Day 3 (Part 1) – Tegalalang, Kintamani & Pura Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring, BaliOctober 21, 2009 | 14,936 views
continued from Bali Day 2 (Part 2) – Sunset @ Tanah Lot, and TJ’s Mexican Restaurant ….
Of Batik and Silver, in Batubulan and Mas (Art Villages)
Day 3 started off with a slight detour to some of Bali’s famous art villages, namely Batubulan where we witnessed the production of ‘batik’ and also a town famous for its art of stone-carving, and Barong dance performances. Mas village on the other hand, is popular for its production of silver (and gold) accessories, but leaning more towards a destination commonly listed in a tour guide’s itinerary, rather than a backpacker’s.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace – A most soothing view from the repetitive waves of greens …..
From the district of Gianyar, we proceeded to Tegalalang Rice Terrace, on the way to Kintamani. The brief stopover was sufficient for us to camwhore to a considerable extent, and had it not for the ultra-hot weather, we would have gladly parked our derrieres on the greens and rolled away, Bollywood style. Or maybe not.
Wooden huts lining the terrace on multiple levels, overlooking the paddy plantations
Tegalalang in its essence, is a simple & small village, with the main road lined by merely two rows of shops selling wooden carvings on both sides of the road. Some cafes offer requiem for the tired souls, for the journey from Ubud to Kintamani may take its toll on unseasoned travelers, with the bumpy trunk road being one of the bane of long distance traveling.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace – One can choose to trek all the way down to the pit of the terrace, for a closer look at the paddy plants
Mount Batur on the left, and Mount Agung on the right. With Lake Batur faintly recognizable from a distance
After a 40 minutes stop at Tegalalang, we proceeded to Kintamani for buffet lunch, overlooking the magnificient Mount Batur(a still active volcano), and Lake Batur, the largest crater lake on Bali island. Entrance to Kintamani (yeah, there’s a guard stop before you reach the restaurants along the cliff) is an arbitrary IDR3500 per person. Seemingly, the price is NOT fixed, and the guards charge accordingly, with regards to the number of people traveling in the vehicle. Anyone else can confirm this?
One can even choose to trek all the way to the central crater of Mount Batur, and there are several tour packages out there for the initiated ones, but we omitted this for our schedule’s really tight. Probably in the next visit, IF there ever will be one.
Buffet lunch @ Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant, Kintamani
Okay, Motormouth’s rambling time again. In Kintamani, there are quite a number of buffet restaurants built by the cliff, overlooking the mountains and the lake. Everyone’s cashing in on the view; Milking the cow dry, so to speak. But prior to departure, we searched through some forums, blogs and websites, and most recommended Grand Puncak Sari for the buffet is priced at a most reasonable (ok, comparatively reasonable’s the word here) IDR60,000 / RM22 / USD6.30 per person. That is of course, before the addition of 21% (!!!) service and government tax, one of the highest in all of Bali, with other eateries charging from 10-15% on average.
How nice if there was a minor explosion there and then ….. to justify the price paid?
But there were accounts of dragging the driver along, and asking his help to bargain (yes, you CAN bargain!) for a much lower rate. And I tried, but to no avail. Komang Triawan, our driver for the trip was far from interested to assist, and probably would rather have us getting conned and all. Sadistic fella …..
And so we waltzed in, choosing the best seats available (try to come early, before 12pm, else risk being seated inside the restaurant instead of by the terrains. Which of course, was the main purpose of the lunch in Kintamani anyway.
Since the menu did NOT state the price of the buffet lunch, we enquired about the price per person, still smiley-faces and all. Only to be told that we’ll be charged at IDR70,000 / RM25.55 /USD7.30 per person, before taxes. With taxes, the price would be inflated to an almost fine-dining price of RM30++ per person! (Okay, maybe not fine dining but still …..) Do take note that the buffet only consists of mediocre, everyday fare such as Fried Rice, Fried Noodles, Satay, Crackers, Curries and the likes. Nothing fancy, and certainly no carved leg of lamb, nor beef steak or pork chops. No seafood either, and don’t think you can even taste Babi Guling here.
And so, we put our bargaining skills to the test, with no assistance from the driver (who went into MIA mode the instant we alighted from the microbus). Only to be rudely entertained …. wait, she was as entertaining as a block of wood, so I’d use rudely treated instead. And to imagine we paid 21% (!!!!!) service and government tax for the almost despicable level of service.
To cut a long story short (hehe, as if), we succeeded in lowering the price from an astronomical IDR70,000 per person to the intended price of IDR60,000. But of course, with taxes, it came to about IDR72,600 / RM26.50 / USD7.60 per person. HAH! That sour-faced b*tch instantly reminded us of the Hanoi’s equally annoying guard outside of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Cocoa, coffee beans and vanilla beans @ Coffee Farm
From Kintamani we descended a short distance to Coffee Farm, where we sampled some of the coffee beverages of Bali, ginger tea, and even cocoa drink. They sell other products such as massage oil in various pleasant scents as well.
Guess what’s the Beans on the top right? Hint? They’re NOT your average coffee beans.
This was where we were introduced to the infamous Kopi Luwak, hands down the MOST expensive coffee beans in the world. Even a small cup for sampling cost IDR100,000 / RM36.50 / USD10 (!!!). Needless to say, we were wondering how some beans that have passed through a civet cat’s digestive system can fetch such an exorbitant price tag!
The compound with a pond populated with koi fish, leading to Pura Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring
One of the most famous temple in Bali, Pura Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring
On the way to Ubud, we went to Tirta Empul Temple, also known as Tampak Siring Temple, about an hour or so from Ubud. Entrance fee per person is at IDR 6000 / RM2.20 / USD 0.60.
The Balinese believe in the healing power of the holy water from the land in Pura Tirta Empul
Don a Sarong, and dance away …. ? (FOC, but donation’s expected)
In most of the temples we visited in Bali, we were required to wear decently, that means no shorts, or mini skirts. If you’re in long pants or jeans, that’s fine. Slippers and sandals are permissible though. At Pura Tirta Empul, we were donned in colourful ‘sarong’, and we donated about IDR2000 /RM 0.73 / USD0.20 each in exchange. My advice? Wear your shorts, or if you’re in jeans, you can still opt to wear those sarongs on top of your long pants. For I highly doubt it’s possible you’ll be wearing like the locals anywhere else.
The inner compound of Pura Tirta Empul – Notice that in the lower left picture, where the Balinese were praying, the shrine is NOT opened to the tourists
A beautiful pond growing with moss …..
The trading grounds of Pura Tirta Empul – Souvenirs galore everywhere ….
Jati 3 Bungalows in Ubud – Our accomodation for the next three days ……
We were fatigued, battered and getting tanned day by day ….. So imagine our delight when checking into our hotel in Ubud, named Jati 3 on Monkey Forest Road for an hour or so of relaxation, before departing to our designated restaurant for dinner.
NEXT POST : More info on Jati 3, and Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner) – hands down the most famous restaurant in Ubud, and probably all of Bali ……