Alright, Alright. Bali, Indonesia is not all just beach and sunshine that I thought it would be there is actually so many amazing things to do and see we barely had time to see any of it!
Daan, Simon, Johannes and I
Scoot’in In Bali
First day in bali, we all woke up early and had breakfast at our hotel. Then we rented scooters and headed to the hidden canyon. It was a bit of a long drive and boy were the drivers crazy. Light signals and lines on the ground were basically useless. All the people of scooters were passing each other with barely an inch of space [good thingI didn’t have to drive :)].
BUT thankfully we made it to canyon and hired a guide named “Yu-on” to show us the way through the three caves and the rice field at the end of the path.
At first I was thinking that it was pretty silly we took a guide. It’s just a few cool caves.. right? However, after the first ten minutes I realized why the people at the admission counter suggested it.. the caves were not at the end of a nice trail. It was more of a trek lets say. We went through waist deep water, walked along the water and scaled our way along the rock in order to not fall into the water below. The views were beautiful and I really enjoy every minute.
The Crew- canyon 3
Simon and Johannes
Before finishing our trek, we went to a little Zoo with some really cool animals.
First thing i am told is:
Zoo Guy: “WANT picture with big bird?”..
Me: Umm.. Yes!
At the Zoo we saw a large blue bird some HUGE Indonesian bat that grows to by 1.5 meters, a few large snakes, an Indonesian Porcupine and of course a Luwak [the small cat like creature that helps make the most expensive coffee in the world].
Following the canyon and the zoo we walked through these beautiful rice fields and took a short snack break on a few tiny bananas.
Then we headed to see Tegenungan Waterfall an hour away from our hotel .. so naturally as soon as we got to see the waterfall covered in tourists and headed back to our hotel it started raining -_- so we stopped at a cool placed called “The Hotel International” ~Professional Hotel School. Since I was in school for hospitality at the University of Denver, before transferring to the University of Minnesota I was really interested in what this school was about.
Apparently I offers one to three year programs to people interested in working for hospitality. It is not like the four year program I was in and seems quite small, but I was very impressed by the place and really appreciated how the people there took us in and offered to let us wait out the rain in their school.
We waited for a bit and the rain lighted up so we decided to try to go for it- but it seems the rain had started bad energy snowball effect because after we started driving again:
We almost ran out of fuel (according to Johannes)
Daan fell over on the bike..while it was stopped and got a bit beat up
We took a few wrong turns and got lost in the rain
THEN Johannes got a flat tire
It was a national holiday .. so no shops were open
We walked around to a few local shops and were soon saved by a very nice guy who took his scooter and asked around the town for someone to help. After waiting maybe ten minutes and paying a low fee the mechanic changed our tired, we are on our way again to the hotel in the rain. We all made it safe and sound, took warm showers and got some chicken burgers at a western place called “Pit Stop.”
SIDE NOTE– one of the best views of this trip was from the bike watching the city and all the scenery pass right by you. A few highlights I want to share is:
Locals holding dead chickens by their feet with thier feathers on casually while driving a scooter..
Live pigs hung on wood being carried to their death as a sacrifice.
A man carrying a huge maybe 10lb jackfruit (without holding it with his hand) on his head while biking
A man carried bags of peanuts on his sides for selling
Someone carried dozens and dozens of eggs on their scooter, by tying the cases to the front and sides of the bike
There was also a few pig dances we witnessed with loud drums and musical instruments. It was a small group of children and maybe two in this pig costume similar to a dragon dance of Chinese culture.
In case you didn’t think that day was packed enough, we tried again to see everything again on Friday .. haha. We are young.. we can make it.. i hope (:
First, we got breakfast from the hotel again and headed to go see the Ubud Monkey Forrest. There we paid a small fee less than $4USD and went to go see these incredible creatures. These monkeys are kept in semi captivity and very friendly unless you aggravate them or try to touch their babies.
Inside the monkey forrest, we saw monkey’s eating bananas, playing with rocks against the pavement, taking care of their young and even fighting one another for territory. We also saw a temple that day, however, due to religious reasons we were not allowed inside.
Following the Monkey Temple, we went to see the Saraswati Temple near Ubud and it was very beautiful. Again we were not allowed inside at the time due to religious ceremonies, but the lily pads lining the water was quite a wonderful sight.
Next we were headed to go see the elephants at the Elephant Safari Park. However, on our way there was ran into a little bit of bad luck again. Daan’s bike broke down and we had to figure out how to get it fixed.Since again it was a holiday and no shop was open in the town. We talked to a variety of locals and finally got someone to fix the bike.
Then we stopped to have lunch at this nice little place in Ubud where we could look out onto the rice fields before the Elephant Safari. It was was going well after lunch therefore, we had another little hiccup when our friend took a little fall on the scooter and got a few cuts and bruises. Nothing serious or anything, but quite scary. After this it started to rain again so we waited out the rain and finally made it to see the Elephants!
We all had so much fun seeing and touching the elephants. It had been quite an adventure getting there, but everyone had a smile on their faces. We arrived, there was no rain. There were maybe 5 other people there and we were given sticks of bamboo (I think) to feed to the elephants. The elephants were smaller than I imagined actually, but we saw a few baby elephants as well as one that was 50 years old! Over all, it was a lovely end to the day before heading back to the hotel.
Before we left the park there was a really hard rain and we did not want to go, so we waited out the rain a bit and then went for it and as we left the rain stopped and we stopped for dinner at this really nice food court with so many menus we all had no idea what to order. We tried some green lychee tea drink and it was lovely! I am still scared of ice local drinks, but I thought it was worth the risk.
Today we decided to take a trip to nusa penida. We first got an uber from out hotel to the ferry port and he was absolutely wonderful. His name was Komang. Johannes questioned him with about everything he was confused about so far. Then, we told him we wanted to go the island, but we did not have boat tickets and he said it was a national holiday so we may not be able to get a ferry.. -_-
Regardless of this statement we continued on to the ferry port and then we stopped at 3 places that told us the ferries were full… until finally we got a ferry to the smaller island west of nusa penida called nusa lembongan. The ferry we booked was later in the day and we spontaneously decided stay overnight at the island to make it more relaxing.
The boat trip ended up being quite short and fun, but initially as the boat unloaded we got quite nervous there where was a guy carried out on a stretcher, then a woman with a sprained ankle and an old man who looks like he was on lost clothes ripped and bruised…
Anyway.. we are all okay to be clear.
When we got to Nusa Lembongan we first rented motorbikes and headed to dream beach to relax. I sat at the resort, got some tea for my throat, swam in the salt water pool and sat in the cute beach bag chairs. The guys went down to the sandy beach to lay on the sand, but the waves in this are were fairly strong and it was not easy to swim
Following the beach relaxation that was very much needed we had good burger lunch at this restaurant looking over the seaweed farms.
Then, we took lap around the smaller island off of Nusa Lembongan across the yellow bridge and saw the blue lagoon. The pictures don’t do this place justice though. The water was a fake blue. I think it was ever better than santaorini greece blue!!
Lastly, we checked out our hotel D Mel Sari before heading to the beach and having a few drinks at a scooby-doo inspired restaurant by the beach. We wanted to see the sunset, but it was a bit cloudy. All in all though another great day.
9.18 – 9.19
On Sunday we woke up early, had a light breakfast and took the ferry back to bali. We first said goodbye to Daan, who flew back a little earlier than Simon, Johannes and I. Then we take the bikes to get warm clothes at Carefourt and had lunch at an Indonesian A&W!!
After we headed to the green beach and the high cliffs south of Denpasar.
We went down a ton of stairs to this okay beach with too many tourists, but it was quite relaxing and still very beautiful.
The guys played volleyball with a few locals and I headed down the beach along the sand. I found a variety of little crabs, a family of larger ones and a secluded little beach front with only a few people in sight. It was so peaceful. I just sat in the sun and watched the fisherman throw out their lines, the water wash up against the sand and the little crabs at home in their rocks.
Soon after we headed to the high cliffs near Melasti Beach and they were absolutely breath taking. We took in the view for a while and then headed off to see the sunset along the coast. Since we were by the ocean. We thought we should try a seafood platter. It was a bit more pricey, but quite nice and we got to see a pretty breathtaking sunset.
After we stopped to get the hot stone massage I had been craving. We got a wonderful 120min hot stone massage for $12 USD and after we were done it was maybe 11pm.
We headed back to the hotel and I know this is when people usually sleep, however, we dedcided to go one this sunrise volcano trek with a 1:30 am pick up time. I planned on sleeping, but after showering and organizing things.. it just didn’t work out.
SOO.. it’s Monday now and we were at the bottom of a mountain ready to climb. There were way too many people and it was a bit hard to hike with so many lights shining in my eyes giving me a headache, but after a few hours of hiking we made it to a nice viewing spot thanks to our private local guide Gede. On top of the mountain we had some tea, an egg and banana bread as we watched the sun rise into the sky. We looked at a crater, the dried lava from the 1963 eruption, as well as some of the volcanic rock that still has hot steam. It was a nice experience despite al the tourist.
After the volcano we went to see Ulun Batar Temple. It was very extravagant and grand. It had great views of the volcano in the day and seemed like a very peaceful place.
Finally, we went to see the Luwak Coffee Plantation by the rice fields. There were many free samples and beautiful views. Without sleep at this point we were all pretty loopy.. so after this we headed back to the hotel completely exhausted. We arrived back at about 15:00. Johannes and I slept until about 04:00 the next day straight .. haha. Simon was awake for a while and watched a movie I guess, but I don’t remember.
We got on a plane back to Singapore early in the morning and resumed the regular school life of studying and eating and probably sleeping.
A few new Observations:
Many.. maybe not all food products in Singapore list calories as “energy” … it seems very deceiving to me haha
All cars in Singapore are new. I heard that most people buy cars new and then sell after a few years.
Here there is poverty, but you do not see any beggars or people sleeping on the streets because the government collects these people and put them in homes.
Gasoline is found in:
Bintan – 1.5 L water bottles
Bali – 1 L Vodka Bottle
Nusa Lembongon – Apple Juice Containers
Also, at a few tiny pumps
Also, I forgot to mention last week was mid-autumn festival in Chinese culture and in chinatown the town was filled with big colorful lantern displays, street vendors selling everything and thousands and thousands of mooncakes!
I did not know this, but these days today there are hundreds and hundreds of types of mooncakes. There are traditional baked mooncakes, single or double egg yolk mooncakes, there are “snowskin” unbaked refrigerated mooncakes and so many more. The best thing at the big mooncake displays throughout the city is that you can always sample the mooncakes.
On Tuesday, I
walked around myself and sampled them in chinatown and then on Wednesday morning I went a bigger place by harbour front MRT with Diem Mi and had so many samples we almost were sick!
I have to conclude though that my favorite mooncake flavor is a snowskin champagne truffle mooncake.