Gerebeg desa, Agung Rai museum
Bali was the first really far-flung journey I made. I had already seen quite a lot in Europe and just outside of it but I hadn’t been that far away yet. I had worked hard, had a lot of crazy projects and had to get out of for a while. A colleague said: ‘You really have to leave the country for a while, otherwise you just keep working’ and he was right. There were several countries going through my mind but somewhere Bali came back again and again. A different country but above all also a different culture and different nature and that combination made the final decision making a breeze.
Avoiding the big crowds
From Den Passar it was a half hour drive to Sanur to get. Kuta, is not for me: the crowds, a chaotic city and all those tourists is a bit too much. So I had flipped the pages in the travel guide and came out at Sanur. A goog choice! Great facilities, nice restaurants to eat in and small enough to you also experience a tiny bit of the authentic culture.
After a few days in Sanur it was time to travel on. Ubud was the next place to visit. Just looked at some websites to find the best places and used Booking.com to find the best hotels. I understand why you want to go on a honeymoon to Bali and I also understand that you want to sleep in a hotel like this. A private house that was perfect except for the many insects and therefore needing the bus insect spray and finding out that a jungle nearby makes a lot of noise. Luckily you get used to it pretty quickly.
As a child, you have dreams about what it would be like to walk between the rice fields. The Novib calendar at the dining table at home showed you such views so often. I stood there, looked around and realized that I was there. That I saw that dream come true. So special! The way the whole day went was special too. I had had the intern from the hotel driving me through his neighbourhood. Quickly along the tourist crowds to the highlights of the region and even took me home to meet his parents. Visiting people in their daily habitats. That is what travel must be! Once I got home I looked at the picture of the rice fields and thought ‘Now I also made a Novib calendar picture’ 😉
Agnun Rai museum, Ubud
Highly recommended in Ubud, asides to the beautiful rice fields, is the Agnung Rai museum. You will find beautiful local art, a part of the history of Bali and its inhabitants there and the place itself is also idyllic.
The next stop was Kintamani. Mount Batur is an active volcano that had to be climbed and the sunrise at the end of that climb was the one that had to be seen. At the same time, the guesthouse not only had a beautiful view of Mount Batur, a silent volcano, but also the village of Kintamani.
View from Mount Batur
Early in the morning, we left for Mount Batur. This active volcano erupted for the last time in 2000. Now the volcano is fairly quiet except for some geysers along the way. It was quite a climb and my camera equipment didn’t make it any easier. Luckily I had a guide who helped me halfway through. You are not the only the only one who wants to see the view I can tell you. For even being there just outside the holiday season you could see a nice line of flashlights travelling up the volcano. Once you made it to the top you will be greeted by the monkeys who live there and like to get or grab a sandwich from the tourists. With the weather, you never know what it’ll be. That was also true that day. Once we arrived at the top it became very foggy so the sun that appeared over the horizon was hard to see. Nevertheless, the road to the top and the road to the bottom were very impressive.
Bali has several faces and it is good to see as many if them as possible. For poverty, for example, is never far away. It is a street, a corner, a hill or a stone’s throw away just as it is in Kintamani. I had a nice guesthouse with a beautiful view of Mount Batur and it was just outside the village so I walked up the steep road to the village. And even if they do not live there in total poverty, it is not far off. Children playing in the dirt, a dead dog on the street and also the grey skies of that day gave the village an occasionally very sad image. At the same time, it was good to see this part of the country and daily live there as well.
Due to a concurrence of circumstances, I quickly ended back up in the southern part of the island. So there is still something to see for me next time. Fortunately, Sanur, as I described earlier, is a great place to be. It also gave me the opportunity to buy the presents for family and friends back home.
Balinese dance performance
I am not the one who likes to play the real tourist. I prefer to find my own way. At the same time, I couldn’t resist this performance. Touristy yes, but nice to have seen.
With a few hours to spare before catching the flight back home I asked the taxi driver to take me to the Uluwatu Temple. A Beautiful place with a fantastic view of the ocean and therefore a very nice way to end my holiday.