Our day began with our routine of breakfast at 7am and then a walk on the beach path. We then returned to our room and got ready for our day of sightseeing. Shortly before 9am, we made our way to the lobby. The lobby was filled with other tourists waiting for their guides or tour groups to pick them up. It was actually kind of humorous watching the guides and tourists meet up with one another. Kind of felt like a singles dance!
Anyway, shortly after 9am, our guide arrived and led us to his van. It was quite comfortable with the capability to seat 5. He asked us if we had anything in particular we were interested in doing for the day and we just asked him to show us the best of Bali. So, we headed north for the rice terraces which have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. They were designated because of The Subak irrigation system whereby the terraces are built in such a way that the water flows down the terrace system without the assistance of pumps. It took us a couple of hours to get to the rice terraces, but it was worth it. They were stunning.
Upon arrival, we were dropped off along a path and we hiked in and around the terraces for a short while. Along our walk, we came upon a couple of Italian tourists and their guide. Despite following us for a short while, they took a different route as they did not like the looks of one of the manmade bridges we were crossing (think bamboo logs over a tiny stream). We crossed with no problem and made our way up the terraces to our guide who was parked in the pick up spot. We enjoyed the views for 15 minutes or so and caught site of some tourists who were stuck in the mud, not far from the top. We realized it was the Italians. They had stepped in a mud puddle, lost a shoe, and were covered. Glad we chose the route we did!
We then departed the rice terraces for the high altitude lakes in the north. Along the way our guide explained a lot about the Hindu religion and Balinese culture. It was quite interesting. We stopped along the way at a pull off spot where you can see two lakes at the same time (Tamblingan Lake and Bunyan Lake). The view was beautiful.
We then made our way to a village that had been ravaged by flooding a few months ago. We stopped at one point along the way to check out some wild Balinese monkey’s. They come down from the jungle to get food from the people who stop and feed them. They are clearly well fed. Some of them I would consider to be obese. Anyway, they were really cute (except for the one that hissed at me when I got too close to take a picture).
After about 45 minutes, we arrived at the village. It clearly was a very poor village. They now needed to get to their temple via a canoe due to the flooding. Their livelihood is fishing for catfish in the lake. We enjoyed the view and then moved on. Our next destination was the “giant tree.” After another 45 minutes drive along roads that occasionally had pavement and were among the steepest I’ve ever been on, we arrived at the tree. And it was really huge. You could actually climb into the tree as there were hundreds of separate trees woven together. It was interesting, but not worth more than a 15 minute stop.
Our last stop of the day was at a beautiful waterfall in Munduk. It was gorgeous. It was a pretty steep hike down to the waterfall, but well worth it. I don’t think I’ve seen such a beautiful waterfall so close before. Stunning. After enjoying the waterfall for a bit, we returned up the steep path and then headed back to the hotel. We were now about 2 and ½ hours away from the hotel so we settled in for a long drive back. I must note that Bali is a relatively small island. What makes the drives so time consuming is the traffic and the quality of the roads. But the sightseeing along the way was just as interesting as some of the sights we stopped at.
We returned to the hotel shortly before 5pm and planned to meet at 9am on Saturday for our second day of touring. We decided that we’ll do a little bit of research to determine where we’d like to visit that day. So far, on the top of our list is the Batur volcano. We will not be able to reach the top as there are no roads, but just visiting the volcano is enough for us.
It was a great day of sightseeing and we really feel we got to see some of the highlights. We’re looking forward to Saturday for some more exploration!