After a 5 hour ferry ride we arrived back on Bali. Initially we had decided to cross the island immediately for Java, but there was one place more place that we wanted to go to: Bedugul.
Located in northern Bali, Bedugul lies inside a volcanic crater on the shore of Lake Bratan and is home to the famous Pura Ulan Danu Bratan Water Temple, built in 1663. Since Lake Bratan is a major headwater for irrigation on Bali, Pura Ulan Danu Bratan is used to give offerings to the Balinese-Hindu water goddess Dewi Danu. We went early in the morning, so we were able to explore the entire temple complex with almost no one around. Our only companion was a very friendly dog who appeared to live there.
Back at our hotel, we were trying to arrange transport across Bali to the ferry terminal when we met Wayan. Wayan and his family own a farm near the hotel and he supplies orchids to the hotels in town. We struck up a conversation with him and he offered to take us to the ferry as well as stop at several sights along the way. He also brought us to the local botanical garden, Eka Karya Botanic Garden, and gave us directions to visit his farm afterwards.
Eka Karya Botanic Garden is huge (around 400 acres) and houses around 2,100 species of plants, mostly native to eastern Indonesia. It is one of four official national botanical gardens of Indonesia. We spent several hours perusing the gardens, mostly by ourselves since it is the low season in Bali. Afterwards we walked to Wayan’s farm where he showed us his orchid greenhouses and his family served us coffee and fried jack fruit (delicious!).
At 6am the next morning, Wayan picked us up and drove us to a viewpoint to watch the sunrise over nearby lakes Buyan and Tamblingan. The fog and clouds prevented a colorful sunrise but the view was still incredible.
After sunrise, we drove further north to a small village where we hired a local guide. We then trekked through rice fields, descended down steep hillsides and forded numerous streams to reach several large waterfalls in the gorge below.
Halfway back to the top, we met the village leader who guided us the rest of the way back, showing us the local fruit and coffee trees. As we heard a rustling in a nearby tree, he pointed out a chameleon. Dan and I had never seen one in the wild before, and the village leader explained to us the the chameleon was starting to change from green to brown on his feet as it moved onto the tree bark. At the car, the he cut open young coconuts for us to drink from and offered us durian since we said we had yet to try this strange fruit. The first thing you notice about durian is the smell, which is stinky and pervades everything around it. The fruit tastes slightly sweet and much better than it smells, but I think that might have been our last tasting of it…
After a quick ride from the village, we arrived at Air Panas Banjar, a sacred hot springs surrounded by jungle. Here we soaked in the sulfuric water springs and cleansed our bodies after our long hike.
Our final stop before we hit the main road that would take us to the ferry on west coast of Bali, was the Buddhist monastery of Vihara Brahma Arama, the largest Buddhist temple in Bali.
After an great day full of sights and adventure with Wayan, we said our goodbyes to him and Bali and headed west to Java, our final stop in Indonesia.