Casually Watching a Volcano Erupt at Sunrise

December 3, 2017

Today was going to be a long, action-packed day, and I was so excited for it.

I was not, however, excited about my 4:15am alarm.

Christen and I quickly got ready so we could meet our tour guide promptly at 5am at the hotel lobby. We grabbed our little breakfast boxes and away we went …

Today’s travel itinerary included:

  • Watching the sunrise over Mount Agung (yes, the one that was erupting!)
  • Try a “cat-poo-chino” at a coffee plantation
  • Learn more about the Hindu culture at the Holy Spring Water Temple
  • See the infamous rice terraces
  • Become best friends with elephants at a sanctuary
  • Walk through the Elephant Cave at Goa Gajah

Lots to see and do today!


The sunrise over the volcano was probably one of the most surreal and graceful things I’ve seen on this trip. Though mass media makes it appear that Bali is in a disaster zone, most of the Balinese are unbothered by the volcano eruption, and mostly everyone carries on their daily business just as before.

The true disaster in all of this is the decrease in tourism.

For a country thats main economy is bolstered by close to 70% tourism, this hit has made many businesses lose sales and close early for the season. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said that they’re projected to lose close to $665 million in tourism revenue. And with the media posting their sensational news with words like “chaos” “spewing” and “super-eruption”, tourism continues to drop and hurt businesses even further. Once the airport opens back up, exactly who is going to book a trip to Bali anytime soon?

No one.

And that’s far more painful to hear than smoke coming out from a volcano.

*steps down from soapbox*


After the sunrise, we headed over to a coffee plantation where we learned about Kopi Luwak. This particular coffee was very special. Would you like to know why?

It comes from poop. “Excuse me, what??” Yep.

Kopi Luwak is made when a toddy cat eats coffee beans, digests it, *ahem* poops it, and then is collected, cleaned, and ground into coffee powder. And I was going to drink this.

To be honest, it actually wasn’t that bad — you know, when you don’t think about it. It had a very distinct flavor for sure. A great experience, but not something I would try again.

Our next stop was the Holy Spring Water Temple. This was by far my favorite experience of the day. I was truly moved by the beautiful traditions and heart behind the Hindu people. I find that religious conversations often focus on the differences instead of the similarities. Like thankfulness, peace, and love. My tour guide walked us through the three courts of the temple and shared his heart behind what he believes.


I also made a little friend! And I’m completely serious – if I wasn’t traveling, I would’ve taken this puppy home with me. He walked across the wide temple pathway, sat down right at my feet, and began playing with my sarong. I mean, c’mon. My heart.

Next was the rice terraces. Our tour guide, being a rice farmer as well, was able to give us insight on the full process of harvesting.


And then after that, I became BFFs with an elephant. Totally casual. Don’t mind me, just having trunk cuddles with a baby elephant.

And last of all, we visited the Elephant Cave at Goa Gajah. Apparently it was hidden under rocks until a random archeological dig uncovered the cave.

Our entire tour came to a close at around 1pm which was just insane to us. We had seen and done so much for it to only be early afternoon. We went back to the hotel and passed out into a 4-hour nap.

Today was a great day.

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  • Reply Tony Vu December 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    “a very distinct flavor for sure”…aha

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