Preface: Crossed the water with the ferry and on our way to Mt. Bromo now! 4 hour bus ride ahhhh…
We negotiated with Putu to start the day a littler later – 9AM instead of 8AM and so we feasted even more today grabbing literally everything we could. Our desk was filled with everything including drinks, omelets, fried rice and noodles, pastries, crepes, pancakes etc. Free breakfast FTW!
Once Putu picked us up we again had to make the long trek out from our hotel and eventually made our way out to Taman Ayun. At this point in the day the sun was out in full force. I swear I got many shades darker just from those 30-40 minutes out there. This was probably the first place where there were actually a lot of tourists there. So far we had been lucky and we were usually the only ones around. This temple was pretty neat in that it was surrounded by not one but two moats (an inner and outer ring). This temple was for some sort of king in the area and one of the best preserved supposedly. What was also different about this one is that it has these multi-tier pagoda looking things with the tallest being 11 levels.
On our way up to Jatiluwih we did the coolest thing. Putu was driving and was like “There’s a cock fight going on in this village. Want to go see?”. We were like “Okay sure!”. Now this place was packed with motorcycles first of all. I swear everyone in the village took the day off or something…at least the men anyways. We paid some small admission and were greeted with this small covered arena structure full with multiple concrete levels to stand on and arena floor for the roosters. The moment we got there everyone was looking at us but we didn’t mind them. The officials at the bottom seemed to be yelling something and pointing at people. Apparently this was the “inside betting” where you could bet on either side for a certain amount you tell them. At the top where we were the locals amongst themselves were looking around the other folks, slapping their money on their hands and once the two owners were prepping their roosters for the fight everyone was yelling something like “Sotu! Sotu! Sotu!” Putu later explained to us that this was the “outside betting” where the locals can make eye contact with another guy and put money down on something like South or North (starting position of the rooster) and “Sotu” being South. Totally crazy at this point. Once the roosters are ready to go the two owners let them go and then it goes hush quiet and the cock fight is afoot. The roosters are strapped with these small knives around one of their feet. The flap, jump, crow and stomp on each other for the kill. From the top I can barely see anything as it happens all so fast. Eventually one is dead and the other is declared the winner. We stayed for 3 more with equal amounts of confusion, randomness and killing. We totally didn’t expect anything like this so it was pretty awesome of Putu to lead us into one of these.
By lunch which was around 1:30 or 2PM we finally made it to Jatiluwih and what a sight it was. Ganung Kawi had some amazing multi-level rice paddies but this place takes the cake for the most expansive and gorgeous. The clouds were rolling in at this point so the sun was creeping behind but still I was able to take some great photos. The rice terraces as they call them go for miles and miles and truly the way the water flows from a natural spring nearby to irrigate all these fields is pretty spectacular. Lunch was just at some roadside restaurant for more typical Balinese food. I believe it was called Red Rice.
Unexpected Stop at Local Rice Field
The road to Tanah Lot was a rough one filled with potholes (again how the heck would you navigate here with a motorcycle??). Another unexpected stop along the way were these locals harvesting rice the old-fashioned way. We stopped here and Putu told us to just go ahead and snap photos of them up on the rice terrace. It felt a little intrusive but what the heck. So we climb the field and I’m getting lovely photos. Locals in their element. How cool is that right?
All of a sudden there’s an old lady putting away some harvested rice leaves we’ll call them and I get slightly startled so I do a side step towards Chantelle and all of a sudden my left foot loses grip on the muddy ridge and I totally slip down into the lower level. In slow motion I was totally thinking “OMG” and “There is totally water down there…I am so screwed!” and “My camera noooo!”. Luckily it was clear of water and I merely squashed flat a nice sized circle where I landed. The locals started laughing. Okay wait EVERYONE started laughing hysterically. I’m now clumsy Will for the rest of this trip to Chantelle. Not funny! So *ahem enough about that. We spend a bit more time shooting. Putu also brought his camera out for today so he’s chatting up the locals and doing some shooting as well.
For our last spot we finally make it to Tanah Lot literally at the nick of time. The sun sets around 6:30PM here (yeah I know early right?) and we must’ve gotten there at around 6 ish. Putu drops us off right after the gates and gives us some instructions for where to take good sunset photos. Tanah lot is a temple right by the water and perfect for sunset because the sun sets right behind it. *Sigh the sad thing is that once we got to the place overlooking the temple the sun was just sneaking behind the clouds never to reappear again. I made the best of it as we watched the sun go fully down the horizon into darkness. Yay for tripod. Got some great silhouette shots of the temple with the sunset palette painted behind.
With that the day was pretty much done except of course another 2 hour ride back to the Conrad.
We were so pooped from the days events that we just decided to clean up and eat at one of the hotel restaurants called Rin for Japanese food. The place was literally deserted as it was just us eating (bonus points). Food was it was expensive and nothing special.
To read more about my adventures with Putu head over to The Planet D for my guest post on hiring a local driver.
- Taman Ayun is currently trying to become a world heritage site
- Jatiluwih itself isn’t a world heritage site but apparently its advanced irrigation system for its time is.
- Today was high school graduation day and so we saw tons of kids on bikes with their school uniforms all spray painted on and signatures all over. Then the kids go party it up…in their neighborhood corner or something
- To tripod or not to tripod. I have to say if you’re wanting to do many sunrise and sunset photos AND you’re not doing hardcore backpacking then it’s worth it. If none of the above then leave it at home.
- Tanah Lot and Uluwatu are great for sunsets
- Another quick note about currency exchange. Currency changers are VERY specific about what series bills $50’s and $100’s are. They only accept bills that are 2006 and higher. Chantelle had a few $100’s that she just couldn’t exchange because they were before that time. The reason for this is that there are a lot of counterfeit bills from the older era so to be safe these places don’t take it at all.
- Breakfast @ the Conrad
- Taman Ayun Temple
- Random unknown pond temple
- Local cock fight tournament
- Lunch @ Red Rice in Jatiluwih
- Rice paddies in Jatiluwih
- Chillin’ with the local rice harvesters
- Tanah Lot for sunset
- Dinner at Rin @ Conrad
Head To The Next Day
To read about the next day, head over to Day 6 – Bali – R&R