Feeling refreshed we went on our final pre-booked trip and it was a busy day!
We had the best guide on this trip. Not only did he tell us all about the places we were visiting, he gave us a real insight into Bali life and culture between our destinations. He talked about his wife and family, religion and tradition in Bali, the trend for skin-whitening (also the reason why younger locals are often covered up with gloves, hats and masks) and how he’d love to see snow one day!
Our first stop was Taman Ayun Temple in Mengwi. This temple is almost 400 years old and is set in beautiful gardens. On entry you are giving a sarong to wear, handy if you have forgotten to cover up fully as is required. Temples on Bali are so ornate and it’s amazing to see hundreds of years of such intricate work standing strong.
Our next stop was Lembah Amerta coffee plantation, a family owned business selling teas and coffees but specialising in Kopi Luwak, where coffee beans are partially digested an Asian palm civet, pooped out, processed, and made into a super strong cup of joe.
After a tour of the plantation, we sat down to a selection of freshly made hot drinks. Not a fan of coffee or the process involved I skipped straight to the fruit teas, all of which were really tasty and have various healing properties. This plantation is also famous for having a massive swing over the depths of the valley, but I wasn’t brave enough for that!
Our next stop, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, is an amazingly beautiful but super touristy temple on Lake Bratan near Bedugul (no need for sarongs here).
The grounds and gardens are well looked after up to a point, the further you venture you start to see waste ground and less well kept areas. But just ignore those and enjoy the wonder of the shrines and the backdrop of the mountains.
This was probably Allan’s favourite part of our whole honeymoon as he met Holiday Bat. Within the temple grounds a man had a selection of animals you could meet for a small fee and Allan fell in love with this super-affectionate guy. To be fair, he probably wanted us to save him, and we would have given half a chance.
After a sad farewell we made out way our of the temple walls, passed all the souvenir shops and eateries, and back on the road to the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces near Ganung Batukaru.
On approach the rice terraces seemed really busy, but as we spread out over the 600 or so hectares it felt like we had the place to ourselves. The terraces are shared by numerous farmers in a cooperative, each with their own patch, who rely on each other to maintain their crops through a traditional and clever irrigation method. It’s actually amazing to see and no wonder that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
There are plenty of photo opportunities here, including cheesy ones which your guide insists on (but really we love)!
The last stop on our tour was a nearby foodie one: the Bamboo Forest Restaurant. Aptly named, you can enjoy good local cooking from a buffet in the middle of a bamboo forest, built by local craftspeople. We were lucky enough to have a local musician playing bamboo panpipes or flute as we ate.
We had another lazy day in and around the hotel before we embarked on our brutal 32+ hour trip home with an 8 hour layover in Singapore (thank goodness for the airport pool there!), but here are a few pieces of advice if you are visiting Bali.
Always tip. It doesn’t need to be a lot to you, but it is a lot to them. Our last guide was genuinely so grateful of the tip we gave him, and it wasn’t a huge amount, but we felt he had done an amazing job and was worth it. The average daily wage there is only a few GBP so if you tip £20 that’s around a week’s pay to minimum wage workers.
Don’t haggle too much. I was told that stallholders often spend everything they can on stock to try to make some money, but sometimes sell at a loss to have enough to eat. So just give them what they ask for or as near as you can afford to.
Appreciate their culture. As I said in my first Bali post, Balinese people are the nicest and friendliest people I have met. Be nice in return! I felt a bit awkward accepting everything that was on offer as I’m not used to being so well looked after. Also respect their culture and their beautiful island.