We got to explore some islands of Indonesia this December. Indonesia has thousands of islands. It would probably take a lifetime to explore them all. In this trip we visited Bali, Gili Air, Flores and the Komodo islands. Indonesia is mainly a muslim country, so it was interesting to see that two of the main islands we visited had different religions. Those were were Bali (Hindu) and Flores (Catholic)
In Bali we explored the following : Seminyak-Ubud-Coffee plantation-Tegallalang Rice Terraces-Ulun Danu Beratan Temple- Jatiluwih Rice Terraces-Camphan Ridge Walk-Kecak Traditional Dance
Day 1. Once we arrived to Denpasar it was around evening time. We took a taxi to Seminyak (cost 100,000 Rp) where we planned to stay a few nights. We actually were not sure where to base ourselves but from reading about Seminyak is seemed like a good choice. We weren’t disappointed. We saw some beautiful sunsets there, had our first bintang on the beach chilling on beanbags. We stayed for 2 nights in a place called Lotus tirta which cost 750,000 Rp for 2 nights incl. breakfast.
Sunset in Seminyak
Our first bintangs of the holidays!
Day 2. Didn’t do anything special. Checked out the beach. On the way there we got stopped by a guy who gave us a type of scratch card. We won a prize, apparently the best one (looked like a holiday, a go-pro or cash). We were not sure about this but the guy who gave us the card looked really delighted that we had won something as it meant he would get some cash for doing that. So, the deal was that we had to visit the hotel that was giving this gift. We went by taxi with the guy (he paid for the taxi). The name of the place was the Karma hotel. We stayed for awhile there..we had to listen to a guy trying to sell us some deal with this hotel group..we were not interested..we just wanted to collect our prize (if there actually was one). The prize that we got was a free stay for like 2 weeks in one of their fancy hotels. The choice included Chiang Mai, Goa, Bali and someplace in Germany. We took this and left. Not sure if we will use this. The rest of the day we chilled out, walked around, saw some temples, got foot massages and went to our pool for a swim.
Day 3. We decided to leave Seminyak and go to explore Ubud. We got a taxi using the Grab app to go to Ubud, costing (145,000Rp). We stayed in a place called Diana dari 918,000Rp for 2 nights. This was a really nice place, hidden away from the main road with lovely views of rice fields and a nice pool. Once we had settled in we went to check out the monkey forest (50,000Rp). Plenty of monkeys there, its a nice place to walk around. The Hindu temple there was really busy. So many people were carrying offerings to the temple. Pretty cool to see how the locals carry the offerings on their heads.
Carrying offerings to the temple in Monkey forest
Later in the evening we had a Balinese body massage (70,000Rp) for 1 hr and went to see a show with Balinese woman dancers (75,000Rp). That was interesting. I’d recommend it. At night there was huge celebrations as it was the dark moon ceremony. Lots of people dressed up it was really packed so a bit difficult to see it.
Day 4. We decided to do a little bit of a tour of the main sights nearby. These included visiting the coffee plantation, Tegallalang rice fields, Mount Batur lake view, Ulun danu beratan temple and the Jatiluwih Rice terraces – all with the man who brought us to Ubud. He charged us 450,000 for the day. Our first stop was the Luwak coffee plantation.
This coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. It comes from coffee beans that have been digested by the luwak animal (kind of looks like a weasel). The pooped out beans are then collected, cleaned and roasted. Edgar tried a cup (cost 50,000Rp) and it included a huge sampling of many teas and coffees for free. Interesting place to visit. Free entrance and there is a super cool swing that you can go on and costs 150,000Rp.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Just up the road from the coffee plantation is the Tegallalang rice fields. How have to give a little donation as you enter but it seems to go to the locals which is good. It’s really beautiful there. So much green. We walked around the fields although we didn’t spent a huge amount of time there.
We continued the journey going up north to see Mt.Batur from the lakeside. The day was a bit cloudy so it was a little difficult to see it clearly. We didn’t hike the mountain for that reason and also the fact that you have to get up at a really early hour to do the hike in order to catch the sunrise. A different time of year maybe is best to do it.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
1 hour later at 1200 metres above sea level in lake Beratan we came to the famous temple that floats on the lake called Ulun Danu Temple. It cost 50,000Rp to enter (the 50,000 note actually features this temple) maybe that’s why they charge that amount..not sure, but we found it to be only alright. We really didn’t spend a long time there. It’s a short walk around. Some paddle boats are available and there are some shops around. Not sure if I would return to this place.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Another hour in the car and we arrived to the famous Unesco World Heritage Jatiluwih rice fields. We had just arrived and the rain came down, really heavy and it really didn’t want to stop. Luckily there is a restaurant there so we ate there and waited for the rain to stop. ..but it didn’t! So, we decided to check out the rice terraces anyway. Apparently the rice fields are 503 hectares with around 511 farmers. I only saw women working on the rice fields there in the rain. Even though it was raining the views were still really impressive. The greens are fluorescent and they go on forever. Definitely worth visiting and this was 40,000Rp each to enter.
Jatiluwih rice fields
Camphan Ridge Walk
Day 5. A rainy Ubud. The rain eventually died down and we went to the centre and hung out in coffee place and tried to plan the rest of the trip. When it cleared up we walked whats known as the Camphan ridge walk. It’s an easy walk with some nice views along the way. There is a really nice place called Karsa Kafe around there. Once we walked back to Ubud, I saw a sign down an alleyway for a magic rice fields view. So, we followed it and yep it was pretty magical. It was off the beaten track and very nice. There was little cafe’s around the area too. We ended back on a nice street called Kejung back in Ubud. We went to an agency and booked Gilli air (400,000Rp return pp) for the ferry.
Camphan ridge walk
Kecak Traditional Dance
We also bought tickets for a special dance called Kecak fire dance which was just down the road from where we were staying. Cost (75,000Rp). Pretty cool dance. A group of men start by chanting some kind of sound and they don’t stop for the whole show. There are also some dancers. Good show.
Kecak traditional dance
Day 6. Left Ubud early morning to make our way to the port to catch the boat to Gilli air. We stayed in a very basic place called Hello lumbung which is quite close to the mosque. We walked around the whole island island stopping off for a swim. There really was hardly any tourists on the island. Many of the locals there and in Bali were worried about the lack of tourists- all because of the eruption of the volcano- Mount Agung. It didn’t stop us from going and it was completely safe. Unfortunately, it lashed rain entire night. We were not sure whether we wanted to stay on Gilli air for more time.
Day 7. We left Gili air around 12 by boat using the Wahana company. First the boat has to go to Lombok and later to a place where transport waits to pick you up and bring you to whereever you want to go. The journey is a long one with the boat and later the car. It takes most of the day. We got dropped off at the domestic terminal in Bali and went and booked our flights to Flores for the next day. We stayed in Kuta for the night and flew to Flores the next day.
Relaxing days by the pool
Day 13: We returned to Bali after spending some days in Flores and the Komodo islands and spent the last 3 days of the holiday relaxing by the pool.
Overall, a nice time in Bali. Still plenty to do and see there.
Oh, a word of caution: Be super careful when using your bank card in the ATM machines or anywhere there. After we came back from this holiday we realised that money was taken from our account. The card had somehow been copied somewhere. Left a bad impression for us after a nice trip.