Day 5: Day Tour – Fredy Day 1
After the past 4 days we haven’t really strayed too much further than Seminyak or Kuta – so we were quite excited today to get out and explore Bali a little more. Before we left Australia we had booked a Driver/Guide to take us around for a few days.
We ended up going with Fredy from the Drivers With Distinction Group. Straight off – I definitely recommend Fredy if you need someone to take you and help you experience Bali – he was amazing and so helpful. http://discovering-bali.blogspot.com.au/ if you want to check out his website.
For someone we had never met before we had an instant rapport and we got on great – once he learnt our warped Queensland sense of humour we got on well.
Tanah Lot Temple
Fredy picked us up from the Hotel at around 9:00am and our first stop of the day was Tanah Lot Temple. Now Tanah Lot is usually something people do at Sunset, but it can tend to get a little bit crowded. So we did it first thing in the morning – before the hoards of tourists converge on the place. The other benefit of having a knowledgable guide is that Fredy knew a way that completely skips all the vendors trying to sell you their goods.
Tanah Lot is a popular place for the simple reason that it is a really interesting and lovely place to visit. It is a temple on a rocky island – to access the temple you must walk across the beach at low tide (or swim at high tide) – so best to restrict yourself to photographing from a safe distance. Today the surf was quite strong and no way in the world would I have wanted to try to get across that ditch. Located in the same area is another lovely temple called Pura Batu Balong – it is only a short walk around the point from Tanah Lot, but surprisingly not many visitors seemed to be there this morning – it is located over a natural bridge that has been cut out by the power of the waves – very similar to the formations along Australia’s Great Ocean Road for anyone who has been down in Victoria.
This one also has a lovely little test of faith in a small “path” if you would call it that, which leads you to the front of the temple/rock outcrop. Certainly not for the faint hearted, especially when the swell is pounding through.
After spending a little time at Tanah Lot we jumped into the car and headed onwards on our journey. Thankfully Fredy had also taken the time to find a nice little parking spot in the shade so the car was nicely in the shade and cool for when we got back in – big help!
Our next destination for the day was the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces – another popular tourist destination, but as before Fredy has his own unique way of taking you there – so he took us along this somewhat remote, extremely bumpy road (this was his Special Tour! so he did warn us it would get bumpy!). The benefit being there were next to no other tourists along the road and some lovely small little villages that many people wouldn’t ordinarily see on the journey.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
These rice terraces are enormous – they are extremely big! Almost as far as the eye can see. The area is quite cool as well, I think it is about 700 meters above sea level so quite a pleasant place. We stopped here for a while and took quite a few pictures as well as went for a lovely walk through the rice terraces – do make sure you know where your walking, take a wrong turn here and we may not see you for a couple of days! Follow your guides instructions – and it was at that point Fredy pointed to a far off spot and said “you walk through the fields, I will pick you up over there!” – ‘….and they were never seen again!” was the line that jumped into my mind at that point.
So after our brief wander through the rice terraces we jumped into the car and headed off to our next destination. By this point we were both a little hungry so Fredy took us off to a lovely place to have some lunch. Lunch today was in a place called Bedugul – at the Rumah Makan Lake View Restaurant very basic little place but the food was lovely and the view was pretty nice as well. I believe the lake we could see was Lake Batan.
Now just as a note about drivers/guides in Bali: the nature of the industry is that most restaurants will provide the driver with a meal as a bit of a thankyou/commission for bringing people (tourists) to their restaurants. Likewise if your driver takes you to a shop there is a chance that they might get a commission for doing so. In the main I don’t have a major problem with this – it is part of the business, it happens here in Australia and I know it happens all over the world. My main rule is that so long as the place is nice, serves nice food, and is reasonably priced – I don’t mind that the driver gets a little something out of it.
It is also polite to offer your driver to eat with you, and to offer to buy them lunch – most of the time they will say “no thank you” but I still think it is polite to ask the question. We took a little while to eat our lunch – partly because the kitchen wasn’t exactly working at full speed – but who cares, we are on Bali time now! and also because we wanted to give Fredy a nice lunch break (away from us and our bad jokes!).
So all fed up we set off in search of our next destination, stopping for a quick picture at a lovely lookout atop the “Twin Lakes” which I believe were Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan. These two lakes are quite close to each other so you can get a few shots overlooking them.
Floating Temple – Hidden Lake
This temple is located on the banks of a lake – slight problem however is that the lake has flooded so the temple and much of the village has been flooded. As a result the people who live on the banks of the Lake had to move their village 50mtrs up on higher ground and to get to the temple need to use lovely little wooden boats, fashioned out of tree trunks.
It always fills me with immense confidence getting into a vessel held together with some lightweight cord, and your heart just fills with joy when you sit down and notice water starting to gush in (ok gush is an exaggeration, but when you’re in the middle of a lake with a rather expensive camera around your neck water is water!!!)
Once out on the water we stopped off at one of the fishing platforms that the locals use when out fishing in the lake. It is made almost entirely of bamboo, and once you get your balance it is actually a pretty great place to sit and I could imagine just chilling here for a while.
I do feel for the people who had to move their houses up to higher ground – that would really irritate me!
So after surviving the harrowing journey on the Leaking Canoe we returned to dry land and back into the car. For a drive along one of the most seriously bumpy and dodgiest roads I have ever been down. Ordinarily these roads wouldn’t be a problem if you had a 4WD vehicle, but nope, Fredy just had his FredyMobile but somehow he managed to negotiate his way through the potholes. I am pretty sure my kidneys were nicely tenderised and my poor wife her face was getting whiter and whiter as we went round each blind corner (on the edge of a cliff!).
The next destination was Gesing Village– to see the biggest tree in Bali (apparently). This is a sacred/holy Giant Banyan Tree. I tried to get a more official name but even Fredy just called it “Giant Tree” – so we will run with that. If I was a 10-year-old boy I would be in absolute heaven in this tree, the climbing potential is amazing – however as a (somewhat)mature 31-year-old I know I would end up killing myself!
You can climb in amongst the roots at the base of the tree and actually climb right into the centre – it’s pretty impressive. Do try however not to think about the quantity of creatures that are likely inhabiting the tree – no eyes seemed to stare back at me so we will count that as a win.
The Gesing Village is actually quite a cute little place. The local produce of choice seems to be Clove, you can see it as you walk along the street – all the locals have the clove drying out the front of their houses. Quite nice to look at. For those of you who may be interested the Clove is apparently quite effective in the treatment of tooth ache, as it has a numbing effect on the mouth tissue. And they are also used in Aromatherapy in the treatment of stomach and digestive troubles….so there you go.
So off we headed again for the last destination of our day – and at this point I will preface this by saying that I love my wife unconditionally (even if she lacks a certain – outdoorsy quality! – don’t tell her I said that!).
A popular place to visit but not overly touristy (yet) no vendors trying to sell you anything, and it still seems somewhat unspoilt. Munduk Waterfall is a lovely little place, you walk down into the rainforest to reach the waterfall, which falls in a sort of amphitheatre the cliff faces seem to encircle you with the water cascading down. You can walk up quite close to the falls and the water is quite clean.
This being the place that my poor darling wife lost her footing and came crashing down onto aforementioned rocks, I like to say that she fell over a waterfall just to add drama, but she did do a little bit of damage to her shins and elbow. I have never seen a wound bruise and swell up so quickly in my life – I honestly thought she had an internal fracture or something – so I was a little worried…….however being the battled that she is – she soldered along the path to the waterfall.
This is where poor Fredy really earned my respect and praise – he grabbed me a towel that he had brought with him and we rinsed off her injured leg and let her sit and rest for a while (while I went and took photos of the waterfall). Being such a great planner I didn’t have my travel medical kit on me and I must thank god for the Germans – some German tourists were walking past and saw our “issues” and offered us some of their wound wipes, and disinfectant.
NOTE: To all the husbands – resist the urge to show any sign of a smile when you are wiping the open wound on your wife’s leg with disinfectant (especially if she has never had it on a cut before!)- she will not find it funny and she will slap you – this is a message brought to you in the interest of your safety….though there is a tiny itty bitty eenie weenie bit of a smile – amongst my genuine concern for my poor darling (and thanks to Queensland SES for my first aid training – came in so handy! I knew I would get to use it one day!).
Now the waterfall – it really is spectacular – I didn’t get too many shots as I was a little preoccupied – but I do hope to return again to devote some time to shooting this place in more detail. After a while we decided to head back to the car – my poor wife could only make it about half way – again Fredy jumped into action, getting a local boy to give her a lift to the top on his motorbike. Anyway by now it was getting late in the afternoon so we headed for home.
Anyway she is all good – just a bad bruise which I have treated and bandaged her up good as new!
What a day it had been – I think I took over 400 photos! Seriously this country has so much to see – for a small island it makes up for it in a wide variety of things to see and do. Once we got back to Legian we quickly popped out and picked up our Bean Bag Lounge Chairs* that we had ordered a couple of days earlier and then went off to get some dinner.
This would be our last night in Legian because tomorrow we move up to Ubud for 6 nights. So for our last dinner we decided to go back to Wali Warung – not the most fancy place but they serve good food and the staff there are great to talk to. I find in Bali going to a restaurant is as much about a social interaction with the locals than it is about the food – makes a meal really enjoyable and you feel like you have come away knowing you have both learned a little about each other.
Well that’s it for today – sorry for the length of this post – we just did a heck of a lot and I wanted to try to get it all down to remember it.
*I promise to upload more details about our BeanBag Chairs – I know they are a popular purchase in Bali, once I find the paperwork where I wrote down the name of the shop and the price we paid (and possibly overpaid!), I will do a separate post.