Our third day in Bali was all about going up and up and up. We went from our hotel which is quite near a beach and up to a mountain. This is quite off the beaten track since what Bali’s famous for are its beaches. But hey, being anything but mainstream can actually take you to discover wonders you might never experience if you’re a mainstream person. 🙂
After a wonderful breakfast at Mbok Limbok (which great food is actually quite famous already), we started our journey up by going through Celuk and Batubulan area. Back in 2005 when I went there, Celuk was famous for its silver and Batubulan for its stone carvings. Apparently, nothing has changed about that.
We visited a store that sells silver and gold jewelry and home decor called Sari Dewi. What’s quite special about this store is that they not only show you the product, but they show you in the process of actually making it. I’ve never seen anyone make gold and silver jewelry out of scrap before so yes, I was interested.
After that we got around the store accompanied by a private, personal guide of the store. The part where they sell the product is huge! I didn’t buy anything myself since I find the prices not exactly reasonable, but my sister did buy a lovely set of earrings. By luck, you’d get a good guide who might give you a nice discount, especially if you’re a domestic visitor. But having your own personal guide isn’t exactly endearing because it feels like they’re listening to your every word and you won’t exactly have the heart to tell them how unreasonable their prices are since they treat you so nicely. But well… it is part of their job description so, yeah….
Our journey continued to Goa Gajah (or in English : Elephant Cave), which is believed to be the place where Patih Gajah Mada of Majapahit Kingdom died. And how did he die? According to our guide, he died because he fell in love with a woman. So he had special powers, but these powers include a condition : he mustn’t be tempted and fall in love with a woman – ever. What a tough life he must have led.
Anyway, I couldn’t enter the proximity of the cave circumstantially so feel free to enjoy these photos taken by my dad.
As my dad and sister were exploring the cave, my mom and I waited outside at the market area. Sometimes, sitting around and watching people is quite a favorite thing for me to do – especially in a place such as that market area. I watched people come and go, shopkeepers trying to sell their goods, and even local men constructing a small building. It was quite fascinating. The air was cool with some rain patting the ground, but we got shelter from a nice tree. There were women, taking offerings to this gigantic tree which is believed to be guarded by spirits, burning incense and praying, taking time off their shop-keeping duties to pray. A limping dog roamed around until it found shelter under the roof of someone’s shop. A photographer got out his long telescope-ish lens and tried to capture the sellers and shoppers bargaining.
There were lots of people there. From hippies to conservative-looking people. From backpackers to annoying Indonesian tourists. And for me, the more variety of people to watch, the more I like that place and the more I can write about. Plus the air was so sweet there. And again, that moment was one of the moments I’d like to freeze.
But our journey had to continue. We kept moving up and up until we stopped by Oka’s Coffee Plantation. Now this place is just one of those places that is absolutely worth going off the usual path. You get to sample local coffee and tea! Unlimited and for free! Who wouldn’t like that?
We sampled ginseng coffee, ginger tea, Bali coffee, lemongrass tea, and pure Bali hot cocoa. Imagine yourself in the mountains, with that cool breeze and all, sipping warm coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for as much as you can drink, for free, listening to all these nice and comical people joke around and you’re laughing along with them. Well, I don’t mean to make you envious, but that was really how it was like in that place. Oh, I can’t get that hot chocolate out of my mind…
(Note : there is only one thing you’d have to pay to sample which is kopi luwak. You’d have to pay about 50.ooo Rupiahs to sample it, but since it really came from a real luwak – seriously, I saw the luwak – I think it’d be worth it.)
If you love the drinks so much, you can actually take them home. No, this time it’s not for free. You’re gonna have to spend some (totally worth it) cash to take the taste home. There were also beauty products such as bath salt, shower cream, facial mask, and massage oil sold there. Oh, and there were also orange chocolate.
After we quenched our thirst and got our shopping bags filled, we finally spotted what we should have spotted since it was so vital : the traditional coffee kitchen.
This middle-aged lady was so fun to hang with and…
… she even let me try stirring the coffee beans above firewood stove!
That lady is actually a reminder for me to keep being radiant and happy and forever young. Don’t let that grey hair fool you, she’s so young at heart. She’s also so awesome, she could know that I know how to cook just by watching how my hands move when I stir the beans. You really should meet her.
After having a good drink and meeting all these cool people, it’s time to head to the peak of the journey : Mount Batur. I truly loved the view. It might sound like one of those cliche kindergarten drawings, but there was literally a lake in between two mountains.
Those fluffy clouds that look like white cotton candy…
Anyway, Mount Batur really had great views. But I find the people trying to sell stuff there really annoying. I mean, the moment you walk out of the car, these people would literally surround you like bees who saw nectar. They would offer things from tacky jewelry to clothes to tattoos to you. My tip is that if they start to bug you, say no politely, but at the same time without hesitation. Don’t be soft when it comes to their aggressiveness. Yes, I know it’s hard not to feel some pity for them, it’s what they gotta do to get money to stay alive anyway. As harshly as I said no to them, a small part of me still feels sorry for them. But if you say no hesitantly, they won’t stop bugging you. So just pick how you want your visit to Mount Batur to be, bugged but without any regrets for being harsh to people or enjoyable but being quite a mean person.
But seriously, those sellers can be so annoying, they could ruin your mood. There were two that kept following my mom around to sell some T-shirts. Like, no matter where my mom went around the mountain, they followed and kept asking “you will buy right?” repeatedly, it became annoying for me too. I actually admire my mom’s patience because I lose my temper so easily. There was also one that tried to sell me jewelry if I’m not mistaken. I was scaling my camera, trying to focus the image when this lady turned up out of the blue and sort of disturbed me and I just said “NO!” to her quite harshly, I must say. I really hate it when people distract me when I’m focused on something. But I’m still feeling quite guilty to her until now.
After quite a mood-destructing trip to Mount Batur and getting a tattoo (temporary, of course), we headed back down to Ubud for a meal at Babi Guling Bu Oka. Yes, the famous one.
Pigs, pigs everywhere! (Photos courtesy of my dad)
The meal was tasty by the way. We actually dined in the branch at Bu Oka’s house! It was so quiet there and it was so homey. My suggestion is that if you want to try Bu Oka’s famous pork, go to this branch.
We went back to our hotel and continued by exploring Legian’s art market at night, which is right across our hotel! If you walk further to the left of JOCS Hotel, you’ll find more places to buy cool clothes, especially for girls. And you can actually bargain to find the right price!
We finally wrapped up the night… after we’ve each got new clothes that is. 😉