Uluwatu: temples, treks, and tails

After my surfing lessons and my beautiful dinner by the beach, I had a couple days before my next outing to relax at my villa and absorb all that was happening. I was finally starting to feel less anxious and more comfortable with how my trip was going. I Facetimed my friends, called my mom, worked on some drawings and read some of my books. A few more people had come and gone from the villa I was at and I managed to chat with a few of them. Some of the best days of my trip were spent doing nothing while sitting in the sun or under the shade of the common area looking out onto rice fields.

When it came to the night before my temple trip, I was excited and had planned on getting up extra early so that I could take my time getting down there, go for breakfast, and then take a stroll along the beach to Riski’s bar. Now, when it came to the actual morning, naturally, I overslept. Not by much, but by enough where I probably wasn’t going to be able to get breakfast. Oh well… I got my stuff together and started walking. I started walking. And I started to get lost. I ended up being the most lost I had been during my entire trip, and thought to myself, of course, this happens when I’m actually supposed to be somewhere at a certain time. Even so, I stumbled upon some very lovely, quaint residential areas. Caged exotic birds outside every front door and vegetation growing over the sides of houses. I am very grateful for getting lost so often, though, at the time, I was not happy.

Another two and a half hours later and I was finally at the main strip before the beach. I got to my regular breakfast spot and sadly had to keep going. When I had finally gotten to the bar, all sweaty and overheated, Riski told me it was still going to be a while, and essentially I rushed for no reason. Also, we wouldn’t be taking his scooter because he thinks he might still be drunk from last night. He has a friend who is a driver and he would be taking us now. It ended up being the best way to do it because it was exceptionally hot that day. We waited a while and then finally I was on my way to the temple.

 

Our first stop, before the temple, was Dreamland Beach. I must say, it’s called that for a reason. Our driver (my apologies, as I’ve forgotten his name) dropped us off at the parking lot above the beach, then we would take a shuttle down to another parking lot just outside the beach, then walk. We got down to the lot and began our descent. We had to walk through a small boardwalk of shops and convenience stores which was one of my favorite parts of the entire beach. Once on the actual sand, I was blown away. I had never in my life seen water that was such a crisp blue surrounded by the whitest sand. I stuck my feet in for a while and enjoyed the breeze. Riski and I sat and chatted on a rock for a little bit, then decided to trek up the hill overlooking the beach. It was one of the most amazing views I have been blessed with seeing.

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As we continued on to Uluwatu Temple, I was witnessing a part of Bali I hadn’t seen before. There was more of a dry desert terrain. It was very cool being able to visit different parts of Bali and getting to see all of the different elements that the island has to offer. When we got to the temple we got our sarongs and paid for our tickets. Immediately we were approached by some funny looking monkeys. I found out then that Riski has a fear of monkeys. I kind of laughed at him because he seemed legitimately afraid and did not want to get near them, whereas myself, curious and naive, wanted to get as close as I could to get some good shots.  I learned rather quickly that monkeys are indeed terrifying. And big. I hadn’t seen a real-life monkey besides the small ones at the zoo, so this was new territory for me. I kept my distance and didn’t have any foul encounters with them, except when one jolted toward me while I was trying to take a picture, which startled me and I somewhat hopped away without realizing a bunch of local guides were watching and were now laughing at me.

 

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Besides all the monkey business at the temple, it was a stunning place. Perched on top of a cliff, it felt as though you were at the edge of the world. The actual structures were beautiful and so precisely crafted. It truly was an honor being able to visit.

 

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On our way home, we stopped off at Uluwatu Beach which was spectacular. Once again, on top of a cliff, it starts with many shops and restaurant and slowly (though steeply) declines into rows and rows of stairs angled almost completely vertical. As I went down each step I dreaded more and more my return back up to the van. Overall, it was more than worth the trek. We got to the bottom of the stairs, finally, and walked out into a cave-like fortress made out of giant boulders. When you emerged from the boulders you were welcomed by a small sandy beach and miles of ocean. The water was the neatest thing because there were patches of rocks all throughout the shallow parts making quite large pools.  There would be people standing in the water up to their ankles, then right beside them, a person would be neck-deep. Lot’s of surfers going out and coming in, as it’s one of the best beaches in Bali for intermediate surfing. Not quite my level yet. Inside the smaller tide pools were all sorts of small exotic fish and tiny cranky crabs. We walked around the beach for a while, observed the marine life and just enjoyed the moment. After that, it was time for our trek back up, which was not nearly as bad as expected. We made it to the van, then went for some dinner, and I was on my way home. While on our way, I had noticed my phone was very much dead and I had absolutely no clue where the hell my villa was. I swear the travel gods were on my side that day ’cause I managed to guide our driver directly to my villa with no problems, all from memory. All those hours of walking finally had paid off.

 

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All in all, I would highly recommend seeing all of these places if you are planning a trip to Bali. If you’re alone, there are always a  bunch of local guides that can take you. Just make sure they’re legit. Go to Sky Bar at Legian Beach and Riski will be the best help you can get!

Thanks all for reading and stay tuned for next Bali post about Tanah Lot Temple!

 

-d.l

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