storey chalet, four units to each chalet - two on the bottom and two above. Ours was on the top, the balcony gives an excellent view of the surrounding landscaping and paddy fields.
The hotels consists of several chalets, some single-storey and others double storey. The paths adjoining the chalets are nicely landscaped.
We find staying at Cendana conveinient, as it is within walking disance to Monkey Street - a street where there are many F&B outlets (serving local and Western fare), botiques and art shops. After a short rest and a quick bath we went there for dinner, strolled around a bit and called it a day.