A morning swim followed by a hearty breakfast served in the villa to start the day right.
I met up with my driver outside my villa before proceeding to pick up all my friends. Today, we are going to Pura Luhur Uluwatu which is in my personal opinion, the prettiest temple site in all of Bali and a must vist for first timers. The main part of the temple sits on the highest and steepest cliffs 70m high above the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. Truly a sight to behold.
I’ve been to Uluwatu temple about 5 to 6 times now and
I’m surprised that I never blogged about it. How could I leave out posting about one of the most scenic temples in Bali? I guess sometimes when you go to a place to often, you take things for granted. I’ve always assumed that just because I’ve seen it so often, I must have already blogged a couple of times about it. Anyways, lesson learnt!
Update: Shortly after posting this, I found that I did in fact blog about Uluwatu Temple back in 2008 but it was short post.
Uluwatu Temple is one of Bali’s nine key directional temples which protects Bali from evil spirits. Though a small temple was claimed to have existed beforehand, the structure was significantly expanded by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan in the 11th Century. Another sage from East Java, Dang Hyang Nirartha is credited for constructing the padmasana shrines and is claimed to have attained Moksha here.
Venture to the edges of the cliffs at your own risk though those with fear of heights may not be too keen on walking the scenic pathway right next to the cliff edge.
You may have noticed that all the girls wore long dresses that day so we need only to tie a small cloth sash around our waist. If you come in shorts, don’t worry, there are sarongs and sashes for loan that is already included in your entrance fee.
Blue skies with even bluer waters. The scenery is seriously postcard perfect and we couldn’t resist taking tons of photos!
The best vantage points is the northernmost and southernmost points of the the temple grounds.
On the day we went, it was shortly after rainfall so many parts of the path were pretty muddy. Surprisingly, I still managed to make it through with my hardy wedges and somehow manage to even avoid splashes of mud on my white maxi. Along the way there are tons of monkeys and even cows spotted in the area. Speaking of monkeys, there is probably something you should be aware of if you ever find yourself visiting Pura Luhur Uluwatu.
From the moment you approach the entrance of the temple grounds, and all the way to the very edge of the cliffs, this place is filled with monkeys. The monkeys here have grown very accustomed to tourists and have unfortunately pick up some terrible traits. They are known to be very quick at snatching tourists belongings such as wallets, watches, cameras, food, hair clips, hats, glasses and anything that is shiny and catches their fancy. This has become extremely annoying but as long as you keep your things close and hold them tight, you should be fine. If you do get your items snatched away however, you could always pay a local guide (plenty of them standing around waiting for something like that to happen) to barter with the monkey. Fruits or snacks for your item returned. Of course, this only encourages them further to steal and snatch and the cycle repeats. This is one clear example of what happens when tourism is not handled properly. It causes changes in the native animal behaviors and kicks the whole ecosystem out of whack.
As far as I remember, these monkeys have been doing this “steal for barter” business since I first visited 10 years ago. But in this last visit, the monkeys seemed to have evolved to be come even more sinister and cunning. While they had previously stolen items because it was shiny and thus caught their eye, now they steal solely for the sake of bartering for prepackaged food. Chocolates and potato chips are preferred over bananas. I can only blame the unethical “local guides” who have encourage such behaviors to earn forced tips from frantic tourists. In a way, the local guides have resulted the monkeys to become as greedy and corrupt as they are. This is also the main reason why I stopped visiting Uluwatu Temple and would only visit if I was going with friends who haven’t been there before.
Coming back to my exploration of the Ulutwatu temple, it was the first time I’ve visited this temple with this bunch of friends and to commemorate our journey to Uluwatu temple (especially for those who were on their first visit to Bali), we wanted to do some jump shots. Before we began, we each took turns to walk the the edge to check how steep the drop was and how much buffer we should give ourselves. This is definitely not for the faint hearted.
If you are at the Uluwatu Temple to watch the beautiful sunset, you could even stay to watch the Kecak Dance (monkey dance) performances which are held at Uluwatu temple daily between 6PM and 7PM. Do note that this incurs a separate charge.
Since I’ve already watched that dance before and my friends were feeling more hungry than cultural that day, we headed out the the nearby stores outside the temple walls for a meal instead.
Steven who is a big fan of Babi Guling once again ordered it. I can’t fantom how this guy can eat the same food relentlessly for days on end until he finally gets sick of it.
I had soup noodles with an extra side order of lamb soup while the rest ordered either fried rice or fried noodles. Food here is nothing spectacular but it’s not bad either. Do remember that you still have to make sure that you keep all loose items safely tucked into your bag because on rare occasions the monkeys do venture out of the temple walls to steal from the customers and stall owners in this area. Most of the store owners have sticks to chase them away but the monkeys are also very smart and very quick.