Sight Seeing, Tour Guides & Surprises

I hate eating alone. I decided that today after being served two GLORIOUS meals with AWESOME views. There was just so much I was already experiencing by myself. Then I needed to eat by myself, too. So lunch and dinner were kind of weirdly low emotional points for me today. But, besides that, today was quite a comprehensively cool look at the island and culture of Bali.

Remember that 13-hour “Bali Experience Tour” I mentioned in my last post? Well, that was today. I got picked up at 8:00am across the street from BSH and started my first ever booked sight-seeing trip. That’s right, Mom. I got in a van with two strangers. Sorry! I was paying them. :-/

Me posing with 3 characters from the play

The Barong Dance ended up being this fun (and strangely dirty) tribal drama. My iPhone camera is too outdated to capture anything from far away, so I only have two mediocre pictures to show for it. The drama is a 5-act play that portrays the never-ending struggle between good and evil. Yet I would even call it that. But I could write a whole blog on this, so moving on…

Then I watched the process of batik, that island-feeling design you see on shirts and sarongs and other pretty island-esque things. It was pretty cool. I also watched some weaving action.

Batik in action

Tourist note: Every one of the processes I witnessed today was also a commercial for what came next. THE BUYING AND SELLING OF WHAT WAS JUST MADE! 

After the beauty of batik mesmerized me, I got back into the van and then got out again, only to be greeted a by a lovely Indonesian girl who explained to me how silver was made on the island. That process felt very meticulous to me.

Local hands crafting silver jewelry

Then I gazed upon a magical waterfall. It was a stunning scene, this flowing, thundering sheet of shimmering white surrounded by emerald foliage crowned by a blue and white sky.

Next up was wood-carving. These gorgeous pieces of craftsmanship had all literally been chiseled out of tree trunk. I found that process quite incredible. I admire fine woodwork and Bali is full of it, all carved by local hands.

After seeing all those sights, it was actually time for lunch, the first meal I would eat alone that day. My tour guide who go away while I ate and come back when I finished! Lunch was an Indonesian buffet in a village famous for its view of Mt. Batur, an active volcano. That last explosion was in 2000. It was majestic view. 

The waterfall
Wood carvings

After lunch, I was taken to a public Hindu temple. The world public here is significant. I asked my tour guide about it. Bali is 90% Hindu. Every family has a private temple, and every village has a private temple. Even companies and businesses have private temples. This is why you seen a familiar Hindu structure dotting the landscape. 

The temple was beautiful and full of life – animals and plants. Moss decorated the 100-year old stone structures. You need to don a sarong before entering, because you are not allowed to wear shorts inside the temple.

After visiting the temple came my favorite part of my day: THE COFFEE PLANTATION! This was so cool. A girl took me through the whole Luwak (that nocturnal cat-like creature that poops out that super expensive coffee) coffee process, and I even got to roast the beans! After being shown the process I got to sample like 10 cups of coffee and tea. Then I went shopping, of course.

The wood artists

The last stop before a sunset view dinner was the Monkey King Forest. This was awesome. These monkeys literally wander out in the open, and you can feed them bananas. They will jump on you climb up on your shoulders to get the banana. Some will just grab it. I have awesome video of this. I HAD SO MUCH FUN FEEDING MONKEYS. It’s really boring if you don’t feed them. 

Ok, fine it was 8 cups of coffee and tea

By dinner time, my phone was dead, which actually worked out for a couple reasons. First of all, we didn’t make it for sunset because the drive there took forever. Second, I wasn’t going to take a picture of food I was eating alone. 

However, the sundown feel of the beach I was eating on was pretty fantastic. The ocean and all its vastness was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, and there were musical and dance performances all along the beach. A beautiful view. The moon was visible against a deep blue right above the blanket of clouds that padded the ocean. The stars even came out. 

Feeding monkeys! These little guys wouldn’t stop moving

The majestic view of Mt. Batur

My tour guide surprised me with a financial detail that she failed to communicate. Since I was alone (never doing that again) I had to pay 1 1/2 times the package price. Apparently, this information is in the brochure I looked at. But that’s the price my tour guide should have told me at the beginning of the day. It was not. 

I was nice and didn’t feel like squabbling over 25USD. But I won’t be touring with that company anymore. When I got back to BSH, I found a hiking partner for Mt. Batur, and now that whole adventure is going to way cheaper. 

The temple

So there you have it: a Bali day of sight-seeing, tour guides and surprises. Good times! 

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