From May 6th to 9th, we were in Sanur.
Arrived at Denpasar airport, our luggage is missing… We made a loss statement, and went out to wait Lauriane’s parents. We found them, found our driver, and arrived at our hotel, the Tropical Bali Hotel. This charming hotel is owned by Audrey and Mathieu, two french expatriates. The least you can say is that they have a sense of hospitality. Always taking care of us, giving us advice on our itinerary, places to visit, taxi rides cost, organizing visits (even after we left their hotel), helping us regarding our lost luggage… We are glad we chose to spend a few days at their hotel!
On the first day, we just went to a kind of a mall to buy sarongs, a big bag that Lauriane’s parents will take back to France with some of our stuff, eat…
On the second day, we went out for the day with our driver Putu (550000 rupiahs).
First, we went to Jimbaran fish market, a well-known Bali market, very genuine. When you go out of the car, the smell is really bad, but you get used to it. Putu came with us to buy our fish. Following his recommendation, we chose a one kilo ‘red snapper’ (90000 rupiahs) and one kilo of prawns (190000 rupiahs). Putu took us a little further, where balinese people could cook our food for us, for 20000 rupiahs a kilo. We sat on the seaside and, after a few minutes, ate the food we bought. We did not know that we would not be given any forch, knife or napkin, we will know for next time, but meanwhile we ate with our hands. The meal was delish, we really enjoyed it!
Then, we went to Padang Padang beach. When we arrived, we were a bit surprised to see the beach so crowded. We sat and saw our first balinese monkeys. Despite the crowd, the beach was pretty quiet. There were a few sarongs and drinks sellers, one of them played reggae music. The place was nice, the sea was beautiful, but we were not expecting that for a first visit day.
After that, we went to another beach, to go there you have to come down and it takes some time, so we chose to have a drink in a bar. The sea was full of surfers, but apart from that nothing very special.
Finally, we went to Uluwatu temple (entry fee: 20000 rupiahs). This temple lends you sarongs, so no worries if you forgot yours. The temple was crowded and we did not find it really special. There were monkeys here too, so be careful with your stuff! This is where we saw for the first time a monkey steal and open a water bottle, and then drink it, which made us laugh.
After we visited the temple, we went to a balinese dance show (100000 rupiahs per person) at sunset. The view was amazing. The balinese dance show, a little less enjoyable: they let a maximum of tourists enter, even though there was no space left in the terraces. No problem, they added chairs or made people sit on the ground, they asked people to get really close… The costumes were clearly a lot of work, the dancers wore a lot of make-up, there was a story, anyway it was nice, the show itself has to be seen one time when you are in Bali, but as far as we are concerned, one time was enough.
The next day, Putu came to pick us up and take us to Ubud. We made a detour to visit Tanah Lot temple (entry fee: 30000 rupiahs). Again, no worries if you do not have your sarong, they will lend you one.
The Tanah Lot temple is located on a small island. ‘Tanah Lot’ means ‘land in the sea’ in the balinese language. Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 16th-century Dang Hyang Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock, for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods. At the base of the rocky island, venomous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. The temple is purportedly protected by a giant snake, which was created from Nirartha’s selendang (a type of sash) when he established the island.
In 1980, the temple’s rock face was starting to crumble and the area around and inside the temple started to become dangerous. The Japanese government then provided a loan to the Indonesian government of approximately US$130 million to conserve the historic temple and other significant locations around Bali. As a result, over one third of Tanah Lot’s ‘rock’ is actually cleverly disguised artificial rock created during the Japanese-funded and supervised renovation and stabilization program.
On the outskirts of the temple, you can find a lot of balinese arts and crafts, some people criticize their presence and denounce the location’s loss of genuineness, but we enjoyed the walk.
To finish, Putu took us to a tea and coffee plantation, where we were given a few explanations. Then we could taste 8 different teas and coffees, among which the famous kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world. It is harvested in luwaks’ droppings (asian palm civet), because of an almost nonexistent digestion. The palm civet eats the coffee berries, digests their pulp but not the stone, which ends up in its droppings. In the Luwak’s alimentary canal, the gastric juice transforms the coffee beans and gives them a nice taste. Jérémy, who likes a good coffee, did not find it so amazing. On the other hand, the lemongrass tea won unanimous support!