We hired a car to be able to visit various places of interest in Bali instead of going there on our own. We figured that this might be cheaper considering that the price of taxi to Kuta from Ubud is already around 200,000 Rupiah. We struck a deal with the driver to take us to various tourists spots and then later drop us off to Poppies Lane in Kuta. We agreed paying him 500,000 for the entire trip because it’s within our budget.
These are some of the places we visited.
Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave
Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave is just one kilometer away from where we were staying. It’s a huge complex consisting of a cave with carvings that initially looked like an elephant for those who first saw it (thus the name Elephant cave), bathing pools and temple ruins. The cave was said to have been dated back to 11th century.
Gunung Kawi is another 11th century temple complex consists of ten rock shrines carved in the cliff face. Gunung Kawi is also presumed to be the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his wives.
This is my favorite among all the places that we went to. Tirta Empul dates back to 10th century and said to be one of the holiest temple in Bali. There are bathing pools wherein most devotees soak themselves to cleanse themselves physically and spiritually. Visitors are not prohibited from bathing as well.
Gunung Batur or Mt. Batur is just one of the active volcanoes in Indonesia located near Mt. Agung in Bali. We didn’t go to the mountain but instead went to the viewing deck where we could marvel at its beauty. Luckily, we arrived there before it started raining because a few minutes after we just finished taking pictures, clouds started to cover the mountain and rain started pouring.
These are just some of the places that we went to. For the other temples that we visited, I just opted to stay behind and had a conversation instead with our driver.
I asked about their religion and why there’re temples in every home in Ubud. He graciously answered everything that I was curious about Ubud and Balinese culture.
He also asked me why I was going to Kuta and I mentioned that we just want to hang out and stay on the beach.
I see the hesitation in his eyes when he said that we should be careful in Kuta and that Kuta is not like Ubud.
If there’s one thing that I noticed about in Ubud, it’s the feeling of security that people have with their community. They don’t lock their doors. Sometimes they leave their car keys in their vehicles and not worry about it.
I asked him about safety in Ubud and he explained that it’s part of their culture to trust in people and believe in Karma. And he reminded me again that it’s not the same in Kuta.
I asked a lot about his perception of Bali and I also did my share of telling stories about the beauty and the ugly side of other neighbouring countries.
If I were talking to most people that I’ve met, I would have probably heard “I want to go there too.” But not with him, there seems to be some contentment in him that I could not fathom and I could not understand.
I remember something that I’ve read in the past wherein the author said, “When you ask Balinese what is heaven, they would say Bali. A lot of them want to be born, live and die in Bali.”
While listening to how he fondly speaks about his family, friends, his home, his business, their cultures and traditions, I quietly understood why Bali has been called the “Island of Gods.”
Sadly, this kind of culture is endangered.
And after the conversation, and the whole driving around to see various temples, we finally arrived in Kuta.
And I felt sad for what this part of Bali has become.
When you visit Bali, take some time to get to now some locals. The beauty of every place in this world lies within its people.