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Bali Day Tours – And Not Another Tourist in Sight

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Living and working in Bali, it’s easy to get into a routine which is not so very different from living elsewhere. Sometimes I forget why I am here, and that’s when I take a day out, trying to visit places which I either have not been to before, or have not been to for quite a while.

Last week I decided it was time to do some exploring.

My first stop was a few kilometers out of Amed, on the east coast of Bali. I had read about a place called Bangle Yeh Masem – the 5 Holy Springs and decided to pay it a visit. After leaving the car at the car park, a 5 minute stroll through the village takes you to the start of the hike. A narrow, slippery path winds down to a river which needs to be crossed, so don’t wear your dancing shoes. On the other side one enters a beautiful bamboo forest. The sound of bamboo whispering in the breeze, to me, is pure magic. A little further on I came across a family with a tiny baby, carried in a sling by the father, and proudly shown to me. We met an old man, slowly meandering along, of course stopping when he saw me, asking my driver/guide the usual questions in Balinese – where is she from and where is she going? When I answered in Indonesian he was quite surprised, as not many expats speak the language. It is also possible that he did not understand me at all, as it is quite common for older Balinese not to speak Indonesian, but only their local language.

Although this is a short walk/hike, at took me about an hour or so, as I kept on stopping to take photos of the beautiful Balinese scenery – rice terraces, mountains shrouded in mist, and discovering exotic fruits, like custard apples, growing in the wild.

When I came to a small temple, I had a break and then turned around, to get back to the car. Because my second destination of the day, was about two hours drive away.

Pura Pasar Agung

Although a fair distance away, the Pura Pasar Agung Group, located at 1600m, on the higher slopes of Mt. Agung, Bali’s most sacred mountain, is considered to be part of the Besakih Group, the Mother Temple of Bali.

From the car park I noticed steps, and more steps, leading steeply up towards the temple. Neither being the youngest, nor the fittest person, I started climbing with a sense of trepidation, not sure that I would make it to the temple. But I did, and luckily I only found out afterwards that it’s some 300 steps to get there. On the way up we met a group of young men coming down from the temple, still wearing their beautiful temple clothing. It never fails to impress me how closely religion is interwoven with day to day activities here in Bali.

Pura Pasar Agung is an impressive group of temples and shrines, with Mount Agung a mighty pressence in the background. It is also the start of one of the Mount Agung hikes – which I had no intention of doing. On the way home I stopped and bought some freshly harvested salak, the famous and very tasty local fruit which we call snake fruit.

Neither at Bangle Yeh Masem near Amed, nor at Pura Pasar Agung did I meet any tourists or souvenir sellers, which was a real blessing, and I once again remembered why I live in Bali.

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Source by Sybille Conrad

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