Offerings at the temple of Lempuyang. Amed and Amlapura region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
Offerings at the temple of Lempuyang. Amed and Amlapura region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

Balinese ride: rice fields, temples and markets

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Sana, one of the young guys who work at the little hotel Wawa Wewe IIThe first time I was in Bali, I was asked to go for a motorcycle ride in the Amed region (north-east of Bali). On the program of this ride: rice fields, temples, markets and... cockfighting (yes, I went back to a gallinaceous arena, like in the Phillippines!).

Rice fields and market

So here we go, under a gray sky, to the heights. For the first time since my arrival, it is a little less beautiful. But it's not bad for driving.

It's amazing, just dig a few miles inland to find yourself in a greener, more humid area. With pretty rice terraces, bits of fresh and lush forest.

Rice fields in the Amed region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
Rice fields in the Amed region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
Rice fields in the Amed region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
Rice fields in the Amed region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

First small stop and detour, to begin with, on the road to Tulamben, to fill up at the petrol station (the litre of petrol, here, is at the moment at 6 000 IDR, or about 0.42 euro cents, which is huge for the Indonesians; they too have seen the prices at the pump soaring, there have even been big demonstrations in Jakarta because of the price of petrol, in short...).

Second small stop at the market of Culik (pronounce "Tchoulik") where I buy a sash-sash, to go with the sarong that I will have to wear to the temple. The people are very nice as always and laugh a lot when I draw my camera to point it at their stalls.

At the Culik market. (Amed, Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
At the Culik market. (Amed, Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

Prayer at Pura Lempuyang

We stop first at Pura Lempuyang, actually made up of two temples, a little one with just a sacred pond and a big one with huge stairs adorned with dragons.

On a clear day, the view must be spectacular. Unfortunately, with all these clouds, difficult to appreciate the panorama at its true value.

We knot the sarongs. Then I imitate Sana, who buys offerings, and lights the sticks of incense.

Once seated in a suit in front of the altar, with our hands facing the sky, we must take a flower three times from another small offering basket at our feet, make a small circular gesture, then place the petals in our hair, then behind both ears. After that, pause, hands joined, for a prayer. Then we are sprinkled with holy water, by the priest on duty, all dressed in white.

We finish the prayer by having water poured on our hands, which we must drink or pretend to drink, three times, then sticking grains of rice on the forehead and the temples.

Even if it doesn't mean much to me, I really enjoyed this little time of prayer in this great, almost deserted temple. On the way, we met only Balinese in sarong, with their offerings. Not a single pale face.

Offerings at the temple of Lempuyang. Amed and Amlapura region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
Offerings at the temple of Lempuyang. Amed and Amlapura region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

Lunch and shopping in Amlapura

Lunch break at the marketAmlapura (26 000 Indonesian rupees for two, less than 2 €!). I also take this opportunity to change my euros at a better rate here, because it's the big city of the region. Here I am again a millionaire in rupees!

Small shopping stop at the market, then the big supermarket of the corner, Harry'swhere I'll spend a few tens of thousands of rupees (actually, 5 €) for a jacket and a pair of new flip-flops...

At the Amlapura market, Lady Di cloned in dozens of copies serves as a model. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
At the Amlapura market, Lady Di cloned in dozens of copies serves as a model. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

Sana takes the opportunity to pick up girls in the car park, with an unstoppable tactic: direct exchange of mobile phone numbers with the promise of SMS.

At the top of his 21 years old, my young guide explains to me in his approximate English that his friends are making fun of him because he got dumped by his previous chick... So he has to find another one, quickly!

The palace of Tirta Gangga

The favorite attraction of the kids: the Tirta Gangga fish pond. (Amlapura Region, Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
The kids' favourite attraction: the fish pond in Tirta Gangga. (Amlapura Region, Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

We hit the road again and then, a few kilometres away, visit the water palace of Ujung, built around 1920 by the last king of Karangasem.

There are few people, just a few Asian tourists and locals. It is an amazing building by the sea, in the middle of a large park with pretty lotus basins, soothing.

Then we stop at this other palace, not far from there, built by the same king, much more frequented and better known, the palace of Tirta Gangga (photo opposite).

I already knew him, having visited him during a previous stay in Bali. It's a bit of the must-see site in the area.

The place, certainly very touristy, is really pretty and rather pleasant. I am delighted to rediscover it. I particularly like the big pool filled with huge fish, which we cross by jumping from slab to slab.

You can cross the Tirta Gangga Basin from slab to slab (Amlapura Region, Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
You can cross the Tirta Gangga Basin from slab to slab (Amlapura Region, Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

A little cockfighting?

Finally, Sana can hardly believe me when I tell her that Filipinos, like Balinese, really appreciate cockfights and organize lots of them. And they bet too? Yes, yes, yes!

Same scenario as in Siquijor, Philippines (read : The roosters are fighting on SundayFebruary 2008 article). All men around the small clay arena and everyone who gets excited at the time of the bets.

Sana put a few thousand rupees, which he will obviously lose ... He is disappointed. He thought that my presence would bring him luck.

It's time to make bets in the cockfighting arena near Ujung. Amed and Amlapura region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
It's time to make bets in the cockfighting arena near Ujung. Amed and Amlapura region. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

Stroll along the coastal road

The next day, I leave to explore alone on my motorcycle (I say "motorcycle" because everyone calls it "motorcycle" because everyone calls it "motorcycle"). "motorbike" here, but it's actually the equivalent of a scooter) the beautiful little coastal road to the south. At each turn, from the top of a promontory, you discover a new cove of black sand, with its little boats lined up, and the sea as far as the eye can see... It's beautiful, it's beautiful!

I then wander far beyond the village of Aas, well past the scrap metal lighthouse, far down the road, somewhere between Seraya and Ujung.

Wherever I go, I am still the Queen of England, greeted and enthusiastically challenged by the locals. "Hello, mister! Hello, mister! » (In Indonesia they give "mister" to all foreigners, both men and women). I distribute small hand gestures to the right and left, as I know how to do so well, and I continue on my way.

Just before a rickety bridge, a vague imitation of the Kwaï river bridge, I choose the small road on the left: it goes down towards the "pantai"...on the beach, a guy says to me and I ask him for directions. And I discover there, below a tiny village full of goats, cows and children, a village where nobody speaks English, a beautiful, perfect beach. An arc of black sand, real sand, without any stones in it, surrounded by small cliffs.

There are the fishing boats, and a busy family emptying the nets, watching me curiously. The exchange will be limited, given the small extent of my Bahasa Indonesiathe Indonesian language. The teenager who puts the net in the big bag held by two small children speaks as bad English as I do Indonesian.

Batteries dead... no pictures!

I take a long break on this beautiful beach, which is called Pantai Soan or Sohang, I don't know. I transcribe approximately the name given to me by the teenager of the fishing family... This beautiful beach, from where we can see both the islands of Lombok and the two Nusa (Lembongan and Penida), well, I can't even show it to you! I ran out of batteries!

The spare batteries I took were unloaded. And in the area, not a warung (small shop) had no batteries other than those damn local ABC batteries, not strong enough for my camera.

Never mind. If one day you follow me like this splendid little coastal road, fork off the yellow scrap bridge, follow the bad road with little speed, hurry to the children, do not crush the hens and stop at height a flight of steps on your right. It's here.

Updated on August 19, 2009 : discover pictures of this beautiful beach (Pantai Songean, his real name) in this article, posted one year later:
→ Bali: they found "my" beach again

The beautiful Songean Beach, south of Amed, Bali. (Photo: Gregory Batardon)
The beautiful Songean Beach, south of Amed, in the east of Bali. (Photo by Grégory Batardon)


  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

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  1. Hi Corinne

    It is always a pleasure to read you, your stories remind me of my stays in Bali, the morning ritual on the doorstep, natural and generous smiles, etc.
    Me, I just returned from Malaysia where I followed your advice since I took the dive with my little level 1 in Sipadan (Point Baracuda, South Point and Mabul), they accepted me phew and it was AWESOME :-).

    Thanks again and see you soon 😉 8)

    Bye @ +

  2. @ Framac:

    Ah, Sipadan! I'm really happy that you were able to dive there. It is indeed a fantastic site. Which remains, by far, my most impressive memory of diving ... I see that you are equally enthusiastic.

    But beware, when you dip your palms Sipadan, it sets the bar very high ... It becomes a little "diver gate" afterwards, after seeing so many things, a profusion (sharks, turtles, barracudas, and all weird creatures of Mabul).

    Thank you for your little message anyway. Tomorrow, I'm going to Nusa Lembogan, a small island south of Bali. If I'm lucky, I should be able to cross some manta rays, and if I'm varnished, maybe even one or two moonfish, the famous molas-molas that make fantasies of the local divers ...

    See you soon!

  3. Hi Corinne

    It's true that after Sipadan, difficult to see less, but one of my guides in Borneo taught me one thing, remains humble in the face of what nature gives us. I did not seek to see, I let nature offer me his show and I was filled with elephants, orangutang, proboscis, hornbill, etc.

    One of the divers in Sipadan, advised me Raja Ampat (Indonesia) even better than Sipadan in his words, or maybe the Philipines, it is true that your stories make me already travel ;-)

    Well, I wish you that the manta rays come to greet you accompanied by one or two molas-molas :-) 😉 😀

    See you soon! 8)

  4. @ Framac:

    Yes, the nature does not finish to reserve beautiful surprises. The Philippines is very cool for the "little one", and I was also told about Raja Ampat ... For a future trip, maybe?

    The mantas came, this morning, to the aptly named Manta Point in Lembogan 😀
    But no mola-molas at the rendezvous in Crystal Bay ... Too bad, maybe another time?


  5. Hi Corinne,

    Wow ❗

    You must have had a great time with the mantas 🙄

    I take this opportunity to congratulate you for your blog, it is really nice 🙂 , it makes me want to create one for my future travels.

    If you have any advice to give me I'm a taker 😉 (if you have a moment)

    8) 😀

  6. @ Framac:

    Oh yes, the mantas are always magical ... I hope to return to see them by the end of my stay.

    Thank you for your compliments for the blog. It's a real pleasure to be able to share my impressions, share my meetings, almost live. And then, it also allows me to keep track of my travels, it's a way of logbook for me.

    As for the presentation, I customized it from a template, via the WordPress blogging platform, which suits me very well. But there are many other possibilities. If you need advice on the matter, no problem, my return to France (at the end of the month). Send me a note to make me think.

    See you soon!

  7. I was in BALI from 9 to 26 May and came home dazzled by this beautiful country, the kindness of the Balinese and 10 beautiful dives where we had the chance to cross the "Mola-Mola", white tip sharks, fish toads, fish leaves etc ............ Mantas, hippocampi + Thousands of other fish and TOMBANT => REVERSANTS! ! ! ! ........................ ..Has quickly forget the inconvenience of 36H travel and 6H jet lag! ! ! ! I do not know how to add photos (among the 1208 terrestrial and 300 underwater) that might be of interest to other travelers? ? ? ! ! !