Last month, I went to Bali for the first time. It is an interesting thing, being a Western Australian, going to Bali - a lot of us do it, is what I’m trying to say.
My personal tourism style is to try to learn a bit of the language, and to see as many architectural, natural, cultural or otherwise unique parts of the place I’m in in the time I have there. I hope that I am a reasonably inoffensive tourist, but who knows - the party goers sure do spend a lot of money.
One stereotypically touristy (and, apparently, ‘fake’) Balinese attraction is the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padantegal, home to a gigantic troupe of Long-Tailed macaques - Macaca fascicularis, if you’re interested - who are absolutely delightful to watch if, like myself, you come from an area bereft of monkeys. I’m not sure why people consider this to be a ‘fake’ area - it might be that the monkey population is artificially maintained, or perhaps that the temple isn’t very old? Regardless, for 20,000 rupiah, or about $2 AUD, this is a beautiful place to see if you’re in the Ubud region. For another 20,000 rupiah, you can feed the monkeys inside the sanctuary area.
Warning: the monkeys are really wet. It’s adorable, though. (Don’t buy bananas, near the entrance. You will be mugged by the biggest, most aggressive monkeys in the sanctuary. I’m not even joking.)
Enough words! Time for pictures!
This monkey was overcome by emotion.
The real reason I went to Ubud was for the temples. Here we go!
A Rice field.
Gunung Kawi, an 11th century temple complex near Ubud. This was my favourite - the surrounds (above) are stunning.
Goa Gajah, 9th Century.
As far as I’m aware, all of the temples I visited are Balinese Hindu, a unique branch of Hinduism not found anywhere else. I can’t comment on the religious nature of the temples, but the carving, as you can see, is exquisite, and it’s easy to see the ways that these traditional structures inform the architecture of the everyday.
So, if I’ve managed to sell Bali to you as a tourist destination, here are some useful Indonesian phrases:
Selamat pagi - Good morning
Selamat siang - Good afternoon
Selamat malam - Good night
Terima kasih - Thank you