While staying in WakaGangga resort we were offered to explore Bali in a unique way. I was super excited about seeing more of this amazing island and so we decided to take a little trip around South West Bali.
In the morning we were picked up at our villa by the lovely and experienced driver “Putu”, who has been driving since 1995. We jumped into their brand new Land Rover and set off to the lush, green lands of rice paddies, temples and tiny villages.
Two hours later, we arrived at our first stop, which was a natural stone quarry hidden in the jungle. Here villagers hand cut the soft volcanic stone out of a riverbed and shape it into bricks for their traditional houses, walls and temples.
The stone quarry was empty as everyone was celebrating Banyu Pinaruh, a day of cleansing. During this day, villagers go to the sea, sacred waterfalls or river spots and offer prayers to Saraswati (Goddes of knowledge), and then rinse themselves in that water in the morning.
There was only one lady on duty, who was 67 years old, and yet she was still carrying those heavy stones on her head to sell them by the road. Whenever I tried to take a photo of her, she stopped and smiled, which made me feel really guilty as I cannot imagine my grandma carrying those heavy rocks and posing for photos.
Now, my life goal is to be as fit as her when I’m in her age – actually I would be happy to be that fit even now 😀
Picnic with a local family
Climbing back into our Land Rover, we were taken to a little village to have a picnic with a local family. We were greeted with huge smiles and offered tea, coffee and some traditional homemade snacks. The farm house host’s mother made traditional pancakes which were served with shredded coconut and drizzled with coconut molasses. I love these coconut pancakes!
After coffee and coconut pancakes we ended our picnic with a stroll through the rice paddies around the village, where he explained the process of farming in Bali.
UNESCO Jutiluwih rice terrace
Our next stop was the one I was excited about the most. The rice terraces of Jutiluwih, which is on the list of UNESCO world heritage. It has been well appointed as one of UNESCO World Heritage since the site has been able to maintain the local cultural heritage in form of water irrigation system managed traditionally called SUBAK.
The subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. This philosophy was born of the cultural exchange between Bali and India over the past 2,000 years and has shaped the landscape of Bali.
Lunch in the rainforest
All that wandering around the rice paddies made us pretty hungry and so it was time for a lunch stop in the rainforest. A beautiful bamboo restaurant appeared in the middle of the jungle, where a buffet with traditional Balinese mountain food was served. I think we tried a bit of everything, but we loved the satay the most! We ate it all and the new guests were left without it. Sorry guys! Couldn’t help it!
Temple Pura Batukaru
Our final stop was at the temple Pura Batukaru, which is located on the slopes of Mount Batukaru, Bali’s second-highest volcano. This temple is one of nine kayangan jagat (directional temples) meant to protect Bali from evil spirits and from natural disasters. It was built in the 11th century and it is dedicated to the God of Mount Batukaru called “Mahadewa”.
I spent my time observing locals coming to the temple to attend the cleansing ceremony, dressed in traditional clothes and carrying their offerings and food. I waited for other tourists to leave and then I sat quietly to take the peaceful spiritual atmosphere in. What an experience!
Slowly, it was getting dark and so it was time to jump into the car and head back to our villa. Thank so much to our guide Putu, who told us so much about the Balinese culture and their traditions and thank you to WakaLandCruise for this experience!