Bali

2015 | 2017 | 2019

As soon as we enter Bali we immediately feel the difference with Java. No more chanting mosques (only chanting mosquitos), but temples and offer rituals. Beautiful Balinese houses and girls wearing shorts and no headscarf.

The island of Bali is mainly Hindu. A religion based on balance, harmony and reincarnation. Good and bad spirits make daily ceremonial offerings a bare necessity. Everywhere you look you’ll find small baskets with some food and flowers. Men with rice on their forehead and women with flowers on their ears. A pleasant religion to the eye and the nose, for the ceremonies come with nice incense.

For most Europeans the Swastika, or the hooked cross brings back bad memories and feelings but long before it was abused by some idiot in the forties, for Hindus it was a symbol of happiness. The Swastika symbolizes the sun and you’ll recognize it on many different places all over the island.

The well known south of Bali with tourist towns Kuta and Sanur are very ok if you seek some social contact under alcoholic circumstances, but looking for paradise you’ll need to travel a bit further north. Here you’ll find the real beauty this island has to offer.

Pemuteran

When we arrive by boat from Java at the harbour of Gilimanuk we get taxi offers thrown at us. We know it’s only an half hour drive and we were planning to take the public bus but we are willing to take a taxi it the price is right. We are always prepared to walk away.

The driver offers us a ride for 350k (€ 22.00) we can’t help but laugh and tell hem we’ll pay a hundred thousand or we’ll take the bus for 20k each. While laughing at us he keeps following us, a good sign. He’s eager. He talks to another driver and they loudly talk about the offer we made him. Wahaha 100 thousand hahaha. We ignore them with a smile and walk on towards the bus terminal just outside the harbour. He knows he’ll lose us as soon as we get there so I tries one more time. We explain we are willing to let him take us for 120k but that will be our absolute maximum. We don’t mind going by bus.

He waits… a few more steps… ok, he says. Ok, 120.

So our nice driver takes us to our hotel in Pemuteran. We booked two nights at Mans Cottages, a gorgeous place with chique bungalows in a lush green flowery garden, a large zen-looking pool with Buddhas, pan flute music and incense. Whoahhh… chill…

Our plan was to do some diving here so we go out to talk to the divecenters and ask for some prices. Averagely we would pay € 25.00 to € 30.00 per dive including gear but we are not convinced about the divesites. There is Menjangan Island close by but the National Park fee is another € 12.50 pp. and from what we read it’s not that special.

We decide to save our money and just relax at the resort. The breakfast is very ok, but the ‘fruit salad’ which was meant for two persons was slightly disappointing.

The beaches in the north of Bali aren’t very attractive, grey sand and not much paradise around. So we’ll swim in the pool and relax in front of our cottage.

At night we go for one more swim before dinner. The lights in the pool are still off so it’s totally dark…

A nice restaurant we discovered is Joe’s bar. The pizza was surprisingly ok for a factory made bottom and the vibe is nice.

Our idea was to go to Amed, but the volcano Agung has been active for a couple of weeks. Already 140.000 people have been evacuated from the riskarea and the roads around the volcano are closed. The last eruption in 1963 killed more than 1600 people, so this is taken seriously. The seismic activity increases every day and the big dashes of ash are spun kilometers into the sky.

Gunung Agung will erupt, but when…

Ubud

After our first stop in Bali we take the red minibus to Siririt and pay 25,000 pp. After 30 minutes we are there. In Siririt the minibuses directly to Ubud only leave early in the morning so we have to go to Denpasar first. While we wait we talk to a local guy who wants a selfie with us. In return he helps us negotiate with the driver and we can go along for 50,000 each.

The big bus leaves at twelve and shows us a panoramic view over Bali all the way because we sit in the front. It’s a long drive, we’re not even halfway there and have already been driving for two and a half hours, but the scenery is very impressive. Beautiful rice fields and cute village pass us by until until suddenly the motor of the bus stops and as we roll down a hill it is suddenly very quiet… and the bus stops with a dead engine. Just what we needed.

The driver and two passengers open the hatch and try to fix it. After two hours a spare part arrives and we are on our way again. After another 45 minutes we arrive in a small town where we stop at a small parking only 20 kilometers from Ubud. If we stay in the bus we’ll probably be in Ubud in three hours but if we find a taxi here…

We cannot believe how lucky we are when we see ONE car driving around in our Grab app. We enter the order and immediately jump out of the bus. The driver is surprised and a woman asks us where we are going. Bye bye!!

The taxi is there in three minutes and takes us to Ubud for Rp100,000 (€ 6.50) in 40 minutes… phew!

Ubud is a town in the middle of the rice fields of Bali. A somewhat hippie-like vibe with a lot of great vegetarian restaurants and charming bars. We were in Ubud on our holiday two years ago in a resort a little out of the city center, but now we choose for a accommodation right in the center. Jiwa’s House Homestay has a few rooms in between some local homes and a swimming pool. We get an upgrade to the deluxe room which is large and has air conditioning. We stay there for four days so with this nice upgrade we’ve forgotten all about today’s misery.

When we arrive at Jiwa’s we immediately go out to eat, because we haven’t eaten since eight this morning. The first place we see as we come around the corner is Taman Curry. Not the delicious curry we expected from a curry house, but it’ll do. The waitresses look like they’re bored and unhappy so we don’t feel motivated to come back.

The next day we take a swim after a light breakfast and  have some early lunch at Clear Cafe, a relaxed cafe-restaurant where we sit upstairs on a nice couch.

An amazing coffee latte and (eventhough it’s lunchtime) I order a granola, yoghurt & fruits bowl… because… I NEED IT! Yum!

The first place we see as we come around the corner is Taman Curry. Not the delicious curry we expected from a curry house, but it’ll do. The waitresses look like they’re bored and unhappy so we don’t feel motivated to come back.

The next day we take a swim after a light breakfast and  have some early lunch at Clear Cafe, a relaxed cafe-restaurant where we sit upstairs on a nice couch. An amazing coffee latte and (eventhough it’s lunchtime) I order a granola, yogurt & fruits bowl… because… I NEED IT! Yum!

Our friend Kadek who we met two years ago lives in Ubud and is now married and has a daughter. We’ve been in contact since we met him so now he wants us to meet his wife and daughter. He picks us up and we drive to his small house outside the centre of Ubud. The three of them live in a single room home with a little patio. His wife doesn’t speak English but she’s happy to finally meet us. We spend some time there and after a while he takes us back to town. What a day…

We have dinner at a Thai restaurant called Warung Siam Ubud. The Pad Thai is not what we expected, my fresh coconut is a bit sour but the Bintang tastes just as it should. Pff there goes another Rp200,000…

Our third day we go back to Clear Cafe after breakfast for that totally excellent coffee but by mistake we get a coffee with some dark thing floating in it. You ordered a Mint Coffee, right? Ieuwwww… those are mint leaves…

Three minutes later we get our coffee lattes and we are happy again.

We walk through town all morning and have a late lunch at KAFE. We should have walked away as soon as we saw the prices on the menu but we order anyway. I order a quinoa tabouleh pita with baba ganoush (unfortunately I could barely find the baba ganoush or the pita) it was a dry and ordinary salad on a very dry wrap. Jos has a very tasty pasta primavera with soft goat cheese which was totally worth it. The prices of the drinks are absurd so we just order a small water to share. A rediculously priced water in a fancy green glass bottle that tastes just like any other water. We pay Rp150,000 for this lunch, which for Ubud is normal but for us it’s a lot…

Eventhough there’s so much beauty to see around Ubud we spend our days in Ubud walking around town and we enjoy the Western food. Raw salads with all kinds of seeds and sprouts combine perfectly with the Balinese coffee and healthy juices. We are in heaven. And broke.

After trying a lot of cool places, the best food we had was right next door. At Warung Krisna we have the best Tempeh Saté, Gado Gado and a delicious noodles!

Eventhough there’s so much beauty to see around Ubud we spend our days in Ubud walking around town and we enjoy the Western food. Raw salads with all kinds of seeds and sprouts combine perfectly with the Balinese coffee and healthy juices. We are in heaven. And broke.

After trying a lot of cool places, the best food we had was right next door. At Warung Krisna we have the best Tempeh Saté, Gado Gado and a delicious noodles!

Sanur

From Komodo we fly back to Bali and decide to stay in Sanur for a few days before we take the boat to Lembongan. Our visa will expire in less than two weeks so we still have enough time to visit some other places. One of our bags is in the storage so we travel extra light.

We choose to stay in an accommodation in the southern area of Sanur. It’s a little less touristy here but there are still enough bars and restaurants to enjoy ourselves at night.

We stay at Ngetis resort, a typical Balinese guesthouse with a nice quiet green garden and a small pool. The rooms are very large and there is a big kitchen where we can cook our own meals. Nearby there are a few supermarkets where we get some breakfast and lunch groceries.

We need to go to a dive shop on the other side of town and the owner of the guesthouse is kind enough to lend us his scooter for an hour so we don’t need to rent one.

Sanur is a nice town, much more easygoing then Kuta. We find the beaches are very ok and especially around the main street Jalan Danau Tamblingan you’ll find a lot of nice diners and shops.

We book two tickets to Nusa Lenbongan online with Perama Tours. We pay Rp150,000 pp one way. This is by far the cheapest option because they’ll easily let you pay double at the jetty.

Kuta

When we leave Bali for a few days to go to Komodo we leave one of our bags with our hiking shoes and warm clothes behind for a few days. Mark and his wife Ni Luh have a safe storage in Kuta where our bag will be well taken care of for these 11 days, we pay Rp200,000. We meet Mark at the Denpasar airport where we get a ticket and down payment receipt.

After visiting Komodo and Nusa Lembongan we pick up the bag in Kuta where we stay for a few days before flying to Australia.

Kuta it self is only a small town, but for comfort everyone calls the whole area ‘Kuta’.

It’s a busy, noisy and very touristic area. We’ve booked a room at the Hotel Terrace close to Legian Street, a very busy street in the area. Our hotel is on the northern side of the street which is still ‘normal’ opposite to the southern (dodgy) end where you can find many loud clubs and drunk Aussies.

Between the tourists we luckily find some traditional Bali. And to our relief we find a great biological restaurant California Burgers & Barbers where the music isn’t deafening.

We eat there everyday, the meals are well priced, the small street is quite calm ánd it’s got a barbershop next door… of course the burgers are good but the chickpea salad is fantastic.

It might sound disappointing, this is all you’ve done?! Hang around at the pool and eat? Of course not, we’ve seen some beach, walked around the unattractive town and for the first time in my life I had a tattoo done… owyeah, so freaky. But I thought where else to do it then on the island of the skin ink, the home of the tattoo, Bali.

A bit unfortunate that we where not enjoying Kuta that much, but it would be a great finish to our three months in this mostly beautiful country.

After a thorough investigation (there must be a thousand Tattoo-shops in Bali) I choose ‘Be No Square Bali’, a tattoo shop just outside the Kuta area with only women tattooing. Not that that matters but, ah well, women are just so precise 😉

Anyway, they use vegan ink, have a sustainable ideal and an incredibly clean shop. The exceptionally talented lady worked for four hours on this life changing symbol on my skin and the result exceeded my every expectation!

So, that was it. No more swimming in the pool for me… we can go now. Australia here we come!!

Back in Bali 2019

After almost 2 years when we’ve reached the end of our world trip we decide to finish the job on this easygoing island. In between our visits Mount Agung has erupted multiple times, but now all is calm and safe to travel. On our previous visit we wanted to go to Amed, a little town on the North East coast very close to the volcano, so now that it’s safe we finally will!

We stay in Ubud for a week, just because we can and Ubud is such a pleasant place to be.

This time we’ve chosen to stay at Buana Homestay, a beautiful small hotel in a typical Balinese style. It has a pool, a nice garden and the double rooms have a private bathroom. We love our stay here and the staff is very caring. Last time in Ubud we liked to go to the Clear Cafe, still there and immediately back to being our favorite place for lunch. Last time we also discovered a small restaurant called Warung Krisna, we go back and it’s just as good as we remembered. 

Close to the Warung we book a bus ticket to Amed. There are a few bus companies that go there, we just pick a random company when we pass a ticket stall in town. We pay 50.000 IDR per person for a taxivan the next morning.

We don’t just go to the same bars and restaurants, we discover a new favy called Warung Biah Biah, it has a great bar facing the street but the food is ‘ok’. Better to go for a traditional Balinese meal at Puspa’s Warung, sweetest lady who owns the warung and cooks herself. Here you’ll also find a bar facing a small street where no cars are allowed.

Amed

It’s a three hour drive and the van drops us off at the beginning of the town in Amed. This sucks, our hotel is 5 kilometers from here. We try a motorcycle taxi but the driver asks for 200.000 IDR, that’s €12,50!! We try is he’ll do it for half, he ís going to have to drive twice… so we find this a nice price, but he declines, laughs and drives away. Bugger!

We continue walking, ok we can do this, only four more kilometers… Phew it’s hot!

A taxi passes and stops, we say where we need to go and that we only have 70 thousand Rupiah, I give him my cutest smile and we’re in! He doesn’t know our hotel because it just opened last week, but we are all impressed when we arrive. We agree that he can take us back to the busstop when we leave, for the same price.

Our hotel, or should I say resort looks amazing! Sukun Babonsay Villas has four luxurious two story villas with a large pool in the middle and surrounded by a tropical garden, butterflies and all! YEAH!

We have the down floor of the villa, it is a huge bedroom, a good size kitchen, a closet and a large bathroom, all designed very tastefully and probably haven’t been used yet.

The terrain belongs to two families who build and run the resort. There is a restaurant the now only use for breakfast but in the future plan to expand for lunch and dinner.

The resort is located close to a small black beach with some basic bars and restaurants and a few dive centers. For lunch we create our own meal by buying groceries at the nearby supermarket and for dinner we enjoy eating at Green Coco Warung. Here we meet the young Wayan, his English is amazing and he is such a sweet and open young man. We can ask him anything about Amed and their culture and he is very interested in (our) trip. He has always dreamed of traveling but as he is the youngest son he needs to stay and live with his parents to take care of them until they pass away. That’s the way it works there.

He wants to educate himself to be a tour guide in Bali. So he works to safe money for his study. When he is a tour guide he can continue living with his parents ánd travel around, even if it’s only on his own island. We like his devotion and his idea of compromising. We talk all evening and tip him generously for his education fund.

Kuta - Seminyak

We buy a ticket with Perama tours to go to Kuta for our last few days in Bali. We cannot postpone our return to the Netherlands much longer, so this is it. We spent our precious days on Kuta and Seminyak beach.

In Seminyak you can find Double Six beach, a nice area with colorful umbrellas and beanbags to chill, watch the sunset and treat yourself to a too expensive beer.

Our sweet friend from the Netherlands, Talitha who is there on a holiday, has spoiled herself and stays in the Royal Beach Seminyak Bali, a luxurious resort right on the beach. We stay with as her guests during the day. The resort has huge gardens with equally huge monitor lizards, different heavenly pools, one for adults only, yay, and immediate access to the beach. 

On our very last night we can spend the night in her room while she is in Ubud for a night. What a treat, thank you Talitha!! We feel like royalty. The sunset from the beach restaurant is unforgettable.

Gimme more!

Getting around in Bali is not always easy, especially as a tourist. The taxi prices are high and the public buses are slow. Is can easily take you an hour to drive 20 kilometers. Beautiful mountains and hills ensure a pleasant view but also slow you down. The roads aren’t that good but all of this has it’s charme on a relatively small island like this.

Our sweet friend Kadek is happy to drive you around his beautiful island and will tell you all you need to know about the scenery, towns and his culture. His daily fee is 500.000R which is about € 30.00. As soon as you get around Bali you’ll see this is a great price and you’ll get a sweet English speaking guide too! His (WhatsApp) number is: +62(0)81999428241

Currency: 10.000 Indonesian Rupiah = € 0.64

In these 16 days on Bali and Nusa Lembongan we’ve spend:

  • Transportation: € 104.00 (including ferry from Java)
  • Accommodations: € 288.00
  • Food and drinks: € 281.00
  • Entrance fees: € 0.00
  • Other: € 23.00 (11 day storage for one backpack)

That brings us to a daily budget of: € 43.50 for two persons including our trip to Nusa Lembongan, excluding international flights and diving activities.

On Bali everything is overpriced and it’s hard to find a restaurant with ‘normal’ Indonesian prices. We’ve stayed in a double room with private bathroom, pool mostly including breakfast. Despite the high costs we managed to stay close to our € 40.00 daily budget.

Here are some examples of products and prices in Euro:

  • White bread in supermarket: € 1.25
  • Coffee latte in a lunchroom: € 1.90
  • Beer (650 ml) in a cafe: € 3.50
  • Beer (650 ml) supermarket: € 2.00
  • Coca Cola in restaurant: € 1.50
  • Fresh fruit salad in restaurant: € 3.50
  • Fried noodles in restaurant: € 3.50
  • A banana in a supermarket: € 0.35
  • An apple in a supermarket: € 0.90

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Nusa Lembongan

Going to Lembongan from Sanur the cheapest option is to book with Perama Tours. We book an open return ticket and pay Rp150,000 (€ 10.-) per person each way by PayPal. Our emailed voucher says where we need to be at what time. We have to go to the Marlin office by the beach, it’s a little hard to find but people around are very helpful. The regular prices at the office are about double so don’t buy them there…

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Diving at Komodo National Park

We leave Bali again for a few days because we are flying to Labuan Bajo on Flores. We’ll probably regret not traveling by boat but after three months our time in Indonesia is limited. While we are in Labuan Bajo the temperatures are so high we are unable to enjoy the islands Komodo and Flores and we only discover the underwaterworld…

2 Comments

  • Reisfreaks

    Fijn dat jullie nog wat plekken over hebben gelaten voor jullie volgende ronde Indonesië…samen borrelen op Raja Ampat behoort ineens tot de mogelijkheden 🙂
    Have fun in Gaaaaaaaryland. Na maanden kun je dan eindelijk weer lekker voor je eigen ontbijtje zorgen, cruisen over mooie paden en maximaal genieten van the outdoors.
    Have fun honnies

  • Yvonnevanderlaan.nl

    Leuk om even te lezen en te genieten van de foto’s! We gaan over een kleine 2 maanden ook die kant op en beginnen onze rondreis door Indonesië op Bali. Ik schrik wel een beetje van de prijzen.. poeh.. ze weten wel wat ze (kunnen) vragen daar zeg! Veel plezier in Shanghai voor jullie en daarna in Japan!!

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