After meeting my friend Victor in Shanghai, chop chop we are on the plane towards Denpasar! Our Airbnb host Jeje was waiting for us there (yes, at 2am!), and drove us to our beautiful accommodation. We could not resist and went for a little swim (yes, at 3am!) before going to bed. 😉 We paid €15 per night per person.
Did you know that the world is small? I learnt, on my way from Suzhou to Shanghai, that my good Moroccan friend Mouna (whom I met in Cardiff) was in Bali as well! And, guess what, her hotel was only a few kilometres away from us! 😀 We thus spent a nice day together, chillin' on Bingin Beach, a popular surf spot but also one of the island's hidden beaches - thanks to its rugged limestone cliffs.
We started our second day by checking out and visiting the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park, located only a few kilometres away from our Airbnb accommodation. The entrance ticket costs Rp 110 000, i.e., about 7 euros per person. At the centre of the 60-hectare park can be found the big statue of the Hindu God Wisnu atop Garuda eagle, national emblem of Indonesia. Sadly the statue was built last year...
Nasi goreng (typical Indonesian dish prepared with fried rice) and fresh fruit juice for lunch, about one euro per person! 😉
We then found a free Wi-Fi spot to book a Grab to go to Ubud, our next step.
Our new Airbnb accommodation (for 5 nights) was also a very good discovery! Located in a small street of Penestanan, a little village right next to the busy city of Ubud, it welcomed us with an outdoor living room and a pretty swimming pool. This one was the most expensive of our whole stay, but still less than 30 euros per person per night, with breakfast (and two fresh coconuts) included... 😉
By the way, do you know how petrol stations look like down there? Bottles of vodka! :P Ask for bensin.
For our first day in Ubud, we did the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a free and easy nature trek. Note the best times to do the walk might be early morning or late afternoon, as there is little shade along the trail.
After the walk, heading back to the city, I saw a little river and could not resist... 😀
The main street of Ubud was very busy. It is home to the Ubud Palace and to the Saraswati Temple.
Did you know that I am clumsy and I have very weak ankles? Did you know that the city centres in Bali are very badly lit? Did you know that the pavements are all shitty? Well, all that led to my falling and twisting my ankle on our way back to Penestanan... Fortunately, this happened right in front of the Ubud Clinic! 😉 But before that, we got to attend an Indonesian football game with a better atmosphere than the World Cup!
I sadly spent my second day in Ubud between my bed, the sofa, and the swimming pool, praying (lol) for my ankle to heal. Luckily enough, the accident happened in Ubud: THE place to be for traditional Balinese medicine! 😀 Our host called a healer for me, a very nice old Indonesian man who spoke very good English. He spent half an hour on my ankle and, believe it or not, I was almost fine after that! Victor went for a walk on his own, and also for shopping - as Ubud has a lot of wooden masks and statues to offer. In the evening, we went to a very nice vegan restaurant (Moksa Ubud) in Penestanan with Jennifer, an Irish friend of mine!
Given the doubtful state of my ankle, we decided to rent a scooter for our third day in town, so that I did not have to walk. It was a very good idea! 😉 Renting a scooter in Bali will cost you around 3 euros per day, and maybe 1 euro for the petrol. Great, isn't it??? We first went to the very famous Monkey Forest
Next stop? The Yoga Barn! Out of curiosity, as I could not do any yoga with my ankle. But I definitely plan to come back to Bali to enjoy a yoga and meditation retreat in this amazing and peaceful place... <3
Time flies! Let's hit the road (by the way, Indonesians drive on the left hand side of the road, like the Brits) to reach Tegalalang Rice Terraces! Famous for their beautiful scenes of rice paddies (we can confirm)... I believe these were the very first rice terraces of my life! I have now seen more, including the Jatiluwih terraces (which will be presented later on in this article), and the Longji terraces in Guilin, Guanxi, China.
Back to our scooter for two more stops: at the Tirta Empul Temple and at the Gunung Kawi Temple. Note visitors have to wear sarungs (kind of long skirts) in temples. Most temples in Bali lend free sarungs.
Time to head back to Penastanan to bring our scooter back (deadline 8pm). Thank you Victor for bringing us dinner on the balcony! 😀 I eventually had the gado gado I had been dreaming of since our arrival... 😉
Did you know that you could hire a car and its driver for a whole day for about EUR 60 in Bali? And, guess what, it would be a lot cheaper in other parts of the country! Not bad, hey! 😉 This is what we did for our last day in Ubud, as our plan was to explore a few places in the North of the island.
Our first stop was the famous Gitgit waterfall, about two hour drive from Ubud. Not sure why it is that famous to be honest, this is one of the tiniest waterfalls I have seen in my life lol... Maybe 1) we were not at the best spot to see it or 2) it was dry because of the summer? I will never know! 😀 Note that you need to pay (a symbolic Euro) to access the waterfall. Many locals will also try to sell you some souvenirs.
Our next stop: the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Bedugul (names are slightly difficult to remember here 😉). This place could have been extremely beautiful but was sadly full of tourists (like us)...
Still, wow. But crowded. After that, we went to a very quiet and peaceful place, some natural hot springs which I forgot the same (sorry!), somewhere near Angsri, a little village next to Jatiluwih rice terraces.
We stopped in a little restaurant for some mie goreng (Indonesian fried noodles) on our way back to the car. Two plates of mie goreng, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and two fresh orange juices for EUR 5! 😉 We did not stay long because we still had two other stops: a kopi (coffee) plantation and Jatiluwih rice terraces.
Last stop of the day, but definitely not the least, Jatiluwih! Or: 600 hectares of rice fields that follow the flowing topography of the Batukaru mountain range. Very different from Tegalalang, also way less touristic.
Wow, Bali Bali, you impress me! 😀
Goodbye Ubud! It is now time to find a Gojek driver to go towards Amed, located at the East of the island.
We spent three nights in Lipah, a small village a few kilometres away from Amed, again in an Airbnb accommodation, for only EUR 15 per night per person. Have a look at our view from the balcony! 😀
As we arrived right before the sunset, we decided to go for a little snorkelling session on Lipah's beach, located only a few minutes walk from our place... Well, yes, you can see it from the balcony! 😉 We then had dinner in a small restaurant right between our accommodation and the beach. I had my first sate lilit (Balinese fish dish, recommended to me by my Indonesian friend Oscar), and I loved it! 😀
Wakie wakie, breakfast is ready! 😉 First day on the coast, ready for... my first wreck, yay! We rented a scooter for a couple of days and drove to the Japanese Wreck dive site, located a few kilometres away from Lipah beach. The wreck is situated near the beach and is very easy to reach. It is a Japanese patrol ship that sunk during WWII. Sadly, my waterproof camera also sunk (haha), so no underwater pictures! After this first swim, we drove along the coast and enjoyed the landscape, as well as a little lunch on the back of a parking lot. In the afternoon, we went to another snorkelling point in Amed. I saw two turtles! 😀
More snorkelling on our second day on the coast with the USS Liberty Wreck, one of the best sunken ship wrecks in the world! Again, no pictures in the water but some beautiful landscapes on the ground! 😉
I showed you the same mountain a few times now, but I forgot to tell you about it! It is the Mount Agung, not so much of a mountain but... a currently active volcano! Tectonic earthquakes have been detected since August 2017, and volcanic activity intensified for several weeks. A second, more violent period of major activity began in November 2017. Agung has since had eruptions in January, June, July and December 2018 and January, February, March, April, May and June 2019. Lucky us, it was quiet in August! 😉
And it is already time to leave Amed... 😥 I wanna stay here forever! 😉 But other beautiful places are waiting. Before our next step (Nusa Penida), we stopped at the Tirta Gangga for a couple of hours. Not the most pretty place, fairly crowded, not the best blue sky, but yet a nice visit - and a swim in the holy water.
Next step? Nusa Penida island! 😀 We got a fast boat from Padangbai for IDR 100 000 per person. Note you always need to bargain in Bali, we read on some blogs that people paid 400 000 for a single ticket...
We spent three nights in an Airbnb accommodation in the middle of the island, far away from all civilisation, with a lot of spiders and bats and no hot water! 😉 The view - and the food - totally worth it.
A scooter was absolutely needed there. We got our host to arrange one for us to rent. Note the roads in Nusa Penida are really (really!) bad; barely roads but paths. Be extremely careful when driving - and do not forget to wear a helmet, even if locals don't! It is impressive to see how poor is this island compared to the main Bali island. But I really enjoyed it too, the landscapes were amazing, and the people adorable.
First visit: Goa Giri Putri! Note one needs to crawl through a tiny hole in the side of the mountain to get in! 😉 There is a small fee for renting a sarong and then a second small fee to actually enter the cave.
On the road again... 😉 Bali is home to hundreds (or thousands?) of temples.
Atuh Beach, or Pantai Atuh in Bahasa, is one of the most epic beaches in Bali. It is a rough drive and a short hike down to the beach but the little bay totally worths it. Note that, like many spots on Nusa Penida, the roads to Atuh Beach are very dangerous and unforgiving... Always wear a helmet on scooter!
Right next to Atuh Beach can be found the incredible Diamond Beach. It is now open to the public.
Off the beaten path and away from the tourists, you may enjoy the adventure of Tembeling Beach, Tembeling Natural Pools, and Tembeling Forest. We definitely did enjoy it! 😀
Broken Beach and Angel's Billabong are two very spectacular places. A little feeling of Brittany! 😉
We ended the day with a little (but great) snorkelling session and a sunset at Crystal Bay!
Sorry, this post was a bit rushed in the end, but... "une photo vaut mieux que mille mots" ! 😀
Our last night and last day in Bali were spent in Sanur, a coastal stretch of beach located at the east of Denpasar. Not at all our favourite spot, but good for a last day to relax (some shopping, some cocktails, a great massage) near the airport! 😉 I have only taken a few pictures with my smartphone.
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