It isn't the first trip to Bali and I wanted to go where I haven't gone before.


We arrived on Sunday with Asia at 11:30 in the morning at Denpasar airport. The flight was on time as expected.


The way through customs and getting the visa was easy and quick that were no long lineups. We waited about 15 minutes to get the one piece of luggage that we checked in. The hired driver was already waiting for us. Instead of renting a car or trying to make our way by bus to the north coast I had arranged for a car and driver and therefore could include a couple of stops on the way. This was more convenient, cheaper and efficient than driving back and forth from our accommodation.


On the way to the north coast we stopped at Taman Ayun, Ulun Danu Beratan and the twin lakes where the road runs through a forested area and monkeys walked along the roadside. When stopping at the Ulun Danu Beratan temple we were surprised by a sudden downpour. It took only a couple seconds to get soaked.

On the positive side the rain drove her away the hordes of tourists.


Bali

The North

The roads through the mountains are really narrow. I would call them single lane. Sometimes they have a painted line in the middle, leaving each side of the road just wide enough for a motorcycle. When two cars are meeting, they both have to drive halfway on the grass beside the road. And of course, the roads don't have shoulders.


The rain and the drifting clouds didn't make for ideal photo conditions. On the north side of the mountains there were fewer rice fields, but more vegetables and flower fields as the road was winding down the mountains. We arrived at home small hotel mid afternoon, after all Bali is not that big. There were still the occasional rain showers. The room was enormous, a huge living room, a bedroom, a large bathroom and a big balcony rivaling Jenn and Tyler's deck, facing the sea, only 15 meters away from the beach. In the distance we could see the island of Java.


The beach is famous for its black sand, a contrast to the white beaches in the south. We spent some relaxing days here, swam in the sea, which was extremely calm, bought fresh fruits from local stands, ate fish at small restaurants along the sea. There weren't many tourists in this area. Though tourists did come to take the 100,000 IDR boat ride in the hope to see the dolphins. It seems in most cases they were able to see some, as we could see the dolphins even from our balcony.


Staying here was really relaxing, far enough from the madness of the south. The culture of Bali was here much more visible. Other benefits (for me) were that it was quieter and cheaper.


The owner of the hotel took us to see the Galungan celebration (see this page) at his village. Each house has its own temple. Here the family prays first, then they move on to the village temple and after that some go to the closest mother temple.


On the way explained rice farming in Bali, which is quite different from our area. Sticky rice is grown as animal feed while for human consumption people grow white, red, and black rice. The planting of the rice has to follow tight set schedules from the districts, farmers who do not follow the schedule have to pay penalties. The districts work out the allocation of water regarding volumes and times.


This trip also gave me the opportunity to see the western mother temple, after having seen Besakih. Before returning to the hotel we stopped at the house of the owner for a snack of fermented sticky rice.



(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink

(c) Karl Stellbrink