Day 13-15: Kintamani to Jimbaran, Bali

Pura Dalem (temple of death) Negara Panyucian.

After a lovely chilled-out time at a beach resort in Pemuteran, we drove east to Kintamani. On our way we stopped at a couple of outstanding temples. Bali has thousands of temples, but these ones were outstanding because they were both temples of death (pura dalem) and that means they’re over the top scary crazy. We loved them.

Pura Dalem Negara Panyucian

How did they even make these?! They’re amazing.

Pura Dalem Purwa

We thought Pura Dalem Negara Panyucian was impressive, until we came to the colourful Pura Dalem Purwa. You can tell by the sign that this temple of death means serious business.

This is what greeted us at the entrance to the temple.
This is her gruesome male counterpart on the other side. Such a handsome devil…
After you pass the gatekeepers, you get here.
These two kept watch at a side entrance.
Parting shot: 360 degrees of skull-crushing death.

Kintamani and Mt Batur

The view of Mt Batur from our hostel.

We went to Kintamani with the intention of climbing Mt Batur. Well actually, only Paul was going to climb it. Elina wasn’t up for the 2-3 hour schlep uphill starting at 3am (to catch the sunrise). And I’d already ‘done’ Batur in 1999 (20 years ago!) when Paul and I backpacked through SE Asia for 6 months. And nope, I wasn’t going to do it again knowing I wasn’t as fit as I was at 27. Paul, on the other hand, had no such worries.

We stayed here for the night while Paul went up Mt Batur at 3am to make it for sunrise.
From the top: “Sunrise from near the top of Mt Batur. I couldn’t get my flash to work. You can see Mt Abang in the foreground, across the lake, and immediately behind it is Mt Agung with wisps of smoke coming out of its crater.”

During the ’99 trip we’d also experienced a tremor hours before we started trekking up the volcano. Mt Batur is still an active volcano with the most recent eruption in 2000. The lava from the 1968 eruption can be seen all around the volcano and near its lake.

All those dark rock-like lumps are lava from the 1968 eruption.
These crude shelters made of lava rocks are ‘home’ for some of the poorer folk in the area. Most houses in Bali are made of cement bricks or woven bamboo.

Kintamani to Tulamben

From Kintamani, we headed east to the coastal village of Tulamben so Paul could dive to the wreck of the USAT Liberty, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine’s torpedo in 1942.

This was a village we passed through on our way to Tulamben. The road was very narrow!
Sometimes the road was wide but with many potholes.
This roadside fruit shop had such a variety of fruit and veg!
The soil near the volcano and its lake is obviously quite fertile.
This is the village we had just passed through. Getting up this high on a steep and narrow road was scary and pushed my anxiety way, way up – and I wasn’t even the one driving!
After we got to the top, Paul and Elina walked down and took a pic of this hairpin turn. Luckily we didn’t have to squeeze past this big truck on our way up!
Here’s another angle of that hairpin turn, looking down. Yep, it was that steep!
Although the really steep bit was behind us, the road continued to be a roller coaster. There were also deep ditches on either side of the road, and at times a sheer drop. Oh and kids walking home from school who sometimes weren’t paying attention to vehicles on the road. Did I already tell you my anxiety was at max?
Here’s a video to show how narrow and steep the roads were. All mopeds, get out of our way!
Of course, the scenery was beautiful.
And on every bit of land, rice or other crops were growing, even way up high on hills.

Tulamben to Jimbaran

We stayed at Tulamben, a small village, so Paul could do the wreck dive. But as it was low season, it was a bit of a ghost town. The low season here is also rainy season and boy does it dump rain here. It’s actually similar to Sydney during a thunderstorm. The next morning we set off to Jimbaran. The drive wasn’t precarious and the scenery pastoral, but we did have to cover quite a bit of ground – about 100km.

At about the halfway point, we saw this tiny but very picturesque spot to stop for bakso ayam (chicken ball soup).
Wowsers! The view from the bakso ayam stall.
Elina squatting Asian-style and ruminating on which crispy snack to get. Actually, she was in quiet contemplation while looking out at the gorgeous landscape.
Here it is again at a different angle.
And here’s the bakso ayam. A very simple meal available everywhere in Bali courtesy of ubiquitous bakso ayam motorbike vendors.
On the road again. A very busy road with both cars and mopeds weaving in and out of traffic. If you’ve been to SE Asia, you’ll know that road rules aren’t really adhered to here.
Like the rule about everyone wearing a helmet… Yep, this guy has got two sleeping kids in the front. I saw him check to make sure his daughter in the back wasn’t falling asleep.
This is a Balinese roundabout. The statues tell the story of the Ramayana, I believe. So impressive! The roundabouts in Sydney are so boring in comparison.
I’m rather frightened by this depiction of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.
The toll road near Denpasar airport.

Grounded by Garuda

We finally made it to Jimbaran, which is near Denpasar airport. We wanted to be close as we had a 7.30am flight from Bali to Flores in 2 days. But we weren’t even sure if we’d be able to fly out. While we were in Kintamani, I got an email from Garuda Airlines saying our flight to Flores was cancelled. There was no explanation why or how we could reschedule. I tried to call the number at the bottom of the email but I wasn’t able to get through to customer service.

So as soon as we got to our hotel, we dropped off our bags went straight to the Garuda office at Denpasar airport. They told us there wasn’t another flight to Flores for the foreseeable future. Um, what? We had booked accommodation and a flight out of Flores to Java so we’d be in a pickle if we couldn’t fly there.

But I’d done my homework: I’d checked the Garuda website earlier and knew that, even thought our flight was cancelled, the flight the day before ours was still running. But we’d have to fly out tomorrow morning, which meant Paul and Elina wouldn’t be able to go to Waterbom (a super-duper water park with slides).

Luckily, we were able to get on the flight to Flores the next morning. Elina took the disappointment of not going to Waterbom in stride, even though she had really been looking forward to it for days. What a trooper 🙂 This kid deserves more ice cream.