Day 239: Exploring Indonesia – Temples, High Fashion, and Sex Tourism
We visited the Uluwatu Temple right at sunset. The view was magnificent and the ocean stretched out forever. This Hindu temple was built right into the edge of the cliff. The setting couldn’t have been any nicer.
The ocean sunset in particular was spectacular and we enjoyed watching it descend, despite the crowds. While we could have chosen to pay exorbitant prices for the dance and fire show at sunset, we chose to separate ourselves from the crowd and just enjoy a quiet, gorgeous sunset.
We’ve noticed that wherever we go in Indonesia, there are little altars and sacrifices everywhere called Canang Sari! You may find them at the entrance to a store, in many business places, stairs, and even in tiny, hidden crevices like the one below at the Uluwatu Temple. Sacrifices are primarily made early in the morning, but we saw them being offered all throughout the day. The most common Canang Sari is made up of green palm leaves woven together, and containing flowers and herbs. Please be careful not to offend the Balinese by stepping on their offerings.
We also had an opportunity to visit a few other temples. Modesty and respect within the temples are very important, so keep this in mind. In general, women should wear long pants or skirts, and shirts with sleeves (short sleeves are fine). Men should also have sleeves and wear long pants. If you have shorts, you most likely will be asked to wrap up in a sarong (pictured below). Keep in mind, if you require a covering, some places may actually charge you for them, so you may want to come prepared.
At Uluwatu, the men and boys were also asked to wear a “selendang” or a temple scarf around their waists. Sandals were fine, at least here in Indonesia, as long as the overall look was modest. In addition, public displays of affection are also frowned upon between the opposite sexes. So…no holding hands or kissing within temple walls.
The Balinese culture is very interesting. Prior to departing for Indonesia, I assumed Bali was largely a Muslim area, but I was mistaken. There are a larger number of Hindus in Bali than Muslims. In fact, some statistics say that 90% of the Balinese are Hindus, 5% are Muslims, and the remainder are Buddhists and Christians. Many of the people we encountered, including our taxi drivers, confirmed this.
One other sad fact about Indonesia, and more specifically Bali…is that in 2013, it was determined to be the number one destination for Australian child sex tourists. After this was discovered, the Indonesian government announced measures to fight against sexual crimes against children. Be praying for Indonesia to win this fight.
Ok…just two more photos to lighten the mood. Here are a few shots of the monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple. Beware. They are not as innocent as they look. For more on naughty Indonesia monkeys, visit Attacked in the Sacred Monkey Forest.