The drive from the airport to The Menjangan resort in the very northwest corner of Bali was estimated at 4-5 hours (150km), so we made plans in advance to stop at a few places on the way. Our quick obeservation: Bali is so dense. You couldn’t really tell when you were leaving one town and entering the next as the roads were always lined by shops, temples, and homes, only occasionally separated by a rice field.
Our first stop was a luwak coffee plantation where you could sample this rare coffee and a bunch of other flavored drinks. Eric liked the lemongrass tea a lot and my favorite was the coconut of the flavored coffee varieties. One interesting note is that typical coffee (and tea) in Bali is powdered. You don’t brew it as much as add hot water and stir.
Luwak coffee is known as one of the most expensive coffees in the world as the ripe beans are ‘harvested’ from the poop of the luwak (or civet cat as we know them). The digestive process supposedly changes the chemistry of the bean and makes it better. I liked it fine enough but my heart (and taste buds) still prefer Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees. I had to pay extra for the cup of special coffee but I think it’s worth the $3.75 to try it.
Next was the temple on the lake, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, in Bedugal. Since it was the first day of Galungan, the most important feast for Balinese Hindus, there were lots of well dressed people about and others simply enjoying the cooler mountain air temperature. Finely manicured lawns, flowers, dragon sculptures and pretty lake views abounded. We had passed many temples on the two plus hour ride but nothing this grand.
Just afterward we rounded a bend and found a troupe of tame monkeys to feed. Our driver had bought raw peanuts so we took turns handing them to the monkeys. An older guy had taken to gently grabbing my maxi skirt and giving me puppy dog eyes. Clever monkey.
At this point our goal was the hotel so we continued to wind our way through many small villages and narrow mountain roads, including some spectacular views and a late afternoon rain shower.
I took this quick video from the car to show the density and general views of roadside homes, businesses and natural space.
We finally got to the resort about 4.5 hours later and started the next phase of our Bali adventure.