One of the most fun and busy days in Indonesia was the day we hired a driver to take us outside of Ubud. Our main goal was to hike Mount Batur, but plans change and luckily we ended up doing a lot of other awesome things which funnily enough included seeing but not hiking Mount Batur. A friend we made in Kuta had come up with a whole itinerary for the day and we decided to just go with the flow.
First, we started at Penglipuran Traditional Village.
There was also a bamboo forest near the village which was really cool…literally. It seriously felt like it dropped 20 degrees when we walked along the pathway in this forest. It was a nice break from the heat.
After that we headed to the Mount Batur area. We got some really lovely views of Mount Batur which is technically an active volcano. Our first stop in that area was Trunyan Village and cemetery. I felt quite iffy about visiting the cemetery and I worried it would seem disrespectful, but it was definitely a unique experience.( I found some articles online about it that made it out to be an acceptable travel spot which eased some of my concerns.)
As soon as we got close to the village this man on a motorbike “guided” us the rest of the way. We finally stopped and debated prices for quite a while to be allowed to visit the village and get a boat ride to the cemetery. It didn’t seem to be any issue of not wanting foreign visitors (if that were the case I would not have gone) but rather just the typical plan to get as much money as possible. I understand they want to profit from tourists, but the prices were pretty extreme compared to every other area we had been to. Anyway, I still the think the price we haggled was a bit steep but we finally agreed and were back on the road.
When we arrived we got to look at a small temple in the village. I want to take a moment to say that the village itself was underwhelming, but the views looking out on the lake and mountain were really quite nice.
Then we took a short boat ride to the cemetery. In this cemetery they don’t cremate bodies after death which is the more traditional Balinese way. But they instead cover the bodies in blankets and cover them with this bamboo triangular like structure that still leaves them somewhat exposed. They use a special flower that prevents any smell you make typically be exposed to around a decaying body. Then it seems that once the bodies are fully decomposed they add them to this large nearby pile. Because of the offerings and gifts that have been left with the bodies, the pile unfortunately looks somewhat like a trash dump. I hate to sound crass about a cemetery, but in truth that is what it looks most similar to. It is the bones randomly sticking out that make you realize the pile is something more.
After visiting the village and cemetery we made a short stop at the Pura Ulun Danu Temple which is surrounded by water except for the pathway leading up to it.
Then we had a late lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful view of Mount Batur.
Our final stop of the day was the Tegallalang Rice Fields. The fields were pretty cool. It must take a lot of work to design them the way they do. I was getting nervous just climbing down them because I was being such a baby and was having a hard time finding good spots to step on in all the steep areas. I felt dumb when I ended up sinking half of my shoe into the mud but felt better when I saw a girl with both shoes completely covered. At least then I knew I wasn’t the only one having trouble.
At this point we had planned for two days of hiring a driver and exploring outside of the city. But by the end of the day we had seen so many great things that we ended up not needing a second day. Tanah Lot may be the only thing I regret not seeing but I am still so happy with everything that I did get to see. You can’t see everything though sometimes I sure do have a problem with wanting to.