Upon checking into IZE Seminyak Hotel as featured in part 1, Mrs SOL and I decided to look for a tour to visit nearby town, Ubud, for our day 2 in Bali.
Ubud, pronounced as ‘Woo Boot’, unlike Seminyak and Kuta area, where they have pretty much urbanised to attract tourist, Ubud stays pretty much the same, offering its original Balinese taste. It is well known for its art and culture in where, you can find things like Batik painting, silver/ gold jewellery making and stone craving.
If you have watched Eat Pray Love, a film adaptation from the novel written by Elizabeth Gilbert, you will have a sneak peek on the beauty of Ubud. Eat Pray Love featured Julie Roberts ended up in Bali seeking a balance from meals, prayer and love. In the story, the cultural and spiritual atmosphere in Ubud allowed the protagonist in attaining a new peace in her heart.
Package Tour Selection
We decided to engage a driver for a day externally rather than from IZE Seminyak hotel as the price difference is huge! A day tour to Ubud cost us USD$30 per day (12 hours) versus a USD$80 (10 hours). I will provide the details of my driver below if you wish to engage his service. Overall, we felt that he is a nice and responsible driver.
When planning for a one-day trip to Ubud, try to set off early. A good time to start the day trip will be at 8 am.
1. Batik Painting Exhibits and Shop
As mentioned in Part 1, Bali’s traffic condition is really bad. It took us a painful 2 hours ride to reach our first stop! We were relieved as it gives us a temporary respite from the slow moving traffic.
Ok, let’s start talking about my first stop. It was a visit to a batik shop named Sari Amerta. First, we entered a pavilion, which they showcase some tools that are used in batik processing. We were approached by a shop attendant, and she roughly introduced to us the process.
The highlight of this place is not on the exhibits. Very little time was spent on explaining batik painting as they were eagerly waiting for us to spend in their shop which carries a wide range of batik painted items such as scarf, shirt, blouse and etc.
Overall, I felt that this place operates more like a shop than for educational purposes. Although a visit to this place will give you a general idea on batik processing, but you can give this place a miss unless you are really looking for batik painted stuffs.
2. Batuan Temple
Our next stop is to visit the Batuan Temple located in the middle of Batuan village, along the main road to Ubud.
Batuan Temple is a beauty to look at. With traditional Balinese architecture and ornaments around the temple, it provides tourist a true Balinese feel. Balinese temple is also known as Pura, is the place of worship for the followers of Balinese Hinduism.
From our driver, we get to know that majority of Bali people is Hinduism. This actually comes to me as a surprise as I thought like most of Muslim-majority Indonesian, they should be having Islam as their religion. Instead, I learned that about 83.5% of Bali’s population follows Balinese Hinduism.
They are very religious people, and will give their offering to their god twice a day (day and evening) in the form of a squarish box. Not only that, our driver joked that every house is like a temple, as in every house there will be an altar that they will pray to every day.
Once arrived at temple parking area, you will find yourself in an ancient building called Wantilan. It looks like an open hall which villagers use it for learning any Balinese dances. It is in this same hall that you will be wrapped up with ‘kamben’ (a traditional Balinese costume) with assistance from the locals before you are allowed to enter the temple. It is a must for you to wear ‘Balinese kamben’ to show your respect. To my fellow Singaporean readers, I would like to say it resembles a Sarong.
The admission is free. However, the local people will expect you to make a donation of any amount of your own wish to support the maintenance of the temple. There is a simple donation box provided for you to put in your donation followed by a book that you have to write your name and amount donated for recording purposes.
Batuan Temple like most temples in Bali are divided into various zones which are Nista Mandala (outer zone), Madya Mandala (Middle Zone) and Utama Mandala (the holy zone).
After crossing the road, enter the temple via the Candi Bentar, you will reach the first zone of the temple known as Nista Mandala aka the outer zone. This zone presents you an open field which can be used for religious dance performances, and provides additional space for preparations during religious festivals.
In this same zone, you will also find a high entrance Balinese Gate called the Kori Agung, which is flanked by the many guardian statues that give the gate its unique structure. The Kori Agung symbolised the gateway which is the exit and entry for the gods. Besides the Kori Agung, there will be two small doors for temples visitors to enter and exit to the temple’s Madya Mandalya aka middle zone.
Batuan temple’s Madya Mandala is spaciously designed. This second zone holds the facilities of the temples which you will get to see many small pavilions erected for various purposes such as meeting, performance and etc.
Mrs SOL managed to get her hands-on practice on Gangsa, a type of Balinese musical instrument, housed in one of the pavilions.
In the third zone, Utama Mandala, is the holiest zone in the temple. In there, there is a building called Padmasana which is a place of worship to Sang Hyang Widhi aka Acintya, the only one Bali Hindu’s God. Our visit time coincided with their offering time as we got to witness villagers doing their round of offering around the area.
Mrs SOL and I were given the opportunity to give our offering too. By following the instruction closely by the the local villagers, we were told that we could ask for a long lasting blissful marriage. 🙂
In conclusion, we felt that Batuan Temple is definitely worth a visit. For your visit to Ubud, I strongly recommend that you put it as one of the items in your itinerary.
3. Lumbung Sari – Coffee Plantation
After temple visiting, we were brought to a coffee plantation named Lumbung Sari, famous for its production of Luwak coffee.
The famous Luwak coffee or civet coffee, refers to coffee made from the seeds of coffee berries that prior been eaten and then defecated by the Asian Palm Civet. Luwak coffee is said to be premium coffee due its unique processing method.
Firstly, the civet being selective in their diet, they will only consumed the better coffee berries. This is followed by passing through its digestive system which aids in improving the flavor. Finally, the beans are then excreted out of its body through defecation.
Although I would say this place is like another “tourist trap” just like the batik processing shop we visited earlier, but the experience we had is unlike the previous as we really did enjoy ourselves. The tour guide was very informative in his explanation by giving a comprehensive overview of the Luwak Coffee and the other kind of plants they grow in their plantation.
I think the highlight is that we get to see a live Luwak. I don’t remember spotting one in the Singapore Zoo. It is quite an active cat and it makes the photographing of it a challenging task. After numerous NGs, the best picture I taken is shown below.
After a tour around the plantation, we were treated for free tea and coffee tasting session. In addition, we also opt to purchase a cup of Luwak coffee for Rp. 50,000 (~SGD5) to experience the taste. Do note that this purchase is optional, which means even without any purchase, you still can get to taste the other teas and coffees for free.
In conclusion, this place is worth a visit. Although Mrs SOL and I are not a big fan of coffee and tea, we still enjoyed the informative tour pretty much. Learning is always fun, isn’t it?
Let’s take a break…
Ok, I guess this part is getting a bit lengthy, and I have decided to break it into 2 parts.
So dear readers, if you have enjoyed what you read, please do stay tuned for the next update which I will share with you our delicious lunch at Sawah Indah followed by a visit to the Monkey Forest and lastly the beautiful sunset that we witness at Tanah Lot temple.
For ubud day trip 2 click here.