We woke up pretty late (for us) on our first morning at the Intercontinental (7am). Of course as we’re about to leave, we’re finally adjusting to the time difference! By 9am, we were down in the lobby waiting for our tour guide. He picked us up about 10 minutes after 9am and we decided that we’d head for Tanah Lot first as the crowds build throughout the day. Apparently this is “the” place to be for sunset, but being several hours away from our hotel, we weren’t interested in spending sunset there.
The drive again was long, filled with small roads and too many cars and scooters, but we eventually made it. And as we climb the first few steps towards the temple, the drive became a distant memory. The views were absolutely stunning. Tanah Lot literally means “Land in the Sea” and the temple was built as place to recognize the spirits of the sea. We were there early by tourism standards but there still were quite a few people there. It was also high tide so we weren’t able to walk out to the temple as is possible during low tide, but the views themselves were definitely worth the visit.
After spending about an hour there, we decided to head for the Batur volcano. Ken wanted to see the volcano but it was quite a distance from where we were. So, it was another long drive. We stopped along the way at a restaurant with gorgeous views of a Balinese valley which was beautiful. Ken had the penne pasta but I decided to try the Indonesian dish of vegetarian Nasi Goreng. Go figure, the guy who eats everything at home wanted pasta and I decided to try a local dish and I’m the pickiest eater I know! Both dishes were fantastic and a nice stop along the way to the volcano.
After another 45 minute drive, we arrived at a smaller restaurant that had a roof top with stunning views of Batur volcano. It was an awesome site because you could see the routes the lava took down the volcano during the last couple of eruptions. The last eruption was in 1994 and we could see trucks transporting ash from the base of the volcano to the city for use in making concrete. This was the closest we were able to get to the volcano without actually going to the volcano for a hike, a trip which takes about a day so that wasn’t in the cards for us. But we were glad we were able to see it!
We then spent the next several hours driving back to the hotel. Along the way we saw a pig being slaughtered along the road and a dead goat with his butt on fire. I chose not to look, but Ken found it interesting. Some of the more interesting things that we learned over the last few days included:
• Poinsettias grow in the wild at higher elevations in Bali
• Outside of the city, ambulances are really just to take dead bodies to their homes – they aren’t plentiful enough to wait for
• Corruption is alive and well in Bali – we were stopped at a police checkpoint and our guide had to pay a small bribe in order for us to continue along without delay
• Four people seems to be the most that the Balinese are willing to transport via a scooter at once (babies and infants were frequent riders)
• There is a lot of beeping going on while driving, but some of it is beeping for spirits when motorists pass certain temples or other revered sites
• The Balinese people are incredibly kind and clearly take pride in their island
Overall, we felt like we got a good feel of the island during our two days spent touring Bali. We are looking forward to spending one last day of rest and relaxation at the Intercontinental before making our way home on Monday!