Bali and Langkawi 20 February until 10 March 2012

Bugbug Valley Beach at Bali, Indonesia and the Frangipani Resort & Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia.

Bali (20 until 27 February)

It was our intention to make some short trips at Bali, but it didn’t work out well. Within a period of 2½ weeks we just made to trips. The rest of our holiday we just relaxed at the Bugbug Valley beach park, see pictures, reading books, have a swim in the new swimming pool, have breakfast and diner at Warung Pantai, the park restaurant and just enjoyed doing nothing. One evening we had the pleasure to enjoy a beautiful Balinese dance performance, see pictures, of the Balinese organization Widyasantih, see website.

Loving our situation at the Bugbug Valley Beach park, see pictures, we still made 2 trips, one to surroundings of Ubud and Tabanan, where we visit several temples and terrace rice fields.

Day trip 1, surroundings of Ubud

Central Bali is the most picturesque area of the entire island with its hills, deep river gorges, stunning rice fields, numerous temples and the cultural treat of Ubud.

Yeh Puluh temple, see pictures, a small bathing place near the rice fields of Goa Gajah, has a 25x2 meter relief dating from the 14th century. The figures showing mixed between the fairy tales of wayang ( puppet show ) and like a common people. If we see the area of Pejeng which is at the same slope of the river and close-by area, it is rich with ancient stone carvings, and also wayang figure is found near the village of Pejeng preserved at a temple called " Arjuna Metapa ", one of the figure is prince of Mahabharata story.

Gunung Kawi, temple complex, see pictures, has holy shrines from the 11th century, which are carved in the rocky hills. The monuments are shaped in relief on a solid rock hill, commonly called "candi". There are shaped like burial towers, telling identity of the royal personages honored here. Those are mostly found all over Central and East Java.
As the sources from any historical books about Bali and related to the information given by the temple's care taker, Ketut Raharja suggested that Those five 'candi' in the main group were built for King Udayana, his Javanese queen Gunapriya, his concubine, his illustrious eldest son Airlangga who ruled over East Java, and his youngest son Anak Wungsu. Reigning over Bali from AD 1050 to 1077, Anak Wungsu is believed to have given up his kingdom to become a religious hermit.

Goa Gajah, the elephant cave, where you have to pass many tourist shops before you are able to visit the site,see pictures. Goa gajah dates from the 11th century or even earlier. The cave is about 13 m deep and has several alcoves, used as sleeping places in ancient times by ascetics. In the cave at one site a statue from Ganesha with four arms can be seen and at the other site three lingams. The cave is seen as a Hindu-Buddhist character that nowadays determines the Balinese culture. Beside the cave a 1000 year old statue of Hariti is found, a Buddhist Goddess and demon, first known as children eater and afterwards as protector for the children. Big nymphs push water, to Balinese known as source of live, from there bellies in the holy baths.

Tirta Empul is a holy spring temple and dates from legendary times. In popular folklore, God Indra made it when he pierced the earth to create a spring of Amerta, the elixir of immortality, with which was able to defeat the atheist demon-king Maya Denawa. The waters here are believed to have magic curative powers. Every year people journey from all over Bali to purify themselves in the clear pools, see pictures. After leaving a small offering to the deity of spring, men and women go either side to bath. On the full moon of the fourth month each year, the villagers from nearby village take sacred stone to be cleansed at Tirta Empul. The weathered inscription on the stone was deciphered and it gave the date of Tirta Empul's foundation as 962 AD and described the cleansing ceremony. For a thousand years these villagers had been abiding by this tradition without having been aware of the meaning incised on the stone. In 1969 the temple at Tampaksiring was completely renovated. Many of the shrines were built anew and painted in bright colors.

The ricefields of Tegallalang are best to be seen in the morning. To bad we were not present at the right moment of the day, but you can get a little impression, see pictures.

Day trip 2, surroundings of Tabanan

In earlier times more important then Denpasar and even know still a very busy city where especially the Chinese have their business. The district of Tabanan is one of the most thriving districts of Bali. In the 17th century Tabanan was a independent, powerful kingdom. One of the most important sites of Bali, Pura Tanah Lot, is easy to be reached from Tabanan. This time we did not visit this site, but it can easily be a finishing part of such a day trip like this.

Pura Taman Ayun, is situated in Mengwi and was until 1891 the centre of the powerful kingdom since the beginning of the 17th century, 1634, at the time at the rule of the first Raja of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Made Agung, later to be know as Ida Cokorda Sakti Belambangan. The kings of this dynasty are still worshipped in this temple. This temple is a so called Penyawangan, a place where other holy places and temples are worshipped. Also here you find shrines dedicated to the mountains of Bali, Gunung Batukau, Gunung Batur and Gunung Pengelengan.
Following the pattern of most Balinese temples, Pura Taman Ayun has three connecting temple yards. The innermost sanctum is know as "Utama Mandala". (the highest circle), the middle yard as "Madia Mandala" (the circle in between) and outer as "Nista Mandala" (The humblest circle). To enter the main sanctum one must pass through a raised gateway, known as the Kori Agung (Paduraksa), and the gateway, between the outer and middle connect in split gate known as "Candi Bentar".  The complex looks like an island situated in a park, “taman”, see pictures.

Dalem Kahyangan Kedaton Temple is an old temple, which still function as a sacred monument for the local people. Amongst the archaeological remains originated from prehistoric period when megalithic traditions developed in Indonesia, approximately 2000 years ago. During the time ,megalithic society in Indonesia had established megalithic monuments made of big as well as small stones functioning as worshipping media, especially for worshipping the ancestor spirit who is considered to have magical power, to the super natural power and to power providing fertility so that society will be always safe and prosperous.
The anniversary of Alas Kedaton Temple is held once every 210 days like most of the temple in Bali but unlike any other temple in Bali the anniversary of Alas Kedaton Temple does not use fire and penjor decoration, elements that are essential in the temple ceremony in other places in Bali and the anniversary of this monkey forest temple is finished before the sunset or before the night is come while in other temple in Bali the anniversary is usually held until late at night. Pura Dalem, literally means "temple of the dead" in Balinese language. It is a place where the dead are kept while preparing the festivities. Troupes of long-tailed Balinese Macaques are very present. They swing around the trees, chat, amass the louse of their children and get quarrelled with their fellows, see pictures

Pura Luhur Batukau is one of the most religious temples of Bali. The temple is situated in a forest on the of the 2278 m high Gunung Batukau. The temple is dedicated to the three surrounding lakes Danau Bratan, Danau Buyan and Danau Tambelingan. One “meru”, 7 stories, is dedicated to Mahadewa, associated with Gunung Batukau and one 3 stories “meru” is dedicated to a former king, see pictures.

The rice fields of Jatiluwih are best to be seen in the afternoon. It was a moment of heavy clouds and just after minutes that at least we could take some pictures the heavy rains fell down, see pictures. With bright weather you can look for a long distance through the rice terraces of Jatiluwih, a magnificent scene, see pictures.

The bird park Taman Burung Bali, a rather clean and new park, with a beautiful collection of birds and some interesting big bird cages which you are allowed to visit, see pictures.

Langkawi, Malaysia (27 February until 10 March)

After 2½ weeks at Bali we went to the Malaysian Island Langkawi, as usual a very pleasant stay at the Frangipani Resort and Spa. Our activities there were none, but we enjoyed the food at the restaurants, the swimming and the things that make live pleasant, see pictures.