BALINESE GETAWAY #2: KITCHEN HANDS REUNION
As serendipity seems to be a serious part of my trip, I realise that Clémentine, my friend from Te Anau, will be in Bali at the same time as me. She’s having a stopover in Bali before going back to France. I’m more than thrilled to see her again, considering that I’d cried like a baby when she left Te Anau last January.
We’re going to spend a whole week together and we both are terribly excited to see as much as we can of the Island of Gods.
After a well-deserved breakfast, just after our dolphin cruise in Lovina (read about it here), Clémentine and myself hit the road towards Ubud.
BRAHMAVIHARA ARAMA BUDDHIST MONASTERY
Our first stop will be a Buddhist monastery. My first one since I landed in Bali, mostly because the temples we’ve seen so far are all Hindu ones. The reason is quite simple, for 93% of the population adheres to Balinese Hinduism.
Situated about 10km south-west of Lovina, the monastery was built in 1970 and that’s the largest Buddhist monastery of the island. It looks a bit like the Borobudur Temple in the Java Island. Brahmavihara Arama is a compilation of three words: Brahma, Vihara, and Arama which means ‘a place for self-cultivation’.
The upside-down bells are actually stûpas, some pagodas, which means they are shrines with either some Buddha relics inside either like that’s the case here, they symbolise the Buddhist ideology. The place is inviting us to meditate, look for calm. The perfect place to practice some Zazen again. I used to attend zazen class before my travels, that’s a Japanese-Buddhist kind of meditation. It helped me a lot when my life was all about stress and fears. I regret I hadn’t discovered the Brahmavihara Arama monastery sooner: they offer meditation retreats.
You should also be aware that the temple is no tourist attraction. People are coming from all Asia for meditation retreats, for worshipping and praying. No need to say, you’d better stay quiet and be respectful as people might be praying in the different rooms. The entrance is free but donations are greatly appreciated.
Some unexpected little music inside one of the rooms:
HOT SPRINGS BANJAR
Not really far from that monastery, there are some Hot Springs, natural volcanic water at 37°C. Sulphur is good for rheumatic pains and helps to relax. I already had this kind of experience in Rotorua, New Zealand, where I had the opportunity to go to some Hot Springs and even take a mud bath.
Here, there are three pools, one small with 4 meters high water jet, two which are connected one to another with water flowing out the huge mouths of 8 nâga sculpted heads. Nâga is a kind of snake (it means actually ‘snake’ in the Sanskrit language), a mystical Hinduist figure, associated with water and keeper of the treasures of Nature. The 4 meters high water jet feels awesome on my shoulders. It even tickles after a while.
I think I would call this place Heaven on earth if it wasn’t that hot. I’d rather have a bath in Hot Springs while it’s cold, snowing or night time. Here, I’m just sweating my face in or out of the water!
TANAH BARAK WATERFALLS
Next stop is in Munduk, on top of a hill/mountain. A path is meandering down to the waterfalls in the jungle to lead us to the Tanah Barak Waterfalls. The water is incredibly refreshing after our 37°C bath at the Hot Springs! It’s such a joy to feel this ice-cold water on our feet and the fresh water sprays upon our faces!
Here, the butterflies aren’t too fierce and just land on us, casually, fly away and then come back. It’s just amazing to see them that close to us.
PURA ULUN DANU BERATAN
Our last stop before arriving in Ubud is the temple you can find on every 50 000 Rps bill! The Pura Ulun Danu Beratan. It’s weird for I imagined the structure much more gigantic. It doesn’t change its beauty, though. The temple is just superb, on its little island, and the surrounding landscape can rival New Zealand ones. Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is a water temple, on the shores of Beratan Lake which used to be the main irrigation source of Bali. Built in 1663, the temple was erected to celebrate Dewi Danu, the Hinduist goddess of water.
Although, the place is crowded with tourists and selfie sticks. Some folks are even taking pictures of us. We don’t really get the reason why, but we got caught up into it. Those young folks are mainly students on a school trip, and they’re coming from Java Island. They want to practice their English with us as well as getting some ‘souvenir’ pictures with European girls. As we’re such nice girls and they’re telling us we’re pretty (hello, I’m blushing), we play fools on the pictures and get to talk a little bit with them. It’s funny how they’re embarrassed, they keep on apologising of their bad English (which is not that bad, I mean I’m French so I know how bad English sounds like) and asking us how much we appreciate Bali.
After those funny encounters, Clémentine and I just lie down on the grass, finally let alone, apart from the crowds, enjoying this quite amazing view over the lake. Clouds are playing hide and seek with the mountains, and I’m secretly wishing to stay here for a while, getting a sweet nap close to my dear friend.
This morning we woke up at 5:45 for the dolphin cruise. It seems like ages ago. It has been a long and tiring day making our way back to Ubud. I know Clémentine is leaving soon, and I still have to figure out what to do for my last week on this surprising island. Our driver is waiting. It’s time to leave this incredible scenery.
By the way, we definitely have to do something about our Hobbit-like dirty feet.
LET’S GO THERE! :
BRAHMAVIHARA ARAMA BUDDHIST MONASTERY, Banjar Tegeha, Buleleng Sub-District, Buleleng Regency – Don’t forget to wear a sarong!
HOT SPRINGS BANJAR, Jalan Banjar, Banjar
MUNDUK (TANAH BARAK) WATERFALLS, Munduk
TEMPLE PURA ULUN DANU BERATAN, Desa Candikuning, Kec. Baturiti, Kab. Tabanan