Saturday, 30 March 2013

We Love Bali!

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
I have skeptical feeling when I planned the family trip to Bali. Although those were many years ago, the 2002 and 2005 terrorists' attack on the island are something many people still talk and worry about. But all these fear dissipated when we visited the island. The captivating scenery, friendly people, unique temples and good food have made us forgot Bali's sorrow past. We never regret that we have visited the "The Land of the Gods".

Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Guardian Statue
Pura Tanah Lot

I have earlier engaged a local Balinese driver through the net to bring us around the island. It was definitely a great decision as we conveniently got to places that I planned (and unplanned) for. He doubled up as a guide and informed us on the potential risks and scams to look out for. Do send me an email if you are visiting Bali and want his contact.

Sunset at Tanah Lot
Egg Painting
Pura Taman Ayun
I am a fan of temples and have churned a list of them in the "must visit" column. The Balinese call their temples as "Pura". As a first time visitor, I was eager to visit all the principal puras. My initial list consisted of Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Pura Taman Ayun, Pura Tanah Lot, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and Besakih Temple Complex. The last item was eventually replaced by Pura Tirta Empul due to the warning by my driver. He warned me that the local villagers at Besakih are notorious for extorting money from tourists and advised me to change my destination. The driver's warning confirmed the bad reviews that I have read up in the net. Known as the "Mother Temple of Bali", it was about 2000 years old and built on the slope of the volcanic Mount Agung. It offers stunning view and great cultural values. But the local villagers bad attitudes have turned off many potential visitors. Me included. I will surely visit the place in the future if the situation improves.

Candi Bentar (Split Gate)
Rice Terraces
Mount Batur
Many people have actually thought Bali as just a great beach resort. I readily beg to differ. Our journey in the island have brought us new horizon of thoughts. The island is called the "Land of the Gods" for good reasons. Almost all household we passed by have a private shrine. Each of them is defined by a split gate (candi bentar) flanked by two ferocious (sometimes humorous) guardian statues. The wall details are intricately designed by fine and beautiful artworks. There are supposedly to be well over 200 000 temples in Bali!  We were behold by the majestic Mount Agung and still active Volcano Mount Batur as we drove past beautiful rice terraces and bountiful fruits and coffee plantations. My wife and daughter were always fascinated by the life-like stone and wooden carvings of godly beings and Buddhas that line the roads and populate the front yards of the houses. The cultural performance of the Kecak, Barong and Legong dance have never fail to amaze us (although my wife was a bit disturbed by the "cak" chant during the Kecak performance :-p)
Kecak Dance
Barong Dance
Bountiful Fruits On Sale
My main focus would always be the Puras. Always accompanied by different tiers of the unique Meru, each Pura has a different setting and story to narrate. Uluwatu stands proudly on a clifftop, overlooking and guarding the awesome Indian Ocean. Situated at the shoreline, Tanah Lot seems to conjure a magical boundary to prevent the aggressive demonic waves from invading the land. Taman Ayun emitting an aura of majestic presence, reminding people of their royal past. Ulun Danu Bratan poses beautifully at Lake Bratan, just like the Goddess Ida Batara Dewi Ulun Danu that it is devoted to. Many people from all round the globe come to Tirta Empul just to bath in it's holy water. It is believed the holy water helps to cleanse them from all sickness and bad fortune.

Bali Door Painting

Bali is indeed a worthy place for relaxation and more importantly, cultural learning. But commercial development and expansion have taken it's toll on it's natural beauty. Many rice terraces and fruits plantation have made way for new hotels and resorts.  I really hope these will not reach a level of no return.

We will surely be back. We love Bali :-)!

Related Posts: Pura Tanah Lot, Bali-Indonesia

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  1. Bayee: Very well written and nice photo!

  2. Beautiful postcards shots & handy tips, Paul! I'm back from my 2-week trip to Eastern Europe, & resuming my blog hopping. Looking fwd to more of your posts :D

    1. Wow! Eagerly waiting for your blogs on your interesting trip :-) !