A Travellerspoint blog

Bali Excursions

Nusa Lembongan

After meeting Arthur and Erica in Seminyak we decided to head to Nusa Lembongan the following morning, which is off the coast of Sanur. We got a minivan to Sanur and they got the fast ferry across with Rocky's fast ferry for 250,000. We took the Parama slow ferry for 100,000. They got there way before us and they also got transport from the beach to the hotel included, we didn't! We negotiated a scooter price of 40,000 to take us to mushroom bay. If you rent a bike it's cheaper, but we didn't need one.
After settling in to our lovely hotel we decided to take a walk around part of the island and saw some great beaches and restaurants. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time for snorkeling but the water looked quite clear. The next day we headed back to Sanur, for Ubud.

Ubud
We were able to get a minivan from from Sanur to Ubud for 100,000 which was brilliant. Ubud was really cool and we decided to stay there for three nights. After the craziness of Kuta and Seminyak, Ubud was a welcome relief. It's way more cultural and relaxed, so it was a nice break.
The first night we saw the Kecak fire dance which was a little boring at first, but definitely picked up in the second half. It was only foreigners in the audience and Erica had a run in with a Gecko, which was funny. After watching the dance, “Jak-Jak” was a phrase that was repeated many times over the next few days.
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Day two we went to the monkey forest where there were a shed load of monkeys chilling out and climbing all over people, if you let them. They're literally everywhere!!
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After hanging out there for a while we went to the Elephant cave, which by itself is forgettable, however, if you go down into the jungle part at the side there is a great path through the jungle. At one point you walk across a bamboo bridge which spans a fast flowing river, and it's a little scary the first time. Past this you can see a temple that's been dug into the rock and another temple that the river actually flows through. They're not temples in the traditional sense, more of a holy place, but they were still nice to see.
That night we found a bar called Mingle that sold Arak which is a local spirit made from Palm leaves. We had heard that Arak can make you a little crazy or sick, but we still wanted to try it. We had some Arak cocktails, which were nice, and no noticeable side-effects, which was great :)
Thursday saw us being woken VERY early (3am) so we could go climb Mount batur before sunrise. The drive was about an hour and when we got there, it started to rain, excellent! The hike itself was not very difficult, but climbing in the dark, wind, and puring rain made it more complicated. We knew that we would have to wait for sunrise at the top so we were all very happy to see there was a shelter on the summit, so we could have a respite from the rain.
After waiting an hour up there, sunrise was pretty uneventful. I'm sure it's beautiful on a clear day, but the wind, rain and clouds meant we didn't get to see a lot. It was still a great experience seeing the crater in the mist, etc. We went down into the crater and could feel steam vents rising up, and learned their was a temple in the “bat cave” but we weren't allowed in. seeing all there was to see in the rain we decided to head down again. When we reached the bottom...the sun came out, great timing!
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Later that day we had booked white water rafting on the ayung river but when we arrived we were told the water level was too high because of the rain, and we couldn't do it. Rubbish! Luckily our driver suggested the other river nearby, with a different company (TCR I think), was still raft-able so we decided to head there.
On the way there we went to a coffee plantation that had a very different type of coffee! In Indonesia they have an animal they call a Luack, which looks like a Civit. This animal eats the coffee fruit and then poos out the seeds. These seeds are then collected, cleaned and then roasted to make coffee. It was this type of plantation we went to. We bought a couple of cups and it did taste VERY different to regular coffee in my opinion. It had a tangy taste, but it wasn't bad.
After the coffee we headed for the river. I had never been rafting before so I was pretty excited about it. The river had class two and three rapids so we thought it would be alright. We were wrong! In the raft there were four people altogether. The guide at the back doing the steering, Kevin and I in the middle, and Arthur up the front. The water was pretty fast the whole 12kms, there were barely any quiet parts. The water was quite shallow in parts and we kept bottoming out which was a bit annoying. The first 5km or so were fine, we were progressing well and were probably a bit too relaxed when we noticed the big rock right in our path. The guidw started shouting at us to row, which we were, but it was too late. We ran right into the rock on my side, and the other side started to fill with water immediately and we ended up flipping over. Arthur and I tried to grab the boat but couldn't get a grab, and into the water we went.
I was only under water for a few seconds, but it was crazy. I felt someone's life jacket under me so I knew I was on someone, but then I got carried off. The water was strong and fast and kept pushing me down but I finally maanged to break the surface. Even above water the water power was too strong and it was hard to get footing without being dragged further. Luckily we were all fine and just got a few bumps and scrapes, and lost some shoes. The guide looked as if nothing had happened, whereas it was obvious the three of us were a little shaken up.
The rest of the journey proceeded without a hitch so we had time to look around at the many waterfalls and jungle around us. It was beautiful. At the very end there was a dam which was 4/5m high which we got to go over, which was a great experience. After the rafting we had to ascend 400steps for our lunch. We were wrecked that evening. The whole day cost 450,000 each but was well worth it.
Friday saw us say goodbye to Ubud and hello to Tanjung Benin where we had a chill out day playing beach volleyball. Saturday was March 17th and we wanted to be back in Kuta for some St.Patrick's Day festivities. We got some alcohol in a supermarket so we could pre-drink. This seemed like a good idea until we got to “The Blarney Stone” on an empty stomach and was really drunk. Much of the night was a blur and I'm pretty sure I was the only Irish person in there.

Posted by derryfadman 14:58 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali monkey rafting kuta batur arak ubud kecak lembongan tanjung nusa sanur benin ayung luack Comments (0)

Nightmare to Sengigi

Batubulan to Sengig and the crazy man!

sunny

This trip was a nightmare and took far too long. It started easily enough, we got a public bus from Kuta to Batubulan bus terminal, but after that, that's where the nightmare begins....
As soon as we stepped off the bus we were approached by hawkers as usual, but mistakenly I thought it was around 32,000rp to Padangbai from Batubulan, so when the guy said 40 each and leaving now, we jumped on the bus. However, “leaving now” meant going and parking just outside the terminal.
Whilst waiting I realised that it was the ferry that was 32,000 and the bus should've been 20,000, so we got ripped off. Another bus driver comes over and says that our bus doesn't even go to Padangbai, but our driver assures us that it will....eventually! So after hearing this we try and get our money back but the driver won't give it to us so we get transferred to another bus (for the same price even though we know the drivers have worked something out between them...in front of us) and finally set off for Padangbai.
A couple of hours later we get dropped of on the outskirts of Padangbai and from there we had to take another bus (10,000) to the ferry port, ridiculous!

At the boat everything was fine, 32,000rp each exactly and off we went. Four hours later we approached Lembar on Lombok. On aririval at the port we learned that we had to wait for another ferry to dock first...which took an extra THREE hours.
So, seven hours later we finally get off the ferry at 11pm but by this point all of the public buses have stopped running so we would have to take a minivan. We were approached by one man who quotes 150,000 which we said was too high and said we would get a taxi. The guy told us taxis couldnt come into the port area, so we said we'd walk out to meet one. The minivan guy then proceeds to drive out ahead of us and tells everyone not to go lower than 150,000. We keep walking and he follows us again down the road where he drops his price to 120,000, where we say no politely and he gives us the finger and drives off. At this point we were getting annoyed and a little freaked out as it was dark, and we didn't know where we were going. We walk back the way we came and spot a taxi, so we try to hail it. The taxi goes past us and drives into an empty carpark and turns it's lights off. We think he must be taking a break, but then he signals us over to the car. We jump in to get away from crazy minivan man guy but who turns up and parks right in front of the taxi? Minivan guy, dickhead!
He starts talking to the taxi man and then tells us we can't take take the taxi, he won't let us. The poor taxi man is obviously being intimidated and asks us to get out of the taxi, nightmare. Minivan man says 120,000rp again but we say there's no way we're getting in his bus and that we'd rather walk to Sengigi. We start off walking again and notice a hotel but we're told they JUST rented their last room. Terrible luck. But outside there's a different minivan who will take us to Sengigi so we take this one just to get away from the crazy guy. It was obivious these guys were trying to get away quietly too, madness!

Posted by derryfadman 04:29 Archived in Indonesia Tagged ferry sengigi batubulan padangbai minivan Comments (0)

Gili Trawangan

When we arrived in Bali we saw that it was really built up and touristy so we only stayed one night and decided to go on to Lombok. That journey was a bit of a nightmare, so I will write about that seperately.
We stayed two nights in Sengigi, weren't impressed, so we headed on to the Gilis. We had read in the Lonely Planet that you could get a bemo to Bangsal harbour for cheap....not true! When we quoted 20,000rp to them, they drove off. In the end we paid 40,000rp in a minivan with a man called Eddy Rangaa. A nice man who offered to get us all the way from the Gilis back to Kuta on Bali for 300,000rp together, so we took it. We went to Gili T with a great Lithuanian couple we met in Sengigi: Sandra and Sigakas (which I kepy mispronouncing as Circus, sorry Sigakas). On Gili T we got two rooms in Atong bungalows for 70,000rp which was quite good. That evening we had a walk around the town and found tonnes of restaurants and accomodation, but thankfully not as many tourists as we had expected. The vast majority of them were unfriendly Swedes who looked angry all the time. This was disappointing because other Swedish people we'd met were always really nice. There was also an Irish bar called Tir na nOg. None of the staff was Irish though, surprise surprise.
The next day we decided to go snorkelling and got mask, snorkel and fins for 20,000rp each, which was a good deal. Our goal was to see a turtle as there are a lot around the Gilis. The first two times only we didn't see one but I was determined to keep going until I saw one. The third time in the water was a success. I spotted a turtle on the seafloor chomping away on something. I stayed watching for a good ten minutes hoping that it would come up to the surface, but it never did. Thinking the others would be looking for me I swam off and left the little guy to his meal. It was a cool experience though.
We saw many different kinds of fish but I thought the snorkelling was only ok. In my opinion the Philippinnes was better. The water around the Gili T was a little dirty. On one occasion Kevin was swimming and we both thought we saw a jellyfish in the distance, but it just turned out to be a plastic bag.
After snorkelling we decided to walk around the rest of the island. It's the largest of the islands and can be walked in about two hours or so. It was interesting to see the differences between the Indonesian houses of the interior of the island compared to all the restaurants and bungalows that ring the outisde of the island designed for the tourists. One nice thing about the islands is they have no motorised vehicles allowed. They only use horses or bicycles, so it was quite quiet.
After our walk, we three boys decided to try magic mushrooms, for which the island is famous for.

They told us they made our drinks above average strength, but we didn't feel any effect. Kevin even had a second batch. Sigakas said his fingers went numb and he couldn't look at Kevin without laughing, which was funny. He obviously got the good batch. The owner told us it was because Kevin and I were too big....how rude haha.
After that Kevin and I went out to a bar, got quite drunk, met a french girl who would later become our host in Yogyakarta, and made fun of Swedish people.
The next day the Lithuanian couple left, I slept ALL day and poor Kevin was bored all alone.
All in all Gili T was good fun, but not as amazing as people had described it. They are worth visiting though.

Posted by derryfadman 03:40 Archived in Indonesia Tagged snorkelling indonesia gili turtle trawangan sengigi Comments (0)

Jakarta

We arrived in Jakarta around 11pm and got to our motel quite easily which was nice. The hotel however, wasn't nice. We dropped everything and went for a walk around the neighborhood, which was pumping because it was a Saturday night. The area was Jalan Jaksa, and full of foreigners. We got some food and set out looking for some alcohol, which wasn't that cheap. We were accompanied by a guy from Boston who attached himself to us for a while.
Sitting outside a supermarket having a beer, we were approached by a couple from England. They were going to a club called Stadium and asked if we wanted to join which we did. Stadium was a pretty big club and it was absolutely jammed with Indonesians. It was crazy!! In the club they also had prostitutes which approached us instantaneously because we're white and “rich”, according to them, oh and ridiculously handsome, haha. We politely refused of course, and they left us alone but gave us “come hither” looks every time we saw them through out the night. In the club you were given one free drink, which was tiny and gone quickly. So we went to buy another round which was extortionate to say the least. We then found out that people didn't really drink in the club, they took...other substances instead, which we obviously didn't do. Don't worry mum.
They played house / drum 'n' bass music and we noticed that the dj was actually a guy in his 60s or 70s, it was hilarious. We didn't stay too long and headed home at a reasonable time.
The next day we decided to go to Kota which was the old colonial Dutch part. It was actually quite a poor area, but the buildings were nice to look at, even though they were falling apart.

We then went to the famous cafe Batavia which has a big square outside it which was packed with people. It was a mini-market with people selling knick-knacks, sunglasses and such, and tonnes of tourists walking around. Lots of girls and some guys too came up and asked us for photos which we thought was funny. We didn't put our arms around them because we were afraid of pick-pockets, but also because we smelled quite bad that day.

Posted by derryfadman 03:37 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta indonesia stadium batavia Comments (0)

Brunei

We went to Brunei with 2 guys we met in Kota Kinabalu. Dave and Morgan, they were from Norway and England respectively, and were nice guys. So, we got the 1pm ferry to Labuan, which is an island off Borneo (It turned out to be a duty-free island so alcohol was dirt cheap. Nice!). We thought this would be the best option seeing as the bus from KK to Brunei takes a long time.
Unfortunately we didn't do our research correctly. We assumed there would be a connecting ferry from Labuan to Brunei that day, we were wrong. So stranded on the island we had to find a place to stay that night. We were looking at a information board when the Malay version of Will.i.am from the black eyed peas approached us. I gotta be honest, he looked a bit dodgy, but he showed us photos of the place and it looked nice to we decided to go out there, alcohol in hand. His name was e.jump and was a really nice guy. We were pleasantly surprised when we got there, the place had only been open 2 weeks so everything was nice and new. The rooms were good and it was right on the beach. Not a great beach, but a beach all the same. Unfortunately we had to go back into town for food as they didn't have a restaurant yet (maybe one was in production). We had dinner in an ok restaurant which was a bit on the expensive side. The Blue wave lounge I think. After the sun had set and food consumed, we decided to walk around the town. We found a mosque that looked like a space station or rocket or something. Star wars definitely came to mind. So after the customary photo taking, we moved on. There wasn't really anything else to see so we ventured back to the resort. It was really nice just to go back and sit on a deck chair on the beach. E.jump had been a dj so he played some really cool chill-out music. It was a relaxed evening, and much appreciated.
I've just realized i've spent a while talking about Labuan which is part of Malaysia in the Brunei section, but it's par tof the journey, and I don't wanna move it.
So we continued on to Brunei by ferry the next day nice and early. Our plan was to see the city in a day (it's quite small) and then head back to Malaysia the next day. We saw the the two main mosques in Brunei and the massive stilt village. The mosques have gold all around them and it's obvious a lot of money has gone in to building them. It's amazing to see such opulence beside such poverty. Even though the city is small it was still interesting to go around. Also, you can't drink there so we had an early night. Very quiet. Brunei was small but worthy of a stop-over

Posted by derryfadman 03:35 Archived in Brunei Tagged mosque beach ferry relax brunei labuan Comments (0)

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