If I ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, the first place I would go to would be Tukat Bangkung bridge in Bali – it is one of the highest bridge in Asia. When I said ‘one of the highest bridge in Asia’ you are probably thinking it must be amazing looking at it but in reality it’s just a nice looking bridge… I wanted to write about my funny encounters with Balinese people at the bridge, but before that I feel obligated to write a few words about this bridge which Balinese people like visiting.
Tukat Bangkung bridge in a few words
The bridge is 360m long and 71.14m tall, which, to be honest,doesn’t sound that tall at all… It was officially opened by president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2007. It doesn’t have any special history but it has a very good purpose – it connects three districts: Badung, Bangli and Buleleng and it is the pride of local people since it provides access to their villages.
The first part of the bridge name Tukad means “River” and the second, Bangkung, means “Female pig” or “Breeding sow”. Apparently it means “River of female pigs”. Does it have something to do with the Balinese who like eating pork or should I say Babi Guling. I could not find more information about the name, but if you know anything about it, please write it down in the comment section below.
The first part of the bridge name Tukad means “River” and the second Bangkung means “female pig” or “breeding sow”. Apparently it means ‘River of female pigs’?
By now you have been thinking either Balinese people are strange and what the hell is so special about that bridge. Well, Balinese people are kinda strange but in a good way, the way I really like it. The thing about this bridge is that it’s not popular with foreigners – I was drawn into visiting it because everywhere on the Internet it said it was one of the highest bridge in Asia but it doesn’t even come close. So what is special about it you ask again, feeling irritated that I’m prolonging this too much. Well, the special thing are the people… They fell in love with it, it’s where they go with their families on a day trip for a some kind of picnic or for lunch at 3-4 restaurants around it.
When you go to the bridge you cannot see it until you come out of the curve and it’s there like 30m from you. At first sight kinda magnificent, but when you look better – not so much. I parked my motorbike, got my camera and went for a stroll. I noticed people watching me and it didn’t take me long to figure out why – I was the only foreigner (bule) here and by the looks of them not many of us went there. So as I was walking a few people smiled and said “Hello” and I did the same.
At first sight kinda magnificent, but when you look better – not so much
All of a sudden, I noticed this guy standing up and walking to me and I was thinking “Ok let’s see what he’s gonna try to sell” and to my surprise he asked me if he could take a photo with me. I was caught off guard, but yeah why not… Everybody in his family was laughing, but kinda happy laughing, not at me (at least I hope so). So he thanked me, went to take a seat next to his family and they were all thanking me… After walking for 20m I thought of all the scams and pickpocketing techniques and started checking my belongings and everything was there. “Well, that’s cool” I thought to myself.
Meeting the awesome family
I continued my stroll, taking photos of the bridge, saying hello to people greeting me and thinking to myself that was kinda awesome. This bridge is actually a nice meeting place for families to enjoy their weekends, for local shops to make some money and street sellers also to get a buck or two. This is a meeting place for local Balinese and what is funny… there were not really many cars passing by, considering it connects three districts!
So I finished my walk to the other end and I headed back to my motorbike. On the way back I noticed the same family still sitting at the same place and this time I decided to take a photo of them to see what their reaction would be.
They were waving and laughing and saying goodbye like I was the closest family member
The reaction was quite funny – all of them posed with two fingers (like a peace sign) and they took that pose instantly! I laughed and went on my way… After a few minutes after taking more bridge photos I heard motorbikes honking like crazy and thought what the hell was going on, and all of a sudden it was that family packed on three motorbikes waving and laughing and saying goodbye like I was the closest family member. I waved back and I smiled but I was still in disbelief. Just to clarify this, I enjoyed every moment of it, it is funny how simple things can make your day or even a year! It has almost been a year ago, and I’m writing about it now and thinking about it like it was yesterday.
It is not highest bridge in Asia but…
After arriving back to Sanur I was thinking about that moment a lot. Why the hell was I thinking they wanted to steal from me? Even in the touristic places there are not many people really wanting to steal from you. I left my stuff on all of the places on the beach and never got anything stolen. And why did I ask myself what they wanted? They probably live in some kind of village and this may have been a rare occasion to see a foreigner in a place where foreigners don’t usually come that often. Or maybe they just wanted to make me feel welcome here and enjoy it more. They did succeed in it.
Well, they don’t want anything from you, they just want to meet you and that is all
When people approach us directly we usually think what they want from us. They must be up to something… Well, they don’t want anything from you, they just want to meet you and that is all. It made me change my approach in traveling where everybody says you should always be on your toes about people trying to steal from you or something. During my trip I don’t think I ever experienced it.
That night I felt sorry I did not try to have a few words with them because it would probably be fun.
Did you visit the highest bridge in Asia or did you have any interesting meeting situations with awesome people like I did? Let me hear your story, write it down in the comments.