Temples on lakes and fields of rice
5.40am: ‘Morning! Good morning’. And knocking on the door. Still half asleep wondering if I was late. No. So why I was being woken at 5.40am when I had already set an alarm for 5.45am!
‘Time for dolphins miss! See you at the beach in 5 minutes!’
Oh ok then. Well I was told to be ready in the hotel at 6am, not already at the beach by 5.45am! Those precious few extra minutes in bed! Never mind. Excited! We’re going dolphin watching!
After the quick walk to the beach down a muddy road in the dark, we quickly found our driver – Colin but still had to wait for another couple to arrive. (Who then after arriving after us demanded they sat in the front seats. Cheeky).
By 6am we were sliding off the beach in (or rather should I say ‘on’) our Bangka. It was a rather odd boat in that the ‘seat’ was level with the sides of the boat. I thought I was going to fall off the whole time!
It was still dark when we set sail. So we had a lovely sunrise over the mountains along the horizon. The sky turned orange and we watched the orange ball of the sun rise up, filling the sky with light.
It took about an hour to reach the area where the dolphins hang out. I was actually giving up hope (I don’t generally have a lot of luck with these things!). There were already lots of boats that had beaten us there. But there they are! Dolphins! Once some were spotted, all the boats zoomed over to them. So then they disappeared.
Our boat wasn’t particularly quick, so we didn’t join in on the zooming. We just sat and waited, watching from a distance. But then there they were, right up against the side of our boat! Just the tops of them, nose, then fin then their back, then gone. About 20 together. So cool! Every couple of minutes, a new little group would appear. Must have been loads of them.
A little distance away, one of them jumped up and somersaulted through the air! That was cool. I was too slow with the camera. And it only happened once. Awesome!
We sailed back to land, arriving at 8am. Time for some breakfast! Breakfast here is good, fruit and pancakes!
Then our next appointment! 9am we were picked up for our day trip around the surrounding area. They don’t do ‘backpacker-style’ bus day trips here. Your only option is to hire a car and driver. So we’re being ‘fancy’ tourists today in our fancy brand new, shiny Toyota 4×4. This doesn’t happen a lot! Spending the day as a rich tourist. At £20 for the whole day!
Our first stop, Gitgit waterfall. To get there, it was a 700m walk through some village,over a river, through some really pretty terraced rice fields, past some souvenir stalls, through the jungle – then there’s the waterfall! It was a nice one. One of the nicest I’ve been too. Just a fast stream of water flowing over the edge, then meandering past us over some small rocks. All set in the jungle. There was even a little temple just infront of the waterfall that was damp and covered in moss – making it look really old! The temple had a cool cat statue, again covered in green moss. We were the only people there.
I fell asleep in the car for the journey to our next stop – Lake Bratan. This is the second largest lake in Bali and is famous for its temple on the water. The postcard picture of Bali that you see everywhere. It was expensive to get in (well, a whole £2) but that’s far more than the 30p we have paid to see other temples/attractions.
The over-the-water temple is really pretty, reflecting in the water, surrounded by pretty flowers and the mountains, Mount Bratan and Mount Catur in the background. Surrounding the temple were some pretty gardens, full of brightly coloured flowers. We didn’t spent particularly long here, once you’ve seen the outside of the temple on the warm really that’s it! Was pretty though.
Just along the road was a small market selling everything. Souvenirs, fruit, bakso, fried vegetable crisps etc. I’ve been in Asia nearly a year and a half and I’ve never tried Durian. They sell it everywhere on the road sides, it’s very common. It has a very distinctive shape – spherical and covered in spikes. And an even more distinctive smell. The smell is so strong that it is banned from many places – generally the metro systems and hotel rooms have signs up (especially in Singapore and Thailand) warning you not to have durians with you! I like the smell – but I’ve never been brave enough to try it as it has a bad reputation. So we bought one.
The fruit has 5 segments, each with 3 seeds. The seeds are covered in a white pulp – this is what you eat. The texture is almost like a large lump of stringy cottage cheese. And the taste is very strong. It’s unlike anything else. Surprisingly I didn’t dislike it. It was ok. I managed to eat a bit. But it’s a very strong flavour. We put the rest of it in a plastic bag, but could smell it for hours afterwards!
It was then quite a long drive up around the Munduk area, past Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblinga. We stopped at a look out point where you can see both lakes – pretty. And drove through the mountains past the terraces of rice fields.
We stopped at a coffee plantation. Not as good as the one I went to in Ubud. The lady showed us some coffee plants, vanilla plants, cocoa, snake fruit, durian, ginger and a couple of other plants used for medicine. But that was it. No tasting at this one!
Then some hot springs. And these hot springs were not really for tourists. They were absolutely full of locals. Playing in the water fully dressed. I was not about to strip down to my bikini with my white skin and join them! So we stayed a few minutes to have a look and feel the 38 degree water.
The last stop of the day was the Brahma Arama Vihara temple. This is a Buddhist temple and is like a mini Borobudur. The entrance was a lovely pond, full of Lilly pads. Up a few levels, was the main temple. A lovely dark grey, stone temple. Covered in mini Buddhas and stupas. It was so pretty. I really liked it!
I was exhausted by the time we got back at 4pm.
After a rest, we went for a spot of shopping and dinner at our usual restaurant! The food was just so good!