We rent a scooter and head over to Gunung Kawi. We pass several rice terraces which are stunning and surely the true image of Bali. The temperature becomes cooler as we head further up the mountain side and closer to the clouds. Eventually, after going too far, and asking a few locals for directions, we get to Gunung Kawi.
It’s a beautiful site, with temples, old and new and several fish pools. It’s a lovely setting, deep in a valley, fringed by palms. The site itself isn’t as stunning as I had expected, but the history is clear and it’s an enjoyable stop.
We head back to Ubud and have a great lunch (bangers and mash) at a great deli. Next we visit the Neka Art Museum. Once again it’s a beautiful site, and there is some interesting Balinese art of various styles. There is a collection of photographs from a European who visited Bali in 1939, and interesting went on to build the first hotel in Kuta, and even introduced surfing to Bali, having tried his hand when filming in Hawaii. The photos show traditional Bali before any western influence changed the island. The traditional life is very well captured. One of the captions tells how the locals were very friendly, but hard bargainers who would seem disgusted at a low price, before settling on a final agreed price. This is something all visitors to Asia in general would be familiar with, whether one likes it or loathes it. Thunder roars overhead and black clouds threaten, so we make a hasty retreat to return the scooter. It doesn’t rain in the end.