Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Open Road

Every now and then you just have to escape the daily chaos that is Kuta and get out on the road. I can't think of a better way to to do this than hopping on my bike and heading into the hills. Imagine, only 50 km from my front door you can sit by the lake and contemplate the effects of mass tourism on Bali. Welcome to Puraluhur Beratan, in Bedugul!

Its nice and cool here.

There is even a beringan (banyan) tree to sit under. This tree has to be the mother of all beringan. According to the temple guards it is about 150 years old. I'm sure there are lots here that are older but this one was easiest to get a photo of. These trees are huge!

You can get boat rides on the lake but this runs a bit on the pricey side - the outriggers look OK but the powerboats look a little dodgy to me. The restaurant was another shock. 24,000 Rp for the warmest orange juice in Bali. Glad I didn't try the food. There are plenty of restaurants on the way back to Kuta that offer good food at much more reasonable prices. Most come with rice terrace views.

A roadside warung just past Mengwi. Lunch here will run you 3000-5000 Rp.

After a few hours driving here I needed a break.
Finally just a note on driving here. The idea of defensive driving has yet to be fully embraced by the Balinese. Expect to be cut off, to see oncoming traffic in your lane, to see vehicles without brake lights, to see vehicles turning without signalling, to see vehicles entering the carriageway without checking for traffic, and so on. Use of the Bali Brake (the horn) is mandatory at intersections, approaching traffic, and passing. This can be stressful at first, but you will either to learn to live with it or stay off the roads. I try to take my time and usually try to stay either well ahead or well behind other vehicles. Night driving should be avoided as much as possible. If you have the patience for it, driving yourself is a much easier and cheaper way to see this island.
Hope you enjoyed the tour.


tikno said...

This post makes my mind fly back to Bali, where I ever lived there for 9 years. Precisely at Sesetan road, Denpasar.

I never forget when I felt "Nyepi" in Bali. No lights, no fire, no noisy, could not go to anywhere. Finally, I just stay at home, keep silence and contemplate myself.

pj said...

Hi Tikno.
Nice of you to drop in! What I like here is that you can easily get lost if only for an hour or two. Sooner or later you will hit water.
Nyepi is my reading day.

therry said...

Around 90% of my students come from Bali - I wonder how they can leave that beautiful island and choose to work on a cruise ship instead... true you get to travel around the world for free but you won't be on holiday. Quite the contrary, it will be a very stressful and somewhat confined environment to work in.

pj said...

Hi T
Hmm if you have so many students from Bali why not move the school here hehe...I suppose the plan of these cruise ship workers may be to save up enough money to buy a small piece of land or start their own business. Compared with what they can earn here in Bali working on a cruise ship may be an attractive short cut for some to get that business or dream home.

therry said...

Well most of them get tempted by the $$$ salary :)