We had one day to explore Bali, while we off-gas before the marathon flight home. After two weeks of diving and switching between driving on the left and right side of the road, we were quite happy to have OK Divers arrange a guided tour for us.
First stop was at the Mother Temple (Besakih Temple). For better or worse tourists aren't allowed inside, so we took our time ambling the perimeter of the enormous compound with our guide, Madei.
We stopped over for lunch at one of the buffet restaurants perched over a cliff across from the Batur volcano and lake. Pretty dismal food, but excellent view.
Next stop, coffee plantation, where the famous Luwak (civet) coffee is produced. Here we sampled an assortment of teas and coffees, and frankly, the instant variety was much better than the freshly roasted and brewed Luwak coffee. We picked up a few things for ourselves and friends. We rounded up the day wandering the manicured rice terraces and touristy streets of Ubud.
As we headed back to Padang Bai in the evening, Chewie snapped a couple more shots of the ubiquitous terraced fields from the road:
All in all, a bit of a tourist trap itinerary, but we were happy enough.
Back at the dive op, we packed up for our long journey home. Some general thoughts:
- Balinese food shares quite a bit of similarity with Thai and Indian. The local curry has a slight turmericky bitterness to it. Instant ramen noodles + fresh boiled vegetables is a popular combination here, and I'm a big fan.
- Bali is intensely religious. There's a hindu temple around every corner and enormous statues of deities watch over traffic intersections. There's always some procession or offering going on.
- Resorts are waaay nice here. Spas and infinity pools are just cliché, and coco-thatched cabanas and private bungalows vie for choice spots in jungles and lagoons alike; it's easy to see how this is an international luxury travel destination. But! The main attraction spots are a bit excessively commercialized, and rest of Bali is as underdeveloped as any SEA country. It's no Shambhala, even if yoga spas claim so. I wish we explored a bit more outside the well trodden tracks, as some of our favorite photos are just ones of us wandering around.
Video from off-gassing day: