Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bewitching Bali Day 4

Juli's boyish grin greeted us on our 4th day . He is once again, today's tour guide  and was  noticeably  less shy compared to our initial meeting.  Today, we are about to explore the east side of Bali and can't hardly wait. The more we discover and see the island, the more we learn to love it.

The first place we visited was a  unique temple that centred around a cave full of bats, thus its name Pura ( walled city ) Goa ( cave) Lawah ( Bats).

 Pura Goa Lawah , holds many religious ceremonies during the year and we are lucky to witness and observe one of it at a distance.
Worshipers pray, give offering like flowers, incest and sweets to their gods. Holy priest bless them in return. In Bali, Goa Lawah is  a place to worship a god that rules the oceans.

 And just across the temple is a scenic, black sanded beach which provides no greater reminder .

After a breath of salty air, we drove off and  stopped by this  indigenous Tenganan Aga village . This historic village  gives  a glimpse into the old Balinese lives. There's  a communal hall, where talks and story tellings by villagers were once held. The place is in the midst of restoration with some building visibly spruced up while others, still stood in half ruins.

There are crafts sold in this place and we are able to look at the artisans' work closely without being pushed to buy it. The villagers are friendly and welcoming and  not in any way intrusive.

 We stop at a nice area along Candidasa Beach. I asked Juli to pull over so we could check the place out and stretch our legs. We saw few stalls along the bay and the fragrant smell of barbecued sea creature lured us to take a closer whiff.  We were greeted by the sight of sizzling meat . Exactly how  how I want my animal to be.. grilled and on a stick.

The food was honestly not as good as it smelled. Whatever it was, it was tough and leathery. The over generous starch in the gravy did not make it better. But the view and the cooling breeze was gorgeous.

Our next destination,  Tirta Gangga in Karangasem, is one of my favourite spots in Bali. Beautiful gardens, stunning landscape, impressive pagodas, stone steps,  tranquil ponds with mammoth sized koi fishes and  interesting statues sprung amidst the lush greeneries and mountainous backdrop. The air is cool, making walks and exploration relaxing and serene. One could spend  lazy afternoons , napping under the shadows of trees.

There's an elevated restaurant within this compound that offers a great view of the water palace. We went there for lunch. Ordered a traditional set menu called Megibung.

Traditionally, Balinese enjoyed eating together off one large plate or banana leaf at ceremonies or at preparation of a ceremony. People would sit crossed-leg around it helping themselves with their right hand scooping a portion of food onto a banana leaf or eating it straight off the plate. This communal way of eating is called Megibung. In east bali, the karangasem Regency, people still practice the megibung style. It's a very intimate and social way of sharing food.

Lunch: Begibung Menu for 2. With with white and yellow rice are minced mat sate, vegetable urab, spicy prawn, grilled chicken, pulled udang, pepes ikan and babi kecap.

We were full to the brim! 

Just few minutes drive away is another water palace. Taman Ujung. Compared to Tirta Gangga, this area is massive with a colonial palace smack in the middle of its man made lake.

Due to the wide area and less abundance of shades, this place was scorching hot. Bring an umbrella and enough water when visiting.

Still within Karangasem, Juli asked us if we want to see a less touristy and less crowded beach. It has many names and ' White sand beach' and ' Virgin beach' are just few of them. The road up and down the area once really bad, I'm happy I'm not driving. There are few stalls selling drinks and foods by the bay but no hotels in sight, making tourists and visitors scarce. 

Dinner was in the dim lit and romantic  Sarong restaurant. Where gorgeous and chic ladies in stilettos and satin dresses and despite the dress code,   flip flops  and beach short clad men dine and socialise.   The foods was the best I had in our 10 day trip in Bali. It's a modern Asian fusion. Food, service and setting is top notch. I highly recommend it.

Sarong Restaurant Bali

Jl. Petitenget No, 19 x
Kerobokan, Bali 80361
T. +62 361 4737 809
F. +62 361 4737 810

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