Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ulu Watu

Today we left Kuta to head down to the Bukit Peninsula in the south of Bali. We left our amazingly cheap but nice hotel and went off in search of a taxi. We found a man on the corner of our street who was shouting "transport" at anyone who walked past and so we asked him how much to Ulu Watu. He was umming and ahhing about it when another man came running over quoting 300 000rp. We haggled hard and got the taxi for 120 000rp which is just under £8 split between two of us for an hours taxi ride. We arrived at a hostel/hotel place called The Gong and managed to get a cheapish room. It's more expensive that we're used to paying but only by a couple of pounds and we're only here for 1 night. We considered trying other places but it was pretty remote so we though just to take what we could. The room was nice enough, despite being the same size as Harry Potter's under-the-stairs bedroom and had a balcony and a shower that is supposedly hot. The rooms are all surrounding a courtyard which has a pretty little pool in the centre.

After unloading our bags we headed to Pura Luhur Ulu Watu - a cliff top temple with views out across the Indian Ocean. We had to put a bright yellow sash on in order to enter but our baggy trousers meant that the clashing purple sarongs weren't necessary. Outside was a huge board which warned visitors to take out earrings, take off sunglasses and get rid of all food before going into the temple because of the vicious monkeys inside. When we got in they seemed a lot more timid than the ones in the Ubud Monkey Forest. The walkway was right on the edge of the cliffs and if you peer over the stone walls you can see the sheer cliff face beneath your feet. The views were incredible and it kind of felt like I was at the end of the world because you you could see was the sea and it stretched off forever in front of you and to either side. As we were walking along the cliff path we bumped into the 'vicious' monkey. One cheekily stole an old Balinese lady's bunch of bracelets that she was trying to sell to the tourists and climbed up on top of one of the turrets victoriously. She screamed at it and through lots of food at it but it was a bag of apples that eventually convinced the little guy to let go.

We decided that we wanted to head down to the Ulu Watu beach which was a bit of a walk so decided to try and rent a motorbike as the roads around here are virtually empty and pretty good quality. We trekked from guest house to cornershop to random people by the side of the road on to find ourselves already having walked the entire way to the beach. The path down was pretty terrifying. The stone steps were uneven and tall with no banister or sides to them they just fell away pretty deep either side (I slid down rather ungracefully on my bottom). You get onto the beach through a crevice between the cliffs to find hundreds of tide pools filled with fish and crabs. We saw a baby puffer fish, a hermit crab and a beautiful orange and brown fish with more fins than I think it knew what to do with. There was a very old Balinese man in the waters catching fish with his bare hands from the pools and putting them in a big bamboo basket. Other people were fishing too, but they were using long metal rods which they speared fish on the end of.

When we got back to our village we went to a tiny warung for our dinner. The lady who cooks there gave us a huge bowl of fried rice with vegetables and egg for only 10 000rp each which is about 70p so I splashed out and got a diet coke for 50p.

Tomorrow we head back up to mainland Bali to go to Sanur where there is meant to be a kite festival. I'm excited to see what they have. In Seminyak yesterday they had eagle shaped kites and pirate ship kites in the air so I'm hoping for some seriously creative kites tomorrow!

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