After the buffet breakfast and having spoken to the reception here, we soon found we could hire a taxi driver for the day, rather than get to one destination. So after having a quick think of where to go for the whole day, we picked a 6-hour trip to a number of temples in the local-ish area.
The first destination on the list was the Goa Gajah temple or Elephant Cave. The main attraction on this temple site was the Elephant cave itself, which depicts a demon, and you enter the cave through its mouth. Inside the cave was the fragmented remains of a Lingam, a phallic symbol of the Hindu god, Shiva. Traditionally in Bali, you have to wear a Sarong during your visits to temples, and our driver for the day provided myself and Abbie with one for the duration of our time on this trip. If you do not have a Sarong for your visit, there are plenty of opportunities to purchase one, or you can borrow one for the visit to the temple.
The rest of the site was great, a small river flowing through it, the pool filled with green moss/algae and the fantastic flowers everywhere. It was such a beautiful place, but it was a shame we did not have a lot of time here, as we knew we had plenty of other places to explore today.
More information about the Goa Gajah can be found on the Lonely Planet site: Here
Gunung Kawi was the second location on today’s journey around Bali. When the taxi dropped us off in the middle of what seemed like a residential area, I was completely puzzled as to how a temple was meant to be around here. But to my surprise, at the end of the road, was a winding path leading down into the rice terraces and temple. The winding path down was lined with small market style shops which can be found everywhere here, selling everything from cold drinks and coconuts to sarongs and wooden elephant carvings. So no excuses for not bringing back any souvenirs from your trip here!
Once we got to the bottom of the endless stairs, we soon realized that this temple complex was huge! Gunung Kawi is most recognized for the 10 shrines carved into the surrounding sheer rock faces. The shrines must be around just short of 10 meters tall, very impressive! Multiple layers and bridges make up this temple, giving you plenty to look at on your visit. It was a fantastic experience walking up the paths so you are above the buildings below to see the women who frequent the temple all sitting together creating the boxes for the offerings to the gods.
Third stop along today’s journey in Bali was at the legendary Tirta Empul temple. This temple is very well known, and well photographed in Bali. If you have enough time you can actually bathe in the holy spring water fountain, all you need to do is change into the required sarong and proceed with the bathing ritual. The bathing ritual area was packed full of people taking part, even the fish in the fountain did not mind the crowd of people too. There is a specific path or way to complete the bathing ritual, but everyone just queued up and completed each fountain
The Tegalanalang rice terrace was the final stop in the journey today but as the better weather started to fade away, the rain began. One of the must-see sights of Bali, as recommended by thousands of blogs, bloggers and visitors were rained off. From a slight shower, it soon became torrential, so having taken shelter in a nearby cafe we ordered food and drink hoping for the weather to blow over. Smiling Coffee ended up being our destination for the whole duration here at Tegalangalang rice terrace, it may seem like a bit of a wasted trip, but the cafe had a viewing area of the rice terraces below. Maybe not a bad decision in the end.
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