Carnet de voyage

Bali Bali

Two weeks in the Island of Gods <3
Août 2019
2 semaines
Partager ce carnet de voyage
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Located between Java and Lombok island, Bali is known as The Island of Gods. This is probably due to its magnificent landscapes, to its thousands of temples, or maybe simply to the lovely smiles of its inhabitants.

Did you know that there are more than seventeen thousands islands in Indonesia?

Did you know that Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world?

Did you know that Bali is the most popular island in the Indonesian archipelago?

Did you know that Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia?

Did you know that Bali is part of the Coral Triangle?

Well, now you do! 😀

Indonesia's flag and map 
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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.

Our first accommodation... Could be worst! 😀

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.

Bingin beach (note my dish is hidden, I did not have rice 😉)

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...

GWK park 

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.

Uber does not work in Bali. However, you can find two similar (and a lot cheaper) apps: Grab and Gojek. Be careful though, these apps are not totally legal in Bali, therefore you need to avoid to book a car next to a taxi station for instance! 😉 We did not face any problem.

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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... 😉

Second Airbnb 

By the way, do you know how petrol stations look like down there? Bottles of vodka! :P Ask for bensin.

Petrol stations 

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.

Campuhan Ridge Walk 

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.

Puri Saren Agung is the palace of the Ubud royal family. It serves as a cultural repository of arts, dance and literature. Featuring well-preserved Balinese architecture and a charming garden setting, the palace was built during the lordship of Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800–1823).

Ubud 

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!

Football game 

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

The Ubud Monkey Forest is composed of around 700 monkeys, and 186 species of trees in 12.5 hectares of forest. The ticket costs IDR 80 000 per person (i.e., about 5 euros).

Ubud 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

"The Yoga Barn is a gem in a sacred paradise. Love and inspiration have been built into the artistically crafted studio and retreat center. Bali is irresistible and the Yoga Barn captures the essence of the island." - Desiree Rumbaugh

The Yoga Barn 

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.

Tegalalang 

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.

Tirta Empul is a major temple complex and holy mountain spring in the village of Manukaya. The site is the legendary setting of a traditional tale about good versus evil, and a national cultural heritage site. The complex, built in 960 AD, is a witness to the old Balinese kingdom.

Tirta Empul 

The Gunung Kawi Temple complex comprises a collection of ancient shrines carved into the face of a rock cliff in central Bali. The main site overlooks the sacred Pakerisan River, which also flows by the Tirta Empul Temple a kilometre up north. Across the river from the ancient reliefs is a temple courtyard featuring old Hindu shrines in a more contemporary style.

Gunung Kawi 

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... 😉

Gado gado is a deliciously comforting Indonesian mega salad served with crunchy prawn crackers and an incredibly delicious peanut dressing.

Bon appétit ! 
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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.

On the road 

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.

Gitgit 

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)...

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is both a famous picturesque landmark and a significant temple complex on the western side of Beratan Lake in. Ulun Danu Beratan, ‘the source temple of Lake Beratan’, shares the scenic qualities with Bali's sea temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple 

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.

Hot springs 

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.

The Kopi Luwak, or the world's most expensive coffee, is made from... poop. Yes, it is. More specifically, it is made from partially digested defecations of the Asian palm civet (luwak).

Expensive coffee with a view 😉

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.

Jatiluwih 

Wow, Bali Bali, you impress me! 😀

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Goodbye Ubud! It is now time to find a Gojek driver to go towards Amed, located at the East of the island.

Somewhere along the way 

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! 😀

Balcony view 

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! 😀

Lipah 

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! 😀

Random pictures of Scoopy, Lipah beach, and other beaches - sorry for the "low" quality, taken with my smartphone! 😉

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! 😉

The USS Liberty ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo, then was beached near Tulamben. In 1963, the eruption of Mount Agung caused the vessel to slip off the beach. The wreck is about 130m long, with the shallowest part at 5m deep and the other side of the wreck at 30m deep.

Amed 

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! 😉

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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.

The Tirta Gangga royal water garden is a cool retreat in the eastern highlands of Bali. It lies on the south-eastern slope of the Mount Agung, and was built in 1946 during the reign of the late king of Karangasem. Owned and maintained by the royal family, the lavish water gardens feature 1.2 hectares of pools, ponds and fountains surrounded by neatly cut lawns that are adorned with stepping stones, ornate statues and tropical gardens. It saw a series of restorations following the destructive showers of volcanic ash from Agung eruption in 1963.

Tirta Gangga 
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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...

From Padangbai to Nusa Penida 

Nusa Penida is the largest and most exotic of the three Nusa islands, thanks to its collection of Hindu temples, cliffs, and lagoons. Nusa Penida measures over 200 sq km; significantly larger than the popular Nusa Lembongan and its accessible sister island, Nusa Ceningan. Lesser-travelled compared to the other two, Nusa Penida has a limited number of hotels and tourist features. It makes up for with unspoiled natural beauty and rare cultural highlights.

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.

Airbnb 

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.

Goa Giri Putri (also known as Karangsari Cave) is another Hindu temple in Bali, but this one is unique because it is inside of a huge natural cave. Hindu ceremonies are still performed here, but it’s also open to tourists. Exploring this cave is an interesting experience, for sure!

Goa Giri Putri (we cannot see much in the pics, but it is massive and fairly impressive) 

On the road again... 😉 Bali is home to hundreds (or thousands?) of temples.

Along the coast of Nusa Penida 

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!

Atuh Beach 

Right next to Atuh Beach can be found the incredible Diamond Beach. It is now open to the public.

Diamond Beach 

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! 😀

Tembeling forest, beach, and natural pools 

Broken Beach and Angel's Billabong are two very spectacular places. A little feeling of Brittany! 😉

Broken beach and Angel's Billabong 

We ended the day with a little (but great) snorkelling session and a sunset at Crystal Bay!

Crystal Bay 

Sorry, this post was a bit rushed in the end, but... "une photo vaut mieux que mille mots" ! 😀

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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.

Last evening and last day 

To conclude? I fell in love with Bali Bali! Great fortnight (and good company 😉).

Sampai jumpa!