Sacred sites to be found

One of the beautiful and exciting sacred sites to be found in eastern Bali is the Pura Lempuyang. It is one of Bali's nine directional temples and is of great significance to the Balinese culture and religion.

Consequently you will often see Balinese families from around the island visiting in full ceremonial attire balancing large baskets of food atop their heads with the purpose of getting it blessed by the priest at the temple at the top of the mountain.

In 2001 it took me and my Balinese friends 2.5 hours of climbing steep steps all the way to the top of the mountain before sunrise, where we were greeted by the sacred monkeys who guarded the temple and where we and our food were blessed by the priest, what a wonderful experience.

The views from the top of Gunung Lempuyang (1065m) are just sensational, looking towards Amed and Lombok island on one side and towards the other side you’ll see Gunung Agung the highest active volcano (3124m) on Bali which erupted last in 1963. In the afternoon we took our jeep and drove around the volcano. On a small windy road, we passed small rural villages, witnessing how the simple Balinese live and watched the farmers harvesting rice.

The spectacular coastal road of eastern Bali is an adventure in its own right, with tall mountains on one side and stunning cliffs and raw ocean views on the other. Some of Bali's best diving opportunities are found here as this region also is home to one of the world’s last living traditional fishing fleet.

Back in Amlapura, we got a beautifully warm welcome form my Balinese friend Nengah, her kids and their English school friends and we felt right at home again. This reminded me of the time back in 2001, when I visited Nengah's English class one morning and was greeted by so many beautiful smiles and souls!