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The Island and a return to Bali...

01-11-2010 to 10-11-2010

all seasons in one day 28 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

b]The Gilli Isles[/b] are made up of three islands off the north-west coast of Lombok, the small island next to Bali (which is just south-east off Java). You can walk around each island in a fee hours so that is how small they are. Our island was cled Gilli Trebangan. It had Beautiful White sandy beaches with palm trees, resorts down the south end, beach huts up the north end of the east coast.
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Nothing much around the other coastlines I'm told, I never did the island walk, not from lazyness, but believe it or not... I was ill (again!). I caught a cold of all the ridiculous things to catch on a desert island!!! So I sunbathed and snorkled for the majority of my time there. I saw three turtles, an octopuss(!), lotsa fishes of different varieties, it was beautiful. Our accommodation was a beach hut big enough for three, with an outdoor bathroom, novel at the time of securing the deal, impractical when you need to pee and it's raining! There is a bit of coer but no way enough so you don't get wet. Plus instant meal for Mosquitos...

Hel and I sunbathed as much as possible but the weather would always turn in the afternoon to clouds, overcast rainstorms coming over from Lombok (they get loadsa rain) and we'd get bombarded so be forced to chill out in a bar, cafe or our Balcony. This is why we stayed 5 nights, after much more we wouldve been ready to try to swim ashore!
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The island was more expensive than the mainland, since they have to ship supplies over, but the food we had was great, freshly caught seafood cooked to order with salad buffet and potatoes... Perfect! The island people are friendly and relaxed, in fact for the majority of island people life is slow. They sit around and wait. For people to arrange a trip, buy water or shopping, to get a lift in a horse drawn carriage (we never did this), or place a food order. They sit in communal groups and sometimes at night walkin home from a bar, you'd see a grp of men all laid out asleep in a raised platform which acted as a bed. They may have been getting really early the next day, I just don't know.
The main tourist section is the main road around the island but if you literally walk down a sidestreet (and no tourist needs to do this
since everyhing they need is on the main strip) you get a whole new view of the island. You get to see cockerals walking around freely, buildings being made, women going about their chores, cafes for locals and farmyards. The locals take an interests look at you probably wondering why you are straying from the beaten path. It was nice to see the raw side of life of a 'desert' island.

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Kuta, Bali 06-11-10 to 10-11-10
Hel and I left for Bali whilst Dutch headed to the Gilis for a bit. Our Bali stop was a port called Padang Bai, which usually in the peak season is overrun with travellers. Since it was off peak I tried to bargain down the rooms but no one was having any of it so we stayed in the centre of town in a chilled out place with tiled floors, balanese woodworked doors and a view over the town to the sea. After an exploratory walk round the town (not too much to see) we had dinner which was yummy chicken satay skewers, hel then because we are so exciting we went to bed. Got up the next day and booked our bus journey to Kuta, the main tourist strip of Bali. This took 2 hrs to drive to ane we got dropped off at Bemo Corner (Bemo is the name for the mini van used to transport people around Bali) and began our accommodation search. No where had any availability, or it was extortionatley priced, so beig near lunch time we dumped our bags in a restaurant and sat down to eat. Afterward we scanned our guidebook maps and foundthere should be a bunch of places just down the road so whilst one waited wih the bags, the other went off to secure a room. The hotel we booked had a pool, lush greenery creating a cool jungle vibe, and pagodas you could sit under in comfort when it rained. The rooms had balconys and were spacious with ensuite bathrooms. Perfect for relaxing in.
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Now, I won't be able to do Kuta beach justice but it is MASSIVE! It neverends, goes on as far as the eye can see and in now way feels 'full' of people despite heir being hordes of sunbathers, suffers and beach touts. It's lovely n golden and sandy soft. When the tide out it becomes huge width wise too. I was stunned, and whilst I have been on long beaches before I think the fact I'd come from a tiny island made the effect twofold or more. I just thought to myself, 'wait till you see the Aussie beaches rose!'.
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So after a beer onthe beach hel and I set out to explore. Lots of souvenier shops selling the same tat. I exchanged the rest of my Malaysian money, and we chilled out at the hostel waiting for Dutch. After he arrived we went out for dinner then drinks, to a bar in town. Now kuta nightlife is meant to be mad. The bar we were in did get busy but nothing too mad. It was good to dance and have some fun! With no hangover the next day! The late night visit to mcdonalds must have helped...
Sunbathing the next day then a motorbike ride into the hills to see the rice terraces of central Bali followed by a visit to a temple on the sea. The landscape of Bali is beautiful, farmers working the fields, the sun beating down and you steaming past on a bike. I loved it. I actually went to talk to the farm workers as they cut the rice crops, and they let le have a go with the scyth! It's very sharp and after a time I imagine backbreaking work...
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A return to kuta and then dinner before hel and I parted ways (she headed to shanghai for a week before then meeting up with her boyfriend for two weeks travelling oz together before meeting back u with me in cairns...geddit?!). However life is never simple and as I set off to cath my flight, Jetstar had other ideas. Now you may know, Mt Mirapi in Indonesia errupted, whilst I was there and in Bali, emitting an ash cloud.
Jetstar said our flightoath was over the ash cloud so cancelled my flight to Darwin. Ten minutes before we were scheduled to board the plane, at 10.30pm! It was gone 1pm by the time they had arranged accommodation, driven us there in coaches, checked me in (I was 5th in line so got a swanky room!) and theni went to bed! The hotel was plush, my room was massive, with double bed (I rolled around purposefully to make sure I used all the bed space), minibar (wish I'd used it now since they didn't charge me), free choccy (def ate that), and the bathroom had pebbles in it- check out the photo...i was in heaven for a few hours cos I had to get up at 6am to make sure I could have the buffet breakfast before catching a 10 o'clock flight the following day, which i did, to Darwin, Australia.
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Posted by RosiePony 19:08 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali backpacking Comments (0)

Lovina to Amed, Bali

29-10-10 to 01-11-10

sunny 28 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

Friday - After breakfast we decided to explore Lovina, it's a small village stretched out along a main road with two other roads parallel off it. Not very big and not very busy. We wanted to find the Post Office for stamps which took a good 20 mins of sweaty walking to find, in which time Aljan had a haircut! How exciting our lives are! After a brief walkroud we played in the pool til dinner.
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Saturday - Whiteley and I had a pool day, sunbathing and swimming and sampling the local Bintang beer.
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We ate lunch at the hotel then met up with the others for dinner (we traveled to Bali with three French people -George, Olivie and Jan- who we met doing the Mt Bromo tour)- they had rented bikes and gone off to find green rice felds. When they came back though it turns out they didm't actually find any good green rice fields. so we had Arak (rice whiskey) to make up for it and the night went on from there!!

Sunday - We left the hostel at 11am in a Bemo to Amed which was a 2 hr drive. The French (as we called them) were meeting Yans brother in Amed so we thought that was a good stop for us to. It was so beautiful watching the scenery of Bali pass you buy. Everyone was out in their Sunday best and soon we hit traffic which slowed us down considerably. Yan and Aljan got out to explore (they are the same person I think- both extremely inquisative and like to know what's going on!) and they found it was a Hindu festival with crowds of people bringing offerings and food, hence the traffic.
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We arrived in Amed in the afternoon. After checking in we went for a walk along the beach and found a place to eat lunch. It is a very rural small local village. No cashpoint, shops etc. Very peaceful.
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We explored the nearby fields to find a pig in a bag. We had heard it squealing from the roadside so we went to explore. There was an old lady and a boy aged 6 who were carringing a piglet in a bag on a bamboo stick to their house. Aljan took over from the old lady n off we went ("Hi Ho, Hi go...") back to the house. I tried communicating withthe locals but only got as far as the Lonely Planet would allow- ages and "are you ok?" then we saw two massive boars being manhandled into big wicker baskets to be weighed in preparation for slaughter. We left after this since slaughter would be at 7am the following day and wasn't local, otherwise we would be observers for sure!
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Back to the hotel for a swim in the pool (slimy) and bedtime. It was a beautiful starry night.

Posted by RosiePony 18:28 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali backpacking lovina Comments (0)

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