Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Central Bali tour

First mission this morning: take clothes to the launderette. For the rest of the day we had hired a car to take us on a 6h tour of the area. We are skipping the waterfalls as we've seen loads in our life, plus there is one within trekking distance which we might see tomorrow on out own (though by the end of the day we had decided to give even that waterfall a miss).

Due to the cloudy weather we reversed the order of the tour. Our first stop was the viewpoint of the twin lakes. We had come this way on the trip up, but without stopping. The view is nice, but it could have been much better without clouds. At least it wasn't all hidden by mist, which had let off barely a kilometre from the viewpoint.

We then headed down to one of the lakes to visit the "temple on the lake" (Pura Ulun Danu Bratan), a lovely Hindu complex and one of the iconic sights of Bali (the main temple figures on the 50k Rupiah note). We spent a lot of time here as there was a playground, gardens with statues you can climb on, and the highlight, a photo-op with some animals (for a modest price). We went for the bats, which were impressively huge and Lucas was perfectly capable of handling them. He was grinning from ear to ear with his sister proudly beside him. Later he told me it felt like "a baby pussycat".

After a long drive, interrupted by a quick lunch, we arrived at some hot springs where we also did a bit of shopping. After haggling a bit we got a dress for Aisha down to 40k (about 2.60 euros). On the way out they were offering us more for 20k. The springs were split in three pools. None too hot but we had a fun time. Washed off the mud and minerals in some clear water (though my trunks are still a mess) and headed on.

For the final stop we visited a Buddhist temple. The kids are big fans of Buddha and were delighted to see him again. He always gets plenty of joss sticks and small donations out of them.

I had talked about the possibility of hiring a taxi to Ubud at the launderette/agency but obviously our driver was going to try to get in on the action. After talking a bit we realised the woman at the launderette was actually his sister, so the deal was made. At a bit of a discount from the "official" rate. All these taxis and private cars are adding up, but they are way cheaper than hiring your own car unless you are continuously on the move. As we had read in the guide public transport doesn't provide much of an alternative.

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