Travel

2017 Bali: Tirta Empul | Kopi Luwak | Mount Batur

September 14, 2017

Following our trip to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, we set off to our second destination – the Tirta Empul Temple.

Tirta Empul

Located in the village of Manukaya in central Bali, Tirta Empul is a Hindu Balinese water temple. The name of the temple, ‘Tirta Empul’ means ‘holy spring’ in Balinese. All the water in the temple comes from a natural spring and are believed to possess magic curative powers. Every year people travel from all parts of Bali to purify themselves in the clear pools.

The drive from Tegalalang Rice Terrace to Tirta Empul Temple only takes approximately 15 minutes. There is a big parking lot in front of the temple, so parking is not an issue.

Bali Tirta Empul Temple | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Tirta Empul Temple Entrance Fee | joanne-khoo.com

To enter the temple, visitors must first purchase an entrance ticket from the counter located outside. It costs IDR15,000 for adult and IDR7,500 for children.

Bali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.com

As with any temple or sacred site, women during their periods are prohibited entry. Visitors are also advised to dress appropriately before entering the temple.

Bali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.comBali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.com

The temple is a lot bigger than what I have expected. We followed Arjana (our guide from Alila Ubud’s Leisure Concierge) and made our way through the front courtyard to the inner courtyard where the pools are.

Bali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.comBali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.com

Seeing that it was a Sunday afternoon, the temple was surprisingly quiet. Out of the two purification pools, we only saw one family occupying the pool on the right.

As much as it may be tempting to jump into the cold mountain water, the pool is meant only for the devotees. So we just rinse our hands from one of the sculpted spouts at the edge then proceed to stand at the side to watch.

Bali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.comBali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.comBali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.com

Trying to blend in with the locals with a traditional ‘kamen’ (sarong) wrapped around our lower bodies.

Bali Tirta Empul | joanne-khoo.com

We didn’t stay long in the temple. Simply take a quick look around and left. To be honest, there isn’t much to see or do in the temple. I think the most it takes is just 30 minutes to finish our tour?

Kopi Luwak

Leaving the temple, Arjana drove us to a coffee plantation that produces Kopi Luwak. Judging from the number of signages we saw on the roads, it’s apparent that Kopi Luwak is very popular in Ubud. Originates from Indonesia, there is no better time to try an authentic cup of Kopi Luwak than visiting the site that produces the coffee beans.

Upon reaching, we were immediately welcomed by one of the representatives from the plantation. He brought us around and gave us a detailed explanation of what Kopi Luwak is and how it’s being produced.

Crowned as the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak is also known as ‘cat-poo’ coffee. Based on my understanding,

  • The luwak/civet cat feeds on the best coffee berries in the wild. They chose the cherries by smell; hence only the ripest/best berries are being ingested.
  • The beans pass through it alimentary canal, where fermentation occurs.
  • Droppings of the luwak are collected by the locals, who then washed, cleaned and dried the beans. While they’re technically cat-poo, the poo doesn’t really touch the beans as they’re protected by an outer skin called parchment.
  • After removing the parchment, the beans are roasted and grind, before turning into the flavourful kopi luwak.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

There are two types of Luwak Coffee – Arabica and Peaberry.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

After learning how Kopi Luwak is made, we then came to a café-like area where we were present with a tray of coffees and teas. The coffee/tea-tasting is complimentary. However, to get a taste of Kopi Luwak, we were have to purchase them separately. It costs IDR50,000 for a cup of Arabica Luwak Coffee and IDR80,000 for Peaberry Luwak Coffee.

Since we were already there, we thought we would go ahead and try both the Arabica and Peaberry Luwak Coffee.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

An assortment of coffees and teas.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

Among them, my favourite had to be the coconut coffee.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

Not sure how I feel about the benefits of these; after all, they are just tea/coffee powder with extract/flavouring.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

Instead of having the Luwak Coffee prepared and served to us, they brought out the drip coffee maker and had the coffee prepared in front of us.

Having tried both the Arabica and Peaberry Luwak Coffee, I must admit I wasn’t impressed. Perhaps because I am not an avid coffee lover, I could hardly tell the difference between the two (Arabica and Peaberry) and between Luwak Coffee and regular coffee. It doesn’t help that we are not supposed to add in sugar, creamer or milk, as doing so will ruin the taste of Coffee Luwak.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.comBali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

Having done trying all the differents types of coffees and teas, we then stop by the souvenir shop before leaving. Both the Fiancé and I love the coconut coffee the most, so we each got a packet of it. Thankfully, the guy who served and brought us around wasn’t pushy and didn’t get us to purchase more than what we intended to get.

Bali Coffee Plantation | Kopi Luwak | joanne-khoo.com

Overall, it was a good experience to understand how Kopi Luwak is being produced. If you’re a coffee drinker, then it might worth a visit; else I think you can save the trip.

Mount Batur

Our last stop for the day is a visit to Mount Batur, one of Bali’s largest volcanoes. We didn’t plan on climbing the volcano; hence the plan is to view it from one of the restaurants that offer a bird’s eye view of Mount Batur. We passed by a number of restaurants and eventually settled down at Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant. The restaurant offers buffet lunch at IDR100,000 (or was it IDR120,000) per person, excluding drinks.

Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com

At the entrance of the restaurant, it’s common to see locals selling souvenirs like keychains and t-shirts.

Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com

If possible, try to choose outdoor sitting so you get to enjoy the view while having your lunch.

Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com

Having secured a table, we just proceed to take a plate and pick up our food. Food is served buffet style, so just follow the queue and choose your dishes. Drinks are charged separately, so just ask the staff for the drinks menu and ordered directly. Pay for your drinks when they arrived but only pay for your meals after you are done eating. The staff will give you the slip for you to pay at the counter.

While they have quite a spread for a buffet lunch, the food got snapped up quite quickly, especially those popular dishes. There is also a separate queue for barbeque skewers, but the waiting time takes awhile, so we didn’t end up trying those.

Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com

While the food may not taste fantastic; for the price, I think it’s still worth it to pay for a quick lunch and enjoy the view.

Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant | joanne-khoo.com

On the other side of the restaurant there is this open space for you to catch a good view of Mount Batur.

Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com
Bali Mount Batur | joanne-khoo.com

It honestly felt quite liberating to stand there, taking in the sight while enjoying the fresh air. The backdrop also makes it a perfect spot for photo taking. With the open space, there is more room for visitors to spread out so the chance of being photobombed by others is lower.


By the time we finally got back to Alila Ubud, it was nearly 16:00. Having left the resort at 09:00, that means it took us 7 hours to cover all the four locations – Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Tirta Empul, coffee plantation and Mount Batur. Among the 7 hours, I supposed we spent a significant chunk of time on the road.

Overall, it was a pleasant trip. We did a fair bit of walking at the rice terrace, but aside from that, the other attractions were relatively laid-back. While I did enjoy my trip, I must say the places we been to is more of a been there, done that kind of thing. I don’t see us re-visiting these places again anytime soon. So it was nice that we got everything covered in one trip.

For those who have never been to Ubud and wish to explore this part of Bali, you can perhaps consider these places and slot them into your itinerary.

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