Bali, the Island of Gods

After more than 20 years living in Java, its neighboring island, I finally get a chance to visit Bali! This famous island that people often mention whenever I tell them I’m from Indonesia, “I know Bali!” they will say :). “Yeah, but I’ve never been there,” is what I usually respond with. Well, even though the Bali strait can be easily crossed with ferry from the eastern point of Java, my hometown is in the west part of Java, with around 900 km air distance to Bali ^^; Not so close…

As I mentioned few blog-posts ago, I was there for a conference. But then my family joined the trip for the weekend after the conference, and after that also the bear for another week. Yippee, summer holiday time!

With my family, we did the usual touristic routes in Bali. It was a very convenient trip since we hired a car plus driver for 3 days, and the driver is a local who also became our tourist guide. He told us stories about Balinese Hinduism‘s rituals and myths… and ghosts (a.k.a Leak) :D.

The complete collection of pictures from the trip can be found here.

Day 1: Ubud, Sacred Monkey Forest, (sunset at) Tanah Lot Temple

In Ubud, regarded as the cultural center of Bali, the driver took us to a Balinese batik shop (I don’t remember the name), which sells Balinese batik of course and a lot of beautiful (and expensive!) painting on textile. Then, he brought us to a silversmith, and a woven-ate-grass workshop. Ate grass is a plant I didn’t know of before, and they can create beautiful baskets and bags (of export quality) out of it!

We had delicious crispy fried ducks for lunch by the rice paddy.

I’m so sorry, ducks… but you are delicious

Next, to the Monkey Forest! I read a lot of reviews to be careful with your small belongings, like glasses or phones or food, because the monkeys might try to take them, sometimes aggressively. But in that forest, the monkeys were very calm, not aggressive at all. Probably because they are well-fed already :). And I have to say, even though it’s called forest, it doesn’t feel like one :D. Because the paths are well-paved, and sometimes you can hear announcements just like in malls or train stations.

The last destination of the day is Tanah Lot, to enjoy the sunset. Since half an hour before the ‘show’ started we have already ‘claimed’ a place for us to sit and enjoy the view. The show ended so fast! Here in the equator, sunset only lasts for a few minutes.

Day 2: Barong & Kris Dance, (shopping at) Krisna, (sunset at) Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Dance, (dinner at) Jimbaran

The second day was dedicated for culture, we watched two dance shows in a day! 🙂 The first one in the morning was Barong & Kris Dance. I love it when Barong dances, so expressive and playful! There was a short intermezzo between the dances: some comedians performing a-little-bit-dirty jokes, which I think is inappropriate, since there are children! I felt embarrassed somehow watching that ^^;

From this show, we gained new knowledge that the ‘Barong’ mask that is displayed in my grandpa’s living room is actually not of Barong, but Rangda, the demon queen! No wonder the mask always scares children, in the past us, the grandchildren, and recently my grandpa’s only great granddaughter.

Next in the agenda was shopping in Krisna, the biggest shop for souvenirs in Bali. It’s time to splurge! 😀

In the evening, we watched another dance show, Kecak Dance, in Uluwatu temple, with beautiful sunset as the backdrop. I love the Hanoman‘s acts! He was so playful, inciting some laughs here and there, sometimes even played with the visitors.

Our day was closed with a dinner at Jimbaran, seafood time! Yummm…

Day 3: Bali Bird Park

For the last day in Bali (for my family), we went to Bali Bird Park. The entrance fee is quite expensive, especially for foreigners. We paid Rp 100K each for adult locals and USD 26 for one non-local bear. But to be honest, I don’t mind paying a lot for a zoo or a bird park, because then I can rest assured that the animals inside are taken care of. Ehem, this is actually the bear’s saying, I copy his words because I also agree on that :p.

I love this place! It was a bit too hot and humid to walk around the park, but we could play with colorful parrots and macaws, talk to a myna a.k.a beo (it said “Hello!” to us), and watch the bird shows. The bird shows are cool! Especially the show of the birds of prey. We could even see a komodo, which is weird, why would they put it in the bird park instead of the reptile park next to it?

*******

It was a nice and fun holiday in Bali with my family, after a long long time. The last trip we had together was probably two years ago. We should go more often! 🙂 A bit difficult now though, because my little sister has entered the corporate world :p.

However, this was not the end for me, the trip still continued with the bear. I will write about it in the next post. One thing I can tell you now: the travel style was completely different than the one with my family, in terms of activities and transportation comfort :D.

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