It’s been a long and full day, but before I turn in, I just have to share with you the awesome Jatiluwih Tour we had today. Mr. Wayan Adika of Bali Golden Tour entrusted us to Dudy, our friendly and helpful guide/driver, who treated us like princesses during the tour. We had a wonderful, wonderful time and would not hesitate to recommend Bali Golden Tour to anyone visiting Bali.
The Taman Ayun temple was our first stop and it was lucky we arrived early, as we got to enjoy strolling through the temple without too many tourists obstructing the view. We passed through a tree-lined walkway first, with a well-tended grassy lawn and flowering shrubs on either side. We entered the first gate into the middle courtyard then walked along the perimeter of the inner courtyard. We learned a lot about temple life from Dudy, and as we went out, the leader of the temple himself, eye-catching in a black and white sarong, passed us by in his motorcycle.
A visit to a coffee plantation was next. We were shown the process — coffee beans being roasted, pounded and sifted. We were also shown one of the resident civet cats but they are nocturnal creatures by nature and our new acquaintance ignored us in sound sleep. Kopi luwak — cat-poop-ccino — was the house specialty but we got to try many other coffee and tea flavors. My favorites were the ginseng and coconut coffee, as well as the lemongrass and mangosteen tea.
On our way to Lake Beratan, we passed by a village celebrating a ceremony that only occurred every 32 years. According to Dudy, it was a ceremony for recharging the energy of the village, and it was a rather big celebration, causing a bit of a traffic jam in the mountain. Every 32 years might sound too long an interval, but there are more infrequent ones. The Besakih Temple has a ceremony that is celebrated only once every 100 years; people could go a whole lifetime without witnessing it.
Ulun Danu Beratan was our third stop and it was where we recharged our own energy via a delicious buffet lunch. (Many, many thanks Mr. Adika!) Before that, though, we spent nearly an hour marveling at the beautiful lakeside temple. We were privileged to be there at a time when the ashes of a departed villager were being taken around the temple in a procession of formally dressed kith and kin. There were many tourists there as well, many of whom were local visitors from within Indonesia. (You can tell by the way they count when they take pictures: satu…dua…tiga.) The weather by Lake Beratan was cooler than in Ubud; we were told fog is not uncommon in the area.
Next: the breathtaking Jatiluwih rice terraces. We actually have rice terraces in the Philippines, but in Luzon, not in Cebu, and I’ve never seen them in person before. I’ve seen many pictures, of course, but it’s still something else to see them in real life: multiple levels of lush, green abundance.
It was raining — hard — when we arrived in Batukaru Temple, but I think the rain actually added a unique charm to the complex. At any rate, the people at the temple offered us umbrellas AND fruits from a recent ceremony. In addition to the temple courtyards, we went down to see the area where people washed before going inside the temple. There was also a pond with a small island in the center, home of a spring used to provide holy water for temple use. To get to the middle of the pond, there were stone steps just below the surface of water, easily navigated with the help of a guide rope.
Before our last stop, we got a special treat: a short detour to Dudy’s compound, where his mother prepared the most delicious coffee for us and served us mangosteen and lanzones freshly picked from the trees in their backyard. We were also introduced to Dudy’s daughter and her friend, and as we were about to pull out of the compound, Dudy’s wife arrived in her motorcycle. They were all gracious to us and their hospitality was a welcome, unexpected bonus from the tour.
Tanah Lot was the perfect way to cap the day. We arrived at the beachside temple half an hour before sunset and seized the opportunity to take photos of rock pools reflecting the sky. Hundreds of people had the same idea and it took a bit of maneuvering to make sure we weren’t in anyone’s camera’s way and that no one was in ours, but apart from that, it didn’t take too much effort to take good photos; the view was that beautiful. It helped that the tide was coming in and the waves were growing stronger, often slapping against the rocks with furious force. In the end we stayed in the beach long after the sun had set, feeling we just had to take one more picture, then one more, then one more.
“Our Jatiluwih Tour with Bali Golden Tour was just lovely!” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.