This travelogue is centered on Klungkung but actually encompasses three different locations and activities centered around Klungkung -- the beautiful sculptures within Klungkung itself, the Catholic community nearby, and the whitewater rafting on the Yehunda River just a short drive to the north.
Klungkung is located in the southeast corner of Bali, a couple kilometers inland from the coast of the Badung Strait. Like most Balinese cities, Klungkung has a number of Hindu temples dotting the main square. This first picture is one of the largest meeting halls we encountered. The pool was low at the time, normally the water level reaches the row of moss around the base, and is much clearer.
Klungkung also has a number of massive stone sculptures in the major roads through town. The second picture depicts a rarity -- a plain stone sculpture, rare that it seems so, well, un-elaborate. But it's huge, as you can tell from the miniscule gentleman walking across it. One other sculpture, or series of sculptures, that you must look for is a 200-meter-long depiction of a pull chariot, complete with a full complement of horses and a massive rider. I deeply regret not taking a picture of it (what can I say, I wasn't thinking at the time).
Two of the wonderful things about the Balinese people are their devotion to the Hindu religion and their tolerance of other religious faiths. Many temples allow visitors to enter and pray in their own faith, while providing an opportunity to learn how the Hindu pray. Meanwhile, other faiths are permitted a peaceful establishment, such as this Roman Catholic church located a short distance from the center of the city. This Catholic community is similar to those found among the missionaries of old California -- tight-knit, family-oriented, and fueled by an appreciation of the arts. The grounds host a woodworking school that produced several of the churches decorations -- beautiful engraved murals of the 14 Stations of the Cross, the Madonna, and of Jesus Christ Himself behind the altar.
(NOTE: Elsewhere in this site, I have posted a translation of the Order of the Mass in Bahasa Indonesia, in case you want to attend Mass on Bali but want the local flavor -- English-language Masses for tourists are available in the main resort areas.)
Being far enough away from the civilized southern part of Bali, Klungkung has much of the island's natural beauty available for the visitor. Bali's famous rice paddies cover the landscape, and several major rivers flow through the nearby valleys.
Many tourists are unaware that Bali is prime white water rafting country. There are dozens of rafting companies providing services, and I was highly impressed by their professionalism and their friendliness (but of course, one will find that 'friendly Balinese' is a redundancy). The beauty of white water rafting here is that the rivers used follow deep gorges not normally accessible by road, thus providing the rafters with an up-close look at Bali's untouched beauty. This picture shows our group checking out a beautiful waterfall at the half-way point of the route.
A note: The fact that the river gorges are not normally accessible by humans necessarily means that the climb out of the gorge at the end of the journey is very tall... I guesstimate our climb was about 600 very-steep steps. Good thing I use Stair Master frequently!
Klungkung and the whitewater rafting adventures are worth a half-day each. It is difficult to do them together, as the rafting companies normally provide transportation to and from your resort, and are not designed to provide taxi services. It would be easier to do Klungkung as part of a full-day trip in combination with nearby Gianyar or the main temple up to the north as Besakih.
Trips taken 18, 19, 20 January 2002 -- Page last updated 28 October 2006