Day 6: An early dolphin tour followed by another relaxing day at Puri Mangga before visiting the Besakih Temple in the evening.
Somehow, we got ourselves up at 5:15 a.m. to catch the dolphin cruise.
At the beach we found the guy who sold us the tour (150,000 rupiah/couple).
While waiting for others, we stood at this food stand lit by a scooter’s headlight and had some coffee and delicious banana rice cakes wrapped in banana leaf.
Soon we were ready to leave in the predawn darkness. I helped our driver push his boat into the water rolling off the logs that the boat lay on. Then we made our way out into the bay with the small noisy engine roaring away.
Minutes later the sun started rising, revealing countless tourist boats all out for the same reason. Our driver picked a good spot because moments later a dozen dolphins were breaching right next to us.
Then came the other boats and instead of slowing down near the dolphins, they just raced full speed to be exactly ON the spot that the dolphins were seen.
Seeing the horde of tourist boats racing at any disturbance of the water surface may have been more entertaining than the actual dolphins.
All in all it was a fun experience.
Back at the resort, we showered and went for breakfast. Then we explored Puri Mangga’s property grounds and relaxed by the pool.
Then we left and headed towards the temple. We tried google maps again but after hitting some tiny roads, we just decided to follow the main road and ask locals for directions.
We drove right up Mount Batur through the town Kintamani and hit a huge traffic jam and dense fog. The road turned into a single lane with two way traffic right next to the UNESCO site, Supreme Water Temple. As we were basically stopped Christina hopped out to get some local street food. They served a spicy soup and rice on a banana leaf bowl.
Mother Temple of Besakih
The trip took a lot longer than expected, but we eventually made it to the largest and most important Hindu temple of Bali. The design of the grounds have 22 temples arranged to lead believers up the holy mountain. Besakih is also nominated as a World Heritage Site.
At the bottom of the road guards collected for tickets (15,000 rupiah ea.) and parking (5,000 rupiah).
Right after we parked, we were hassled by the shop owners saying that we weren’t properly dressed and had to buy saris. I guess the beach towel I wrapped around my waist didn’t count…
So I bought a sari and rented an umbrella as it was raining.
Before we entered a “guardian” came to check our tickets and offer to guide us. No thanks.
At the main temple and there were many guards waiting to give tours for tips. They claimed we couldn’t enter without a guard because it was for people praying only and that there was a ceremony in session. So I said we were going up to pray.
“No you’re not. Where is your offering?”
“In my heart”, I placed my hand over my chest with a smile.
“No, that’s not good enough!”
Such a shame that the atmosphere was really ruined by all the fake guides trying to rip off the tourists. We walked up to see and then back down because the guide came up with us. He said a ceremony was taking place.
We eventually went with a guide who seemed to actually work there. We found the temple completely deserted. There was no ceremony, just a couple of stray dogs.
At the top there was a priest waiting. I told him I wanted to pray for my friend’s marriage and union. He took me through the process. He put an offering of flowers on the altar, flowers behind my ears, rice on my forehead and holy water splashed in my hair. I was given a spoon full of holy water to drink. It tasted like lemon grass. Then I prayed in silence for my friends and completed ceremony.
The drive back was quicker, but also more difficult as it was foggy and the sun had set. Back in Lovina, we stopped at Le Jaenzan for dinner. This local fine-dining restaurant is known for its cooking classes. They provided good service with an attention to detail. The smoked salmon sashimi starter just made my mouth water again as I typed this.
After a fulfilling meal, we returned to the resort for our last evening in Bali.