November 16, 2016

2016 Asia - Bali (Day 7)

This was our last day on Bali. After getting back to the hotel at 10:30pm, it was hard to get up at 5:30am. However, we wanted to get to Pura Besakih early.

I've read that locals pester tourists a lot at Pura Besakih. Some local would ask tourists to pay for a guide fee, only to be asked yet again by another local further along for a guide fee. Other locals would insist that you are required to make donations with money going into their own pocket. There were also a lot of people selling all kinds of good. In the past few years, the locals with these poor business practices had made the temple unpopular with many tourists, but large groups of tourists still arrive by buses each day.

We arrived at Pura Besakih just before 7:30pm. It was so early that the shop that sells entrance tickets wasn't even open. Gusti provided us sarongs and sashes so that we didn't have to rent them, and he taught us how to put them on.

The tranquil and peaceful setting was exactly what we had hoped for. It was definitely worth waking up early for it.

The temple complex was divided into different sections. Different class worship and build pagodas in separate areas. However, Pura Besakih has a main area where all people regardless of class can worship. Balinese were celebrating a religious event that occurred once every 50 years. The temple areas were prepared for this event.

While the temple was quiet during our visit, in another hour these stairs would be full of locals and tourists alike.

After an hour at Pura Besakih, we headed north toward Mount Batur. While we were not hiking Mount Batur, we still wanted to see the volcano. It was cloudy with light rain when we arrived. With a little patience, we waited for the clouds to move through and eventually thinned enough for a brief glimpse of the summit. After this picture, the summit was covered again. It was rainy season after all and it was a good decision not to hike the volcano.

We had time remaining on our tour, so Gusti took us to Taman Kerta Gosa, the Balinese royal court of justice, in Klungkung. Although the ground was idyllic now, Gusti told us that convicts received severe punishments for their crimes such as death sentences for the crime of theft. During the Dutch colonial conquest of Bali, the palace at Klungkung was destroyed. The royal count was part of the palace complex and it was the only part of the palace that was not destroyed.

Gusti drove us back to the hotel by 11am just in time for lunch. My sister and I were eagerly waiting for the delicious meal to come. Bebek betutu (bebek = duck) is a traditional ceremonial Balinese dish. In this version of the dish, our duck was stuffed with a spice mix consisted of lemongrass, shallots, garlic, tumeric, ginger, wild ginger, chili peppers, shrimp paste and peanuts. The duck was then slow roasted for hours.

Once there was a bebek betutu.

It met two hungry travelers.

The end.

I highly recommend it!

After our meal, we took our time to pack and check out of the hotel. It was another two hours to the airport and my sister and I passed out in the car due to food coma. We caught our flight on time without any issue and arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm. We were still full after the huge lunch meal and didn't even bother to grab a bit before we went to bed.

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