Bali - Candi Dasa

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November 1st 2016
Published: November 1st 2016
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Suzanne here...

We arrived in plenty of time for our 11 am boat from Gili Trawangen to Bali only to discover that the real departure time was 11.30... which then turned into 12 pm. Can't say we were too surprised but it was a bit of a long hot wait. The boat (Ganggari) itself was at least more comfortable than the one on the way over. Unfortunately I got the obligatory cockwomble in front of me that had to immediately throw her seat back, although everyone else seemed quite capable of sitting upright for an hour and a half. The crossing was uneventful but we had to wait a little while to dock, then a little while longer for our onward shuttle van as it seemed we were the only ones continuing to Candi Dasa. We were delivered to our hotel door though, which is appreciated in this heat.

We'd chosen Candi Dasa at random as a resort town before Denpasar. We nearly chose Padang Bai, where the boat drops you off (actually closer to Denpasar) but there didn't look to be much there. Well there wasn't. But at least it's a major transport hub. Upon getting to Candi Dasa we found it equally lacking in attractions, and off the shuttle bus routes to boot.

I was regretting choosing Candi Dasa and might have got disheartened had it not been for our hotel - Puri Oka - which was utterly charming. Cute 'shabby chic' room (the right side of chic over shabby) and a balcony overlooking a nice garden, with a sliver of a sea-view. Furthermore there were barely any other guests and we had the upper floor to ourselves.

Actually it felt good to be back in Bali. It is quite different from Lombok. It's nice to see the temples, shrines and intricate carvings all around. Also the numerous canung sari, tiny offerings of leaves, flowers, fruit and incense that are offered twice a day and appear everywhere.

We went for a walk along the coast but there really wasn't much to see, other than some black crabs scuttling over the rocks at the shoreline. I couldn't quite understand the numbers of westerners wandering about given the lack of facilities. We did drop some laundry off, seemed expensive but we really needed it. Lots of people halfheartedly offered us taxis and snorkling trips but no-one actually seemed to think we'd say yes.

Dinner was at Warung Boni. The food was perfectly nice if nothing to rave about. The real joy was that each table was on its own private little terrace surrounded by greenery. After a long journey we were a bit sick of other people so this was perfect.

Back at the hotel we went for a nose around the garden and were absolutely floored to discover an amazing pool and bar / restaurant area right by the beach. It was so gorgeous it would have been a crime not to stay for a couple of beers, so we did.

Breakfast the next morning was simple, but with decent coffee in a cafetiere with real milk for a change which made me happy, and served in the lovely beachfront area. In fact, it was so nice there, and there seemed so little else to do, we decided to make it a day of relaxation and just stay there by the pool. David negotiated a private car to Denpasar for the next day (not exactly cheap at IDR 300 but acceptable). We then got into swimwear, bagged a couple of prime sunloungers and spent the day reading and dipping in and out of the pool. We had the whole place to ourselves too. We moved over to the restaurant area for lunch, then back to the sunloungers. It may have been a lazy day, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. We did pop out to collect our clean laundry, but that was it. Sometimes when you are travelling a day like that is just what you need.

We chose Warung Asawa for dinner, which turned out very well. It had much more of a restaurant vibe than a traditional warung, but actually that made a nice change and the prices were still reasonable. The food was excellent (tamarind chicken and sweet and sour deep fried pork respectively). David indulged his milkshake addiction with an iced coffee mocca milkshake which was apparently the best milkshake so far. Just as we'd finished the wind whipped up blowing leaves into the restaurant and things off the tables, and it started to hammer it down. This was promptly followed by a power cut. Quite funny actually, especially as were were done anyway. We waited for the rain to stop then paid up in the dark.

Over the last few days we've been craving some decent music. We listened as we passed by the promisingly named Legend Rock Cafe but nothing doing. So we headed back to the hotel, ordered a couple of beers and settled on a little seating area overlooking the sea and set right back away from the restaurant where we wouldn't disturb anyone. This meant we could put our MP3 player on and finally get some heavy metal. The setting was pretty much perfect with the tide coming in underneath us and bats flying around. Some lightening in the distance and local fishermen swimming around nearby with underwater lights all added to the atmosphere. It couldn't have been better really, so one beer turned to four. Worth it though, and a great evening.

I woke up at the crack of dawn (an unfortunate side effect of drinking that I find bloody annoying) so sat on the balcony watching the sun come up and writing this blog. It was then time for breakfast and to pack up. We' ve really enjoyed Candi Dasa but it was mainly down to Hotel Puri Oka. I think to get the best out of the area you need your own transport. Still, it's been a very relaxing stay.

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