Last September 2014, I went to Bali, Indonesia with my girlfriend. It was both our first time in this country. After months of planning and making sure we had everything covered, we were finally set to go! We booked our flight via Cebu Pacific direct from Manila to Denpasar. Our flight was 4:00 am and we arrived in Bali around 8:00 am.
I was quite surprised that their airport in Bali (Ngurah Rai International Airport) is very nice! Considering this is not their capital, it’s way better than any of our airports here in Manila. Since we moved to 3 different places during our short stay, we decided to hire a driver who will drive us around Bali. Our driver, Boron, picked us up in the airport. (More about our driver in the last post of our trip)
Since we arrived way early for check-in, Boron decided to drive us around certain areas near Ubud. Our first stop was a batik making facility that doubled as a souvenir shop. This was followed by a silversmith facility that sells jewelry. We were a bit wary when Boron brought us here. There were lots of other tourists who may have just arrived in Bali like us. On the bright side, they did not force us to buy any of the goods. And yes, some people appreciate these kinds of things. I actually ended up buying a silver cross necklace for my dad.
After the first two stops, we decided to grab some brunch before checking-in. Right off the bat, we were able to try the popular Babi Guling (at Ibu Oka). Babi Guling is quite similar to our local lechon. The main difference is probably the sauce and garnish that it comes with. We got one full order of Babi Guling with an extra order of skin and vegetable soup. If you love lechon, this is a must try!
Afterwards, we decided to check-in at our first place – the Alaya Resort. Since it was still early, we just left our luggage and headed out again. I was able to take a few shots of the hotel grounds. More about the Alaya Resort once we return from our tour.
For starters, we visited the closer but lesser known temples called Goa Gajah and Pura Gunung Kawi. Be warned that both temples require some walking especially the latter one. There were some large stones with engraving on the bottom part of Goa Gajah but we decided not to go further down.
Pura Gunung Kawi required a longer walk downwards. It was a good thing that the view was wonderful heading to the temple.
After several minutes of walking, we finally reached our destination. These massive rocks were engraved to create these temple structures. We stayed here for quite some time since we needed to rest. It was also nice that the temple complex is set along a river.
Returning back might be the most excruciating part of our first day of temple touring. We had to walk upwards this time. Since we wanted to maximize our day, we headed to the more popular temple called Tirta Empul (also known as the Water Temple). The water temple is much easier to walk-around.
Contrary to it being more popular, I actually prefer the first two temples we visited. Tirta Empul is flocked by lots of locals and tourists as this place is still actively used as a religious site. One can actually bathe in one of the “holy springs”.
It was around 4 in the afternoon already and we still had several stops to visit. I was very tired at this moment so what better way than to drop by an actual coffee plantation. We tried several Balinese coffee and tea before we purchased a few bags to bring home.
(Unfortunately, the coffee we bought did not taste like the ones we tried at all. I was very excited to try them when we returned back to Manila. The taste is not even near. It was rather bland and tasted like ash. Very disappointing…)
Our next stop was a glimpse of Mount Batur. We headed towards a higher (and colder) area where we passed by several orange and lemon farms. I was very surprised that they grew those in Bali thinking that their weather is much like ours which is tropical.
The last stop before we checked-in was a view of one of Bali’s rice terraces. Nothing much to stay since we also have our very own rice terraces in the Philippines. I was also too tired at this point.
Stay tuned for Part II: Alaya Resort!
– The Tourist Pao