Indon XV: Our van driver

From Hotel Surya, our van went uphill to Jalan Raya Penelokan where we were told about the absolutely breathtaking view of Mount Batur and Danau Batur. Mr van driver pulled a stop at one of the look-out point along Jalan Raya Penelokan. Before getting down, Yoga warned us about the persistent handicraft sellers there. He told us only look and bargain for the good if we wanted to buy. Else, ignored them.

So we did. We got down and walked to a very narrow lane built on a cliff, behind a handicraft shop.

And my, the view is indeed beautiful. Again, every one of us can’t believe that we just climbed that mountain few hours ago! It looked so complicated, so untouchable, so unconquerable from afar. Yet, we managed to do so!

We took few photos there, I then realised the only thing that prevents us from falling off the cliff is the railing made of bamboo shoots! And the platform we were standing on and the buildings around us are further strengthened by the bamboo shoots also. So, imagine if Mount Batur explodes, the whole area might just give way like that! Scary indeed!

With nothing else to do, we got into our van where we were brought to a restaurant few metres from the look-out point. When we reached, we noticed that the restaurant name is Restoran Panca Yoga and playfully teased Yoga by saying that he brought us to his restaurant! Haha.

We were warmly greeted by the waiters and waitresses of the restaurant and were led to our table behind the building, overlooking Mount Batur and Danau Batur! The restaurant offers buffet lunch with variety of choices to choose from. I simply took a little bit of everything to try.

Having lunch with such a spectacular view is totally awesome! If only the weather was a little bit cloudy then it would be perfect as I had to wear sunglasses while eating because of the sun glare! Haha.

After a satiated awesomely lunch, we left Kintamani for next stop – Bangli. I can’t remember the route there as I fell asleep soon after Mr. Driver began descending Jalan Raya Penelokan. I only woke up when the van stopped. I looked around and wondered where we were. The place looks and smells like Balik Pulau.

Yoga led us into an orchard, where the rest took the opportunity to take pictures of the fruits. The whole place looks like the orchard behind my granny’s house therefore I didn’t take much – except for the fruits and trees I never seen before.

We then reached a hut and the aroma of roasted coffee was strong there. A man was seen stirring the coffee beans while the other supervising him.

The very fragrant roasted coffee beans. Mm~

At the side was an aged woman crunching the beans using a big wooden stick with the help from a younger girl.

A toddler was seen walking near the hut, barefooted.

Sitting behind the aged woman was a baby girl who has the most infectious smile! She couldn’t stop smiling and giggling – which made me so delighted! Her eyes are so round and beautiful and my, she made me feel like cuddling her but obviously I didn’t. Hehe.

Initially I was puzzled on why were we going through someone’s orchard and looking at the men roasting the coffee. Then only I know why. We were there to see the famous and most expensive coffee – the luwak coffee.

If you’re not a coffee lover and wondering what the hell is luwak coffee (like me), this coffee’s beans came from the civets‘ poo. Yup, you didn’t read this wrongly. The civets eat the coffee berries from the coffee trees and it’s time to go, the beans came out together with the droppings. Human would then look for the beans in the droppings, wash and clean them before putting them out in the sun. Then they would roast the beans lightly and finally brew them.

Hearing that, I couldn’t help but showing my tongue out. I can’t imagine how something in an animal’s droppings could be a luxury food to human! So I decided to try it when the rest asked about it. When we asked about the price, we were uber shocked – 30.000 Rupiah (RM11.10) for a tiny cup!

Someone then suggested on sharing a cup of coffee – since all of us JUST want to try the taste of the expensive coffee. We asked around on whom wanting to try, and ordered a cup from the person-in-charge there. He then started making one. If not mistaken, everyone’s eyes were on him; observing the way he made the coffee. Then he passed a cup to one of us.

It was AL who had the honour of trying first. While she took a sip, everyone looked at her eagerly and then asked, “How’s is it? Got smell like shit or not?”

I can’t really remember what she said, but if not mistaken she told us it tasted like coffee. Lol!

Next, it was my turn since I sat beside her. Carefully, I took a sip – and my, it was bitter!!! I think Nescafe Coffee is much nicer! Lol!

The tiny cup was ¾ empty only when it reached the 10th person. So, we decided to go another round. Then we took out 3.000 Rupiah (RM1.10) each and passed over to the person-in-charge.

Besides the luwak coffee, we were given free samples of coffee, tea and chocolate drink too. After finishing the samples and the coffee luwak, we checked out their shop and slowly walked back to our van.

We got in our van and headed to our next stop – Pura Tirta Empul. I can’t remember the entire journey there as I felt asleep the moment the van was on the road. I guess the morning hike and the menstrual made me tired very easily.

Soon we reached the Gate of Pura Tirta Empul. I was extremely excited as I was dying to visit this temple when I did research on Bali few months ago. But I forgot the most important part – this beautiful temple also known as holy spring temple; is said to be so sacred that those having menstrual couldn’t enter.


So, I watched the rest entered the temple; feeling very sad and blaming myself for forgetting about this vital point. If I remembered, I would have got the ‘anti-menstrual pill’! 

As the van moved towards the car park, I was trying my very best to hold back my tears by playing game and wearing sunglasses. I consoled myself with lots of reasons – from telling myself that ‘this-place-is-not-really-that-beautiful to ‘shall-go-back-to-Bali-again-to-visit-this-place’. Still, tears dropped without me realizing.

I quickly wiped my tears and continued playing game – putting my mind of this place. Then the van driver initiated a small chat. He asked if I would want to get down and look at the souvenir shops in front of us.

I shook my head and said no. I then asked him, if there are other temples that I couldn’t enter in the next trip. He didn’t answer my question. Instead he took out a laminated A4 map of Bali, turned to the other side and showed me the picture of Pura Tirta Empul. Then he passed the map to me where I gratefully took from him.

While the map shielding my face, I quickly wiped another rolling tears. I quickly calmed myself down and passed back the map to him. Then I continued playing game and listening to songs. He got out of the van to find his fellow friends.

One annoying thing I felt while waiting for the rest is a lady fruit seller. She knocked the van’s window plane to attract my attention and then asked me to buy fruits from her. I didn’t feel like having one, so I smiled at her and politely waved my hands – signaling No and then continued playing game.

5 minutes later, she went to the other side of the van and knocked again. A bit frustrated, I shook my hand and then concentrate on my game.

10 minutes from the 2nd knock, I looked up to see her sitting on the pavement in front of the van. I looked at the fruits she was carrying – they sure didn’t look fresh to me.

Few minutes later, she came to the side, knocked and begged me to buy something from her but I pretended not to hear any knock or pleading. I couldn’t afford to waste Rupiah as I didn’t have much left. Moreover, I was in the sad mood, all I need is ice-cream. If she’s selling ice-cream I would gladly buy one from her.

Suddenly, I felt the van door opened and I looked up in alarm. It was my hero! Words couldn’t describe how happy I was to see him. ^^

I looked behind him, the rest weren’t with him. He told me that he purposely came back early to accompany me, fearing that I would be lonely in the van. I felt so grateful for what he did, but I told him he should explore the whole place so that he would know what to bring me to see next time. Then he laughed and I looked at the photos he took from his DSLR. The place looks so beautiful, just like the pictures I saw in the net. Haih. Ultimate sadness.

Seeing this, he took his DSLR off my hand and then talked to me. The lady fruit seller came again, knocking and pointing to her fruits and I let Sat declined her this time. Haha.

The van door opened again, and it was the rest. Sat got down and went to his seat in front, next to Yoga. The girls came in and told me that the place is not that fun, not beautiful, and not worth seeing. Deep down my heart I knew that they’re saying this because they didn’t want me to feel left out. Real nice of them to have such thoughts. <3 <3 <3

As the girls were chatting with me, I realised that our van already moved out of the Holy Spring Temple and going through remote kampong area. As remote as it looked, the place is actually famous for its puppet making. Of the 10 wooden huts, 7 are heavily decorated with puppets and puppet-making tools. Probably some huts are actually their workshops as well as their shops.

Mr. van driver steered the van downhill and then uphill (which made we felt like on a roller coaster ride) before entering into another village. Upon entering, I concluded the area must be famous for the glass craftsmanship as there are plenty of huts showcasing their works.

As I sat by the window on the right side, even though the sun was glaring at me I gleefully admire the pretty, colourful glasses that went by me… I mean as our van went past them until the van stopped. Then I turned to the left and there, the view of the terraced paddy field greeted me.

We got down our van, crossed the road before descending the stairs down to the look-out point. As much as I wish the view was fantabulous like the pictures I saw in the net, it didn’t turn out something like that. Sat then told me that we came at the wrong season, that’s why the hills aren’t that green. True enough they were just about to plough the land, that’s why so much brownness.

Just before the stairs down the look-out point, there is this pretty young child about 6-7 years old, begging 2 pretty looking foreigners to buy postcards. I could see that she begged so much until the 2 ladies pitied and finally got one stack from her. Happily, she let the ladies took pictures with her. Haha.

We took 2-3 group photos there with the help from Yoga and then left the place. The place is full of souvenir and handicrafts shops and I wished I have the money to shop there! I had my eyes on one of the things there, but I was thinking even if I brought enough – will there be enough time for me to shop since we had such a hectic schedule? Will there be enough space for my bag to carry back as the bag looked like it was about burst?

We walked a bit further up before boarding our van. We then continued our journey to the heart of Ubud.