Royal temple of Taman Ayun
It’s time to leave Munduk, Bedugul and the mountains. We are now heading to the other reason that led us to Bali in the first place: the diving spots of Tulamben, on the east coast. But we still have the scooter for an indefinite period, so we’ve decided to make a detour to visit the very famous Tanah Lot and the Taman Ayun.
The Taman Ayun is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples of the island. It was built in 1634 by a King of the Mengwie Dynasty. We enter through the beautiful gardens, where flowers of many colors mingle here and there with small sculptures and religious buildings. We listen to the gentle trickle of the flowing water in the channels that enclose the temple, embellished by numerous lotus blossoms.
The main enclosure of the temple remains closed, apparently reserved for the royal family, but we can go around and admire the beauty of 11 Meru (constructions dedicated to the gods, here Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice).
We appreciate this relaxing moment, surprisingly not crowded with tourists. We even stay a bit longer to enjoy a peaceful break in the quiet gardens, before driving south to the Tanah Lot.
Tanah Lot, where the gods play businessmen.
The Tanah Lot temple is worldwide famous for its stunning sunsets and its special location. Indeed, it was built on a small rocky island, a few meters away from the shore. Its fame unfortunately transformed the area around in a huge tourist mall. Souvenir shops, made-in-china trinket sellers, restaurants… It takes almost 20 minutes to walk through this tourist market to finally have a view of the temple. Well, a view of the temple and of the hundreds of tourists huddled in front of the monument, trying to take a selfie. The sunsets there are certainly very pretty but otherwise we didn’t find anything exceptional to this place.
As we are tourists too, and because this active morning made us hungry, we allow ourselves to be tempted by a cheap restaurant. We leave fairly quickly afterward, a little bit disappointed. Especially since the entry fee of the site was quite expensive…
En route to Tulamben and the Tirta Gangga water palace
Tulamben is located exactly on the other side of the island, on the east coast. To get there, we have to go through Denpasar (the capital), therefore face the chaotic traffic, then we have to take the great east-west « highway » along the south coast of the island.
After several dangerous driving hours (and several breaks to relax our buttocks because the saddle of our scooter is not the most comfortable…), we arrive in a much more rural place, where we meet only locals on the road. We pause every so often to admire the fantastic landscape. The mountain road that leads to Tulamben is indeed extraordinary! On one side the sea, on the other, covering a volcanic slope, the most beautiful rice fields that we have seen on the island.
We stop a few kilometers before Tulamben at the Tirta Gangga Water Palace. A beautiful complex of ponds, populated by huge koi fishes and adorned by fountains and sculptures, surround the royal pool in which you can bathe for a few rupees. The place, built between the late 1940s and mid-1950s, is utterly relaxing … We stay there a while, enthralled by Titra Gangga’s beauty. Finally, we leave this day-dream behind to content more trivial needs. We go straight to a nearby restaurant and order a delicious early dinner, before settling in Tulamben where we will spend the upcoming days diving.
Tintin & Riette
Taman Ayun :
- Open from 8:00 to 18:00
- Price : 15 000RP/adult, 7500RP/child
- Carpark is available just outside the site
Tanah Lot :
- Price : 30 000Rp/adult, 15 000RP/child
- Carpark : 5000Rp/voiture, 2000Rp/scooter
- Non balinese are not allowed to walk in the temple at low tide.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace :
- Open from 06:00 to 18:00
- Price : 10 000Rp/adult, 5000Rp/child
- Carpark : 2000Rp
- Have a swim in the royal swimming pool : 10 000Rp supplémentaires
We didn’t took any guide for any of those visits.