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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A flat tire, a long ride ... and Danau Bratan Lakeside Temple (Bali)

After almost two full days of rest and relaxation in Amed we were ready to continue exploring. We followed the road along the coast finding it in surprisingly good condition. However, within an hour of starting out a flat tire forced us to stop on the side of the road! Since we were between villages we decided the best course of action would be for me to stay with the bike and Dennis to go in search of the next scooter repair shop. We'd noticed they occur at regular intervals.

I waited patiently; several people passed by with curious stares but no-one stopped to see if I needed any assistance. In the meantime, after talking to three or four people, Dennis came across a very nice man who immediately jumped in to help when he heard the problem. In an effort to reduce the weight on our flat tire, he rode our bike to the next repair shop and let us ride his, with our luggage. We were exceptionally grateful for the ride.

Two kilometers down the road is not that far unless you're pushing a scooter with a flat tire! Our kind local had driven our bike very slowly and carefully, with the utmost consideration to possible further damage. He also set us up with the mechanic at the repair shop, where no English was spoken. Luckily for us it was just the inner tube that needed to be replaced; a one hour delay and we were on our way again! Thanks to the friendly Balinese, this experience was a good one.

We stopped to take a good look at this rambutan tree, the first we've ever seen. We'd been buying clusters of rambutans from the supermarket so it was great to see them growing wild.

The coastal road doesn't have many hotels or restaurants. We passed several villages offering nothing but small roadside snack shacks. After three hours on the bike plus the one hour delay we were starving! Finally, the nice ocean-view restaurant we'd been expecting to see, then just hoping to see, came into view. We breezed past it, screeched to a halt and burned a 'U'y'.

We were getting close to a big city and the restaurant was part of a small boutique hotel. The meal was excellent! At the last minute I remembered to take a photo, too late for all my chicken satays to be on the plate. This is 'Mie Goreng' which basically means fried noodles. You can choose to add chicken, pork or shrimp. The over-hard fried egg on top is a typical addition to this dish.

During our late lunch we decided just to make it a really long travel day, skipping the extra night on the coast that we'd sort of planned on. We weren't very impressed with the northeast coast and the kind of accommodation we were looking for appeared severely limited. After arriving in the big city of Singaraja we turned inland to the town of Bedugul and Lake Bratan.

Going up the mountain was a nightmare of traffic on a tiny, twisty, potholed road. It took us more than an hour to travel 30km's (about 19 miles). By the time we reached the top we were ready to call it a day. Thank goodness that was behind us! The light fading, we checked out a couple of home stays and decided on one that was a little less personal than our previous choices.

There were perhaps thirty rooms for rent and we looked at about five different rooms before settling on one. They all felt damp and smelled musty though it was clear the building was new. The weather had lots to do with it; the fog had rolled in and there was a decided chill in the air, typical for this time of year. We went to a restaurant nearby for dinner and turned in early.

In the end it was a good stay, IDR150,000/night (about US$12.50/night) including private bathroom with lovely hot shower and a simple breakfast for two. No wi-fi. In the morning it felt cool, raining on and off. We donned our rain ponchos and set off to see Pura Ulun Danau Bratan or simply, the Lakeside Temple. This is my favorite temple in Bali; it has such a magical mystical quality.

The flowers were plentiful and beautiful! Bali's National Botanical Garden is in this area but we didn't want to spend a lot of time walking in the rain so we gave it a miss.

These people spilled out of the main temple after receiving a blessing from a priest.

Temple detail - Dennis strikes a pose in his rain poncho.

This photo is especially for Oliver!

Walking around the temple grounds was very peaceful, albeit a little wet.

At the vendor stalls outside the temple we found some dried jack fruit for sale. Of course, we couldn't resist trying some. Delicious! Jack fruit trees seem to grow everywhere here and now we really can't wait to try the fresh fruit! We think it may be related to the Durian. Please refer to the Gunung Kawi post for a picture of Dennis next to a Jack fruit tree.

Note on current exchange rate: US$1.00 is about Indonesian Rupiah IDR12,160 is about ZAR10.60


  1. Sounds like a wonderful place. Exotic, beautiful, and friendly people. That was very sweet of the man to help you and Dennis. How are you feeling now? Better, I hope.

    1. Thanks for asking, Sandy. My recovery has had its ups and downs; my tooth didn't heal as expected and I'll soon be making my fifth visit to the dentist! I'm sincerely hoping it will be my last! Luckily our travel plans have been flexible and life is too good for any complaints!