Bali Part 3 – Temple Run in Ubud

Happy Monday!  As I mentioned in my previous Bali post, Ubud was one of my favorite places in Bali.  When I retire in about 45 years, I could definitely see myself living there long-term.  Ubud was a great mix of culture and chill, health food/spa treatment/yoga/vacation-y things.  As for the culture aspect, my travel companions & I rented motorbikes and spent about 2 days running around around & seeing a couple different temples.  Hindu temples in Bali were really cool, definitely different from the Buddhist temples I’ve grown used to seeing in Thailand.  So here’s a short review of the temples we visited.

Goa Gajah

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The standard “can you take this so I can send it to my mom” pose.

Goa Gajah means “elephant cave,” and you’ve probably seen pictures of this if you’ve looked at Bali on Pinterest at all.  The cave is part of a small complex with pretty bathing pools and other religious structures.  It costs 15,000 rupiah for the entrance fee, and they provide you with a sarong to wrap around your waist.  Something interesting about temples in Bali is that women are actually prohibited from entering if they’re on their period, not that anyone asks.

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Goa Gajah also is pretty aside from the elephant cave.  There’s pretty little gardens that you can walk around in.  They’re so lush and green that they look like they belong in a Lord of the Rings movie.

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This temple was conveniently located about 10 minutes from our hostel, right in the heart of Ubud.

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Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

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With regards to this temple and the next temple listed, I’d recommend hiring a car to take you around for a day to see them.  Driving up to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan was especially treacherous, and even in the backseat of a motorbike I was on the verge of an anxiety attack.  You literally have to drive up a small mountain, and people in Indonesia drive insane.  Plus, it was about a 40-minute drive from our hostel, which is a long time to be sitting on a hard motorbike seat.

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This temple was absolutely gorgeous; despite the rainy weather we ran into.  It’s at the top of a mountain perched on a lake, and being such it’s actually kind of cold for Bali.  Its dedicated to a Hindu water goddess, and apparently the land its near is supposed to be very fertile from the lake.  This makes sense, as driving up the mountain we saw various strawberry and other fruit farms.

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Pura Tirta Empul

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This temple is also a water temple, but of a different kind.  It’s famous for it’s Hindu healing bath, that allegedly has holy spring water, where people go for ritual purification.  We saw both tourists and locals alike getting cleansed in the water.  For a mere 40,000 rupiah(includes sarong rental), you too can get cleansed.

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Personally, I chose not to get into the bath, as I was tired and food poisoning was starting to hit me at this point in Bali.  However, I was able to get awesome pictures of my friends getting purified.  They had to raise their hands to each spout, bath in it, and also drink from it.

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On our 40-minute ride back from Pura Tirta Empul, disaster struck.  And by disaster I mean rainy season came in hot with a full-blown cats & dogs thunderstorm, of course while we were out on little country roads with no cafes/restaurants/touristy places to hide in.  After 10 minutes of hiding in a little shack thing, we did manage to find a tiny little warung (traditional Indonesian restaurant), and had some of the best food that we had in Indonesia.  It was Padang, an Indonesian style of eating where you’re served rice,  pick what you want to go with it, and pay per item.  I got some kind of full-fish that was cooked, a hard boiled egg tomato thing, and eggplant, and it was all fantastic.  It made getting stuck in a thunderstorm in the middle of nowhere almost worth it.

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