On our Wonderland North Bali Lovina Tour, we were picked up very promptly by Ngurah, our smiling guide who hails from the woodcarving village of Mas. We told him we needed to be in Kuta by 4 PM and he agreed to tweak our itinerary to make good time.
It was a nearly 2-hour drive to our first stop, on a road that steadily climbed upwards, taking us nearer and nearer to gigantic mountains whose peaks were perpetually covered in clouds. The twin lakes of Tamblingan and Buyan were well worth the journey though. We viewed both from a high vantage point in Bedugul, where the air was wonderfully cool despite it being near noon.
And then from there we flew to Yogyakarta and visited Borobodur.
Kidding! We drove about another hour to the Brahma Vihara Arama, the largest Buddhist temple and monastery in Bali. As reported in descriptions I’ve read of the place, the designs were indeed a comfortable mixture of Balinese/Indonesian design elements and typical Buddhist architecture. The latter includes the distinctive stupa seen in other Buddhist temples like Borobodur near Yogyakarta.
Our next stop: Lovina, the departure point of dolphin-watching tours, with its black sand that was, to be more accurate, actually a grayish brown (or a brownish gray). The tour included an enormous set lunch, that we couldn’t quite consume, of rice, noodles, spring rolls, chicken and a plate of sliced pineapples and watermelon. We ate this meal on a small elevated hut overlooking the sea, sitting crosslegged on cushions. The restaurant actually had a pool that looked inviting in the 1 PM heat but we chose not to stay long in Lovina, as we still had quite a ways to go.
I didn’t realize it at the time I was booking this Bali tour, but it was actually a summit to sea affair, twice over. Cloud to coast, and cloud to coast again, as the drive from Lovina to Kuta actually took us through foggy Gitgit and back to the Bedugul area, backtracking our earlier route. That last stage of our journey took over 3 hours! Our guide Ngurah must have been more than a little fatigued by the long drive but he was never grumpy, smilingly answering our questions, or keeping his peace when we indulged — frequently — our drowsiness.
Thank you, Amazing Bali Tour!