UP IN THE CLOUDS, DOWN IN THE DITCH
On a visit to Bali in 2019 we decided to take a Bali Nature one day tour. We chose the ‘The
Eternal Pathway to East Bali’ and it certainly lived up to its name. It was escorted by Desi, a
guide who I’d met on the first day and we were surprised to find that we were the only ones
to take the trip other than her and her driver Nengah.
This is a day that I think I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It started at the hotel where
Deb and I were dressed up in traditional Balinese Temple costumes prior to commencing
the tour. This was necessary in order for us to enter the sacred Hindu temple on Mount
Seraya, our first major stop. On the way we came across a family of monkeys who were very
grateful for a feed of peanuts that our driver, Nengah was able to provide.
The spectacular coastal road of eastern Bali is an adventure in its own right with tall
mountains on one side and stunning cliffs and raw ocean views on the other. Climbing in the
cloud at Puralempuyang, the temple is situated just below Mount Seraya. The lower temple
offers a stunning view of Mount Agung through a unique split gate. Mount Agung is an
active volcano and its most recent eruption was late November 2017 causing thousands to
evacuate disrupting air travel and creating environmental damage from the ash. Because we
were dressed appropriately, we were able access the higher temple whereupon we were
invited by Desi to participate in a Hindu prayer ceremony usually performed three times a
day by the followers of the religion. A great spiritual and peaceful experience.
On the way down the mountain we were invited by Desi to check out a rice paddy. We
didn’t realise however that we were actually going to have to walk all the way down
through the rice field. The rice fields are a bit like a maze with a mix of grass and concrete
walking tracks which we had to navigate by choosing which ones would take our weight.
Which brings me to the part where I lost my footing and ended up head first in one of the
irrigation ditches. A moment earlier we had seen a dead snake. Desi pointed out that there
were probably some live ones around and with that in mind I got myself out of that drain
double quick. I ended up however with several cuts and bruises. Without any bandages to
stop the bleeding Desi resorted to mulching up some leaves from a nearby tree which did
the trick until we caught up with Nengah and the first aid kit.
A quick walk across the road to the Water Palace at Tirta Gangga took us to a lovely
peaceful spot where we were able to walk around the gardens and have a swim in one of
the pools if we so wished. I decided not to as I had already had plenty of water for one day.
Our lunch at the traditional Balinese restaurant within the complex was superb and was
further heightened by a great panoramic view of the beautiful garden.
The best thing about this tour is the fact than whenever the guide sees something
interesting along the way they will stop the car and allow you to explore that passion.
The last stop on the tour was a honey centre. There we were introduced to the black bee
which as the suggests produces black honey. I’m sure it is an acquired taste but like all good
things that don’t taste great it’s probably very good for you.
Back at our hotel room we were just freshening up for dinner when we felt a strong gust of
wind rattle the heavy doors leading into our bathroom suite. It seemed strange considering
we didn’t have the balcony door open and soon came to the realisation that we were
experiencing an earthquake. It lasted only a short time and did no damage. A quick word to
one of the staff members confirmed what we had gone through. We were later to find out
that it was a 5.4 category earthquake centred off shore near the island of Lombok.