Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bali : Non-diving visits Part 2

We started our first day of non-diving with visits to several places, mainly shrines and temples starting with Pura Segara which is only about 5 minutes drive from our hotel, Sanur Paradise Plaza.

The shrine outside our hotel lobby

*Prayers offering*

We had the same driver for the rest of our trip which was good in a way, despite his english skills being somewhat restricted. Nevertheless, he was punctual and courteous.

Entrance to Pura Segara

Pura Segara is one of the oldest temples in the area and is located just next to the Sindhu Beach close to the Grand Bali Hotel.

@ The entrance

It was actually empty when we went to the shrine which was lovely. It felt really undisturbed, not commercialized and truly tranquil. Although not big and grand, it was probably the best shrine I've visited in Bali.

Entering into the main grounds

Love how colours stands out

It was this picture on my guide book that made me decide to visit this temple. And I'm glad they've put this picture in there.

Pura Segara is still retained in its original state and parts of the temple/shrine was made from corals.

Main altar, I think

More canang

Canang is readily seen anywhere in Bali, whether its outside a temple or shrine, shops or homes. Our diving group also always puts on in the ocean just before we leave for the deep ocean every single time we depart from the beach. It is truly an important part of the Balinese culture.

From there on, we walked over to the beach to have by the sea. Shaded by the trees, watching the sun streaming past the leaves, looking at the clear blue skies with the cool sea breeze was absolutely great!

Beach view from the entrance of Pura Segara

Where we were seated for lunch

If only I could lie here every day

We had lunch from one of the random restaurants along the beach (there was heaps of them!). Wasn't too bad the meal, and I suppose the surrounding environment is a BIG plus!

My lunch

From there on, we decided to move on to several other tourist attractions before moving to our new accommodation for the night which was in Seminyak.

First stop, Bali Museum.

RP 5,000 per person, it wasn't too bad. But we did end up hiring a guide as well just to give us a better clue of what's important to pay attention to as we were a little pushed for time. I don't think he cost too much either.

Main part of the museum

The guide was telling me about the three main gods in their culture, being Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. But I can't say for sure what else he told me as I could not remember any of it! This is what happens when I leave too much time between the trip and blogging. *sigh*

One of the gods

The above, I believe, is an important God in literature/studies/education unless my memory has totally gone haywired. Our guide did give me a very detailed explanation and tolerated all my too-many-questions but this is so bad that I can't remember them :(. So, most of this visit is just gonna be pictures.

One of the shrines in the museum

From courtyard to courtyard

Gorgeous statues

And the next picture is one that I definitely remember - the King's Bath!

Not so sure if it was that luxurious. I think I would actually not want to take a bath there... but maybe, during that time it was really clean and pretty. It was surprisingly deep, this bath. Almost like a little pool. Amazing...

Next stop was just next door - Pura Agung Jagatnatha.

One of the more important temples in Denpasar, they were preparing for a big day so there was heaps of preparation work going on in the temple which was fabulous news to me!

Pura Jagatnatha also means Temple of the Lord of the Universe, and was built in 1970s to worship Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, a supreme God of the Balinese Hindu religion.

Entrance to the temple

I'm not sure if there is an entry fee on daily basis but we were asked to leave donations (almost compulsory) on entry that day, but maybe because they were preparing for the next day? But the amount was at our discretion (sort of) so I suppose that was ok. And we paid on exit. But it did sort of feel forced.... and we paid half of what was requested. Not very nice of us, but there was no entrance fee stated and the amount they had wanted was actually quite a bit..... But anyway, they just nodded and took the money with a smile, so I guess that was okay.

Lots going on


Loved the colours

Throughout our trip in Bali, I noted that a lot of the sacred statues were wearing a cloth. I was later told by our driver that the cloth is called Poleng and is used to symbolize good and bad characters. It is usually worn on certain shrines called tugu, for temple guardian statues and in ceremonies.

The main part of the temple was the tall monument that sits in the middle of a square surrounded by statue guardians and a moat. That central area is sacred and can only be entered by a priest.

As far as I can remember, this was not a major festival (i.e a yearly even or something), it was either a fortnightly or full-moon event. I can't say for sure. But still, the preparations were plenty and it really looked like a grand event.

The main part of the temple


After that we were off to the Bali Market at the recommendation of our driver.

We sort of cheated and only went around part of the market as it was a true market. As in a true wet market with fish, pork, chicken, vegetable, whatever you can name. We were both quite tired and just went to have a quick look at the vegetable bits and bought some fruits.

No shortage of chillies here :)

Lady making canang

Lots of canang for sale

We probably did try and fit in too many things to do that day as after the market we went straight off to Tanah Pura Lot which is one of the famous landmarks in Bali. To be honest, we didn't really enjoy it - maybe we were too tired, or it was too humid and it had just rained. Plus the sun was not out, photos were crappy and there was no sunset to see!

So there's nothing much to say about the place and there are just gonna be pictures, despite them being terrible.

Sun on the wrong side :(

One of the shrines in the area?

What I remember enjoying in Tanah Lot was the grilled corns. It was absolutely yum! I think they coat it with a layer of chili or something that made it taste oh-so-good! :D

Master at work

Production in progress

The actual Pura in Tanah Lot is quite a distance from the car park. The place is so commercialized that you walk at least 400-500 metres of souvenir stalls before actually arriving at the shrine itself.

Handicrafts for sale


And more stalls...

By this time, we were both knackered and a little grouchy so we decided to head towards Seminyak and check in at our villa. A little rest before going out again for dinner.....

Entrance to our private villa

We stayed in Grania Bali which is located in Seminyak itself. A rather secluded villa, sort of in the middle of nowhere... but quiet, tranquil, serene and private. Just exactly what we needed.

Right on!!

Our little private pool

The lovely bedroom

It looks out to the pool!! *grin*

The little ornamental corner

Living hall

Everything about the place was perfect except for the hall. It was a little stuffy when we got in that day, even a little humid. In addition to that, they have the fridge and water dispenser right in the hall so that was not helping with the heat. We ended up turning the water dispenser off as it was quite warm!

The open style bathroom :)

And then it was time to head for dinner...

Bye bye villa... for now :)

We headed out to Jimbaran for dinner that night as I wanted to eat by the beach, on the sand facing the ocean having seafood :P

Dinner place

The grills

The whole place is so commercialized that it was almost impossible to see the sea. It wasn't just our restaurant, but tens and tens of restaurants around the area, with lines and lines of tables. Honestly too over populated.

But lucky us, we had the front line table facing the ocean. Absolutely blissful watching the waves as we were having dinner. Didn't have that the whole time though - had a bunch of school kids standing right in front of our table taking pictures, looking at the ocean, talking loudly... so not entertaining. But anyway, after they left, it was an absolute bliss :).

Our prime seats :D

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