Indonesia, Bali – Terima Kasih (Thank You)

Why be alone when we can be together, baby?

You can make my life worth while.

I can make you start to smile.

When it’s through, it’s through,

and fate will twist the both of you.

So come on, baby, come on over.

Let me be the one to show you!

HELLO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!!!!!

Reporting from Hong Kong, which sadly means that the Indonesian adventure is behind us. 28 days of amazing adventures, that are putting Indonesia on top of the list of the countries that we have visited so far.

In one of the previous posts I said I will not compare and judge countries between themselves, but Indonesia impressed us so much, that I have to make an exception. Myanmar had the nicest people so far, but Indonesia had combination of both – amazing people surrounded by amazing nature.

I told you already about Sumatra and Flores which were amazing, but we left the best for the end – Bali. Thanks to amazing friends (Laura, Jorge & Jorge), that shared with us Bali experience, thanks to amazing house we rented for 10 days, thanks to beautiful beaches that we have visited, thanks to amazing Balinese food we ate, thanks to amazing Balinese people we met and thanks to our amazing driver Mady, that we hired for the whole stay – Bali was the cherry on top of the Indonesian cake.

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Although Bali is quite small island, we still managed to do more than 600 km exploring it. Our base was, already mentioned, great villa in Sanur (point A – 30 min from the Bali’s airport Denpasar). We hired a friendly local driver Mardy for the entire stay and with his help and recommendations of our friends we managed to see several beautiful beaches, temples and sunset places. Normally I give info how much km and time took us to different places, but this time it was different. No bumpy buses, no crazy drivers and no animals sharing the rides with us. We were always moving the same way – car – and it was always the same story – a lot of traffic and therefore very slow rides. The average was 30 km in 1h… Most of the destinations were 30 – 80 km away from Sanur so it always took about 1 – 3 h one way. Peace of cake compared to 10 – 15 h bus rides from previous travel :).

So… what did we see in this 10 days? We started with the Padang Padang beach (point B) and Uluwatu temple (point C). We continued with Bingin beach (point D). To rest from exhausting time on the beach 🙂 , we visited lake Danau Batur (point E) and artistic mecca Ubud (point F). On the following day, for even more surf beaches and relaxation, we visited Pandawa beach (point G) and some spiritual sunset at Tanah Lot temple (point H). Since we didn’t have enough of beaches we visited volcano rocks beach Amed (point I) and saw amazing sunset on famous Kuta beach (point J), finally had our  last dinner on Jimbaran beach (point K).

You were used to read quite a detailed descriptions of the places we have visited. Since this time it was more beaches and relaxation I will be a bit shorter 🙂

SANUR

Sanur is located 15 km from Kuta and 20 km from the Bali’s airport Denpasar, ideal to set a base for exploring Bali. Sanur is a slightly upmarket sea, sun and sand alternative to Kuta for retired people 🙂 . The white-sand beach is sheltered by a reef, so low tide make the beach really not interesting and pretty much impossible to enter for a swim. We tried for 2 days to find some decent place to have a bath, but no luck. Luckily Bali has endless numbers of beaches so we weren’t worried too much :).

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As I said, the main reason of us staying in Sanur, was the villa we rented. 4 rooms, 3 bathrooms, huge kitchen, huge living room, housekeeper who cleaned and washed for us, swimming pool… Let’s just say – we were on holidays while having a 8 months holidays 🙂 .

PADANG – PADANG BEACH

Padang – Padang Beach is a famous Bali’s surf point, with great waves and white sandy  beach, stretched 100 meters from the north to the south. The beach is situated below a white stone hill, with beautiful surrounding scenery and view on the Indian Ocean. It is about 25 minutes away from Denpasar Airport and close to other famous surf points such as Uluwatu Beach, Suluban Beach, Bingin Beach, Impossible Beach, Dreamland Beach and Balangan Beach.

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If you need a wedding picture to be taken, if you need to buy a sarong, if you need a cheep T – shirts or just practice your bargaining skills (Jorge you passed the exam 🙂 ) stop by  – you won’t regret it.

ULUWATU TEMLPLE

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a Balinese sea temple. Built in the 11th century, it is one of nine directional temples meant to protect Bali from evil spirits.

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I’ll be honest, you are going to find mixed reviews from travelers about visiting the Uluwatu Temple on the southern tip of Bali. People are going to complain about the thieving monkeys (for good reason), the lack of luster offered by the temple, the crowds, the trash, the entrance fee, and the fact that the temple is somewhat isolated from the other many attractions on the island. However, I am going to make a hard stance that the Uluwatu Temple is worth the visit and I’m considering it as one of the highlights of our trip to Bali! It’s THE spot to watch amazing sunsets.

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BINGIN BEACH

Bingin beach is a beautiful coral beach and is located on the western side of the Bukit peninsula between Dreamland beach and Impossible beach. It’s appointed as one of best surf spots on Bali and it’s ideal for advanced surfers and has a beautiful waves.

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Saying all that, you can imagine Bingin being a surfers paradise but it’s more than just that. Chill out atmosphere, amazing sunset and great dinner right on the beach are as well perfect reasons to stop by. /another must on Bali I would say.

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DANAU BATUR

Lake Batur is the biggest lake on Bali. It lies down in the feet of Mount Batur and Mount Abang. One can enjoy the scenic view, feel cool atmosphere (bring some jacket with you) and see one of the most famous hindu-buddhist temples on Bali – Pura Ulun Danu Batur. To be honest (at least in my opinion) – if you are short of time, you can skip the temple. The temple is beautiful but 2,5 h drive from the south makes it at least a half day trip.

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UBUD

Perched on the gentle slopes leading up towards the central mountains, Ubud – far from the beach atmosphere – is the other half of Bali’s tourism face. Unlike South Bali, however, Ubud’s focus remains on the remarkable Balinese culture and art.

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It’s not surprising that many people come to Ubud for a day or two and end up staying longer drawn in by the rich culture and many activities. Besides the very popular dance-and-music shows (I would definitely recommend to see famous Kecak dance), there are numerous courses on offer that allow you to become fully immersed in Balinese culture.

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Around Ubud are temples, ancient sites and whole villages producing handicrafts (mostly for visitors and export). Although the growth of the town has engulfed several neighbouring villages, leading to an urban sprawl, parts of the surrounding countryside remain unspoiled, with lush rice paddies and towering palm trees.

We went back to Ubud twice – for cultural – culinary experience the first time and for souvenir shopping the second time. And lets not forget the famous monkey forest – a forest full of wild monkeys jumping around and scaring tourists – a must in Ubud. It may sound a lot for 2 days, but Ubud has so much to offer that you could stay there easily a week or two.

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PANDAWA BEACH

Pandawa Beach, locally referred to as ‘Pantai Pandawa’, is a great addition to Bali’s collection of gorgeous beaches located on southern Bukit Peninsula. Hidden behind large carved limestone cliffs that reveal wide views to the Indian Ocean, Pandawa Beach was once also dubbed as ‘Secret Beach’ and it was officially opened in 2012, fast-gaining popularity among local weekenders and some tourist – when we went there, there were practically no other western tourists, only locals and it was funny and kind of “charming” to watch them squeeze on only 50 meters of sand while the remaining 1km of the beach was empty.. well, better for us :).

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Besides its impressive natural sea panorama of white sand, blue sky and surf, Pandawa Beach is also known for its huge cliffs, that were cut through to make way for its winding and smooth asphalt roads which lead down to the beach. The sides remained as high walls, while the ocean-facing cliffs midway down the slope feature deeply carved arches installed with large statues – interesting thing to see.

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TANAH LOT TEMPLE

A popular day trip from south Bali, Pura Tanah Lot is the most visited and photographed temple in Bali, especially at sunset when crowds and traffic overwhelm the site – and I mean they overcrowd the place. You can walk over to the temple itself at low tide, but be careful with the closing hour. To climb the temple, you have to get a blessing from holly person before (they for sure expect donation, which is a kind of an entrance). Be careful if you’re trying to enter the temple after the sunset. They will eagerly accept your donation and forget to tell you that the temple is actually already closed, exactly what happened to me… Well since I am a cheap bastard and I don’t give money for nothing, I run up anyway with guards screaming behind me and took 3 spectacular photos (or at least I thought they were pretty good :)). Even though the temple is overcrowded, it’s still worth coming for the spectacular sunset (just one of many in Bali 🙂 )

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AMED BEACH

Amed beach is a place that not even our taxi driver knew – we had to persuade and beg him to drive us there (can you imagine you need to beg a taxi driver to drive you somewhere 🙂 ). We heard about it from our friends Angelina & David – thanks guys for that and BTW see ya soon in Taiwan :). They told us it was a beautiful bay with black volcano rocks beach and a perfect place for snorkeling and diving – and boy they were right!

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More or less 3 h drive away from Sanur to the north-east of Bali, you will find this amazing bay which is almost undiscovered by tourist (exceptions are few diving center and divers), but still has everything prepared to become a tourist attraction (bungalows, hotel, restaurants, bars and amazing surroundings). I am just glad we had to chance to see it before the hordes of tourists attack it – for sure it will happen soon.

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KUTA BEACH

Tourism on Bali began here and it’s easy to understand why. Surf way that starts far out in the Indian Ocean crashes to shore in long symmetrical breaks – perfect for surfers. You can stroll the 12km of sand, enjoying a foot massage and cold beer with thousands of your new best friends – perfect for relaxation. Kuta Beach was and always will be Bali’s best beach (Lonely Planet). Well let’s just say that this time I have to disagree with Lonely Planet. Maybe Kuta was once the best beach, but for sure it isn’t anymore. It’s overcrowded, too loud, thousands of drunk people, so why call it the best ?! Maybe if you don’t like to move around and you want to party hard the whole time than it is your place, won’t judge you :). I don’t know if 20 years of partying finally got me to the point that not every crappy disco attracts me anymore – but Bali is much much more than Kuta… although I have to admit it might be worthwhile to come once for an amazing sunset with a cold Bintang in your hand!

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JIMBARAN BEACH

JImbaran beach looked very nice but, I can’t say too much about it since we went there just for sunset and last diner. It’s located next to the airport so it gives it an extra sightseeing – watching planes take off. There are plenty of restaurants but the food is not the best quality (was much better at Bingin beach) and you need to bargain the prices before you sit down – that was the first time we had to bargain for the food in the whole trip so far.

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So there you go – Bali done!!!!!

The mere mention of ‘Bali’ evokes thoughts of a paradise. It’s more than a place: it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind.Yes, Bali has beaches, surfing, diving, and resorts great and small, but it’s the essence of Bali – and the Balinese – that makes it so much more than just a fun-in-the-sun retreat. And not just Bali – you can say more or less the same for whole Indonesia! It will stay in our mind for ever and who knows – maybe we retire there. It’s not a bad idea, with low retirements that are waiting for us in the future and the fact that 500 EUR in Indonesia still means something! The problem I see is –  you can get a retirement visa as foreigner and live in Indonesia just if you have 55 years and our goal is to retire by 40 😉 .

In the end of each country as usually facts and +/-

FACTS:

– 28 days of traveling

– 2300 km of roads (buses, cars, motorbikes, walking) + few 100 km on sea

– 700 EUR/person of costs

– 11 different hotels

– the world’s 4th most populous country

– the biggest muslim country in the world

– approx 1000 volcano

– 17.000 or more islands

– 200/300 different languages (one official)

– the most corrupted country in the world

– very cheap accommodation

– the best bear in Asia so far (BINTANG)

– expensive alcohol (muslim country – what do you expect)

– very cheap tobacco (all Indonesians are chain smokers)

– very easy bargaining

– excellent food

– amazing people

– incredible nature

– one of the world’s best beaches

– exquisite snorkeling and diving

TOP 5

1. Kanawa Island

2. Boat trip to Komodo National Park

3. Bali beaches & Spanish/Italian friends (Laura, Jorge & Jorge)

4. Moni Village/Kilimutu volcano & Beto’s family

5 Lake Toba & Bukitinggi

NEGATIVE 5

1. Expensive Alcohol

2. High prices to enter national parks & airport taxes

3. Curvy roads on Flores

4. Kuta’s night life (beach is nice)

5. The diner I cooked in Sanur (I guess 5 months of not cooking got me out of practice) 🙂

That´s all folks – next time Hong Kong adventures!

Love Maja & Andrej

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3 thoughts on “Indonesia, Bali – Terima Kasih (Thank You)

  1. Hey guys, glad to hear that you enjoyed Amed. I hope you had the chance to be greeted by one of the many clown fishes living in the coral 🙂 See you soon in Taiwan (if you survive China hehe). Everything is ready 😉

    Like

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