Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cycling In Indonesia Bali 2018 Day 3: The Spirit Of Bali Ride - Jungutan To Tirta Gangga

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Cycling Indonesia Bali 2018 Day 3: The Spirit Of Bali Ride - Jungutan To Tirta Gangga
Bali, Indonesia: Friday, 23rd November 2018
This is part of a multi-mode tour Bali & Nusa Penida:
Ride 1 - Karangesam To Ubud:
Cycling Distance: 16 km.     |     Level: Easy
Time : 9:45am to 10:35am
Time Taken : 50 mins. (including stops for regrouping, and some photo opps).
Ride 2 - Around Ubud:
Cycling Distance: 9 km.     |     Level: Easy
Time : 4:25pm to 5:15pm
Time Taken :50 mins. (including stops for regrouping, visit to temple and some photo opps).

This is page 3 of a 6-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D2 GWK               |              Go to Other Days              |            Go to D4 Ubud >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
    Traffic in Indonesia, is right-hand drive, so cycle on the left. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!
2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    This past few years, KutaUbud and the surrounding regions have developed tremendously and traffic along most roads can be quite busy. Cycle with care and do take note that there are many motorcyclists around. Traffic at Karangasem is very much lighter.
    The first route starts from Jungutan, at a place where the Karangasem Cultural Village Celebration is held. From there it goes through part of the Karangasem Regency to the Ujung Water Palace, passing by several small towns such as Amlapura and Desa Tumbu. The second route was a short stint through the streets of Ubud, starting from the Pura Dalem Puri Peliatan to Sthala Ubud Hotel with a stop at the Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Royal Palace). Both routes are on relatively flat routes with a couple of short climbs.

3. Weather
     Bali during end November can get quite hot, with temperatures averaging 31°C and 25°C for day and night respectively, so do re-hydrate regularly. Do expect some rain during this time too.
     Useful weather forecast sites for the Indonesia is AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Points of Interests
 Along the route were several places of interests, some of which we visited others we did not for lack of time.
- Gunung Agung (Mount Agung) (GPS: -8.34331, 115.50705).
- Bukit Surga (Gates of Heaven) (GPS: -8.41562, 115.52579).
- Pura Besakih (Besakih Temple) (GPS: -8.37442, 115.45098); the most important, the largest and the holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali.
Teganan Native Village (GPS: -8.47173, 115.56514).
- Karangasem Cultural Village Festival (GPS: -8.43552, 115.53962) held at Jungutan.
Taman Sukasada Ujung (Ujung Water Palace) (GPS: -8.46442, 115.63087).
- Tari Gebug Ende (War of Rattan Dance) at the Ujung Water Palace.
- Makan Megibung (Togetherness Shared Eating) at the Ujung Water Palace.
Tirtagangga Water Park (GPS: -8.41206, 115.58738).
At Ubud:
Pura Dalem Puri Peliatan Temple (GPS: -8.50922, 115.26925).
Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Royal Palace) (GPS: -8.50678, 115.26257).
- Sacred Monkey Forest (GPS: -8.51875, 115.25859).
- Ubud Local Market (GPS:-8.50705, 115.26263 ).
- Babi Guling Ibu Oka (GPS: -8.5064, 115.26235).
- Neka Art Museum (GPS: -8.49224, 115.25362).

5. Food
Breakfast: Mixed Balinese and western fare at the Sungai Restaurant in Sthala Ubud Tribute Hotel (GPS: -8.57247, 115.25964).
Lunch: Makan Megibung (Togetherness Shared Eating) at the Ujung Water Palace (GPS: -8.46442, 115.63087).
Tea 1: Snack box that included Risoles with bird' eyes chili (chili padi) during a rest stop near the Tirtagangga Water Park.
Tea 2: Kopi Luwak at Merta Harum (GPS: -8.57073, 115.26083) in Ubud.
Dinner: Assortment of Balinese fare  and western fare at the Sungai Restaurant in Sthala Ubud Tribute Hotel (GPS: -8.57247, 115.25964).

6. Accommodations
    Bali has a wide range of accommodations, ranging from six-stars hotels, to homestays and even back-packers hostels.
    We were guests of Brompton Owners Bali (BOB) and the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia, who provided us with first-class accommodations at the Sthala Ubud Tribute Hotel (GPS: -8.57247, 115.25964), where a two-pax room cost about IDR1,200k per night (about RM350), inclusive of breakfast.
Address: Jalan A.A Gede Rai, Mawang Kelod, Lodtunduh, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia.
Tel.: +62 361 3018700

7. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest. There are booths selling these just after exiting the arrival hall of Bali (Ngurah Rai) Airport. We opted for Telkomsel's at it provides the best coverage even at many of the remote areas of Nusa Penida, and got their Simpati prepaid sim cards with 10GB of data valid of 30 days at 250k rupiahs. 3G internet is available in the more populated areas but can drop to the slower GPRS or even Edge in remote areas.
    Most hotels, motels, home-stays, restaurants, and airports have free Wifi; do note that these free wifi may not be secure and registration could be required. But one can safe on one's mobile data by using these especially for uploading or downloading videos.

8. Communicating with Locals
    As Bali, is a favorite tourist destinations, many locals speak fairly good English. At the smaller towns, locals speak some rudimentary English. The older generation speak very little English, so knowing some basic Bahasa Indonesia (or even better - Balinese language) will come in handy and also warm one up to the locals.
9. Navigation
    We used Google Maps in Walking Mode for navigation but there is a lag when starting off, so one would have to cycle a bit to get the orientation right. Google Maps is also useful as it shows updated places of interests that may not be shown on GPS units.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
10. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.

 The previous day was our first ride of the "We Love Bali" cycling event organized by  the Brompton Owners Bali (BOB). It had taken us on a route from Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park through South Kuta, with a nice stretch along the Kuta Beachfront Path, exposing us to some of the local life, revealing to us a bit of the soul of Bali.
Today BOB will take us to Karangasem to see a quieter part of the island. It may be a quieter part, but "our royal treatment" continues as we will meet the Regent of Karangasem who will spiritedly lead her subjects to endow us with their warm spirit.

We got up early as we have a long day ahead, one that will be filled with visits to several places including two stretches of cycling. By 6:00am we were down for a hearty breakfast at the hotel's Sungai Restaurant.
Well sated, perhaps too well... it was time to warm up for the day ahead..... a bit of exercise by pulling a dokar horse carriage will help 😅.

But we won't be starting our busy day at Ubud, instead we head for Karangasem more than 60km. away. Thank goodness there were buses and trucks to ferry us & our bikes over, as even by bus it took us 1-1/2 hours to reach. Enroute we passed by many vistas of the majestic Gunung Agung, the highest point of Bali. It dominates the surrounding area, influencing the climate, especially rainfall patterns. It is tall, frequently covered in clouds, and with a large, deep crater that occasionally emits smoke and ash.

The route starts with a bus journey form Sthala Ubud Hotel to the Jungutan Culture Village in Karangasem. From there we cycled to the Ujung Palace and after that continued by bus to the Ubud, with an enroute stop at Tirtagangga.
Cycling Distance: 16 km.     |     Level: Easy.

8:50am - We arrive at the Jungutan Culture Village and were met by none other than herself Her Royal Highness, I Gusti Ayu Mas Sumatri, the Regent of Karangasem. Despite her royal lineage, HRH was a down to earth lady, very bubbly in character and was easy to warm up to; it was almost like meeting up with a young aunt.

Karangesam Culture Village Festival program (click on photo for enlarged view).
They were holding the three-day Karangasem Culture Village Festival, one that celebrates and promotes tribal culture, arts and life. There were many activities on the program including talks, dances and life presentations from different indigenous people of Indonesia, and even those from other countries. From Indonesia were the Dayaks, the Mentawai, Sumba, etc. From Japan came a Shamisen performance and from New Zealand a Māori Haka Dance. More amazing was that we were also listed on the program under "We Love Bali", hopefully we had imparted a bit of cycling culture to others who were there.

There was even a bazaar area with stalls selling products from Karangasem, some were factory produced and many were from cottage industries, such as uniquely designed, colorful fabrics.

HRH the Regent gave a welcoming speech which also acquainted us to her regency. Many of us had been to Bali before but had not realized that many renown spots were in Karangasem: such as Gunung Agung (Mount Agung), Bukit Surga (Gates of Heaven), Pura Besakih (Besakih Temple), the most important, the largest and the holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, Teganan Native Village, and many more. We would also later cycle to visit a couple of other well-known sites.
Our buddy Sin (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) was invited up on stage to represent us and give a speech on our behalf.
Her Royal Highness is also a revered leader and led us through a lively cheer after her speech. To her repeated calls of:
We cheered back:
To her shout of:

We echoed back:

Yes, she did whip us up into a great spirit! And

9:45am- At the carpark we queued up two by two, all of us proudly wearing our "We Love Bali" event T-shirt designed by by Bli Ardha. It's a beautiful T-shirt and one which we will lovingly wear when back home, to remind us of our wonderful time here.

Her Royal Highness flagged us off, and off we went cycling down Jalan Telaga, eager to see the area of her Regency. What a difference it was from cycling in Kuta; here although the roads were not as wide, they were light in traffic.

Our route would take us through the serene villages.....

..... through padi fields and fruit plantations .....

..... and pass the royal town of Amlapura and other smaller towns such as Tumbu.

Cycling at an area with the ruler's blessings and support did have a marked difference, the local policemen were out in full force, manning at almost every junction, stopping the traffic to let "guests" of their ruler ride by.

As we rode pass, many of the residents just stopped whatever they were doing to wave at us .....

Both the old and the young cheered us on!

10:35am - We arrive at our next destination, Taman Sukasada Ujung (Ujung Water Palace), palace with three large pools. In the middle of the pool, there is the main building named Gili Bale, connected to the edge of the pool by bridge. It was built built in 1909 by the King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik. This palace is a privately owned by Karangasem Royalty but is opened to the public without any entry charges.

The entrance structure leading to the bridge that connect to Gili Bale.

We parked our bikes at one corner of the park and were then treated to a performance of a Tari Gebug Ende. This dance called the Rattan War Dance gets its name from the weapons used: a metre and a half rattan stick called Gebug and a shield made from cow's hide called Ende.
This is a rain dance as it is performed to bring rain. Karangasem is located on the eastern tip of Bali, which is the island's driest area especially during the hot season. The home of the Gebug Ende dance is the village of Seraya where sometimes the hot season could mean a drought. The dance is believed to bring rain as the blood spilled during the performance will appease the gods and bring the rain down.

A short video clip showing the Tari Gebug Ende (War of Rattan Dance) at the Ujung Water Palace (Taman Sukasada Ujung).

Some of us were also invited to take part in the "duel" and fought it out with gusto. Although we did not draw blood, hopefully it will help appease the gods.

After the dance, we were inculcated into another Balinese tradition called Makan Megibung - which roughly translates to "Togetherness Shared Eating".

Megibung is a dining occasion that demonstrates togetherness in Balinese life. It is an activity where some people sit together and share the food from one big plate or, more traditionally, off of a big piece of banana leaf. The tradition that originated in the Karangasem is actually not only about sharing the food - throughout the dinner people can engage in a light conversation and get to know each other better. The word Megibung derives from the Balinese word gibung, which means “share with each other”.

From Taman Ujung, our buses picked us up and sent us over to the Tirtagangga Water ParkTirta Gangga literally means "water from the Ganges" and it is a site of some reverence for the Hindu Balinese. Strictly, the name refers to the water palace built in 1948 by the Raja of Karangasem, Anak Agung Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem. It is, however, the name widely used to refer to the general area which includes the water palace and the lush rural areas around.

The centerpiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens.

The one hectare complex is a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues.

The area around Tirtagangga is noted for its rice paddy terraces, and the park itself has several terraces leading away from the main pool to other smaller and yet colourful pools. In one could be seen the rare Giant Water Lily.

I walked around to a darker corner and was suddenly shocked to see a spirit emerging out from a doorway... Hah! It's Nerica... she brings along with her the spirit of the Philippines!

Some light-hearted moments as Fenn and Anne did a few butterfly jumps.

This is a short stint through the streets of Ubud, starting from the Pura Dalem Puri Peliatan to Sthala Ubud Hotel with a stop at the Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Royal Palace). It is  relatively flat with a couple of short climbs.
Cycling Distance: 9 km.     |     Level: Easy

4:25pm - We boarded our buses again and had arrive at Ubud town centre.
Yeah! It's cycling time again. I think either we must be blessed or the organizers must have been praying hard. See, it had been raining wetly at Ubud, but moments before we arrived the rain miraculously stop!

The rain had brought out the freshness of the air and the greenness of the place. Even in the setting sun, the green looked greener and the reds redder.

A quick stop to visit the Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Royal Palace), showed how happy we are to be cycling again.... and how colorfully well our "WE LOVE BALI" Barong Mask T-shirts blended with the surroundings.
Nearby is the renown Babi Guling Ibu Oka, but we will have to skip that as we already have dinner laid out for us at the hotel.

We met some slopes where several came down to push....

... and some flooded roads. But we aren't complaining, we were just too glad to scratch our cycling itch.

Here we are, just arrived back at the Sthala Ubud Tribute Hotel. Taking another group photo.... over the two days we had build a good sense of camaraderie... just one shout of "Group photo!" and all will come milling round 😍😍😍.

Here to I managed to finally find out the identity of our hero, Pak M. Wardana - our Lone Ranger visor-masked police outrider who had been accompanying us and clearing the traffic for us since the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. Thank you Pak.

While the rest adjourned to their rooms, a few of us rode over to Merta Harum to try out their Kopi Luwak. It was so-so only when compared to the ones I had to a previous one I had tried near Besakih Temple.

7:30pm - It's DINNER TIME... and also PARTY TIME!
But it's not a disco party, to the rhythm of the traditional music of Gamelan music, dancers invited us to join them in their Tari Legong Bapang Saba. It is a refined dance form characterized by intricate finger movements, complicated footwork, and expressive gestures and facial expressions. Traditionally, legong dancers were girls who have not yet reached puberty. They begin rigorous training from about the age of five. In the past, these dancers are regarded highly in the society and usually later go on to become wives of royal personages or wealthy merchants.
We joined in their dance, but not in the hope of becoming a royal spouse, there were prizes to be won by the best dancer and also the best dressed dancer.

The best dancer prize went to Edmund, look at how well he has emulated the eyes and hand movements of the dancers. The best dressed prize went to Anne, and that's how she got her Balinese name. See, the local pronounce words/names slightly different from how it's said in English (probably due to the past influence of Dutch colonialism); when her name was called it was read out as Ah-Neh... and Presto! She has been conferred a Balinese name 😇.


Good Night! It's been a wonderful day, one full of spirit.

Watch the video of our two days ride, filmed by Brompton Owners Bali (BOB).

Bali TV news on the event.

And the following is a link to the Katabali newspaper article on the event:

Click here for a Relive of our Ubud To Jungutan To Taman Ujung Ride
(For more photos of the day Click Here)
This is page 3 of a 6-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D2 GWK               |              Go to Other Days              |            Go to D4 Ubud >


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