There is a major road project underway that will provide a direct route from the airport to the many tourist areas along the coast. At this point in time it is literally a giant ditch running where the road will be with traffic skirting it and crossing it and sometimes driving through it. Beyond the beach areas Bali is all two lane roads through villages and mountains.
Imagine a jar filled with large stones. Then imagine pouring sand into it which fills in all of the open spaces until it is packed solid. That is what it is like to be stopped at a traffic light in Bali. The cars and trucks are the large stones and motorbikes are the sand.
It take a little getting used to and we were all thankful we were not behind the wheel. Once we left the main tourist areas things got a bit less hectic but still crazy. It was impossible to get a good shot (no slowing down for photos and not very good angles), but the rotaries had these magnificent statues in the center that towered over the roadway. Several of the roads also had statues of Balinese dancers gracing the intersections.
One of the first things we noticed was the incredible detail in the architecture. I could spend a month with my camera just photographing doorways and entrance gates. Merely pulling up to an intersection could bring about a surprising sight.
We drove up into the mountains to an area called Ubud. Most of our day was spent touring Ubud and we barely scratched the surface. Our first stop was Semar Kuning I Artist Co-operative and school. The site looks to be a former temple with dozens of galleries. The art ranged from traditional Balinese to contemporary abstract. We found a few small traditional pieces to bring home. The parts of the compound not used as galleries were so beautiful and serene.
Over the back fence were rice fields.
This was a bit of a preview for our next stop. Bali is known for its terraced rice fields. Photos do not do them justice. We all marveled at the beauty and ingenuity of these creations by the Balinese farmers.
Our next stop was lunch. Neurah had the perfect place in mind. We traveled up into the mountains to Kintamani and our destination restaurant overlooking Mt. Batur volcano and Lake Batur, the largest lake in Bali.
Lunch was a buffet of traditional Balinese dishes and each and every one was delicious.
The drinks were quite impressive as well.
Sitting on an open air balcony overlooking the volcano and the lake was beyond special. It was an experience we all will treasure.