After Tirta Empul, we went to another Hindu temple complex named Gunung Kawi. It holds one of Bali's oldest and largest ancient monuments. You need to go down the river valley via a steep stone stairway. There are 270 steps but I didnt mind as the view was spectacular. You will pass by a manmade irrigation stream as well as the vast rice terraces on both sides. At the bottom, you will find the majestic monuments.
As per lonely planet:
"The five monuments on the eastern bank are probably dedicated to King Udayana, Queen Mahendradatta and their sons Airlangga, Anak Wungsu and Marakata. While Airlangga ruled eastern Java, Anak Wungsu ruled Bali. The four monuments on the western side are, by this theory, to Anak Wungsu's chief concubines. Another theory is that the whole complex is dedicated to Anak Wungsu, his wives, concubines and, in the case of the remote 10th candi, to a royal minister."
You may cross a short concrete bridge over another stream to reach the other five monuments. The shrines are so majestic. It was surreal. There were few people around so the experience felt more intimate. It's really amazing how ancient people were able to create these wonders.
Around the complex there were Balinese shrines and structures. Another steep stone stairway leads you to a stream. It was very calming.
Please be warned that going back up to the main entrance is not as easy as going down. I learned this the hard way..lol I am fond of walking and climbing stairs, but this one I gave up halfway. I felt like I'm about to collapse anytime. I didn't care anymore when I took the vendor's seat the moment she stood up. I stayed there for a long while as I tried to catch my breath. I think she understood and let me be. She didn't attempt to take back her seat. :D When I had enough energy to resume my trek up, we just smiled at each other. I said my thanks and she nodded.
I collapsed in the backseat when I reached the van. I took a quick nap while we head to Tegalalang rice field. I was feeling much better when we reached the place. The view of the ricefield was also so refreshing. It's the perfect way to end the tour.
We went back to Ubud around 5 PM and I asked to be dropped in Jl. Gootama street. I planned to have my dinner in Melting Wok Warung, one of the top-rated restaurants in Ubud. I initally can't find the place even if it's just along the Jl.Gootama street. I passed the restaurant twice but I wasn't able to see the signage. Add to that, the restaurant is partially hidden from street level view as it is on the second floor. I was only relying on my google map and eventually I was able to find it. Again, I had no reservation and the nice French owner politely told me that they are closed for walk-ins. They only accept those with reservations that time. She might have noticed my sad disappointed face as she then asked what my order would be in case they could I was accommodate. I said I would like to try the famous Curry Pork and Potatoes and Creme caramel with coconut sauce. She said she can reconsider. I assured her I can eat fast and I just wanted to dine in their much-raved restaurant. She laughed and ushered me to a table and told me it's ok and not to rush. Their staff are were also so friendly. I really am thankful they gave me a chance to dine there as the curry pork was delicious! One of the best curry dish I have tasted. It's more like a creamy pork steak but in a whole new level. The creme caramel was also very good but the highlight for me was the Curry Pork. I will definitely be back! :D
After dinner, I went back to the hotel to rest and prepare for the first day of my tour with Rai. Well, sad to say, Rai was not personally available as he will be attending a funeral but he sent one of his trusted staff to be my driver for the next 2 days.
I am a Filipina, formerly based in Singapore and is now living permanently in Melbourne. Yet, I am really a global citizen at heart. :)