In efforts to redeem myself from the lack of photos documenting my time in Indonesia in my last blog, I have actively made extra effort to bring my point n shoot around with me this time around. I last left ya in Ubud, Bali following a very relaxing, three-day beach-side stay in Amed, Bali.
Ubud is known as the central hub in Bali and pretty much the place everyone visits when they make a trip to Indonesia. The center of the city was pretty busy, with rush hour traffic that could stand up to LA’s 405. Max and I rented a motor bike and was able to escape the grind and enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes surrounding Ubud. Endless rice terraces and forests!!!
Some Scenery from the Rides
Pura Taman Saraswati & Pura Tirta Empul
Our attempt to visit Pura Tirta Empul, was met with finding Pura Taman Saraswati instead. Pura Taman Saraswati, known for its lotus pond, was pretty busy due to its location right near city center. Although it was an unplanned stop, it was quite a sight. It is quite a small temple with a Starbucks, oddly, right at its entrance.
Pura Tirta Empul sits outside the city by about 45 minutes. It is known for its holy spring water for purification. You do need a sarong to enter the temple, but there are ones provided there. Although, in order to experience your own purification, you will need to rent one or bring one that you can get wet. The ones provided for free must remain dry. Some of the temple was under construction, but was still beautiful. The ride out there was also a big plus.
Anyone that knows me, knows I love me some coffee. Kopi Luwak, originating in Indonesia, but now found and produced in other SE Asia countries, is coffee of which the coffee cherry has been ingested and passed through the civet, a weasel-like animal. It adds some flavor within the digestive tract. I did previously try Kopi Luwak in Vietnam, but did not get to see the processes firsthand. It was definitely a fine cup of coffee.
This style of coffee has, sadly, led to several ethical issues surrounding the methods of production. As with anything, it is best to do some research on where your product is coming from and the techniques used in it’s production. There are several ethical options that do not force feed civets and collect beans from the wild.
In addition to the temple-runs (shout out to that amazing game) and coffee tasting, we were able to catch Legong Dance. Just as in our efforts to find the water temple, we similarly stumbled on the Legong Dance when trying to find the Kecak Dance, which we never ended up getting to see. The Legong Dance was beautiful, from what I could see. Sadly, the seating is far from being stadium seating, and if you arrive late, you will be fighting to catch good glimpses of the great show. The dance was everything I imagined to be Bali. The dancer’s facial expressions and subtle hand movements hitting every beat were captivating and mesmerizing. I would definitely recommend checking it out.
Kuta, Bali & the $700 Tummy Virus
After 4 nights in Ubud, we traveled to Kuta, Bali to stay a few nights prior to flying to the Philippines. Kuta, known for its shopping, beaches, and nightclubs, was not really my cup of tea (or kopi). The beaches were nice and the waves were definitely surf ready. There were always an endless rows of surfers and surfer-in-trainings on the horizon. Plenty of high-end westernized stores, as well as their complimentary local street vendor knock-offs offered. Similarly, the dining options always gave you the choice of local goodies (Pisang goreng, nasi goreng, beef redang) or the western delights (cheeseburgers, pizza, pasta).
Sadly, both Max and I got pretty messed up the night before our flight out. We ended up in the bathroom, using both the toilet and sink simultaneously, all the way through two flights to Manila and to Palawan. A roughly $700 tummy virus.
Anyway, it is what it is. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Indonesia. There was definitely not enough time to hit all the places I had hoped, but there is always next time. Being able to use the little Bahasa Indonesia I retained from my summer course made the trip special. From shocking the locals with the little I did know to singing Indonesian children’s songs with the waitstaff to attempting to bargain, it was incredible being able to connect on a different level then just the Hello, goodbye, and thank you I usually am equipped with. Shout out to Ibu Novi and Ibu Liana, my fearless Bahasa Indonesia teachers who taught me so much about the Indonesia language and culture! Made my trip unforgettable!
Tomorrow we fly to the Philippines for a short stint in El Nido, Palawan! It should be glorious!
Also, if you are just tuning in and want to see what else you’ve missed, check out here.