Indonesia · 29 Days · 26 Moments · March 2017

Jamie's Bali Adventure

1 April 2017

So that was it for Gili Trawangan. We got the afternoon public boat to Gili Meno today, the smallest and quietest of the islands 🌴 We didn't have time to do much as we got the late boat over, apart from tracking down our accommodation and going out for food. We were advised to check out the Sasak Cafe where they almost always have a live band playing reggae. We found the cafe without too much trouble... just follow the music! The atmosphere was good and we had a really nice meal on the beach. Would recommend this cafe to anyone visiting. So far, our first impressions of Gili Meno have been very good 👍🏼

31 March 2017

We found some really cool ocean swings on our bike ride around Gili Trawangan today. The girls loved them of course! We stopped and took some photos but the tide was a bit too high so we'll have to try again tomorrow. Definitely worth seeing if on Gili T. The perfect holiday photo.
We rented bicycles today and somehow ended up with the worst bikes on the island. Honestly 😂 the brakes didn't work they were so rusted I'm surprised they didn't just fall apart. We only rode for a short time before we reached our first snorkelling spot, where something amazing happened. Within a couple of minutes of being in the water we found ourselves swimming alongside the biggest turtles I've ever seen! They were not much smaller than me! It was such an incredible experience. Something I will never forget. They were really beautiful and I felt so lucky to have swam alongside them. Nothing else will top this on the Gili Islands.

30 March 2017

So we left Bali today... We were driven to Padang Bai in a free shuttle bus before getting a fast boat over to Gili Trawangan, one of 3 tiny islands situated just off the coast of Lombok. The boat took an hour and a half or so and when we arrived at Gili Trawangan... wow. We were speechless. It is stunning. Absolute paradise. Gili Trawangan is the largest of the 3 islands and also the busiest, known for being a party island. Upon arrival at our hotel we hit a problem. An error had occurred on when we booked and the price displayed was wrong... we thought we'd found a cheap last minute deal but in fact we were wrong. They wouldn't allow us to have the room for the price advertised so we headed off elsewhere and shortly found the perfect place for us. The name of it - Happy House.

29 March 2017

Not too much went on today. Patrick accidentally left his phone in a taxi so a lot of time was spent trying to track it down. We had a wander down to the Beachwalk shopping centre, strolled down the disgustingly neglected Kuta beach (never seen so much rubbish in my life) and then went out for drinks and some cheap local warung food in the evening.

28 March 2017

It's Nyepi, a day in which everybody on the island must stay indoors to trick evil spirits into thinking that Bali is uninhabited. We booked a nice hotel for this date as we knew that we wouldn't be able to leave it and spent the whole day relaxing! We've been so busy lately and have been doing so much, I think it was good to have a day of rest, to allow our bodies to rejuvenate. It's a shame that Nyepi fell on this date though as it's Sanne's birthday/Megan and I have been together for 2 years today and we couldn't celebrate either!

27 March 2017

Had to say goodbye to our bikes today. We checked into our hotel in Seminyak which we spent a bit extra on, as we have to spend the whole day there tomorrow for Nyepi. The room was by far the best we've stayed in! Very cool. I don't think we'll struggle spending the day here. Patrick, Sanne and I had to take the bikes back to Sanur and then get a taxi back to Seminyak. The ride was so much better without the bags on the back and we made it there in no time. In the evening we went for a stroll to check out the Nyepi celebrations and couldn't believe how busy the streets were. We couldn't get close to them. The festival was good though and the huge models they created were impressive. The celebrations continued for hours.

26 March 2017

After the disappointing boat ride in the morning we hoped for a better day ahead... but our luck wasn't about to change just yet. The plan was to make it back to Ubud today, taking a different route to last time and passing close to Bali's volcano, Mt. Batur. It didn't take long for things to start going wrong though. In the first couple of hours we found ourselves lost in the mountains after being redirected due to local ceremonies and then told by Google Maps that we should take a path up the volcano which is impassible, according to a local. Eventually we got back on track but the ride took almost the whole day. We were all sore by the end of it. Other problems we encountered on the way - Patrick drove over nails, we were made to take a long detour, our brakes decided to give out, some kids decided to cut down a tree in the road... and more. We didn't arrive in Ubud until late and I was very sunburnt by this point. A rough day!
We woke really early today to go out on a local fishing boat. The plan was to go out on the water, see some dolphins and do a bit of snorkelling. This didn't happen though. We woke at 5am and set off at around 5:30am. The boat itself was pretty cool and it was an experience in itself just to join a local on it, but straight away we had weather concerns. The clouds in the distance were black and we could see lightning a long way off. The local insisted it was okay though and admittedly we didn't get hit by the bad weather, but the weather where we were wasn't exactly good either. We were on the boat for more than a couple of hours before we told the guy to head back. No dolphins in sight and it was a bit too choppy for snorkelling. It was a good day for him as he still expected a lot of money from us... and got it. Patrick is too generous sometimes.

25 March 2017

Today's sightseeing consisted mainly of a trip to see some waterfalls up in the mountains. We rode up and up until we reached a car park signalling for us to pull in and park up to enjoy the waterfalls. We parked up and almost immediately we were told that we must be accompanied by a guide to reach the falls and that it would cost us several hundred thousand rupiah each. We decided to drive a bit further and 5 minutes up the road we came across the entrance to Gitgit falls. We were lied to. The trek down to the waterfall wasn't too difficult we definitely didn't need a guide. Always need to be careful in these countries otherwise you can really be conned as a tourist. The trek down to the falls was nice and not too long, and the falls themselves were just beautiful. Another perfect spot for a keen photographer. The only thing which was slightly annoying on this walk was the amount of children following us to sell us tat. Such a lovely spot though and worth seeing.
We arrived after dark at this homestay after the loooong drive from Ubud. Riding through the mountains took a lot longer than anticipated and we spent the majority of the day driving. Our hosts were very generous and cooked us up some Indonesian food even though it was quite late, and for a very cheap price. We woke up this morning to see just how beautiful this accommodation is. Our four person room has a wonderful outdoor bathroom and a fantastic view from the bedroom. The room has huge windows and pulling back the curtains reveals a stunning tropical setting.

24 March 2017

Next thing on our itinerary - the Jatiluwih rice terraces in Central Bali. I found this recommendation in my Lonely Planet guide and with the rice fields being a must see when visiting Bali, we decided to check these ones out. The ride from Ubud was very nice, particularly when we got away from the heavily populated areas. Upon arrival at the rice terraces we were surprised with a 40,000RP per person fee. We didn't realise we'd have to pay. But for $4 each we couldn't complain. Riding along the main road, winding its way around the beautiful rice terraces, was a fantastic experience. The place was perfect for photos. Such a perfect example of 'the real Bali'. We stopped at a small warung overlooking the rice terraces and I ordered the famous Babi Guling (suckling pig). The food was tasty and the views were incredible. We have to make it to the north coast of Bali by the end of the day so we had to hit the road again shortly after eating.

23 March 2017

Today we visited the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud and wow... it was amazing. The forest itself was beautiful, a photographers heaven, but the real attraction was obviously the monkeys that inhabit it 🐒 We spent a couple of hours exploring and soon found that the monkeys are definitely not shy. We all played the part of a human climbing frame at some point and Patrick had a run in with a jealous monkey who really wanted his hat. The monkey left without a hat... but Patrick did leave with a bite on his arm. A fantastic place to visit for anybody coming to Bali.
This next place is a bit pricier than we would usually pay, but sometimes it's nice to pay that little bit extra for a bit more comfort. We have one room for the 4 of us and although I do think that it's a bit overpriced, it is very beautiful and in a good location. We are within a few minutes of central Ubud. We just jump on the bikes and go.

22 March 2017

With the bikes all packed up (eventually), we set out on our ride to Ubud. It was actually a lot closer to Denpasar than I was expecting and we could have made it in less than an hour... but we didn't. Because when we secured the bags to the back of the bikes, there was one minor detail that we failed to consider. Petrol. To fill up the tank we would have to lift up the seat, and that wasn't possible because our huge bags were so tightly secured to the frame of the bike. Nightmare. We spent ages at the petrol station removing all the bags and then having to redo it again once we had a full tank of fuel. Just another little thing we'll learn from. When we eventually arrived in Ubud, I was struck by how different it felt to where we had just come from in Denpasar. It has a different feel to it.
Time to check out of this beautiful guest house and move on. We've decided to take the bikes for a further 6 days and return them the day before Nyepi (an annual Balinese festival). We have also rented a third bike which I am to ride. Before collecting the third bike and checking out, we made our way into the most popular part of Kuta, which we hadn't yet seen... and wow. It was busy. I was glad to be on the back of the bike here. The streets were packed. We drove along Kuta Beach and I couldn't believe how much it caters to the tourists. There must been at least 5 Starbucks in a small area, a big shopping mall and lots of chain restaurants from all over the world. We ate an Indonesian breakfast, picked up some rope and them rode back to Sanur. After collecting the third bike, we checked out and then had fun trying to tie all of our bags into the back of the bikes.

21 March 2017

The drive to Pantai Pandawa was really cool. We are able to see so much more with our own transport. To be honest though, this beach was definitely not what I was expecting. After reading about how beautiful the beaches of the Bukit Peninsula are, I was a bit taken aback by the amount of tourists crowded here. The natural beauty of it has been almost completely taken away by the hoarders of people. I also was unaware that we'd be hit with a fee of 15,000RP per person to even reach the beach. However you only have to walk along the beachfront for a short distance before the crowds really start to dissipate. After only a couple of minutes of walking, we were able to stop at a cafe and enjoy a drink with a bit of peace and quiet. We enjoyed even more peace and quiet when we found our own secluded beach on the other side of a small headland. The route there involves a bit of a climb and a steep descent through a lot of vegetation, which obviously deters most people. It was perfect.
Patrick and Sanne arrived in Bali late last night and we have finally been reunited again! We started the day by exploring Sanur, walking the streets and getting a feel for the area. Megan and I already had a stroll around here yesterday but not far enough to map it out in our heads. Next on the agenda was enquiring about renting motorcycles. After a bit of walking we found a place to which would let us hire bikes for only $6 per day. We took out 2 bikes and set off to explore further. Patrick and Sanne were the designated drivers for the day. We ended up in Kuta where we stopped and set a new destination... the beach. I'd heard that the beaches of the Bukit Peninsula were some of the best so this is where we headed.

20 March 2017

Accommodation number 3 and wow, this tops all the rest by far. It's absolutely stunning. Our room looks directly out onto a lovely pool area and it's located in a nice part of Sanur. For $20 per night, it was an incredible find. Two nights here before we move on.
Today was a bit of a lazy day for us as we know we won't have the chance to relax much after Patrick and Sanne arrive tonight! After hailing a taxi to take us to our new hotel, we just explored the area a bit and took some time to walk along the beach. The taxi driver tried to overcharge us but we're wise to it now and managed to half the price of our fare within about 3 seconds of him giving his initial amount. Always trying to rip off tourists here. We had a nice late lunch at the Arena Pub and Restaurant in Sanur. We both had Nasi Goreng and it was very tasty. The place obviously caters mainly for tourists as we had to ask to see more Indonesian food.

19 March 2017

After checking in at our accommodation in Sanur, we went for a wander around the area. It became clear straight away that we have moved into a much nicer part of town. There are also a lot more tourists here. We decided that we needed to sample some local cuisine today so opted for a restaurant serving Indonesian food, only a short walk from our hotel. I ordered a pork rib broth and Megan ordered Nasi Goreng (Indonesian noodles). Both meals were beautifully presented and very tasty. Our first taste of what Bali has to offer... and we loved it! I also had my first beer since arriving which was extremely refreshing in the humid weather. Plenty more Bintang to come on this trip I'm sure. After filling our bellies, we took a stroll on the beach, which wasn't as peaceful as I'd hoped for. Packed with families and with market stalls set up along the footpath, there was no escaping the noise. Despite this we had a lovely walk before returning to our room.
We packed our bags and moved into another guest house today, this time in Sanur. It was a lot of hassle trying to book a taxi as we had no phone and no wifi, but we got there in the end. After using the official taxi service of the island this time, we realised that we were really overcharged when leaving the airport. Oh well, we will learn from these mistakes! This guest house is nicer than the last, and the owners much more friendly. A shame that we are only staying for one night!

18 March 2017

The first accommodation which we booked in Bali. It turns out that it is a bit out of the way, away from the tourist areas, but it is nice just to have a bed and a hot shower after living out of a car for almost a year in Australia. We are staying at Pondok 828 Guest House for the first 2 nights of our Bali adventure.
Our 2nd day in Bali could be considered our 1st real day as we spent the whole day sleeping yesterday! Unable to sleep at the airport, we didn't leave the room for almost 24 hours. We really didn't know where to start today. With no means of connecting to the internet we had to go out blind. Within seconds of stepping foot outside of the guest house, we were hit with the crazy Bali lifestyle. The roads are manic, buildings dirty and run down, and the humidity unbearable. We walked for miles, literally, before we came across a part of town which was more built up. We headed into a beautiful shopping mall and felt like we were heading into another world. Designer outlets galore. We had a quick browse before heading to the mall next door, much closer to our price range. We fancied trying some Balinese cuisine for lunch but ended up deciding on Japanese. It was delicious and cheap. We found wifi and realised that we'd walked 4km from the hotel and ended up in Kuta! A long walk back...

17 March 2017

We have arrived in Bali! After almost a year of travelling Australia, it has finally come to an end... but new adventures await. We sold the car yesterday, got the bus to the airport and booked our flights while sat in Terminal 1! We had to wait 15 hours or so for the flight but it went surprisingly fast. Only a short flight and we touched down in Bali. Let the adventures begin.

4 March 2017

The night markets on Gili T are the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. With many different stalls and many different dishes to choose from, you won't go hungry. I ate a lot.