TRAVEL: From Ubud to the Angseri Mountains (8/13/2016)

On a clear Saturday morning, the boys and I said goodbye to Sania’s House in Ubud, Bali, and left for the Angseri mountains. We ate breakfast and said goodbye to the nice people working at Sania’s House. 

On our way out, Alvin (impulsively) bought a large bag to put his large souvenirs in. We walked down the street to meet our Uber driver, who drove about two hours north to take us to our next destination. The drive as we got closer and closer to our Airbnb seemed to just get more and more beautiful. We passed through the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, that seemed to span forever and never end. Although there were a good amount of tourists who were there, there weren’t as many as the tourists in Ubud. It seemed like a hidden treasure just a little north of where most people go.

We lost connection to wifi and data as we went deeper into the mountains. After a little confusion, trial, and error, we finally made it to our home here in the Angseri mountains. We were greeted by a nice lady who was a little confused because she spoke only a little English. Her husband came and greeted us and cleared up the confusion. They showed us to our room, which they added an extra bed in for Alvin. Our Airbnb is right beside some rice terraces in a nice little secluded town with wonderful people. The husband and wife who own the property we’re staying at are two of the most hospitable people I’ve met, making sure we are happy at all times. 

We rented motor bikes and were soon on our way… to an ATM since both Josh and I ran out of money. After that, Alvin spotted a sign for restaurant/inn, that ended up being the most gorgeous little hidden sanctuary we’ve ever seen. To get there, you have to turn into a small downhill roadway with bumpy broken tiles. The inn had an incredible irrigation system with water flowing left and right into the rice terraces. The food was delicious, and I had my first real meal (other than just plain rice or bread) in three days. 

We rode up the hill through some stone pillars and arrived at the Pura Luhur Batukalu temple. It was overcast and misty when we got there, which seems to be our theme for temples as we visit them. We put on our sarongs, paid our entrance fee, and went inside the temple. It was around 4PM by the time we got there. People were in the middle of prayer in different parts of the temple. We walked to the farthest right side of the temple and found a huge green lake with what seemed to be a shrine in the middle. It was surrounded by trees and plans from all sides. There were fish and stone steps in the middle of the lake, which meant that it was supposed to be possible to go to the middle of the shrine. Josh dared Alvin to swim across for 1,000,000 IDR. Alvin laughed and we went to go check out the other side of the temple.

To the farthest left side of the temple we found two stair cases both leading up to a small flowing river. The first set of stairs led to the river, where there was also a prayer area. The second set of stairs led to the river, and we saw there were more stairs across the river as well. We described it as the “stairway to heaven”, and had to feed our curiosities. We crossed over and went up the stairs that ended up leading us to a forest area (no, not heaven). 

We went back to our Airbnb and were greeted again by the nice owners who asked us what we wanted for dinner. Uneasy about eating fried foods (because of my stomach) but unable to deny home cooking, we ate some nasi goreng (fried rice) made by our new Indonesian mama for the next two days. 

After giving us our dinner, she invited us to go watch the locals play music next door. They were practicing for their parade for Independence Day that is coming up on August 17th. It started raining while we were eating dinner, but they came back just to give us umbrellas to borrow. We headed next door, and founded a front porch filled with at least 40 or so women all playing on percussion instruments. There were bamboo instruments, cymbals, and gongs all simultaneously playing separate but in sync with each other. The women invited us to sit in the middle with them as we played. We clapped after the song was over, and all the women were instructed to “jalan” aka walk on the street and play. They all got into formation, and together we walked up to the top of the hill and back down. Some of the ladies gave us bamboo instruments and taught us the rhythm they play throughout the song. We thanked them for letting us watch them, and headed back to the room. 

As we were leaving, our Indonesian mama introduced us to her sister, and then to her friends, we sat down and chatted for a few minutes as she told us what time the temple ceremony was in the morning. She taught us a few words in Balinese (which I should have written down because I already forgot), and we parted ways for the night. 


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