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TEMPLES OF BALI - INDONESIA

Tanah Lot Temple and Pura Taman Ayun

sunny 40 °C

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On my last day in Indonesia I visited 2 temples. One very touristy, and the other unknown (my taxi driver didnt even know how to get to it). First, I hit up Tanah Lot Temple. This is probably the most touristy temple in all of Bali. Every tour bus stops here. So if you're like me, and doing it on your own, you just gotta be patient while taking photos ... the tour groups do eventually leave / move on.
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The temple is built on a rock shelf out in the ocean. At low tide only, you can walk out to it.
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Now you probably assume you can walk up the stairs on the temple, and around to the other side like I assumed. But you cant. The 'holy men' guarding it have quite the scam going on. You wade across the water, stand in line, get a flower put behind your ear and a dot on your forehead by the holy men ... and then have to give a mandatory 'donation' to be let in. All 3 holy men were wearing fanny packs overflowing with money! I was about to pay when a guy that had just went in was back already ... apparently you can only go up about 7 stairs around the corner before its blocked off. But of course you can't see around the corner to know this until you've already paid, and they're sure not going to tell you. Its really not even worth it to walk across cuz you cant climb anywhere anyway. The crossing is actually quite dangerous. Strong waves come at you from both sides nearly knocking you over! The whole experience wasnt worth it. But the views from the cliffs across from it are worth it.
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The sand here is golden & black mixed
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Theres a couple trails you can follow along the cliffs for nice views of a natural arch.
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There was a couple getting their wedding photos taken atop the arch! I couldnt imagine wearing a big gown in +40C!!
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Yet another viewpoint ... can you see the waterfall?
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Then I got my taxi driver to take me to Pura Taman Ayun. Not only did my driver not know where it was, he'd never even heard of it. Perfect, my kinda place! After stopping for directions about 7 times along the way, we finally arrived. And there were only 2 other ppl there! Just the way I like it :)
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This absurd sign was posted before you could enter the temple!! No one actually asks, and even if they did, I'm not sure how they'd know if your telling the truth. A bit ridiculous if you ask me.
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Once inside the temple area there are these buildings that reminded me of Survivor's tribal council area, lol!
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That is all. Its small, but nice. I enjoyed it more than the first temple. But that might be cuz the first once was crowded. These photos were taken outside of the temple area.
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Well, thats all folks! Thats the last day of my 32 day trip to Indonesia & Borneo. Thanks for following along on my adventure! I just returned from Italy and the Middle East, so my next blog posts will be about that.

Posted by ChantelleS 20:36 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia temple history asia Comments (0)

ULU WATU, BALI - INDONESIA

Broken cameras, temples, cliffs, beaches, monkeys, and a fancy resort with an infinity pool!

overcast 40 °C

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I woke up on Day 2 at Lake Bratan to discover my DSLR camera was BROKEN!!!!! My biggest travel nightmare had come true! I turnt it on ... nothing. I switched the battery and tried again ... still nothing. UGH! So an entire day was wasted hiring a taxi to drive 2hrs to Denpasar and search for a Canon store to buy a new one. After trying 3 stores I finally found one, and then got the same taxi to take me all the way to the southern-most tip of Bali ... Ulu Watu. This guy drove me from one end of Bali to the other, and drove all over Denpasar helping me find a camera for 500,000 Rupiah. Sounds like a fortune, but it was only $41. I settled into a nice bungalow at the Ulu Watu Cottages for the next few days.
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I didnt plan on doing much other than relaxing, so I decided to splurge on my hotel. For $52 a night (which is considered expensive & high-end in Bali) this place had big rooms with vaulted ceilings, clean clean clean (thats the key word here), a terrace, a/c, hot water (also very important), free breakfast, infinity pool (my first time swimming in one!), tasty restaurant, and was located on a cliff overlooking a beach. It was well worth the money, and I think you'll agree once you see the photos.
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The whole place was like one big botanical garden with beautiful tropical flowers & trees everywhere!
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This was my first time staying at a hotel with an infinity pool :)
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And this was the fabulous view over the ocean & cliffs!
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The next morning I took a short taxi ride to Ulu Watu Temple. Admission was 20,000 Rupiah ($1.65 CAD). Everyone (even the men) had to don a purple sarong before being allowed entry.
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The temple itself wasnt much to look at, but the view over the ocean & cliffs were awesome!
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Beware of klepto monkeys on the path along the cliff! One jumped on my back, covering me in mud, and nearly stole my expensive prescription sunglasses right off my face!
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There were a few more mischievous monkeys play fighting on a wall near a big puddle that they kept jumping into. Although monkeys can be thieves, they are so funny to watch play!
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The next day I walked 10min to the Ulu Watu Cliffs ... an area of restaurants clinging to the cliffside, shops, and great views.
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After taking in the view there for awhile, I headed 20min in the opposite direction to Padang Padang Beach. I arrived in the morning while the beach was still quite empty (just the way I like it). But around 11am it started getting crowded with more tourists, souvenir stands being set up on the beach, and food vendors setting up stands. Thats my que to leave. I enjoy quiet solitude, not loud obnoxious tourists. And so I headed back to my infinity pool at the resort :)
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Well, thats it for the island of Bali. Next up I fly to Borneo, Malaysia for 5 days to search for wild orangutans & proboscis monkeys!

Posted by ChantelleS 23:39 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia temple monkey blue pool cliff asia Comments (0)

LAKE BRATAN, BALI - INDONESIA

Lakeside hotels with volcano views, temples on the lake, a waterfall, and many crazy creatures for me to hold!

sunny 25 °C

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Today started awesome, and ended of with a pervert. Allow me to start from the beginning ...
I woke up in Jatiluwih and took a taxi for 200,000 Rupiah (about $16) to Lake Bratan. It was a 1hr scenic drive through mountains/volcanoes, rice fields and villages. I checked in to a hotel called Ashram for one night, located on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Bratan, its temple, and volcano on the other side of the lake.

View of my hotel on the hill
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My little bungalow
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It was a fairly basic hotel for 200,000 Rupiah. It had hot water & free breakfast (although not a big selection), but no a/c. But it turns out I didnt need it. It gets chilly at night up in the mountains. I actually had to throw on linen pants, an extra shirt, and use the extra blanket off the 2nd bed to keep warm! Definitely wasnt expecting that at the equator! Normally Indonesia is like a oven, and I'm constantly covered in sweat, but today I didnt sweat at all while exploring. It was nice actually.

View from my room
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My favorite thing about this hotel was the gardens. Actually I dont think it was a garden, Bali is just covered in tropical flowers wherever you go!
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After walking around the garden for awhile, I headed to the temple on the lake. I could see it clearly from the hotel's vantage point on the hill overlooking the lake, so I didnt need directions, I just walked over there. It was only about a 10min walk along the lake to get there.

The temple's name is Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Admission was 30,000 Rupiah ($2.50 Canadian). These were the entrance gates.
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The grounds were quite large, but not at all what I was expecting. There were giant plastic dragons, frogs, eagles, etc everywhere. It looked like a child's playground. I dont understand why these tacky, plastic things were everywhere, but if you can look past that, it was actually really beautiful.
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Steps tiled in tiny stone mosaics.
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There were colorful boats to rent lined up alongside the temple (and also tacky plastic swan paddle boats)
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Stupa
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And finally, the part of the temple that was on the lake.
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As I was heading back to the main gate to leave, I noticed an area with a bunch of animals. Real animals, not plastic ones. For $8 I could hold as many animals as I wanted, for as long as I wanted, and take as many photos as I wanted. Deal! First up was a Giant Fruit Bat! And by giant, I mean GIANT! I didnt know bats could get this big! LOOK AT IT! Once you agree to hold it, they dont give you any time to freak out or change your mind. They just tell you to put your hand a certain way, and suddenly BAM, your holding a giant bat!!
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He's even kinda cute. He has the face of a small dog.
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Then I held some absolutely adorable baby owls!!
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Then I held a Hornbill! I dont know what kind of hornbill it was because the guys didnt speak enough English to know its name. All I know is it was WAY bigger than the ones I saw in Africa! They covered my arm with something so the its claws wouldnt dig into me. This guy made me a little nervous, not gonna lie. Look at that footlong beak!! I was scared he'd stab my eyeballs out with it! But he didnt. Turns out he's not as scary as he looks ... he liked belly rubs, lol!
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The yellow bulge under his chin felt like a balloon.
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I was told to put my hand in its beak. I'm not sure why I did it, perhaps cuz the guy went first showing me it didnt hurt. It didnt hurt at all, just a little pinch.
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After spending about 1.5hrs at the temple and with the animals, I walked across the street to a restaurant for lunch (I cant remember the name of it). I was expecting it to be super expensive, considering it was located right across the street from a tourist attraction, was 3 stories high with lakeviews, and offered free wifi ... but it wasnt. For $3.35 I had crispy teryaki chicken, a huge pile of sticky rice, and a salad. Food here is SO cheap! I also had an iced hazelnut mocha for another $3. It was so tastey I ordered a 2nd one! Much better than anything at Starbucks ;)

So, next comes the pervert. I walked around negotiating rates for a ride to Gitgit Waterfall. I ended up choosing a guy (the wrong guy as it turns out) who offered to drive me there, wait for me, and then drive me back, for 140,000 Rupiah (about $11). As soon as we hit the road he was trying to hold my hand, or put his arm around me. I just removed his hand & shrugged his arm off of me and turnt away from him to look out the window and ignore him. He stopped the vehicle and I thought he was gonna leave me in the middle of nowhere cuz i rejected him. But instead he was stopping so I could take photos of a viewpoint over the lake.
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Then we got back in and continued on our way. Once again he started trying to hold my hand, and I kept pushing it away saying 'no' as firmly as I could. But he spoke 4 words of english, and apparently NO wasnt one of them. And of course I dont speak a word of Indonesian. Again I just turnt away to look out the window. He tapped me on the shoulder, so I looked, and with his hands he was making an absurd jerking off motion!!! Ugh! What does it take for this loser to take a hint?! I would've just made him stop and let me out, but we were literally in the middle of nowhere and there wasnt much traffic. I didnt want to end up stranded somewhere. So I did the only thing I could think of that would be universal in every language ... I gave him the finger. And he finally understood!! But he wasnt impressed. He then proceeded to drive with road rage along the twisty turny mountain roads at high speeds! Now I was scared for me life, as he was only using one hand to make these turn, while he smoked a cigarette with the other. Finally we arrived in a small town. I got out and slammed the door. I assumed he was going to either take off and leave me there, or actually wait for me while I walked down to the waterfall. But instead he led me all the way to the falls. But he was walking so fast he was practically running, I could barely keep up! I wanted to take a leisurely walk to the waterfall, enjoy the scenery, and take photos along the way. But wouldnt have any of it. Every few minutes he'd turn around and see that I was waaaay behind, and wave frantically for me to hurry up. It was a 20min fast paced walk amongst many, many souvenir vendors.
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When we finally arrived at Gitgit Waterfall, the cool mist from the falls was very welcome after that sweaty high speed race through the jungle. I gave him my camera to take a photo of me ... and then he was ready to leave. Really? I didnt just drive 30min dealing with your bullsh!t the whole way, race down to the waterfall, take one photo ... and then leave?!
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He was honestly SO mad at me, although he's the one that was the perv. After about 7min at the waterfall we raced back up to the parking lot, got in the vehicle, and drove like a crazy person all the way back to Lake Bratan in silence. What a waste of time that was, sigh. And then, get this, he DARED to ask for a tip!!! I flipped him the bird again and slammed the door! Good riddance. So like I said in the beginning, the morning was amazing, the afternoon not so much. Unfortunately I dont think theres anyway to avoid pervs. As a single woman traveling solo, you never know what you going to get when you get into a cab. I ended my day by purchasing some fresh strawberries from a street vendor and heading back to my room. Northern Bali is known for its strawberries, so make sure you try them, they were tasty. Well thats it for Lake Bratan, I left the next day. That guy ruined it for me. Jerk. My next post I will be in southern Bali :)

Posted by ChantelleS 14:03 Archived in Indonesia Tagged boat bali wildlife indonesia temple lake waterfall animal asia båt owl Comments (0)

JATILUWIH, BALI - INDONESIA

UNESCO World Heritage Site - Home of more terraced rice fields that you can count!

sunny 40 °C

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The village of Jatiluwih (pronounced jah-til-away) is about 2hrs from Ubud. I just took a taxi there, cuz frankly I'm not on that tight a budget that I need to waste my day stuck on a hot crowded bus all day just to save a buck. Anyway you travel around in Asia is 100% cheaper than Canada. Plus I was still a tad jet lagged and wanted to sleep the ride there.
I can't remember the name of the hotel I stayed at, but this was the view from my terrace!!
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The orange building in the background was my hotel.
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I spent the entire morning walking around in the fields, watching the locals working, taking photos, and sweating. Lots of sweating!
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I walked to a lookout point over the entire valley! This place is just stunning! The terraces just keep going & going as far as the eye can see!
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I stopped for lunch at a little restaurant overlooking the terraced rice fields. A much needed break! Its more of a hike than a walk, as you have to climb up and down all the various levels of the terraces. I had some chicken fried rice that was served with a fried egg on top, some veggies, and whatever those white things were supposed to be. I thought they'd be rice crisps, but they had a fishy taste to them. Puke! I hate fish. When I asked what they were, I was told they were crackers. Lol, just a tad different than what we call crackers in Canada.
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Here's a couple views from the restaurant ...
You can carry anything on a motorbike!
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Even your whole family, lol!
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There were more bikes than cars
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Jackfruit
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Just as I was preparing to continue my walk/hike, a guy came by on his motorbike, blaring 'ice cream truck' music, and selling ice cream from a cooler strapped to the back, lol! Only $0.40 for a fudgsicle, although I'm sure I paid double cuz I'm a tourist. Oh well, its still 1/4 of the price at home, and was delicious :)
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After lunch I continued on in the opposite direction this time. I followed a path that led to this pretty little temple.
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Gate to the temple.
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Close-up of the rice.
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I had assumed all the little huts that could be seen throughout the fields were homes. Nope. I hiked down to one only to find out it was a hut for a cow! Every single hut had one cow in it.
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After a long day of hiking I showered, then picked up some snacks at a nearby store for my drive to Lake Bratan tomorrow. I got a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, and a 3pk of oreos all for only $0.54!!! I can feel myself getting fatter already, lol!

Posted by ChantelleS 13:31 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia green rice field terrace asia Comments (0)

UBUD, BALI - INDONESIA

Monkeys, monkeys, monkeys!

sunny 40 °C

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So Bali is sooooOOOoooo fricken far from Canada, its ridiculous! It literally took 2 days to get there! I flew from Saskatoon to Minneapolis, which was only 1.5hrs, with a 5hr layover there. Then Minneapolis to Singapore 20hrs & 20min!!!!! TWENTY HOURS!!!!! I dont even know how I survived! I really, really dont! But it doesnt end there. I had a 7hr layover in Singapore, which I spent most of trying to sleep. And then one more flight, about 3hrs, to Bali, Indonesia. I finally arrived at 11am on Day 3. I hopped in a taxi and headed straight to Ubud. I dont know how long of a drive it was, cuz I fell asleep part way. I checked into the Ganesha Hotel for 1 night. Only $27 booked on Expedia ... it was great! King bed, a/c, tiled floors so shiny I could see my face in them, free wifi & breakfast, pool, etc. After 2 days of flying with nearly zero sleep, all I wanted to do was fall flat on my face and sleep for a week. But, I knew if I let myself sleep at 11am I'd be all mixed up, waking up in the middle of the evening. And so, I put a few things in my daypack, and walked 15min to Monkey Forest.
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This place did not disappoint! For under $2CAD, I saw more monkeys than I could dream of! Big monkeys, baby monkeys, fighting monkeys, grooming monkeys, and thieving monkeys! Monkeys, monkeys, monkeys! I thought I'd have to search for them, but they were literally everywhere. On the paths, in the trees, on the walls & statues, and even on the tourists!
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Before entering you can buy a bunch of little bananas to feed to the monkeys ... or you can just let them steal your bag and search for goodies! Or knock your water bottle out of your hand and proceed to twist the cap of and drink from it! Be warned ... do not bring in food you do not plan to share with them! They can smell it, even if its packaged, like a granola bar. They will follow you and take your bag. For real. Just dont bring in food. Dont do it. I had read this warning on someone else's blog, so I knew not to bring in food, but I did have a bottle of water with me. After I saw a monkey snatch someone else's, I put mine in my daypack and buckled it up. No monkey is stealing my stuff! Thieves!

Searching for food in a stolen purse
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Drinking water from a stolen bottle
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Trying to steal my glasses!!!
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Absolutely everything is covered in moss! Its so humid you can barely breathe, but I suppose thats part of why everything is so wonderfully green!
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Theres so many trails to follow. I was here for 4hrs! So get ready for a ton of monkey photos, lol!
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My favorite were the little babies! They were so active, running & playing & stealing bananas from one another, lol! Adorable!
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One trail led to a huge tree (Banyan I think), a bridge over a stream, and some green statues.
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At around 5pm I grabbed some lunch, or supper, I'm not sure really, my body was so jet lagged. I had noodles, thats all I remember, lol! Then I walked back to my hotel, showered and passed out til morning! Good night!

Posted by ChantelleS 12:32 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali wildlife indonesia temple monkey green forest asia ubud Comments (0)

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