Selamat hari teman (good day friends),
Apa kabar? Baik-baik saja (how’s it going? with us everything’s fine)
Yes, you even learn a word of Indonesian from us! We went to Bali and Lombok! And wow, how lovely it was over there! We enjoyed this holiday so much. As we told in our previous updates we were here for a three weeks holiday, to escape the cold and boring winter life in Australia for a little while.
This was not the first time for us that we visited Bali, because in 2012 we also made a stunning trip to this island. Back then we visited only Bali and went all around the island, this time we went to Lombok and the Gili islands too. We were not over excited about Bali the first time, because we thought it was too crowded and the pushing sales men drove us crazy. Especially at the tourist hotspots. We didn’t think about going back. But because Bali is so close to Australia, we decided to give it a second chance. Our choice to mainly go to Lombok and the Gili’s was very conscious, because it seems to be way different from Bali. There was still enough to discover this second time in Indonesia, so we have been really busy 😉 We experienced many awesome things, and it was for sure the best holiday in a long time. And did Bali earned this second chance? You can read it in this update!
In the meantime we are already back in Perth unfortunately, where it still feels like winter (ok, these last days the weather has been a bit better). A big change. Next to that, Manon has been sick, so it really felt like a jetlag without being in a different time zone. Who can give us a ticket back? 😉
We will divide our update in 2 or 3 stories, otherwise it will be a bit too long! For now, lets start at the start.
Friday the 1st of September 2017 at 20.15 our flight departed from Perth. Its only a 3,5 hour flight to Bali, so with a movie and a little nap, our flight ‘flew’ past. In the middle of the night we arrived at the island, and I think after being scammed by the taxi driver (we didn’t go with a Bluebird taxi, stupid!), we went to bed at 2.30 at night in our hotel in Canggu.
Not for long though, the next day we rose very early, because of the good rhythm we have created by our cleaning job in the early mornings in Australia. We are happy that there is no time difference between Bali and Perth. That’s why we didn’t have a jetlag at all! We woke up with an amazing view and found out that our hotel, Mojo Resort, is very beautiful. Just af few little houses around a nice pool. Nice and small, hidden behind some rice fields and local houses, just how we like it!
Luckily we were awake early that day, because we had an appointment at the Rob Peetoom hair salon for a haircut and a massage. Why going to an expensive hairdresser in Australia, while it’s 5 times cheaper over here? And yes, Rob Peetoom is the famous Dutch hairdresser, who has a salon here in Bali as well! Manon had a lovely massage while Bram was getting a haircut. Even during washing of your hair, you are placed in a massage chair! Afterwards they gave Manon a fresh cut too, and meanwhile Bram enjoyed the beautiful view at the rice fields at the back of the salon.
Wow, so luxurious, so lovely! We could just enjoy for a little while, a great start of our trip! This luxury is something we secretly missed a little bit back in Australia 😉 Just like the great hotel rooms, where you don’t have to do anything! Yes, for that matter, going on a holiday in Australia is a bit different than a holiday at a tropical island! But we like both, because we love camping too!
After we both looked like brand new, we bought some Indonesian sim cards and went to Azul Beach Club. A different beach club than most of them over here, which are big, crowded and massive, something we don’t like. Nope, this beach club was nice and small and not crowded at all, and so beautiful too! We laid down underneath a nice cabana and enjoyed the rest of the day with the beautiful weather, the great view, the delicious food and a cocktail.
We also watched the beautiful sunset and stayed for dinner. A perfect first day of the holiday!!
The next day we slept in a little longer and after breakfast we first chilled a bit at the hotel pool, on our new flip flop floatie! 😉
The rest of the day mainly existed of discovering nice places in the Canggu area and Seminyak. Seminyak is a bit of the ‘trendy’ town of Bali. It’s a bit more laidback then Kuta (the party town of Bali), but still very crowded, and here you can find some fancy shops and restaurants. Canggu is relatively new. It’s not so crowded yet, which makes it really relaxed. Although it gets more popular, because of the fact that the surf is pretty good here. We didn’t go here 5 years ago (we stayed close to Kuta) and Canggu nearly existed back then, so that’s the reason we choose to stay in a hotel in this area. The thing that makes this place unique are the rice fields, the cosy boutiques and the nice little cafes. These are the things we mainly visited here this day.
Our first stop was Cafe Organic, a very instagrammable 😉 cafe with healthy, vegetarian food. We had lunch here and a delicious smoothie, which was purely enjoyable in the comfortable hanging chair.
We walked further down the Jalan Batu Bolong towards the beach and passed Love Anchor, a very cute little market. Manon bought a new Balinese bag (called a cookie box by Bram :P) and Bram bought a new shirt and some new flip flops.
Eventually we arrived at the beach, where the Old Man’s bar is located. A nice bar at the beach with a beautiful painted wall where we made some photos.
The beach itself didn’t look so special. Grey sand and too many people.
We took a cab to Seminyak, where our next stop was Nalu Bowls. Through instagram we heard this place had yummy smoothie bowls. Hidden somewhere in an alley, we found out that it was delicious indeed! We can really recommend going there.
Afterwards we had to see the colourful wall at Sea Circus. After seeing many pictures, we needed one with us in it as well!
Next visit was La Laguna, a restaurant with a bar and lounge, where they have many old gypsy wagons. Very photogenic!
Meanwhile it was dinner time and we really wanted to enjoy this at Nook Restaurant. This restaurant is located in a rice field and we found ourselves a spot with a great view! And the best thing: the food is cheap as! Another pre in Indonesia compared with Australia: everything is so cheap! You can eat here for 20 Australian dollar (13 euro) including drinks! 🙂
Next day (Monday 4-9) it was time to leave Canggu. Let’s go to Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan! We didn’t visit those small islands east of Bali 5 years ago, and we could do with some tropical places right now! And it’s tropical for sure: such an amazing islands! We were picked up early at our hotel and they drove us to Sanur, where we took the fast boat to the island. Our bags were carried to the boat by the crew, which looked pretty funny, because those poor little fellas lifted even Manon’s and Bram’s backpack together on one shoulder! And our backpacks are not really lightweights 😉 Overall, what they all carry to that boat, it is so funny!
The boat left on time and half an hour later we arrived at Nusa Lembongan, after luckily a calm trip. You sometimes hear some horror stories about fast boats around Bali and how rough the sea can be. That’s the reason that we choose a good (and because of that also a little more expensive) company.
At the island we hopped in the back of a small truck towards the Yellow Bridge. This yellow bridge connects Nusa Lembongan and the smaller island Nusa Ceningan. At this island is the Yellow Bridge Homestay located, where we will stay for the next few nights. You can’t pass the bridge by car, only scooters and pedestrians. In October 2016 this bridge sadly collapsed, and 9 people lost their lives. Luckily there is a new bridge now that is way more solid than the old one, which should prevent this from happening again.
We were dropped off next to the bridge and walked the last bit to the guest house. The guest house was located directly at the other side of the bridge, an ideal location!
The guest house looked really fine, with only 5 little bungalows and even a pool. And that for only 18 euro a night! We dropped of our luggage in our room and rented a scooter afterwards to explore Nusa Ceningan. The roads on these two islands are in a really bad condition, with now and then more gaps than pavement, but it’s ok to drive by scooter. Our first stop was Le pirate Beach Club for some lunch. A nice resort where we are going to stay at Gili Trawangan too. After lunch we drove to the Blue lagoon, a very spectacular bay between high cliffs with clear blue water.
We read somewhere that you could cliff jump here too, so after we visited the viewpoint we walked on the left side through the bush along the bay. At the end of the path we arrived at a small building which looked like an old little bar. It looked like it was abandoned for many years which makes it ideal for some nice pictures! On top of the cliff are even some old, crumbled concrete tables and stools and on the edge of the cliff is a big boulder where you obviously can jump from, from 13 meters high! However we were a bit in doubt, since there is a sign that jumping is no longer safe and the current looked very strong down in the bay. So that’s why we decided not to jump. A good choice, because afterwards we read on the internet that jumping there is strongly discouraged after an accident that happened here.
Our next stop was Secret Beach. A nice beach, but nothing special. We wanted to drive around the island, but the road was so bad that we decided to take the same way back and drive around from the other side. That’s how we accidentally ended up at a nice harbour and a little village. The road was so beautifully surrounded by palm trees. Such hidden places make travelling so much fun!
When we wanted to continue, Manon lost her earring, so we went looking for it on the road. That wasn’t easy, but we got help from the whole neighbourhood haha! Seriously all locals from the surroundings came out and helped looking for Manon’s earring. We felt a little uncomfortable that the whole village came to help, that was not really necessary, but they were all so nice! And after a little while one of the women found the earring! It is so little and she found it! It was a special experience, the people were so kind! A big difference with our experience on Bali, with all the people who want to sell you something and ask money for everything. At this little island, the people are still real 🙂
After the big search we went to make some pictures in a stunning palm tree field,
and then drove to a little restaurant called Sea Breeze. It looked so amazing! There are some sun beds to chill on, a nice painted building, hammocks above the water and some swings with the perfect view on the sunset. It was happy hour so we ordered some lovely cocktails. And while the sun was going down we had to try the hammock and the swings of course, and enjoyed a nice dinner.
The next morning it was time to explore Nusa Lembongan by scooter. But first some photos at the Yellow Bridge,
and then off to Dream Beach. It is a very nice little beach, although it was a bit of a shame that all the groups of tourists were there too, delivered and picked up by small trucks 😛
Not far from there is Devil’s Tear. Stunning cliffs were the water splashes up with a great force! Sadly it was very crowded here too, but after a little while it eased off and we managed to take some photos without any other tourists!
We planned to chill a bit at Sandy Bay Beach Club, a nice little beach, but when we arrived, the adventure started. Manon noticed that her phone wasn’t in her pocket anymore and realised that it probably felt out at the Devil’s Tear when jumping on the scooter. Bram raced back to the place but couldn’t find it. Back at Manon again Manon realised that we could find it with the Find My iPhone app. Luckily we also had her iPad with the app with us. We saw where the phone was, still at Devil’s Tear, so Bram raced back again while Manon stayed at the beach club to follow the phone on the app with the wifi there.
But when Bram was almost there, the phone started moving. Someone must have taken it. We called it multiple times and nobody answered. We also send some messages to the phone through this app, Bram’s phone number and we played a really loud tune. But nobody responded… and meanwhile the phone moved away further and further all the way to the other side of the island. Manon told Bram continuously where it was through facebook, while Bram was chasing it by scooter. Can you imagine? It was pretty funny afterwards 😛
At a certain moment the phone stopped moving, at the other side of the island somewhere in the bush. While Bram looked for it he found a little house, hidden in the middle of nowhere. There was a man with a phone in his pocket that made a lot of noise! Bram asked for the phone, and yes the noisy phone was Manon’s. He wanted to give it back but he wanted money. No way, that was not going to happen. Well ok, he can have 5000 Rupiah (50 cent ;)), but he didn’t want it. The man didn’t have much choice anyway so he gave the phone back. Or might it be because Bram is so muscular and tough?! 😛
It was clear that he had planned to keep the phone, and sell it or something maybe, since he didn’t respond to the messages and calls and just ran away with it. But that was not going to happen! The man looked a bit surprised when Bram suddenly stood in front of him at his house in the middle of nowhere to get the phone back haha. He didn’t expect that for sure 😛 We were so happy he didn’t look too smart and didn’t turn the phone off.
Although he wasn’t totally stupid… because when Bram returned to Manon we realised that the cover was gone. And attached to the cover was a PayWave tag from the bank to pay contactless. So we had to block her card.
Hehe, what an adventure! And that while we never lost our phones before! But well, all ended well and we have a nice story to tell 😛
After a well deserved lunch we decided to continue our tour. We visited Mushroom Beach and Pura Puseh, the biggest temple on the island, located on a hill. There was a stunning view over the island after a little climb.
The temple looked abandoned, but it was really beautiful.
When we went back down, a woman went up, with a big basket on her head full of offers.
We visited the house of the iPhone pincher to see if we could get our cover back but he was nowhere near and other people there didn’t speak English. So we gave up on that and drove further to the Mangrove Forest.
Meanwhile it was pretty late and we decided to eat something at The Deck, a restaurant at a cliff, with a great view over the beach and the sea. The sky turned into many beautiful colours during sunset, and the food was good too!
That evening we made some beautiful photos of the Yellow Bridge, which is really nice lit up in the dark!
At Wednesday we went diving with World Diving around Nusa Penida. It was already 1,5 years ago when we dove for the last time (in Mexico), but we didn’t notice anything from the long break when we jumped into the water. Our first dive today was at Manta Bay, a place where you have a good chance to spot some Manta Rays. But sadly we didn’t see any manta’s at all… we saw a turtle though! Our second dive was at SD and it was a way more beautiful one. There was a lot of nice coral and many fish. There was a strong current, so we just let ourselves float in it. This time we saw even 3 turtles 🙂 It was so lovely to be back in the ocean after such a long time!
After having lunch at a nice little spot we went back to the hotel to chill a bit at the pool. When we arrived there we realised that, yes for sure, we lost the hotel key! This is the third day in a row that we lost something… Bram drove back to the dive club and yes, there it was, on a table. After he drove back we finally could chill a bit for a couple of hours.
That evening we went to the Next Level Bar, a nice place with a great view and afterwards we were full of the food for the first time this holiday! No idea if it’s us, but we think that the portions aren’t really big at the restaurants around Bali….
The day after we had planned a day at Nusa Penida. Nusa Penida is the big sister of Nusa Lembongan, and while this last island is getting more touristy, Nusa Penida is much less known. It has empty beaches, a rough inland and many simple villages, which is mainly untouched by tourism. I think you can say it is like Bali 40 years ago. For us this sounds like paradise! But be aware, it is getting more crowded at Nusa Penida, so be quick if you want to experience it while it’s still quiet!
From Nusa Lembongan there was only one public mini boat going to Nusa Penida, and our original plan was to leave at 7 am with this boat. But our bed was way too nice so 7 am turned into 10 o’clock. The only others on the boat were one more couple and some locals. Isn’t that great?!
20 minutes later we arrived at Nusa Penida. In the harbour we tried to find out which was the best way to go around the island and we decided to go with a driver instead of a scooter, because we didn’t have much time and the roads are in a really bad shape. We went to a small agency and found a driver who drove us around the rest of the day!
Our first stop was Pasih Uug Beach (Broken Beach) and Angels Billabong. The main road around the island is fine and we asked ourselves why we didn’t go by scooter. Until we went down the road to Broken Beach. This road was more pothole than road and we shook up and down in the car. A 4×4 road, but here they drive it with ‘normal’ vans. We saw some people by scooter, but we saw them walking half of the time 😛 Maybe the driver wasn’t a bad choice at all…
Arriving at broken beach, we didn’t took the normal path but went down on a steep hill and visited Angels Billabong first. There were women carrying some big rocks on their head while climbing down (to build some stairs), while the men were just smoking a sigaret and watched. No, it’s not easy to be a woman in Bali… besides housekeeping and caring for the kids they also take care of all the offers every day and do all the physical heavy work. Hello reversed world!
Angels Billabong was amazing! It’s a inlet in the cliffs, but above sea level. This creates a natural pool which got filled now and then by the sea. You can swim in there, and that’s wat Bram did! While having a lovely swim in there, suddenly some big waves came in that pushed him back towards the cliffs. But as long as you are a good swimmer, it is not so dangerous 😛 The good thing was that it scared off a lot of people and he had the whole pool for himself for a little while!
Now we walked over to Broken Beach. Also a beautiful inlet in the cliffs, but here is a stunning natural bridge on top of it. What an amazing sight!
Because the roads are so bad, it will easily take one hour to get from one attraction to another, so it took a while before we arrived at Kelingking Beach. For a long time already we saw beautiful photos of this place passing by on Instagram, but nothing prepares you for the moment when you see this stunning view for yourself! What an amazing place!
The beach itself is, to put it mildly, somewhat difficult to reach. It’s located on the bottom of a huge cliff, where you can go to via rickety, exceptionally steep ‘stairs’. Yes, stairs between quotation marks, because you can’t call it real stairs at all! At the start is a sign that says it’s not really safe, and climbing down is on your own risk, so we were really doubting if we should go anyway. Nevertheless we decided to go down a bit, which really scared Manon because of her fear of heights. Ah well, everything for the photos right 😉 After a few steps it was enough for Manon and she didn’t want to go any further! Bram decided to go down ‘quickly’, but we were actually supposed to go back to the car.. and going down quickly wasn’t going to happen, because that climb was way to steep and dangerous. So halfway down he decided to turn around. But pff, going up was really hard! What a climb! Completely broken he came back upstairs, and immediately he had to go to a drink stall to get some cold water. Everybody started laughing when he came in there completely exhausted, because apparently everybody stumbles in there in the same way. You can see in the pic below how Bram looked like when he came back up :P:
After this sight it was already late and we unfortunately didn’t have time to visit Crystal Bay (a beautiful beach where we wanted to go to), so we went back to the beach where we were picked up by the boat again. Which almost left without us, because at 5 pm he wasn’t on the meeting point! After we ran to the boat we could luckily still come along. Meanwhile it was almost low tide, which made the water almost impossible to go through. We crossed the sea and in the narrow bit of sea between Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan the water became really shallow. We also had to dodge a boat that parked in the middle of the sea. A bit of an adventure, but we made it back to the island.
When we arrived we realised that Manon lost her sunglasses, we couldn’t find it anywhere, so we must have left or dropped it somewhere… That is seriously the fourth day in a row we lost something! And it was also the fourth day on the islands. I guess we had some bad luck here 😛 Really bad, because normally we don’t lose anything!
In our opinion we have seen way too little from Nusa Penida and we think it’s a shame that we didn’t have more time for this, because it is such a beautiful island. Still so unspoiled, few tourists, bad roads and stunning beaches: definitely worth it! Ideally we would spent a few more days on this island, but that’s a good reason to come back another time!
That night we ate something at Song Tepo. It was pretty cheap here, but you had to wait long too. The food also never gets served together over here haha. When Bram already finished his plate, Manon was still waiting for her pizza. And then the power went out, not only at this place, but on both islands (Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan). When it would be fixed again? They had no idea. It seems to be pretty normal here. Sometimes it will be fixed immediately, other times it will be fixed after a day. In the pitch black Manon’s pizza arrived. She could enjoy it with some romantic candle light. Luckily the electricity was fixed again just before we arrived at our hotel, so it was pretty quick this time! Fortunately, because it’s easier packing with some light 😉
Our alarm went off the next day at 7am. Today we left those beautiful islands and returned to Bali by fast boat, on our way to Ubud! We really had a wonderful time on Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida and loved to stay longer. But there is more to discover! The fast boat ride was comfortable and within half an hour we were back on Bali.
We went to Ubud now. We visited this place 5 years ago as well, but it is so beautiful so we wanted to go back there. We had a lovely little hotel there, Bohemia Huts! A beautiful pool, surrounded by little huts. Our hut was really beautiful too. Very spacious rooms and a lovely interior. And the hotel is directly next to the monkey forest 🙂
At that pool we were going to enjoy the beautiful weather. We decided that today was a day to chill out.
At the end of the afternoon we wanted to visit the monkeys. But the monkey forest closes at 5.30pm so that wasn’t an option. Luckily some monkeys come out of the forest. They were even in the trees around the pool of our hotel. It are such cute little creatures!
The next day, before dawn, our alarm woke us up already. We wanted to walk the Campuhan Ridge walk during sunrise. This walk starts just half an hour away from our hotel. It is a beautiful walk over a ridge surrounded by rice fields. As soon as you walk in the little street were it starts, you are immediately out of the bustle of the city and it is wonderfully quiet! It is so stunning, especially in the early morning. We made many photos, and we were not the only ones. Even at this time of the day we saw a couple of photoshoots, some of them with a complete team with make-up and everything!
After this walk we looked for a taxi back, and we found one pretty quickly. Someone was waving with a taxi sign. It was a nice man and he wanted to drive us around for the rest of the day, for a nice price. We first went back to our hotel for breakfast. There was a lot of choice, and they served good portions! It was something else than the daily banana pancakes 😛
Afterwards we quickly visited the monkeys in the forest. You can feed them bananas and then they will chill on your shoulder for a bit. Well, at Bram’s shoulder anyway, with Manon it took some extra tries. These animals are so cute!
After this visit we went to the Tegenungan waterfall. A stunning waterfall where you first need to go down 160 steps. Ubud is very touristic, and so is this waterfall. It was pretty busy. After being patience for a little while we were able to shoot some awesome pics! We also brought our watermelon floatie to chill in the river for a bit 😉 And then we climbed these 160 steps up again!
We continued to Pura Tirta Empul. A holy water temple. It is very beautiful here, but unfortunately also very touristic!
There is a bath where you can do a sacred ritual. You have to get a sarong that can get wet. There are about 15 little waterfalls coming out of statues from the wall into the bath. For this ritual you need to wash yourself underneath the waterfalls and pray. Nice to try for a little bit, but that little bit took very long. You have to do this at every single waterfall. And when Bram went in, a big tour bus went in just before him. Some people took very long and therefore you had to wait long. After going through almost every waterfall (you are not allowed to go to some of them) he felled blessed and we went back to the hotel.
We ate something at the restaurant here. You have very nice seats, just cushions on the floor. It looks so cozy! And the food was great too!
The next morning we packed up early to leave the hotel. The same driver as yesterday picked us and our luggage up. We went early to the Tegalalang Rice fields. We have also been here in 2012, but it changed a lot! There are many stores and stalls along the road, and it is way more touristic. Although it’s easier to walk through the fields now.
That’s why we went this early, to beat the mass tourism. We walked down on a track which wasn’t the official start, but apparently we choose the wrong track. But because of that we did arrive at a very nice view, where we wouldn’t have been otherwise. There was a hat and a bamboo bar with two baskets for rice harvesting. Of course we had to go into the field with this!
We continued walking to the main area of the fields, and meanwhile it was getting a fair bit more crowded! It was really nice to walk through those fields and see them from the other side! There also was a local with a machete and baskets for making some photos with him. It was such a funny guy that we had to do this too!
At the top of the view where we have been 5 years ago was a little platform now with a cute swing. There are some kids there asking for money, because nothing is for free here. Everybody wants money from the tourists. And with success because it looks so beautiful!
Talking about swings. That was our next stop. We wanted to go to the Bali Swing, but instead of that one we went to a new mega swing very close to the ricefields, Uma Pakel. First you get a coffee tour, but because we had done that before, and we didn’t had much time we skipped that and went straight over to the swing. It’s a very tall one and you will hang above the rice fields! An awesome experience, and absolutely worth some photos!
Afterwards a 2 hour long car ride to the airport followed. Our time in Bali had passed already, but our time in Indonesia not yet! We were flying to Lombok. In a little mini airplane with propellers. It’s only a half an hour flight, so that will fly by!
And so our first week was already over. A great start to the holiday and we can now tell you that we were actually very happy to be back on Bali. Although we were not that impressed with the island in 2012, we really liked it now. This is probably because now, 5 years later, we are much more experienced travellers, we know the island and the culture better and we also visited the islands around Bali. All this ensured that we liked it this time much more than the first time! We were still irritated by the same things, but this time we just did not worry about it. It’s part of Bali! We have discovered the charm of Bali and now understand why so many people are in love with the island. We would even like to go back sometime (or at least to the rest of Indonesia)!
After our first week in Bali we had two wonderful weeks on Lombok and the Gili islands, where it is a lot quieter. There we discovered the most deserted, paradise beaches of Kuta, we swam in waterfalls, we lived the real tropical island life on the Gili islands, we went diving with lots of turtles, we slept in the most beautiful bungalows and we especially have chilled on the beach. Lovely! Soon more about this in a next story!
Terima kasih telah membaca (thanks for reading)
Selamat tinggal (goodbye)!
Bram & Manon
Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories