Uluwatu - Temples, Monkeys, and a Duck

Uluwatu is a name familiar to many surfers - and indeed it's one of Bali's best surfing spots, with its miles of beaches and rolling surf. But that's not what we were here for.

The temples at Uluwatu are some of the holiest and most spectacular in Bali. Perched atop steep cliffs overlooking the Bali Sea to the south, the interiors of the temples are closed to non-Hindus. We saw some interesting-looking ceremonies going on down on the beach at the entrance to some caves, supposedly inhabited by snakes. We have no idea how they had made it down the steep cliffs.

The monkeys here were much more aggressive than those that live in Monkey Forest in Ubud. They would rush up to you and try to grab things out of your hand, or even out of your pockets or bags, and were quite scary.

We were so "templed-out" by this time, though, that even though these were beautiful temples, we were getting to the point that unless there was a temple ceremony going on, one temple was starting to look rather like another!

But we had a fun chat with some of the local Balinese women who were selling cold drinks outside.

That evening our host, Oka Wati, had invited us to a sumptuous farewell feast of smoked duck (the Balinese delicacy, reserved for very special occasions), on the house, to thank us for staying with her for the past three weeks. We hadn't the heart to tell her that our children were vegetarian and wouldn't eat duck, so Astrid and I ate the entire feast between the two of us - the whole duck plus 2 huge plates of duck sate (40 sticks in all), while the kids picked at the mountains of rice and vegetables. Oka Wati clucked disapprovingly at what we had to send back uneaten, but we were stuffed to the gills. I don't think I'll be able to think about duck again for a long time.

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Photos: Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall
All content copyright (c) 2002, Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall