The following day, Thursday, we were to meet up with the Canada World Youth in Seminyak. Peter had been captivated by a postcard of a temple near a lake, and decided that if possible, we must see it. It turned out to be in Central Bali in the highlands and was part of a standard day trip offered by the hotels in Ubud.
We organized a car and a driver and set out to see some of the main sights in Central Bali. The first stop was Celuk, famous for jewelry. Marg was on a hunt for gold earrings. But after visiting six different shops gave up the quest for that day. However, the decor of one store in particular was over the top and offered a lot of photographic opportunities.
The next stop was Taman Ayun Temple complex. The literal translation of the name is Beautiful Garden. This complex has many Balinese Pagoda temples and is surrounded by a moat. Built in the middle of the seventh century and restored in the mid twentieth century it offers a glimpse of a Hindu holy temple. Were lucky enough to see a Holy Man praying at one of the temples and putting out the offering to the Gods. This is the one of the main sights in Central Bali and had the usual tourist buses and souvenir stands outside the main gates to the temple.
The next stop was the Rice paddies in Jutilwah. This is half way to Lake Beratan. This was a typically large terraced paddy with Mount Watukaru in the background. The entire area was very lush and cool at 700m elevation.
We continued north to Lake Beratan, where we would find the Ulun Danu temple. We had lunch at a restaurant next to the lake which had a buffet prepared for the tourists. We joined the other bus tours and private sightseers for lunch before heading to the temple complex.
The Ulun Danu temple complex was very similar to the photos that we saw, except that there were a lot more people milling about. Apparently this is the second most photographed place in Bali after Tanah Lot. The combination of the foreground flowers, the lake , temple and volcano in the background was a spectacular scene.
We headed to the Botanical Garden, a calm oasis with minimal crowds. The high elevation at 1500m provided a cool relief from the coastal heat. Ironically, there was a cactus room, which had a low humidity environment designed to grow cactus, and which contained a wide variety of desert plants from around the world. The grounds had lots of tropical plants, huge tree ferns, and statues of Hindu Gods.
After enjoying a cool afternoon in the highlands of Bali, we headed back to the coast to Seminyak, where we would meet up with the Canada World Youth reunion group.
This took close to two hours due to us meeting up with the rush hour traffic exiting Denpasar.