Habour atr Banyuwangi
28 October 2009 - 13 November 2009
Banyuwangi to Gilimanuk by ferry--Rp5,700 (1 hour)
Gilimanuk to Denpasar by bus--Rp 50,000 (4 hours)
Kuta to Denpasar by bemo--Rp10,000 (1/2 hour) goes to Tegal Terminal
Denpasar to Candidasa by bus--Rp40,000 (2 hours) goes from Batubulan Terminal
Hotel Sari (Gilimanuk)
Double, cold water, western toilet, fan--Rp100,000 (incl. breakfast).
Very nice place with good value for money rooms. A couple of km's from the port but it's a nice place to stay for a nice. Almost resort-like.
LA Inn (Kuta)
Double, fan, cold water, western toilet--Rp 82,000 (incl. breakfast)
Possibly the cheapest place in Kuta (that we know about) in the centre of all the action. A good valued place, simple, clean (ish) and with friendly staff.
After suffering from the cold (with Dan suffering from A cold instead) for the past few days, the heat and humidity of East Java's Banyuwangi port was more than welcoming. We said farewell to the driver who took us on our tour of the Ijen Plateau, and walked across to the ferry that would take us across to Bali. We paid our tickets and somehow lost Trisha. We boarded our ferry,
View from boat to Bali
a ramshackle rust-bucket with a few cars and a bus that was putting weight onto one side. We realised that we had lost trish (somehow) and it was only when the ferry left port that we realised that she had gone to change and we saw her with some of the others from our tour heading for the next boat! Ooops...sorry Trish! We settled down nonetheless, being entertained by a true salesman demonstrating his products to all the passengers. As with most of the islands east of Java, the crossing was a little bit on the rocky side. The currents in the narrow strait coming from the Indian Ocean created alot of static swells that made the boat sway a little too much for our liking and seemed to sway more to the left thanks to the oddly-parked bus in the deck below! It didn't help that Gilimanuk's port was too small to handle all the ferries at once, so we ended up just floating around for a while before finally making it to shore.
We had planned to stay a night in Gilimanuk, as we were way beyond tired, and the trip to Dan's second (or is it
View of Gunang Merapi
third, or fourth?) home in Candidasa (east Bali) would take us a whole day. The only hotel mentioned in Lonely Planet was the Hotel Sari, but had no mention on where exactly it was. So on asking we weren't surprised to find that it was a couple of kilometers from the port. We hopped on a couple of ojeks (motocycle taxis) and arrived at our surprise for the day. The hotel was actually a pretty spangly resort-like place, decked out in typical (and beautiful) Balinese decorations. The economy rooms they had available were pretty good standard so we snapped one up, had an ice-coffee and hit the sack for the rest of the day...and night, no thanks to the early wake-up calls we have had for the past few days.
The next day we awoke, feeling refreshed and energetic we headed back to the port to catch a bus to Bali's capital, Denpasar, in order to then catch a couple of other connections to Candidasa in the east. We got a couple of ojeks again but they only drove us a couple hundred meters down the main road and flagged a passing bus down. We hopped aboard, glad, and
surprised to find it mainly empty. The journey started off slow but as the driver started coming across an increasing amount of slow moving trucks (this is the only main road linking the island's two ports) the do-or-die overtaking moves started. We were used to it by now and we were still enjoying the fact that the bus was pretty much empty! The Balinese scenery (which is beautiful at that) rolled on by and 4 hours later we were in Denpasar, which, like any other major Indonesian city, isn't too much to look at. We had arrived at one of Denpasar's many bus terminals (Ubung) and the plan was to catch a bemo to another terminal and then another bus which would take us to Candidasa. However, Dan's dad happened to pick us up and take us directly there, which we couldn't complain about in the slightest!
An hour and a half later we arrived at Dan's parents newly built piece of paradise on the beach just outside of Candidasa. This would serve as our R&R point before heading east to Lombok and Flores.
We didn't just sit around doing nothing though. We spent a day in Denpasar
doing the rounds with Kristina, shopping for supplies for their building project and Dan also rented a motorbike so we could get to Candidasa (about 2kms down the road).
Candidasa is a great place and hasn't been touched by the commercialization that has seen the south of Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua etc) transformed into a madhouse. The laid back village has plenty of cute restaurants, and is quiet enough for some serious relaxation, which the Balinese seem to be good a providing. We had also happened to arrive during a 5-day long Balinese national holiday, where hundreds of locals would create a procession to the local temple, all dressed in traditional gear, with the women carrying huge plates of food on their heads as way of offerings to the many Balinese gods. If you're in a hurry, stay clear, and roads are blocked off while the procession passes, but it makes for a wonderful sight.
Dan's dad had also set up a a day of scuba diving with a friend of his who is a dive master here. Dan is already certified but hadn't dived since 1999 and Amy and Ian (Dan's dad does have a name!) were first timers.
Our first day was spent in the pool at "home" getting used to the gear and the amazing sensation of being underwater. The second day we headed out on a couple of traditional Balinese canoe-cum-speed boats across to the "Bloo Lagoon" on the otherside of the bay. We set about on our first out of two dives with no issues. The marine life here is pretty good and great for novice divers. The second dive however, was a bit more than we had bargained for. The plan was to jump off the boats and as there was a strong current, we were going to dive along it and resurface further down the reef. The boat drivers would meet us there or follow the "sausage" that the Sue the Divemaster would have with her. It all went to plan, with us having alot of fun swimming with the current, watching with ease, the marine world pass by....until we resurfaced! At this point the current was pretty strong and the waves reasonably big. We were quite close to some rocks so decided to swim out a little bit and realised that our boats hadn't followed us! The current started to drift us
further and further out to sea. Divemaster Sue was waving and blowing her emergency whistle and to our frustration one boat just went on by with all the passengers just waving back! We were in some degree of trouble here and as we were still drifting further out, we were picked up by another boat full of professional German divers. It wasn't easy getting on as the waves were now pretty vicious and we risked getting trapped underneath the boat. We made it on board finally, and as Amy realised she had just confronted another one of her fears, we were thankful and even more respectful of the ocean. Our boats finally turned up and it turned out that the drivers had never left the place we had started from. Amy and Sue decided to head back to dry land and catch a lift back to Candidasa, while Dan and Ian (and a guy named Dave from Yorkshire) headed back in the small boats we had arrived on. So in the end we had got more than we had paid for but it ended up being a somewhat enlightening experience and another story to write home about.
Sunset View of Beach
day Amy decided to also rent a bike and together with Ian and Dave from Yorkshire, we decided to do a bike trip around the far east coast of Bali. The scenery here is totally different to the rest of Bali's lush, green scenery. The coast around Amed in the far east is stark and dry, similar to somewhere like Greece or southern spain. Add to the fact it hasn't rained in Bali for some weeks, it made for some amazing scenery. The road around the coast there is amazing, winding on the edge of cliffs plunging into a very inviting blue sea. After a full day of bike riding we headed back to Candidasa via the Water Palace at Tirta Gangga, an interesting temple with many different kinds of ponds. It made for a great day out and got us a taste of a totally different environment in Bali.
As our 60-day visa had ran out we had to fly to KL (KL being the cheapest way to do this) on the 7th. We caught a Parama shuttle bus from Candidasa early in the morning for Kuta. This took 4 hours as it stopped at other tourist centers
5 day religious festival
like Ubud, Sanur and the airport. We planned on spending a few hours looking around Kuta and in particular finding a place to stay for when we returned after the weekend, as we were going to arriving reasonably late in the day. It was a hot one, and Amy wasn't feeling well so it didn't end up taking us too long to find somewhere suitable enough to rest our heads after returning from KL. Our flight out to KL was in the evening and was a bumpy one as we had to avoid a huge thunderstorm over the Java Sea. It was ok though as we landed back in KL once again. We didn't enjoy KL the second time around, and since we've been in Indonesia for the past two months, we realised that KL wasn't that great!
We successfully got our 60-day tourist visas, so as to have a trouble-free as well as worry-free two months exploring Lombok and Flores. We arrived back into Bali on Tuesday and settled down in Kuta for the night before catching public transport back up to Candidasa.
The next couple of days were spent doing some mega-relaxing before our arduous trip across
Religious police- more important than local police
to the east of Indonesia, including actually getting burned after just an hour's sunbathing!
The next part of our trip is what we are planning to be the most interesting, as we will be exploring parts of Indonesia that don't see that many tourists....so stick around!
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