Sunday, 20 December 2015
South-East Asian Adventures: Ulun Danu Bratan water temple and luwak coffee, Bali
After leaving the little haven that was our spot in Pemuteran, we journeyed south through Bali to the central city of Sanur. However, we had a couple of very interesting stops en route.
First up, we paid a visit to Ulun Danu Bratan temple.
It's a major temple complex located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains, and is supposedly a water temple because the main part should be surrounded by water.
Alas, given that my visit was at the end of the dry season, the temple was in fact surrounded by soil. However I still thought it was really pretty.
You'd think I'd have been templed-out after seven weeks in South-East Asia, but as I hadn't actually been to any Hindu temples, I really enjoyed wandering round Ulun Danu Bratan.
We didn't travel much further before stopping off to experience a bit more local culture: poop coffee!
OK, I should probably explain what I mean by that. When I say poop coffee, I'm talking about coffee that has been eaten and excreted by animals. Yuhuh.
Now, I'm not a coffee-drinker so had never heard of this, but apparently this is some superior stuff. It's a local speciality and there are lots of places that sell it around Bali so I was intrigued despite having zero interest in consuming said beverage.
The animals in question are luwaks. And they're so damn cuuuuuute!
So here's what makes this coffee so special: the luwaks forage around for coffee beans and pick the very best ones, which they then eat (without chewing).
The excreted beans are then collected, thoroughly-cleaned and roasted just like normal coffee beans.
And that's it! Apparently this makes amazing coffee. Random, eh? You have to wonder who first thought "Oh look! Pooped-out coffee! I bet that's going to taste delicious," don't you?
After seeing how it's made, we then went and sat at a little table on the mountainside with a beautiful view over the lush Balinese countryside to sample some coffee and, thankfully for me, tea.
^That's the luwak coffee. Apparently it's reeeaaally strong, but I wouldn't know. (I can tell you that it is reeeeaally expensive though!)
The teas were lovely - I particularly liked the coconut and mangosteen ones - and alongside our beverages we tried traditional snacks of the fried sugary potato variety (no clue what they were but they were tasty.)
Balinese hospitality is superb.
After having stocked up on lovely teas, coffee and chocolate, we hopped back in the minibus to our final stop on the G Adventures trip: Sanur.
We lounged by the pool and spent our final evening as a group eating good food and drinking amazing cocktails. A spot of late-night skinny-dipping may have also occurred which was hilarious. Blame the cocktails. And the heat. And the general sense of celebration.
My adventure wasn't quite over yet though - the next day I was off to Ubud (and if you missed it, you have to check out the wonderful hotel I stayed in there!)
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