East Bali is one of the premier parts of the island for those seeking that ‘Bali feel’. The vegetation is overflowing, the ocean and volcanoes never far out of sight and the pace of life is slow. Cruising through East Bali on a motorbike is an affordable and enjoyable way of getting to see what East Bali has to offer. This last Sunday I took a cruise along the Kusamba bypass and carried on to Candi Dasa, the main tourist spot in East Bali. One of the main tourist stops on the coast in East Bali is the temple of Goa Lawah (the bat cave). This Sunday traffic was backed up and the reason was Goa Lawah was having its odalan ceremony.
Thousands of Balinese people were packed inside the temple grounds, the parking area overflowing and the streets full. Tourists were allowed to wander around and take photos. Goa Lawah is usually open to the public daily from 7am-6pm, admission 2,000rp. There is also a small sarong rental charge or those who need to borrow one. Goa Lawah is one of the kahyangan jagat (directional temples) and protects Bali from evil spirits from the SE. Founded in 1007 by Empu Kuturan, the highlight for many people is the bat cave located at the back of the temple. Worshipers sit in the center of the inner courtyard to receive blessings and some offerings are placed at the cave entrance. According to legend the cave leads underground to the temple of Pura Goa inside the Besakih complex.
Modern times now mean people arrive at temple ceremonies on motorbike. Outside Goa Lawah parking was tight and brightly colored flags on bamboo poles gave passerby an extra indication something special was happening (if the crowds weren’t enough). The reverse ‘nazi symbols’ on the flags represent the wheel of the sun and are nothing to do with politics.
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Candi Dasa has many places to eat and one of the best is Vincent’s, located on the main street in the middle of town. The menu is mainly western and the pleasant decor, comfortable seats and good service make one feel this is a good choice for lunch or dinner. My pork chop with pan fried potatoes and vegetables was 40,000rp and was very good.
Jl. Raya Candi Dasa,