Angelo and I had the luxury of hiring a driver for a whole day last weekend. His name is Windu Ketut, and we highly recommend him if you need a driver in Bali. He picked us up on time from our villa at 9am to drive to the central part of Bali to see Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – which is a well known water temple and Jatiluwih which is known for its rice paddies. We really enjoyed not having to drive our scooter, wearing helmets and face masks for the day. Windu really knows Bali, and navigates the sometimes crazy traffic well. While driving up the mountain to the lake temple, you notice all of the farm stands selling fresh fruit, particularly strawberries which are endemic to this area. When we got out of the car, we were blasted with cool fresh air! This was surprising to us as it was not expected and we have been living in temperatures over 85 f the past few weeks and very humid.
The temple is in the middle of Lake Bratan which is the main source of irrigation for central Bali. The temple, which was built in 1663, has lots of view points to capture a nice photo. There are also many places adjacent to the temple that people can watch performances or townspeople have meetings at. While we were visiting the site, there were many Hindus having a small procession. There are also symbols of Buddhism throughout the temple, showing how Hindus and Buddhists have integrated their beliefs in Bali. This is the temple on the 50,000 IDR bill and it is also the most photographed temple in Bali (fun fact).
After the water temple, we headed off to Jatiluwuh which has all of the rice paddies. It was quite a treacherous road that Windu took us on to get to the rice paddies, but well worth it. Probably one of the most beautiful sights to see, and so green! They grow many types of rice here, but Bali has most popular a red rice. I have eaten it before, it is delicious. We took a walk down a road that goes in between rice fields. Unlike the lake, it is very humid in this area. I can’t imagine people working these fields everyday, and then lo and behold we meet a farmer named Wayan. Wayan had a bushel of rice leaves on his shoulder, introduced himself and excused himself for being dirty. Hehe, if he only knew how stinky we are!! I couldn’t help but notice that even though he was a bit older, how straight he stood and how healthy he seemed. In fact, many of the “older” people here although their skin is worn from being out in the sun everyday, stand very tall and are strong. As someone who has worked with senior citizens for some time, this is a nice sight to see. As we walked further down the path you notice how there are so many fruits and veggies that grow along the trail. Guava, Coconut, Mangosteen, Papaya, Dragonfruit, Lemongrass and Bananas are what I saw. Enough for a bomb fruit salad! Hey! The rice paddies are definitely another spot on the list to visit when in Bali.