I underestimated the drive north and I left quite late, since I was enjoying so much the comfort of SenS Hotel & Spa. The sky was covered in cottony clouds and the weather forecast app told of a 70% chance of rain. I drove out of Ubud towards the village of Mambal, where famous Green School – www.greenschool.org (a visit can be arranged through https://greenschoolbali.openapply.com/tours/new) – is located and where I caught up with an old friend of mine at the school cafeteria.
The coffee turned into a snack and by the time I left for the hills it was nearly 3pm and the sky was turning black. The car climbed along trafficked roads until, a few km before the mountain village of Bedugul, the sky burst open and rain started falling copiously, making the drive hard to say the least. People on moped wore anoraks and makeshift plastic covers, buzzing left and right around cars along the wet road. The rain made visibility scarce, and I had to pay attention to anything and anyone around me.
Thanks to its location at an altitude of 1500 mt above sea level, Bedugul enjoys a mild mountain weather and crisp air. I drove past the stunning Lake Beratan, a shallow lake with the high caldera about 1230 meters above sea level, and luckily my destination was not far. Handara Golf Resort & Spa – www.handaragolfresort.com -, at an elevation of 1400 mt above sea level, is not only an award-winning golfers paradise attracting golfers from around the world. It is also an oasis of green fields and vegetation, showing off the fantastic scenery of its surroundings, and offering a range of the most comfortable accommodation for discerning travelers.
I felt at home right away in my well-appointed golf view deluxe room, which as the name states, commanded extraordinary views over the main course, the lake and the surrounding mountains. I relaxed in the balcony, listening to birds and cicadas, and watching the rain fall, until it temporarily stopped, allowing me to go out. TO BOOK A DISCOUNTED ROOM AT HANDARA GOLF & RESORT, CLICK HERE !
My Toyota did not need to take me far, as Ulun Danau Beratan Temple was a mere 2km away. Built in 1633 on the edge of Lake Beratan, the amazing main structure boasts 11 stories of meru (coned roofs) that overlaps, giving its magnificent shape; these are dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. Ulun Danau Beratan Temple is used for offering ceremonies to the lake goddess Dewi Danau, and has a magical feel to it, as when looked at from afar, it looks like it is floating on the lake waters.
Further down the same road, I stopped at the Candikuning Market, for a traditional meal: rabbit and goat satay and a very tasty goat soup, enriched with lots of local spices, all gulped down with a warm, sweet local tea. A great meal at this apparently unassuming joint right inside the main market, called Mr Satay Ponorogo. Highly recommended. At Candikuning Market you can also buy fresh fruit, veggies, strawberries, roasted corn and local delicacies like spinach and prawn crackers, as well as a good range of tourist souvenirs and sarongs.
A drive to the side road connecting to the lower coastal area of Lake Buyan revealed a great neighborhood of farmers that plant mainly strawberries and spices in their neat gardens by the lakeside. I drove to the end of the through road, where a path that apparently circumnavigate the whole lake starts. A great adventure for future trips to this area of Bali! The menacing clouds built up again, so I went back to Handara Golf Resort & Spa and called it a night.
The day after I woke up quite early, prompted by the shining sun appearing from behind the peaks. I had breakfast at Handara Kamandalu Restaurant before heading to Bali Kebun Raya Botanical Gardens – kebunrayabali.com/ – open daily 7am/6pm – entrance IDR 17,000 (about 1.5 US$) per person, IDR 11,000 (about 1 US$) per car -, only a few km away. I was stunned by the collection of plants in the massive park area.
Next activity was at Bali Treetop Adventure Park – 22 US$ pre-booked, 25 US$ at the door – open daily 7am/6pm. Situated inside the Botanical Gardens, this is a place to test your agility by moving from one tree to another the way Tarzan way. Put it this way, it sounds easy, and though it was indeed fun I must admit it was challenging after all. Read about my experience HERE !
TO BE CONTINUED… STAY TUNED !
A drive around Bali – Part 5 – the North coast
A drive around Bali – Part 6 – the West coast
The Toyota Agya was kindly supplied by Echo Bali Car Rental