Casual Island hopping in Indonesia. Nusa Lembongan and Bali

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July 11th 2013
Published: July 11th 2013
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Days 284 – 285 (Tues 18th – Wed 19thJune) Nusa Lembongan

I booked my speedboat first thing when I found an ATM that worked, so many of them on such a small island but it seems when one doesn’t work, none of them do. Paid for my speedboat ticket which was to take me to Nusa Lembongan, then in a few days I could use it again to get to my final destination on Bali.

I then relaxed in my room, packed slowly as I had clothes scattered everywhere and listened to some music before heading for the boat. The speedboat was a lovely boat, could get about 30 tourists on it and flew across the water first to Gili Air, then Lombok main island before getting to Nusa Lembongan maybe 2 hours later. It was a nice trip in the open ocean and very quick indeed. On arrival in Lembongan I was quickly approached by a guy offering me a room, I got him to half the price, had a quick look and was all set for the next 3 days. First impressions are it’s a spot on island with plenty of character.

In the morning I headed out for what I thought would be a short walk. Having just come from Gili Trawangan I thought I could walk around the island in no time. I went to the north and then around the peninsular and down the east. This took near to 3 hours. By this time I was stupidly hot, tired and in need of a drink. I found a little shop by a bridge. This bridge is described as a suspension bridge but either end is just some boards held up by bamboo scaffolding, not quite the golden gate bridge. It connects Lembongan to a very small island I’ve forgotten the name off. I then headed inland and back towards where I walked yesterday. The walk lasted about 4 hours so god knows how many miles I covered in very hot conditions but it was good anyways. I then got a days scuba diving sorted out for tomorrow as there are manta rays here pretty much guaranteed. The island is pretty much totally quiet after dark, especially where I am staying so film and bed for me. Early start to dive.

Day 286 (Thurs 20th June) Nusa Lembongan

Headed out on the dive boat around 8am after meeting the instructor and my dive buddy for the day, Paolo from Italy. We went to our first dive site but the water was as rough as anything so after waiting there a couple minutes, realising it wasn’t a goer, we went further round the coast and dived at Manta point.

Here there are always manta rays, except when it’s a day I go there. The visibility was terrible and the dive had a strong current which made it hard work. There was a decent variety of small fish and some blue spotted stingray but I never got to see a manta unfortunately.

We moved around the coast of Nusa Penida, the large island off Bali to the second dive site. After a quick feed of chicken and rice we dived. This site was beautiful, incredibly clear, full of fish, a couple of small rays and shrimp. The visibility was awesome here and it was a nice hour under the water. There was also plenty of good reefs and coral to be seen. It was a nice dive but still overall a shame I never saw any Manta’s as that is why I went there.

The diving was done by mid afternoon so I spent the rest of the day lounging in the sun and eating. Diving always gives me a monster appetite.

Day 287 (Fri 21st June) Ubud

I took the second leg of my speedboat to Bali Main Island this morning. This took around 30 minutes. There was only me and a family on it, of which the young lad was chucking up everywhere, didn’t quite make the side of the boat in time. It wasn’t in the slightest rough but was bouncing over the waves at a fair lick of speed. On arrival I was transferred to a taxi and taken maybe 45 minutes to Ubud, the place I’d be spending the rest of my time in Indonesia.

I arrived in the centre of town and was immediately accosted by a guy holding a piece of paper with pictures of rooms he had to rent. It looked good so went for a view, spot on so settled in and had a lie down. I wandered around the centre of town for the afternoon and ate in a little local place at night. I did nothing exciting with my day, but it was a nice day none the less just relaxing in a decent temperature.

Day 288 (Sat 22nd June) Ubud

Today I did some sightseeing and the main 2 local in town attractions. I first walked 5km to Goa Gajah. This is a Hindu site, which centres around a cave with a demon’s mouth above it. There is a couple of ponds and plenty of statues about. Also down some steps there is a nice stream and waterfall etc. It doesn’t take that long to see the place, it’s not overly large. It’s a nice place to see but in my opinion it’s nothing special.

I walked back into town and headed into the Monkey Forest. Within the forest there are some shrines and stupas about but obviously the main attraction is the many many monkeys there. Overall there must be hundreds. I even spotted a monkey cemetery where the people that look after the forest must bury the dead. My camera ran out of battery so I headed back to my bungalow for an hour, had a shower and relaxed whilst my camera loaded.

Then I went back to take more photo’s. The baby monkeys are awesome, so friendly and inquisitive. The adults however can be horrible. I had a bottle of iced tea robbed of me. I had to chuck it at a monkey as he scowled at me and charged. No way was I getting bitten for an iced tea. I watched for the next 5-10 minutes as the monkey failed to open the bottle. It did finally bite thru it but as it did another larger monkey approached it and a fight started, the bottle getting knocked over and going everywhere. I felt that was justice enough for it being stolen in the first place. I then left and headed back to my bungalow, spending the evening watching tv and looking at folks doing the parish walk online now and again.

Day 289 (Sun 23rd June) Ubud

Today I headed west of Ubud just for an aimless wander. There isn’t exactly loads to do here unless you have transport and I didn’t fancy spending money on tours for no reason. I also decided I’d hire a scooter tomorrow as today being Sunday is the busiest day on the road.

The wander was nice although the road signs slightly confusing and they definitely lie. At one point I saw a sign for something in 1km, it was at least 3km. Also a sign for 100 metres, this took best part of 10 minutes, could have moon walked it in that. Anyways the walk was nice, the roads very scenic as well as the countryside.

I walked across a bridge at one point and beneath it there seemed to be a Hindu religious ceremony going on in the river, there were people everywhere on all the banks and stones and some in the water. After a couple minutes I moved on as nothing seemed to be happening but there must have been some reason for so many people to be there in religious attire.

In the afternoon I wandered through the main street past the football pitch where a local game was just starting. I sat down and watched the first half. The standard was poor but I think that was more down to the rock hard pitch, there was certainly no slide tackling going on. They were all quick and tricky enough but on that pitch impossible to play nice football. It was 1-1 at half time and I was getting bored so I left. The evening saw me writing blogs as I have been getting quite far behind.

Day 290 (Mon 24th June) Ubud

I got my scooter sorted around 9am and headed out for a spin. First stop is always the petrol station as the owners never leave much in it for you, which is fine because I never leave much when I give it back. I then headed out of town towards the tourist sites I wanted to see. The first being Gunung Kawi, around 10km north of town.

Gunung Kawi is a Hindu temple area which is accessed by 371 stairs, although rarely for tourist sites the stairs and downhill not uphill. Once you’ve gone down the stairs there are these huge tomb like structures built into the side of the hills either side of the river, 5 on each side. They are either supposed to be tombs or dedications to the kings queens at the time. It’s totally different to anything I can recall seeing before and it is pretty impressive how its built into the hills. There is a small but nice river that flows through it and there is also are area of pavilions and pagoda’s although these aren’t really the attraction. The walk down is also surrounded by hills and impressive looking rice paddies either side. It’s a very photographic area. Once again I had to wear a ridiculous sarong thing to enter, all they do is hinder my walking and add a trip hazard to my experience.

After walking back up I left and heading a few kilometres further away from Ubud to Tirta Empul.

Tirta Empul is another Hindu temple but this is one where locals go to bathe under the streams of water that pour into a pool. There is like a volcanic spring in one pool which is filtered into another where all the locals, and some foreigners (possibly Hindu but I doubt it) bathed and ducked their head under it for purification. The water looked very cold to me and I wouldn’t have fancied it at all.

The area around Tirta Empul is very nice, there are lots of colourful and bright temples, pavilions, structures and goings on. As I was considering leaving it seemed a ceremony was starting and many many people in local dress walked through the temples, while drums were being hit and music being played. After maybe 5 minutes of everyone walking past they all congregated in the courtyard and started a performance or ceremony of some description. If my camera allowed me to film I’d have filmed it but the touchscreen doesn’t work anymore so I only get non flash photos now. I stayed for a couple minutes until the amount of people became unbearable for me and then I left, back past people washing themselves in the pools of water and out the door.

I then roamed free for a few hours in the countryside as the roads were in good condition and we nice and sweeping, also as I was further on past the tourist sites there were very little traffic which was nice.

I went back to my bungalow for a couple hours and then on my last proper night in Indonesia actually went for a 2 hour session in the gym. It was quite good fun and something I wish I could do more often, maybe when I get to Australia and get set up I can resume gym sessions regularly. After this I was starving so had a large dinner, a beer and headed back to my room to go to sleep.

Day 291 (Tues 25th June) Kuta

I sorted out payment at the guesthouse and then my bus to the airport. My flight isn’t until 6am in the morning but I figured I would head there anyways and see about getting a flight today to KL instead. That way saving an early morning tomorrow.

On reaching the Air Asia desk I was told this was not possible even though there was space. If I waned to fly today I would have to buy a new ticket and lose the other one. This seemed pointless so I left my big bag in the left luggage and walked a few streets away until I found a guesthouse to stay in. I was quoted some silly prices in a couple before I found a more reasonable one. Watched some tv and got an early night before a very early start tomorrow. Bye Bye Indonesia. Yet another country I would like to revisit and spend more time in. Nice countryside, nice people and decent yet simple food.

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2nd August 2013

Nice blog!
Been reading some of your blogs, particularly the ones about Indonesia, since I'm going there next month. So far I'm enjoying your adventures!
3rd September 2013

I hope you enjoyed Indonesia as much as i did. Sorry for the slow reply also

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