A Travellerspoint blog

July 2013

Bali - Echo Beach & Canngu

sunny 30 °C

So I spent a while hanging out on Echo Beach - a beach with construction work going on on it, and not the prettiest beach I've ever seen. But it had whopper waves! I met my gorgeous amazing Dutch roomie Sanne - who was a big bright bubble of boundless energy and enthusiasm. I loved her and wanted to be her instantly!
Sanne was hanging around Echo Beach to do a surfing camp on the 5th July. We arranged to meet later for drinks and dinner. Craig biked over to see me and we had some lunch at Echo Beach and then met Sanne and her 2 US dudes later for drinks and chats. The 2 US Guys were from California and had been looking after Sanne and bringing her out surfing with them. We had a grand auld chat and then myself and Sanne bid adieu to the lads and had another beer and some awesome chats on the rooftop of our hostel Echoland. Sanne was wise beyond her years and great fun.

Next day I rented a motorbike - my first time renting a moped/scooter/bike on my own. I was pretty nervous but once I figured out how to start the yoke (after sitting on it for 10 minutes and twisting keys and what not, I had to ask the guy in reception), I had a great time wobbling off up the road and out on the quieter roads of Echo Beach. It felt like THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! It was awesome. Ok so I was only going about 10kph but it was still ace. I ''zoomed'' off around Canngu and biked to another beach 5 minutes down the road. I dumped the bike and then walked up and down a few deserted beaches for an hour and a half before biking back to the gaff.

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Craig biked over to Echo and we went (me on the back of his bike as I didn't know if I was ready for the rambunctiousness that is the Bali Highways) to Tanah Lot (land in the sea) - a lovely old temple that sits on a large rock just off the shore. Tanah Lot is supposed to be the work of the 15th-century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island's beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.

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We crossed a small patch of sea to get over to the temple, paid the Holi Man and got blessed with rice and drippy stuff. Then we mosied around and sat watching the sea til it was dark. There was no sunset but it was pretty beautiful. We biked it back to Echoland and met Sanne who had arranged for us all to go to Seminyak to meet the 2 US Guys and their pals for dinner. So off we went -with not a clue as to where we were going. The blind leading the blind.
We nearly got there so many times but once we got to where we thought the lads were, it started lashing rain, so we camped out in a pizza joint for a while. Then grabbed some food in a cheaper place nearby. Unfortunately after another hour of biking around, we still hadn't found the lads and then Sanne got a text to say they had gone home! ARRRGH. It was a hilarious disaster of an evening but we had a good nighttime tour of Bali and then had a beer on our rooftop!

The following day Sanne moved to the gaff where the US lads were and I decided to rent a bike again and try moped myself across the highways of Bali to meet Craig in Sanur. I thought it was only fair to give him a day off scooting and so off I set. I was going ok actually, manouevering myself in and out of the crazy Bali traffic. (No easy feat!) Anywho I pulled in to check my GPS and make sure I was going the right way (I wasn't) and then when I started up the bike again, I accelerated and braked at the same time and lost control of the bike. The back wheel whizzed out from under me, I fell over, whacked my chin off the ground and the bike fell on top of me. OOOPS. It wasn't sore or anything. It was mostly my pride that was damaged as lots of little Balinese people had witnessed my incompetence!! A small woman came over to help me pick up the bike and I took a few minutes to calm myself and steel myself to get back on the bike again and head back into the highway traffic!
So off I went again on my journey - probably not the easiest place to learn how to use a moped really - the Bali Highways - but sure where's the fun in learning somewhere easy. ;)

It took me bleedin ages to get to Sanur. On the way a policeman flagged me down and asked for my license and registration. I said I didn't have one. (I didn't) And he said I would have to pay a fine of 300,000. I said I only had 100,000 (I had this ready in a separate fining pocket - they fine foreigners so often, ye need a separate 'fine' purse) and paid the man. And off I went again. Another half an hour later, I found the Pineapple Backpackers joint at last. LOL. It was 4.20pm. I'd left at 2.30pm. BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Anyways I met Craig and we went for some nosh on the beach, before he had to chaperone me back across the Balinese Highways to Echo beach - IN THE DARK. It was certainly challenging. So much for giving poor Craig a day off motorbiking round the island. ;)

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FUNTIMES! :D

Posted by squeakylee 04:59 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali beach tanah lot echo canggu echoland Comments (0)

Ubud, Bali

sunny 33 °C

So I wasn't sure if I wanted to leave Echo Beach but fate intervened and brought me to Ubud.
An American couple I'd chatted to a few days earlier had said they were going to hire a driver to bring them to Ubud and I could jump in with them.
I hadn't seen them in a few days though so wasn't sure if they were still going, but lo and behold they appeared at 11.30am and off we went. They were a lovely couple, both teachers and great fun to chat to.
The journey to Ubud lasted aggggesss, the driver was the most careful (see slowest) driver I've ever witnessed. I think he was trying to make the journey seem longer so we'd think he was worth the extortionate 300,000 rupiah fee.
Still it was most pleasant and I didn't have to go on my own so yahooo!

As soon as we got out of the car in Ubud, a man said "room?" to me and I said "yes please!"
Off we went to this cute little homestay just off Monkey Forest road. The rooms were gorgeous and I had a lovely cool balcony that overlooked a fabulous yard full of (feckin loud non-stop-crowin) roosters, trees,flowers and motorbikes! There was also a lovely family temple in the yard too, and the man of the house was hard at work painting masterpieces in the yard entrancee.
The price for the room included free tea and coffee and breakfast, and was right in the middle of town. Whoop. Score.
I realise this pic is sideways. Can't fix it. Sorry!
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Ubud is a cool place. It's the cultural capital of Bali, and art, singing and dancing are all mightily encouraged and supported here. The streets are full of little galleries, museums, Bali dance stages, cool clothes shops and funky souvenir shops stuffed with awesome lamps made out of coconut shells, glittery mosaic mirrors, little painted elephant candle holders, big willy bottle openers, stubby beer holders, lovely wooden furniture and much more. I wanted everything!
I resisted the urge to splurge and went for a gorgeous lunch - a tuna salad served inside a pineapple. Man it was delicious.
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I went to all the nearby temples and the palace, which took all of half an hour, then mosied in and out of the little galleries. Ubud also has loads of cool gross weird statues everywhere. These quickly became my favourite things!
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Ubud also features in the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love. I read the book while I was here. It's alright like. A bit ghey but kinda cute.
One man's interpretation of the book below.
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Later I met the German girl next door -Katya (I kept calling her Jennifer) who was a grand chick to chat to.

In the morning I had an awesome yoga class at the Yoga barn and met another cool chick called Claire. After yoga, Craig came up to Ubud, once again braving the Bali highways on a moped, (hero), and we went to the Monkey Sanctuary. I don't really like or care about monkeys that much so this sanctuary was spectacularly underwhelming for me. The park was tinchy and the monkeys were jerks. One of them bared his big fangy teeth at Craig and leapt off the bridge straight at him. Craig got the shock of his life and nearly fell off the bridge. It was pretty scary and then pretty fookin funny. (Only cos the monkey missed!) so yeah, monkeys are generally jerks in Asia.

Monkey sanctuary
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Later we went to Petulu to see the famous Heron migration. Every night at 6pm, thousands of big white herons fly in to Petulu to roost in a big tree. :D lol. We biked out to Petulu, and sat in a small warung overlooking a swampy rice field, had a beer and watched the birds fly in. They arrived in dribs and drabs and sat on each others' heads in bids to secure the prime roosting spots. The owner of the warung gave us a go of his binoculars so we could assume the role of true bird spotters. I felt like a right nerd, but it was pretty cool to watch them all come in. I was glad we had been advised not to park under that tree though - bird poop central!

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Check out this awesome car and its facilities...

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Next day I had a shit yoga class with some mentaller of an instructer who was way too antsy to provide a calm yoga environment. I felt extra bad too as I'd brought Katya along (after telling her how good it was yesterday) and it was her first ever yoga class.
We met Claire again at yoga and after a quick breakfast, they agreed to let me bring them on a guided walk near the river and rice fields. (Practise for my new tour guiding career).
Welllllll I don't think we quite made it to where we were supposed to go but we did pass some lovely rice fields, a load of people rafting in the river and we crossed a cool bridge and tons of steps, that we soon had to go back down and over. :). We walked for four hours before treating ourselves to a delicious lunch and then met up later for beers and to watch the Lyons v Wallabies match.

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The following day mysel and Germany went to the Neka art museum which was cooool and I got a full body massage later which was pretty nifty.

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Ubud is awesome and I would go back there again in a jiffy. It's not great to walk around due to re traffic and shit pavements, but that's the same for all of Bali really!

Posted by squeakylee 06:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged art fields rice barn yoga ubud galley Comments (0)

Padang Bai, Bali

What's all the fuss about??

overcast 30 °C

Craig wanted to come to the Gilis too before he started his two month Scuba Divemaster course so we agreed to meet in Padang Bai, which is the departure point for the Gilis, and hang out in PB for a while. But really there was literally nothing to see there. It was a bit disappointing as we were told it was a cool place to hang out for a day or two, but the beach was dirty and there was feck all to do there so we decided to get straight outta there and booked the speed boat for the next morning.

I left my silver Om earrings in the room there. Doh! :(

But here's a few pics from the dock of the Bai. Arrf. ;)

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Very rare banana fish
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Posted by squeakylee 07:27 Archived in Indonesia Tagged to do all bög zip padang bai meh Comments (0)

Gili Trawengan, Bali

sunny 34 °C

The speedboat over to the Gilis was awesome. We were on the top deck with a load of crazy Kuwaitis clapping and singing. We all got soaked by the waves splashing back over us! We were soppin'! The journey was cool though. The sea was fairly calm, the sky was gorgeously blue and we had lovely views of Bali as we bounced over the waves to Gili T.
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Once again, as soon as we jumped off the boat onto Gili T, a young man offered us a room and off we went to our new abode - a cool little joint in a nice garden on one of the backstreets. The young staff were nice but the old guy was kinda grumpy - probably cos it was Ramadan and they can't eat, drink, smoke or bump uglies from sunrise to sundown. Bummer! To my delight we couldn't hear the roosters from our room! YAHOOO! Also if we closed the bathroom door, we couldn't hear the mosque either. Ace! (No offense intended but it was VERY loud and was going at 4am and again at 9 am and all through the day. It gets pretty annoying).

Our gaff..

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We went straight to the beach and caught a few rays. Gili T is gorgeous with beautiful white sandy beaches, clear bright aquarmariney water, and clear blue deeper water a bit farther out.

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Gili T itself is a very small island - you can walk around it in an hour and a half! It's full of little restaurants, bars, cafes, homestays, shops, clinics, dive and surf schools and tons of men on the street corners selling you everything else you could possibly need. There are no motorbikes or cars on the island so everyone gets around on bicycles and by horse and cart.

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For the first week, the skies seemed to cloud over in the afternoon so we pretty much had to get up early to see the sun. I was dying to get out in the sun and fill in my farmer tan - i.e. colour in my torso! :D
Craig brought me out snorkelling a good few times the first week. The first time I went out, I was like a coughing, spluttering, panicky octopus but he was very patient and literally held my hand when we went out. :) He is quite the knowledgeable chap and pointed out loads of awesome fish and corally things to me.

He did however have a habit of swimming down and wiggling his hands at the very poisonous fish that hung out in the coral. ARRGH! I was desperately trying to swim away while he was having the craic with the lads. After the first couple of days, I kinda got better at the snorkelling but it still freaked me out when we hit a batch of jellyfish, or when we had to try and get back into shore over the coral in VERY shallow water. Craig told me to fill my lungs full of water so I would float a bit more and not bash myself off the coral. Needless to say, there was a lot of spluttering going on that day.
We did see some awesome stuff underwater though. There was loads of really pretty flowery coral, funky colourful fish and lots of lovely big turtles swimming along. After a few days snorkelling, I started to really like it! It was great fun, once my mask didn't leak, I was sound as a pound. We also got to see the cool Biorocks that the Balinese people have placed just offshore in a bid to encourage speedy coral growth. Just a few years ago, the lush coral reefs off Bali were dying out, bleached by rising temperatures, blasted by dynamite fishing, and poisoned by cyanide. But with the help of these Biorocks, the coral is now thriving on dozens of metal structures that they have put in the bay. The structures are fed with low-voltage electricity, which coral experts say is helping to revive the reef. The rocks are in the shape of flowers, aeroplanes and there's even an old desk and chair down there too. : )
Just as I was getting the hang of snorkelling, the next week the tide was out a lot and I didn't get out much. :/

The rest of our time in the Gilis was spent snorkelling, sunbathing, walking around the island, having a spliff at sunset, having the craic at Tir na nOg with various oddballs, reading, eating at the market, having a few beers and generally having holiday times.

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The time went by pretty fast and once again I had to leave before I got kicked out of the country. I said goodbye to my hero Craig who was staying behind to do his DiveMaster Course and headed off on the speedboat back to Bali.

(I collected my Om earrings on the way back. - happy days!)

Posted by squeakylee 22:23 Archived in Indonesia Tagged sunset bali beach surf holiday gili t Comments (0)

Kuta, Bali

Back to the scene of the crime...

sunny 32 °C

So my speedboat back was pretty awesome. I sat on the top deck, but the boat was so fast, the wind was hurting my face. (1500 horsepower according to the young fella who sold it me!)
So I moved downstairs and despite the waft of diesel every now and then, and the IMMENSE bumping up and down over the waves, I didn't even feel queasy! SCORE. The girl in front of me used up at least 5 plastic bags with her puking though. :/
Made friends with an NZ gal who was staying in Poppies Lane in Kuta (where I had been the victim of a Benny Hill style bag snatching a few weeks ago). I followed her to PL, then hopped into a cheaper guesthouse nearby and got a grand auld room for 100, 000 rupiah, where I could hear the dulcet sounds of ''who's f&ckin tonight? who's f*ckin tonight whup whup'' from one of the nearby bars in the background.
Ahhhhhh bliss. :) To be fair, it was better than Roosters crowing!! :D
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I headed off for an exploration around Kuta and had some lunch. It's a busy place with tons of restaurants and bars all along the strip, and in turn tons of people trying to sell you stuff. The constant touting makes it a bit annoying to walk around and I decided to go for a lie down in a darkened room for a bit. I had thought about going back to Skygarden at 9pm for the free drinks hour but thought it probably wasn't the best idea (knowing me and my willpower, or lack thereof) to go drinking when I had a flight the next day.
So I stayed in and drank diet coke while listening to the free Kidz Choonz in the distance. WILD.

As it turns out, I could have gone drinking, as I got an email the next morning to say my flight was delayed by 4 hours.
DOH! I had purposely bought the earlier daytime flight so I wouldn't have to arrive in KL at nighttime ... sigh....
So since I had extra time now, I enjoyed my whopper breakfast of a banana jaffle and sippie cup of coffee...
(A banana jaffle is a TOASTED BANANA SANDWICH!!!! it is AMAZING. Why Have I not had this before? ??? )
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and then packed my bag and went for a long walk on Kuta beach - which was lovely!
Although the beach was by no means devoid of touts either.
One dude selling surf lessons wouldn't let go of my hand for ages as he tried to sell me a lesson.. it was getting quite uncomfortable and a bit weird after a while.. :D I saw a white guy surrounded by about 6 young Balinese women getting every inch of him massaged and fluffed on the beach. He saw me looking, beckoned me over and gave me the thumbs up sign. LOL. I thumbs-upped him back and legged it!
Went for a walk in the mall nearby and then hung out in Starbucks for an hour before thinking that I may as well head off to the airport. (There's not a lot to do in Kuta if you're not shopping, drinking or sunbathing).

view from the mall
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I retrieved my bag from the hostel and wandered out of Poppies Lane.
A local man approached me and offered me a lift on his speedy motorbike.
I thought about it for a minute and then said ''sure why not''.
''I'm heading to the airport'', says I.
''cheap price'', says he, ''wait here''.
So out he came all Easy Rider stylee on his tiny moped and handed me a helmet.
Now I forgot to mention I was wearing my 11 kilo backpack on my back. (ok it's not that heavy but it's heavy enough!) I totally forgot about this until we sped off down the road! Every time he accelerated or went over a bump, I had to hold on for dear life for fear the weight of my backpack was going to drag me off the bike and plonk me onto the road.
It was a brown trousers, white knuckle ride... The sweat was drippin off me and I said a prayer to Shiva (we were back in Hindu land), that I would actually survive my last day in Bali. (I've had more injuries in Bali than I've had my whole trip!)
It was however the quickest journey ever and for that, and my survival I was grateful. Small mercies. ;) I handed him back his sweat-covered helmet and wobbled my way up the road to departures..

Bali airport is pretty boring and there are not enough seats for everyone to sit on. I ate a dodgy sandwich on the plane as well and felt a bit rough the following day...

Posted by squeakylee 17:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali airport ride from motorbike kuta hell Comments (0)

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