Winter Wonderland: Leave Only Footprints

Day 1
December 4th, 2018

We arrived at Denpasar airport, and on exiting, were immediately hit with the warm humidity of South East Asia. Our hosts live in Gianyar, one of the nine regencies of Bali. Gianyar has an area of 368 km² and a population of over 470 000, making it the second most densely populated district in Bali, after Badung. It is most famous for the Ubud area where tourists flock and for it’s art and cultural attractions.

After some capers with the taxi driver and miscommunication with our host Made, we finally made it to our stunning couchsurfing home in a traditional Balinese compound. (Read more about this amazing place here). This is the second time we have stayed with this fascinating, multigenerational, Balinese family. The first time was in June 2018 during our “Komodo Kaper“. We were delighted to be here again with our friends.

After settling in, we had lunch at a local street side restaurant, and rested a while with a refreshing shower.

After that, Made kindly took us to the Batuan temple and showed us around. We donned the respectful sash and cloth before entering it’s impressive gate. The Batuan Temple, referred to locally as Pura Puseh lan Pura Desa Adat Batuan, is a focal landmark in the namesake village of Batuan, well-known for its traditional Balinese arts and paintings.

Batuan was first mentioned in historical texts 1000 years ago and the temple originates from 1020AD. It is strategically located on the road between Ubud and Denpasar. Some say it is the oldest and most beautiful temple in Bali. We certainly loved being there with Made. It has a huge  complex of shrines laid out within its 0.65Ha complex. Stunning sandstone bas motifs and well-preserved traditional Balinese temple architecture are everywhere. We loved seeing the temple tortoises too.

Felix enjoyed learning a little gamelan in the 11th century hall opposite the temple before we left. Gamelan is the indigenous orchestra type of Bali, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments used are metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.

Next we went to the nearby Sukawati markets and had a tasty snack. The Sukawati markets are most famous for the longstanding art market but we most enjoyed it’s thriving local market with lots of fresh produce.

On our way home we bought a present for Made’s son Nathan, as it was his birthday. We enjoyed relaxing in the garden eating fresh mangosteens together on the open veranda. We were later treated to a wholesome family dinner with dragonfruit for dessert. The family waited till Nathan’s mum got home from work – at around 10pm – before celebrating Nathan’s birthday. It had been a unique and wondrous day.

Sadly both Prunella and Felix were sick overnight, such are the hazards of adventure…

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