Today was such an incredible day. We did so much! The day started early with the driver arriving at 9:00am. Our first stop was Goa Gajah, aka Elephant Cave, which dates back to the 9th century and served as a sanctuary for Hindu priests. The cave here was very ornate and resembled a haunted house entrance. Walking around the grounds was so peaceful with its beautiful banyan tree, waterfall, and moss covered temples.
Next we visited Gunung Kawi, an 11th century temple complex. This site included rock-cut shrines carved into the cliff face, as well as a holy temple. These ancient monuments are the closest resemblance to Angkot Wat in Cambodia. I admired the cool looking animal-like sculptures while Brenden took in the historical significance of the place. Gunung Kawi is located in the Tampaksiring Valley, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After this we stopped at Tirta Empul Temple, which is famous for its holy water and where Hindu people go for purification. This temple was built in 962 AD. The purification ceremony is open to anyone, so Brenden took the opportunity to learn a local tradition (I would have loved to have participated, but due to my foot injury, had to take a pass).
Finally, we stopped at a coffee plantation where we actually drank coffee made from an animal’s poo. Yes, you read that right, an animal’s poop. It also happens to be the worlds most expensive coffee. Kopi Luwak refers to the seeds of coffee berries that are ingested and defecated by the Asian Palm Civet (a fox/cat looking animal), then the remains brewed into coffee. Along with trying a cup of this gourmet coffee, we also did a coffee and tea tasting made from regular coffee beans and it was delicious. Please note, we do not condone the mistreatment of animals. It was only when researching for this post that we learned that an investigation by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) found that some of the producers of this type of coffee may mistreat the Civet cats. For this reason, we will refrain from drinking this coffee in the future and encourage you to pass on tasting the Kopi Luwak if you stop for a coffee tasting at a Bali plantation.
Finally, we ended the day at Tegallalang to view and photograph one of the oldest and most famous rice terraces in Bali. This area is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. All in all, it was a great day of discovery!