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Monkey Forest · Mengwi Temple · Tanah Lot · Part 1

 

Another culturally charged day that left me crispy on my skin from the heat. 

 

The next tour I journeyed into the countryside in Gulingan famous for babi guling (suckling pig, also hence its name) and made a stop to take a short walk through a terraced rice paddy field, cultivated in unique Balinese style, surrounded by coconut trees and tropical horticultural plants including sweet potatoes and tapioca. At the end of my stroll, I got to relax in a Balinese pavilion and sample traditional Indonesian fried tapioca and sweet potato together with iced tea.

After leaving the village, we then left for the Royal Temple of Mengwi - Pura Taman Ayun. Dating from 1634, this picturesque complex surrounded by a moat with multi-roofed meru shrines and intricately carved wooden gates. The temple is now a UNESCO protected site.

Next stop, the sacred Monkey Forest, a cluster of towering trees which is home to hundreds of monkeys, and ending at Tanah Lot, famous in Bali as the Sunset Temple, where we experienced the day's sunset beyond the black lava towers of the sacred 16th century temple, built on a lava rock 200 meters off shore.

 

Photos taken using Sony NEX-F3. No edits except cropping. Click on the images below to expand. Disclaimer: The photos herein and all other albums associated with Bali Sojourn are by no means a documentary. They're all touristy snapshots.

 

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Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

The day started like any tour. Until we stopped next to a paddy field, and my guide guide asked me to take a walk. Wuuuut! That wasn't in the itinerary! © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

I'm sick of paddy fields!! Oh well at least I finally get to touch one up close. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

A shrine for offerings in the center of the field. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

You watch enough X-Files or M. Night's "The Sign" you know about crop circles with corns. Anyways, besides paddy, the locals plant corns to keep their earnings sustainable. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

IT WAS PISSING HOT AND I CRAP YOU NOT THAT MY CAMERA DID NOT OVERSATURATE THE IMAGES COZ IT WAS JUST THAT BLUE AND I DIDN'T BRING ANY SUNBLOCK! WARGH! © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

At least there's sweet potato and tapioca refreshment thenafter. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

...and was offered this nice traditional bouquet by the host. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Bandar Gulingan, the place it's called, is apparently the birth place of the famous Babi Guling, or suckling pig, famous in Bali and parts of the Philippines. The pig is stuffed and infused with a spicy concoction typically involving turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, black pepper and garlic, and traditionally spit-roasted. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

On our way out, was greeted by this noisy couple. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Our next stop was to the Royal Temple of Mengwi - Pura Taman Ayun. As it is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, the hagglers along the roadside are not as pushy as many other touristy sites. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Surrounded by a big fish pond, Taman Ayun Temple is a Royal Temple of Mengwi Empire, located in Mengwi Village, about 18km from Denpasar. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Not many people visit this temple. I wondered why. There was less than 10 people around us then. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

The site has one of the most intense GREEEEEENNNN ever. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

The sign reads: "Your attention please. During menstruation, ladies are strictly not allowed to enter the temple. Thank you." When I first saw this, I wondered how one would know what's even happening down there. But then again, only the local Balinese who are there for ceremonial stuffs are allowed so I'm pretty sure they will abide by it due to superstition and religious reasons. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

The Royal Temple of Mengwi is one of the most important temples in Bali. Built in 1634 by a King of the Mengwi dynasty, this impressive complex stands on an island in a river, its inner temple surrounded by a moat. Its Balinese name Pura Taman Ayun literally means ‘Garden Temple in the Water’. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Part of UNESCO's World Heritage Site, I dare say... it's a little bit boring. Proly after seeing so many temples, I'm not one who marvels at the intricacies of a building design since I'm more of a people person. Here's a small souvenir shop within the temple grounds. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Part of a network of directional temples that protect Bali from evil spirits, Pura Taman Ayun was built as a series of garden terraces with courtyards on different levels. The entire complex was designed to symbolize the mythological home of the gods, Mount Meru, floating in the sea of eternity. This eleven-tiered meru is dedicated to the rice goddess Dewi Sri. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Next stop was a visit to our ancestors at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Oh look, a statue rubbing its left nipple at the entrance. You can see one of the guards with a rattan stick to spank the bare butts of naughty simians. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

We were assigned to a guide who brought us around the sanctuary and explained about its histories and stuff... though along the way it seemed suspicious there's so many souvenir shops on both sides of the entrance yet the minders weren't pushing us for a sale. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Yes. Very suspicious. They just sat there. How well mannered! Hmmmm..... © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Yeah, sure, you can tap your fingers on yours but I am not interested in your Harley Davidson whatsoever even though your booth has a lot more to choose from. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

There were easily over 50 stalls and I kept wondering if it was the weekday and there's only a bunch of other tourists around that they're not as interested in us like other places would. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

Good grief they have bigger balls than I do! © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

The community hall where monkeys, cocks and pigeons gather. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

And fruit bats. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

While the idea of being a Bali Batman seemed awesome at the time, looking back at this I can't help but feel terribly gutted knowing I'm supporting an industry of animal abuse. To that, I'm so sorry. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 8
Bali Sojourn - Day 8

I faced my fear of snakes once and for all by having Helen slither along my neck. You can sense the horror in my face - I was close to peeing in my jeans. Anyways, enough of this monkey business. Click below to be redirected to Part 2. © Evan Hwong Photographs

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