Monday, 19 March 2012

Bali - Day 4

Free and Easy Bali - Day 4 Itinerary
1) Customised day tour to Ubud Village and Batur Volcano
  - Ubud art villages
  - Monkey Forest
  - Ibu Oka (Lunch)
  - Ubud Market and Ubud Palace
  - Rice terrcaces at Tegallalang Village
  - Batur Mount Volcano
  - Coffee Plantation (Bali Oka Agriculture)
  - Tirta Empul or Spring Water Temple
2) Dinner at Jimbaran

Breakfast at Nusa Dua Retreat restaurant, tranquil refreshing ambience overlooking nature and pool.

We ordered their Continental Breakfast - Salmon Scrambled Egg and Asia selection - Mee Goreng. There was only a small piece of salmon but their toast and jam was quite good. Their Mee Goreng was tasty, much better than the lunch at the rice terrace two days ago.

Art Villages
With the free 1-day car chartered with driver, we arranged for a customised tour to Ubud and Batur Volcano tour. The tour started with the Ubud art villages.  You can stop over to appreciate the batik, painting and wood carving. If interested, you can also choose to visit some of the factory outlets like Polo.
Art Villages
Monkey Forest
Since its still early, we decided to drop by the monkey forest as suggested by the driver. Maybe we can catch a glimpse of another Charmian Chen, a Taiwanese gal whose dress was stripped off by monkeys in search of corns. And yes, the monkeys there were really aggressive and they will climb up on visitors' shoulder or snatch things from your pockets all in the name of food.  Do be careful if you bring any food or intend to feed the monkeys.
Monkey Forest
Aggressive Monkeys!

Ibu Oka
Ibu Oka was famous for their Babi Guiling, Balinese roasted suckling pig.  It is situated besides the Ubud Market, opposite to the former Ubud palace.  There are a number of Japanese dining there, all came with a guidebook.

The place was quite crowded during lunch time, the waitress will not be free to find or usher you to a seat, just look around and quickly grab a free seat when available. Settings in Ibu Oka is rather simple and rustic Kampong style with long low wooden tables and mats for dinners to sit on.  Besides a plate of pork skin, we ordered the set which has a little bit of  everything - soup, chilli vegetables, pork skin, sausage and different parts of the pig with white rice in a rattan bowl.

We were rather disappointed with the pork skin, we expected it to be something similar to the Chinese roast suckling pig which is crispy and fragrant. The pork skin was very hard and challenging to the teeth, nothing near to crispy. Overall, the food was quite good, especially the fried pork and the succulent pork slices of certain premium part of the pig. There are mangosteens, prawn cracker and fried pork skin on the table, you can take the amount you want and the waitress will include that to your bill subsequently.

The price was quite ok, but its pricey in Bali standard. Well, I do enjoy Ibu Oka pork set in the rustic kampong setting.

Ibu Oka 1

Ubud Market and Ubud Palace
Believe Ubud market is a heaven for those who can bargain. A variety of stuffs are offered in the market - food, handicrafts, souvenir, textile and many more. After observing the other tourists bargain, we realised that the difference between the asking and final closing price is equivalent to 80% discount!
Ubud Market

Rice Terraces at Tegallalang Village
Since we had our lunch at Ibu Oka, we can only enjoy the rice terraces at Tegallalang Village along a road lined with various shop selling painted woodcarving and handicrafts.  Rice Terrace at Tegallalang is much steeper than that in Pacung, beautiful sight with plentiful coconut trees.
Rice Terrace at Tegallalang

Batur Mount Volcano
Batur Volcano is still active. Was a bit disappointed that we can only catch a glimpse of the volcano at a very far distant after paying entrance fee. It was quite cloudy that day, we couldn't really see the tip of the volcano crater. There is a large lake besides the volcano. It was quite relaxing to just sit at the cafe to enjoy the scenic nature and cooling mountain weather.

On the way, we saw a number of people dressed in traditional balinese garment go in a procession to the temple, taking with them the holy water.

Batur Volcano and Lake

Coffee Plantation (Bali Oka Agriculture)
Yes, coffee Plantation again.  We don't really mind stopping for another round of drinks since we need to get another packet of coffee Luwak.
Coffee Plantation

Tirta Empul or Spring Water Temple
As the name suggest, Tirta temple is built around the springs. 

It was very crowded that day, wonder if there was some festival or sacred day. There were gathering outside the temple, where people sort their offerings, prepare for the ritual bath or just sit down to rest. The granny was very kind to offer us her porridge when we were curiously looking over what's in the pot. 

Outside the Inner Courtyard

There is a special bathing pool in the inner courtyard where spring water bubble up through a layer of black sediment. According to Balinese legend, this spring water was created by God Indra when he fight with King Mayadenawa. The Balinese come to bathe in the sacred spring waters to cleanse and purify the body and soul.  The pool was very crowded with people for their Balinese melukat, the special bath ritual. 
Balinese Melukat
Balinese Melukat
The inner courtyard was opened to public, you just Just need to put on the sarong provided if you were wearing something short.  The Balinese came with various offering for prayers.
Do cater some time for you to walk through a maze of stalls before you can reach the carpark.

Dinner at Jimbaran
It was a magnificent sunset dinner at Jimbaran! More details in the next post.

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