Up bright and early at 6am like usual. But that’s fine when we can’t stay up past 9:30! Breakfast at the hotel was nice and quiet. Then we went and got ourselves ready for our driver was coming at 8am. We had a full day planned of Elephant Sanctuary, temples, waterfalls, and whatever else we might see.
Our driver was named Gusti, and he was 52. Very interesting to talk with, and did a good job sharing the religious history of Bali with us. Our first stop of the day was the Elephant Sanctuary. These are all elephants that were rescued from areas of deforestation. We sprang for the full deal, we got to swim with the elephants, wash them, feed them, and go for a ride. We never saw an animal being mistreated, it felt like the trainers were all working well with the animals. We try our best to not give money to any businesses that are abusing animals when we do these unique activities.
We got so many pictures this will be a bit of an elephant overload.
After riding the elephants in the water, and washing them. They have a shower area, which is great since we were definitely just floating around with their poop. We cleaned up, and then got to feed the elephants. It’s nice to see if the elephants in the water have a break, they come over for a snack as well.
Once we feed them, then we were called to take our ride on the elephants. The kids wanted to go together so it was kids on one elephant and Ty and I on the other. The walk was actually a really neat path through the jungle around the sanctuary. It’s a great way for these elephants to get some exercise and movement, rather than being stuck in an arena all the time. The kids were chatting up their guide the whole walk, and it was fun to hear.
When we were all done we enjoyed an ice cream cone while just soaking in these amazing animals. Then we found Gusti, and we were off to lunch. It was a great tourist trap that I’m sure he gets some kickback for bringing us to. After lunch we stopped at the rice terraces. It’s another big tourist trap! They have photo stops set up all over, with these giant swings you can pay to ride, or a zip line over the fields, even a tandem bike you can pedal high wire over the fields. But if you take all that away, it really was a beautiful spot and a small glimpse into their farming lives.
From the rice terraces he took us to a smaller water temple. This is where you can get in the water and receive a blessing. Thank goodness Gusti took us to this smaller temple. We drove past the main one later in the day and that was the only time we saw huge tourist buses and there were like 6 at this temple! The smaller temple he walked us around explaining the layout and the carvings. Then it was time to change into our blessing sarongs. They had pools for men, women (not menstruating), and children. You ‘showered’ basically dunking your head 3x, then splashed your face 3x, then offered up your prayers. To whatever God you chose, according to Gusti because they believe so strongly in karma that they wish no ill will on anyone.
From the water temple we went to check out a water fall. Now all of this sounds simple when I type it out but to go from place to place they’re not far, nothing in Bali is, however the roads are very narrow, not quiet 2 way. They are very wind-y and the elevation is very up and down. So it took about an hour to go to each of these locations. The kids were doing good but it was very tiring.
The waterfall was down about 150-200 steps. It was beautiful and not totally crowded which was nice. Ryder chose not to get her swimsuit on for a third time that day. I don’t blame her, but I figured when a water swim is offered go for it. So Ty, Lincoln and I checked it out.
The kids were really bushed by the time we got back to the car, begging to go back to the hotel. However, we had one more stop planned. There was a traditional village on our way back to the hotel so we stopped and checked it out. It was neat to see and most of the villagers there seem to earn money by selling snacks, drinks and souvenirs to tourists. So Gusti led us into one of the shops and past it into the villagers house. It felt a little odd just walking through their home, but we had a guide… Not sure on the etiquette there, but it was interesting to see how they live.
The temple was beautiful, but we were all getting exhausted by this point. So we bought some juice and cookies to power us all home. As that drive took us about an hour and a half to get back to the hotel again. Beautiful sunset, and landscape.
The kids flopped in bed, and immediately plugged in. Ty of course had to go for a swim before dinner. We all showered up and ordered pasta all around from room service. Felt good to be back in our own quiet space and clean. Kids were asleep by 8:30 and I was soon after by 9:30.