Halfway Around the World travel blog

a sample of the rock cut through to make the road

announcing the beach

a few of the many buses of tourists visiting the beach

a warning we heeded

no attendant, we wondered who collects (or checks?)

cafe dish washing station

what we would call a "boardwalk"

Our sarong attire for the temple

Uluwatu Temple


chorus entering at the kecak dance

chanting the "trance"


monkey steals the water



sunset from the amphitheater


I had a few ideas about what to see, but wanted to check with our driver, Alung, and see what we could be accomplished given the traffic. (Alung said when asked about accidents, “yes, but they are from tourists”.) Apparently the Bali residents are accustomed to the chaos.

So, after a brief discussion we decide to head to the newest beach (opened in 2013) and the biggest tourist attraction this direction. The government discovered that there was a great beach, but no beach access due to the enormous amount of rock. So they devised a plan to cut thorough the rock and generate commerce. Pandawa Beach is now a hot spot making the local community quite wealthy on Balinese standards. It is impressive in scale (especially the amount of rock cut away to allow for a road. And one has to pay a toll to visit.

After experiencing the throngs, we headed for Uluwatu Temple and the Kecak and Fire Dance. At the temple, long respectful attire is required so we donned the purple sarongs and yellow sashes provided by the community and headed out for a long walk along the cliffs for spectacular views and people taking dangerous selfies. Then there are the monkeys. Thieves of everything that is not strapped down-glasses, water bottles, even a roll of toilet paper from a woman's backpack. It was too hot for them to be very active, but we did see a few fellows plying their trade. Following our cliff walk, we headed for an amphitheater to see the dance. this is considered the most unique of the Balinese dances and is accompanied by a choir of 70 men with its origin in an old ritual dance called “Sanghyang” or trance dance. In the dance, a person in a state of trance communicates with the deities or ancestors. Using the dancers, the deities tell a story. With so many tourists packed into a tight space and the temperature about 95 with 95% humidity, it was a challenge to sit on the cement bench for 90 minutes, but we made it!

Following the performance, we headed to Jimbaran for an oceanside seafood grill. Literally, on the beach with a thousand other tables, the chef cooks your seafood to order after you select it from the tank. In a repeat from Greece, cost is determined by weight and one needs to purchase the entire fish. Way more than we need to eat. 200 grams of Prawns for me, 1.2 kg of Snapper for John. If we had not been so wiped out from our very hot afternoon in the sun, we might have enjoyed it more. This is considered a hot spot for the young, drinking crowd and there are many warnings about taking care with the “arak” a black market brew that is comparable to grain alcohol from what I gather. We avoided that with local beer-Bintang and a cocktail that I ordered “strawberry collada” which was neither strawberry nor tasty. I have learned my lesson - stick to beer!

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