BALI ACTIVITIES AND EXCURSIONS
We ventured outside of the resort area everyday and simply booked the Four Seasons provided transportation. Now this can get to be pricey however the accommodations are great and our primary driver became like a good friend to us! Not only do they drive you around but he was able to tell us very personal stories of Bali and even his private life at home. He told us about how bad the economy was back in 2002/3 when there were terrorists bombings in Kuta and how much the Balinese people struggled since so many jobs are directly tied to tourism.
The drivers can escort you on your excursions and take pictures of you if you would like.
The location of the temple is beautiful right on a cliffs edge! We were told to go around dusk for the best scenery and to stay for the Kecak performance and I would recommend that for the best views and pictures.
Up next we went over to get our spot for the dance performance. Try to arrive early for this as it was packed when we got done sightseeing the temple. They brought out additional lawn chairs for the remaining crowd however we were able to get front row seats for this due to the extra chairs. The dance was very interesting! The hour long dance is telling a story and they hand out programs to help translate what is happening during the performance.
Another day while still on the south side of the island we visited Tanah Lot temple further up the coast. We didn’t have the same Four Seasons driver for this trip so we were disappointed however we were able to have him escort us for future trips. Tanah Lot is very sacred and also right along the water. This seemed to be a much bigger site with many more tourists, and stores/shops.
After Tanah Lot we told our driver just to drop us off in Seminyak to do some sightseeing and we planned to have dinner at Metis. Metis was excellent! Super setting and the food and drink was very good. An upscale, sexy dinning environment in Seminyak that we would return to.
The following night we went to rock bar for some evening cocktails and canapés. This is located at the Ayana resort which is huge! If you ever plan to come here please come way before sunset. We were waiting in line for about an hour and by then the sun had set and we missed the view. You take a cable car down the cliff to the actual bar which also slows down the process since the capacity down in the bar seems low. So when 2 people leave then 2 people can go down the cable car.
On our departure day from Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay we had our driver make several stops on the way to Four Seasons Sayan. We first stopped at a jewelry maker to do some shopping and we got to see how they actually hand make the jewelery.
We stopped at another temple along the way (forgot the name, if anyone knows please let me know in the comments.).
Next up was a stop at the amazing Ketut Sedana Gallery! The gallery has the most amazing woodcarvings I have ever seen! I normally am not interested in something like this but when I saw the level of detail and craftsmanship in the carvings I was amazed. Our driver introduced us to the son of the owner of the Gallery. The father is very famous in Bali and his carvings are pricey and valuable. The father is almost 80 years old and once he passes his carvings and creations are going to be keepsakes. The gentleman (salesman) told us of all the famous customers that have bought from him -Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis most notably. He had a collection of pictures and business cards of all the “famous” customers. I was amazed at the prices of some of the carvings that went into the thousands of dollars. We couldn’t leave without a nice souvenir of our trip so we splurged on an amazingly detailed Hibiscus woodcarving. There are no prices on any of the carvings. I can’t believe the prices of some of the carvings and I think the price maybe determined by which resort you stay at if a driver brings you in. Had we been staying at a more modestly priced hotel I wonder if the price would be lower? Again here there was no negotiating and he kept mentioning for a few of the carvings we were interested in, “it is only the price of one night at the Four Seasons. You spend that on one night at your hotel.” He may even give our driver a small kickback if the people he brings in buy from him? Someone please correct me if I am mistaken or if you have more insight.
Lastly on the way to Ubud we stopped at Teba Sari coffee plantation. Here they grow and make there own coffee and also make the world famous Luwak Coffee. We got a tour of the grounds and got to see several of the Luwak animals that digest the coffee bean and give it its “unique” flavor. I am not much of a coffee drinker so I only had a sip. We also got to taste several flavors of other coffee and tea and they also make chocolate as well. Several which were very good. We invited our driver to come along and have some of the tea and coffee with us. He said he is a big fan of the coco flavored coffee so we surprised him with a bag for him and his family! He was very appreciative and surprised. He couldn’t believe it. It was the least we could do for him. However he mentioned he was Michael Dell’s personal driver while at the resort-yes the computer maker Michael Dell. He also mentioned driving Michael Jordan. I am sure they may have given him much better gifts! LOL
Before leaving to Ubud we did a bike ride excursion using the Four Season Jimbaran Bay provided bikes. This was some nice morning exercise!
Later in the day we visited the monkey forest-no stop to Ubud is complete without visiting the monkey forest!
We dined at the famous Ibu Oka in Ubud for the famous babi guling (suckling pig). This is huge in Bali!!!!! Babi guling is like the dish to eat. Its kinda like coming to the USA and trying a hamburger-its the local meat/dish. My wife was kind of scared to try it or eat off the resort at all but I went all in! It was actually really flavorful. The Ibu Oka restaurant was actually under construction for rennovations when we visited thus we dined at the family compound. They had set up several seating areas in there actual home! They have to keep the gravy train running!
After our meal our driver took us to Goa Gajah Temple
Next our driver took us Temple Tirtha Empul. Wow this was amazing! We happen to be there on a full moon. I guess on a full moon a lot of people go for a spiritual cleansing. The amount of worshipers cramming into the pool was insane! Very, very interesting and Im glad we happen to be there during the full moon.
Most Koi fish I have ever seen.
Up next on the agenda was a trip up to see Mount Batur.
One of the things I wanted to do the most was to get some good shots of the famous Bali rice patties!! So our driver took us to the famous Tengallalang fields next. Well of course my digital camera died just as we got to Tengallalang my camera died and I had to shoot most of the fields with my iPhone! Also the crop appeared to be picked recently so the lush long rice stalks that you sometimes normally see where gone.
While in Ubud we also went rafting with Sobek in the Ayung river. This was a super experience and probably one of the most scenic things we did while in Bali. The rapids were fairly tame and nobody fell out of the raft. There are 4 people to a raft plus the guide. The entire trip is about an hour long. If you have a go pro camera or a waterproof camera of some sort it would be worth while. You get to get really up close and personal with the jungle and see some of the natural Bali landscape. I dont have any pictures of this due to not wanting to take the camera on the raft and risk losing it or damaging it.
So this is a pretty good summary of what we did and saw while in Bali. We had a good balance of sightseeing/adventure and resort relaxation time.
The finale of the Bali portion of this trip report will be the Four Seasons Sayan review! Thanks for reading and check out part 5!