Hello guys! I am not dead. It’s just hard to update the blog when you are travelling around and your laptop is messed up.
I was supposed to write a post about job seeking but I think I will start describing my trip in Bali. Then I will go back to the previous topic.
As you already know, after 4 months in Timor Leste I needed some party: that is why I booked a flight to Bali. But I didn’t check anything about the island. I knew about Kuta, Ubud and the temples but I thought Bali was definitely smaller. And it is not. I booked my hostel in Kuta for 10 days thinking to go around using the hostel as basecamp but I was totally wrong.
I arrived at the airport and taxi drivers proposing me crazy prices to drive me to the hostel surrounded me. I just walked straight forcfive minutes and I found a Blue Bird taxi with a meter. This small trick will help to pay 1/3 of the price.
Once at the Granny’s Hostel, I loved it in 5 minutes. The manager Balto and the staff are crazy friendly, the place is really nice and breakfast is simple but good. You can find cheaper hostels – the price in Granny’s is around 12/13$ for one night – but I think it worth the price. There is a huge dorm upstairs, a 4-bed room with toilet and a double bed room. The other toilets are downstairs. They have a really nice backyard with gazebos, TV, couches and a pool table. It is also possible to organize some tours directly from here. It is the best place to meet fellow travellers!
The location is perfect, just 20 minutes walking from the beach but not in the middle of the noisy, dirty and annoying Jalan Legian.
I know, I came here for parties but after two days I found Kuta really annoying. It’s a super touristic place – exactly the same you can find in any country in the world – full of shops selling American and European brands, nothing typical around, and everyone tries to sell you something, from massage to mushroom shakes, sex, transport or anything else. Honestly 2 days in Kuta are enough. Spend the nights in some bar there, get drunk, dance, enjoy the night and then get away if you want to see Bali.
Kuta beach is crowded but is still nice enough, even if it not the deserted tropical beach you are looking for. Rent a board for 5$ or take a lesson for 25/30$ and try to surf. It is exhausting but really rewarding. After surfing you can simply relax on the beach, drinking a beer – a small Bintang is around 2$ on the beach. Don’t stay just at the entrance of the beach. Walk a little bit and it will be less crowded and with less people trying to sell you bracelets, temporary tattoos, fruits and other stuff.
In Granny’s hostel you will meet a lot of people and going around together is the best thing to do.
There are a lot of places to eat and if you just go out of Jalan Legian you will pay half the price. I went to a restaurant there but I forgot the name and the prices. I think I paid around 9$ for a Gado-Gado – Veggies, tofu and egg with peanut sauce – noodles with veggies and a Fruit juice – yeah I was hungry.
After two days in Kuta I was tired – and with a terrible hangover – so I joined some people in a tour – organized by Granny’s – to the
mother temple of Besakih in the north, first stopping in Tegallalang – rice terraces – and having a good – and expensive – meal in one of the restaurants with a view on the rice terraces. I had a vegetarian curry and a young coconut as a drink. I think the price was around 10$. It was a lot but the amazing view is worth it.
After it we finally reached the Besakih temple. Actually it is a group of different temples. It’s interesting but part of the compound is new because a volcano eruption destroyed part of the buildings. The place is crowded and foggy because of the altitude. Go early in the morning if you want to avoid the tourists and the fog. You have to pay an entrance fee and a guide – prices may vary a lot.
Coming back we left some girls in Ubud and we loved the city, so me and two other guys decided to book in Hutama Accommodation for the next day. The accommodation was a room with a double bed and a single one, with toilette. The price was around 35$ per night for the whole room, breakfast included. It is not the cheapest one but the location is good, the place is nice and the manager is a funny, chubby, one-eyed woman.
The day after we went back to Ubud – transport organized by Granny’s for 8$ per person – and, left our backpacks in Hutama, welooked for food. It is full of bar, pubs and restaurants everywhere in Ubud, but there is a nice small real Indonesian restaurant, “Sanak”, next to fancy places. The food is really good and prices are cheap. I paid around 1.5$ for rice, egg, tofu, tempeh, potatoes, veget
ables, chilli and a soymilk bottle!
Stuffed of food, we were ready to go to the famous Monkey forest. The entrance fee is around 2$. Remember not to bring anyfood with you since the monkeys will try to steal it from you. The forest is not really a forest but more a park with a temple. Anyway it is charming. After an interesting walk around the temple we had a drink at Café Havana. I know, it is not exactly a typical Balinese bar, but it is well designed and the Cuban owner is really friendly. Prices are quite high: I paid around 3$ for a fresh fruit juice.
Then we went back home to have a shower and chill out a little. Hungry again, we looked for another place to eat and we decided to stop at Napi Orti, an inviting place on Monkey Forest Road, with live music. The place is nice and the band was playing really good music but the service was terribly slow. I ate a Nasi Campur and drank a large Bintang. The total price was around 8$. My friends ordered a pizza, waited for one hour and at the end it was the worst pizza they ever tasted! My nasi campur was good enough but not spicy at all even if I asked to make it spicy.
After dinner we passed in front of the Café Havana and joined the owner and his friends in the Tapas Bar. Here you can see why everybody says that Ubud is the town of old rich hippies. The standards are pretty high and even the prices: 3$ for a small Bintang.
After this funny night around, I finally decided the subject of my next tattoo. I found a good tattoo shop in Ubud: Magik Ink. It is as clean as any good tattoo shop in Europe and the quality is really high. I took a shoulder tattoo for 120$. Another important thing is the staff. They are really professional and friendly.
When I was waiting for my tattoo, we had lunch in Sanak again and then a
drink in a really fancy café next to it: Clear Café. The fruit juices are good and not too expensive – I can’t remember the exact price but it wasn’t more than 2$.
To celebrate my new tattoo we went to eat in a really nice restaurant named Lada Warong. The food is tasteful and the interior design is well thought. I had a Gado-Gado and a papaya juice for 6$ – yeah, it’s not the cheapest restaurant around.
After two days in Ubud, I was supposed to go back in Kuta Bali but I decided to join the others to Lombok, another major island west of Bali. My friends paid 23$ for the bus from Ubud to the harbour, the slow boat ticket and the bus from the harbour in Lombok to Kuta Lombok. I paid around 26$ because I decided the same morning.
The slow boat is really slow and it takes around 4 hours to arrive in Lombok. It is very crowded and it is not easy to find a seat.
After this long trip we reached Kuta Lombok and we looked for an accommodation.
Kuta Lombok is charming: you can guess it was just a tiny fishermen village that is fastly developing. So it is not so touristic as Kuta Bali but still you can find restaurants, small hotels and homestay. I forgot to write down the exact name of the accommodation – something like Ramayu. It is behind the Café 7. We paid only 15$ for a double bed room, with toilet. The building is still a work in progress and they have no Wi-Fi connection – but you can use the one of Café 7. The breakfast is included.
The village is quiet and the main activities are going to the beach and eating – not that bad.
Some relax and we were ready for dinner. We found a Vegetarian restaurant – 3 of 6 of us are veggies! – called Felice’s Vegetarian
Restaurant. I guess the owner is Italian. The place is wooden made and it is really inviting. The staff is friendly, the service is fast and the food is tasteful. For our non-veggie friends there were some fish-based main courses. I had spring rolls – huge! -, Avocado juice – amazing! – and a tempeh burger with fries. Total price: around 7$.
After dinner we stayed for a while in Kuta beach. It is not the best beach around but it is nice to watch the stars and hear the waves, sitting on the sand.
Then it was time for a drink and we went to a nice café called Family House. I had a Custa Busta – kind of rum and coke – for 4.5$.
After a good night of sleep it was type to explore the area and we rented some scooters. We paid 5$ for the whole day – and 0.70$ for any litre of gasoline.
You must be really careful on the roads because it is full of sand and small stones. One of my friends felt and ended up at the hospital to heal his scratches and had to pay to fix the motorcycle. After that we split. They went to Mawun beach but I decided to go around by bike. I discovered amazing landscapes, friendly people waving at you, rice fields and another wonderful beach- I think the name is Selong Belanak. Less people than in Mawun beach and a wider white sand beach. Perfect to relax and enjoy the view. The price of bike parking is 0.5$.
Coming back I was tired for the hours spent riding the bike and dehydrated for the hours spent on the beach, so I opted for a Mango milkshake at Café 7: just 1.5$ for a really good drink.
A shower and some relax were necessary but they just made us – I joined the others finally – realize how hungry were we. So wehad dinner at Warong Smile, a small local restaurant. The food is good but the service is very slow. It took us hours to have the complete meal. Anyway, I had a vegetarian curry, a banana juice and a banana split – 3 bananas! – for less than 4$.
After this meal we were clearly tired and we went back to our rooms, ready to go back the next day. We paid around 17.5$ for the ticket from Kuta Lombok to Kuta Bali, including the bus transfers. The travel was slow and exhausting but finally we reached Granny’s Hostel again, feeling at home J
After two other days of beach and parties I left Bali yesterday, satisfied of this vacation, but needing some relax. In Bali I think the best pub is the Apache Café, behind the Surfer’s Bar: reggae and peaceful environment is a good change from the overcrowded flirting pubs.
Well, I told you everything I know about Bali. Of course there are a lot of things I didn’t do, such as going to the Gili – islands north west from Lombok -, exploring the north of Lombok and the west coast of Bali. These islands are bigger than I thought and deserve more time.
Now I am back in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days and the 11th of August I’ll leave to Bangkok, ready for a new adventure!
I’ll soon write the next post about job seeking.
As always, if you need anything or you want me to update some posts, just contact me.
See you soon everybody! Sampai jumpa lagi!