Volcanoes of Indonesia: Part 4 – Bali

» Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Featured, Indonesia, long trip, volcano

After more than two weeks on the island of Java, we crossed the Bali strait (1.5 miles) from Ketapang to Gilimanuk. I had 3 days left before my departure to San Francisco.
Bali is a mystical destination for many but after 2 weeks in rural Java, it felt busy, touristy and more expensive.

Suddenly restaurants were more expensive and offer pizza and pasta on their menu. Hotels were defintetly nicer and I’m not going to complain about it.

The view from the swimming pool of our hotel in Bali.

The view from the swimming pool of our hotel in Bali.

It’s interesting to note that while the people of Java are in majority Muslims, the people of Bali are Hindus. Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremonies. The spirits of deceased relatives who have died and been cremated return to visit their former homes, and the current inhabitants have a responsibility to be hospitable through prayers and offerings. The most obvious sign of the celebrations are the penjor – bamboo poles weighed down by offerings suspended at the end.

Preparation for the Galungan celebration

Preparation for the Galungan celebration

But Bali has some wonderful sights including Jatiluwih rice fields and other temples. We spent an entire afternoon on those rice paddies. While most tourists stay on the outskirts of the rice fields, our guide made us trek in all the fields, to get really close to the farmers and to understand the way those fields are constructed. I have very few images because I let Stephane use his camera. At the end of the trip, we could not determine who took which images (which I’m very proud of, since a couple years ago you could pick my images easily when mixed with Stephane’s). So these images might be his…

The Jatiluwih rice fields have been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape

The Jatiluwih rice fields have been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape

Tending the rice paddies in Bali

Tending the rice paddies in Bali

the Jatiluwih rice fields have been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape

the Jatiluwih rice fields have been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape

On my last day, it was an official holiday and everybody was going to the temple to honor their ancestors. We did the same, we went to the temple and photograph this event. Interestingly I was very self-conscious that people were here to pray and I did not want to intrude but some were actually really happy to have their photos taken. They even ask us to join them on the pictures.

Young people at the Besakih temple for the galungan celebration.

Young people at the Besakih temple for the galungan celebration.

Young people at the Besakih temple for the galungan celebration.

Young people at the Besakih temple for the galungan celebration.

Young people at the Besakih temple

Young people at the Besakih temple

Tampak Siring temple (if I’m correct in my notes) is a well known water temple, where people come to purify themselves. It was very tempting to join them but I did not know if it would be ok or not. I was surprised to see how well dressed they were and they got completely soaked.

People at the water temple (Tampak Siring or Tirta Empul Temple) in Bali.

People at the water temple (Tampak Siring or Tirta Empul Temple) in Bali.

People at the water temple (Tampak Siring or Tirta Empul Temple) in Bali.

People at the water temple (Tampak Siring or Tirta Empul Temple) in Bali.

People at the water temple (Tampak Siring or Tirta Empul Temple) in Bali.

People at the water temple (Tampak Siring or Tirta Empul Temple) in Bali.

That was the last stop before my long return home. I would like to thank Bambang (our tireless guide), Stephane (who had to deal with my camera issues :-), Christophe, Jacki, and the entire group.

If this adventure has inspired you, check out the destinations that Aventures et Volcans offers.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

All the images presented here are available for licensing or as fine art prints.