My birthday that year was a special one as it also was the departure day of our trip. Amsterdam – Bali in less then 16 hours. As soon as we arrived we took a taxi to Guci guesthouse in Ubud where a warm welcome waited with my friends Ulli and Nyoman. There was a lot to tell after not having seen each other for three years…
We spent the first week of our six week journey on Bali. I showed Christoph some of the countless beautiful places on the island and managed to see some new things as well. It already started the first day. When we went for a walk around Ubud we ended up in a gorgeous area of rice fields,it was like walking in a picture book.
We also had the opportunity to witness a cremation ceremony. For me it was the first time I was able to see it. as soon as we arrived in the village where the ceremony was held I could see the large Bade tower in which the bodies would be carried to the cremation place.
Three sarcophagus in the shape of lions were beside it. Suddenly a lot of noise came from everywhere and the procession started. Lots of people went slowly to the cremation field, accompanied by dancers and musicians.
The Bade tower was turned all the time so the spirits of the dead would not be able to find the way back to the village. It looked a bit hectic at times but it all was part of the rituals. Once at the cremation place high priests were doing the last rituals and preparations before the actual cremation could take place. The last prayers were said after which the beautifully decorated sarcophagus were lit. It did not take long until nothing was left of them and the family started a meal. For us it was now time to leave, deeply impressed by what we just saw.
On the way back to Ubud we ended up in an immense procession which was part of a temple ceremony. Hundreds of beautifully dressed people passed by. We had to wait for an hour and a half before we could continue our journey but needles to say we haven’t been bored for a minute.
The next days we decided to rent a jeep so we could explore Bali on our own. Our first stop was Besakih, the mother temple of Bali which lies high in the mountains on the slope of a volcano. Although it was my third visit to the temple I still enjoyed the mystical atmosphere.
From Besakih we took a scenical route to mount Batur. We followed little roads and passed numerous villages. It was awesome! At mount Batur we had a wonderful view of the crater and the lake. Because we had our own transport we were able to drive through the large crater and enjoy the stunning landscape. I was especially impressed by the 3 to 4 meter high walls of lava.
During another trip we went to Pura Taman Ayun, most likely one of Bali’s most beautiful temples.
Our next destination wasTanah Lot, without doubt Bali’s best known temple. Although initially disappointed it was not surrounded by water as usual it turned out to be our lucky day as Christoph and myself got a very rare invite from the local priest to enter Tanah Lot.
We spent quite a while over there after we left to Tampakskiring where we did a beautiful tour through the rice fields. Totally off the beaten track we witnessed the dessa’s which Bali is so famous for. We stopped several times to enjoy the lush landscape and just after we started to doubt whether we were going the right way we hit asphalted road again and could continue our way to Ubud.
Of course we could not leave Bali without having visited the famous Legong dance so one of the evenings we went out to see the performance which took place in a former temple.
We had enjoyed the most beautiful week in Bali but it was time to move on the the yet unexplored East, Nussa Tenggara was waiting for us.
Continue the trip at to Nusa Tenggara