Bali & Nusa Lembongan (Paradise it is!)

Leaving East-Java behind, we were now heading for laid-back destinations! No more 3 a.m. trips and more beaches. Surfing, snorkeling, a beer or two and some infinity-pooling will be on our schedule for the next few days 🙂

To get to Bali we had to take the ferry from Banyuwangi, which turned out to be a risky trip with a boat that sailed away with the rope still attached, causing it to snag and smash a part of the flounder into tiny pieces and trying to hit everything that came its way… But we made it to the other side and set foot on Bali. Once arrived in Bali we made our way past the taxi drivers and ended op in a local bus again, this time with a few other tourists. Once again, unfortunately, we took the slow bus which took 5 hours to reach Denpasar. Fortunately we had some good views on our way; many rice fields and high waves rolling in onto both black and white sandy beaches. Happy to get off the bus we took a Grab to our hotel (Diuma Residence hotel), a beautiful garden hotel with a big and bright room, nice hot shower and coconuts hanging in front of our balcony, we were excited! To celebrate we picked such a nice hotel, we finally had our first beer; not a problem to find beer anymore in this touristy area without special muslim regulations. Our happiness lasted until the next morning when we arrived at Kuta beach, where you are constantly harassed when you’re not on the move, with lots of tourists and just not as picturesque as we had thought. Although the waves were good we decided to wait with surfing until Nusa Lembongang, so just enjoy the sunset and our second beer this holiday while watching the surfers catching the high waves in the distance. 

The next morning during breakfast we experienced a heavy earthquake…(>6) it lasted quite long and we unsuccessfully tried to squeeze ourselves under the table at breakfast, until we discovered that everyone was running out onto the street; a much better idea, so we followed. No heavy damage fortunately, but by now we’ve had experienced Denpasar, we decided to quickly leave and explore the rest of Bali, with busy Ubud as our next stop. Here we discovered the more idyllic Bali, we drove around on our scooter and enjoyed the countryside with its many rice fields, small villages and temples, mountains, waterfalls and all kinds of fruit plantations. We started at sea level and drove towards the mountains, into the clouds at a height of 1200 m, realizing it would have been smarter to pack some extra clothes or maybe a raincoat. We enjoyed the views but quickly went down again to lose the goosebumps. On our way back we ended up at a coffee plantation (Bali Beans) with very nice people who liked to explain everything about the process and let us pick and eat some beans (the red ones, which are actually really sweet) and off course we could sample some fresh coffee made from their own beans; delicious! This inspired us to make our own coffee, with some of the hand picked beans we took ourselves. The next day we also visited a chocolate farm, once again a whole new world opened up for us; to see the beans grow and taste the freshly roasted beans was a great experience.

After a few infinity pools, rice terraces, lots of coffee and some hikes, we were ready to explore further and changed Bali for Nusa Lembongan (a small island in between Bali and Lombok). To get there we took the fast ferry (sort of a speedboat) to the island and already got a taste of how rough the ocean could get here. Next day we signed up for a snorkeling tour to see the Manta rays. It was already an adventure to get to Manta bay where the rays are feeding; we had to get through an enormous swell, it felt like sailing up and down mountains. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any Manta’s and the sea was a bit too rough for clear views on the corals and fishes. In the afternoon we watched the immense waves from the coast at Devils tear, where they crash into the rocks. Nusa Lembongan (and Nusa Ceningan) have some very nice beaches with wonderful and laid back beach bars and an insanely amount of cool infinity pools, along the beaches and rocky coasts. So of course we explored some of those and relished a few cocktails and good food. We can especially recommend Mahana point, with an amazing view of the high waves rolling in towards the coast while eating a delicious burger. Unfortunately this small island has a huge garbage processing problem, as many small islands do. All waste has to be transported to Bali for processing, but many times it just ends up on a pile. 

Next day, we tried our luck on surfing. Because we never had surfed on a reef break before, it seemed safer to join a surf school early in the morning. A wise decision! The waves were perfect and got bigger with the hour, but such reef brakes needs more of your attention, especially when falling off your board. The thing to remember, watch out and protect your head; unfortunately some in our group ended up with brushes and scratches. Tired but satisfied we plumped ourselves down on one of the white beaches in the afternoon, where we discovered that the sand was not only containing lots of coral particles, but an insane amount of foraminifera as well. Erik was happy Viola went all nerdy and collected foraminifera for the rest of the afternoon… he finally had some time to relax;)

Since we didn’t see the manta rays (see photos here) the first time and liked to do some more snorkeling, we joined another tour. This time we were lucky. The sea was still very rough but there were plenty of Manta’s floating through the water. We braved the rough sea and some nasty stinging jellyfish, but it was totally worth seeing these majestic creatures swimming and feeding along the cliffs as if we were not even present. 

All with all we had an amazing and relaxing time on this tiny beautiful island, surrounded by roughs seas, mangrove forests, white beaches and steep cliffs. A perfect end of our 2 week holiday. But we are not done with Indonesia yet; Lombok (mt. Rijani), Flores, Komodo island and….. we will be back!

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3 Responses

  1. Marily says:

    Vooral de zin die begint met : “Erik was happy Viola went ..” haha :D!
    Hopelijk gaat Komodo na 2020 snel weer open, meer avontuur op Indonesië.. :)!

  1. August 18, 2019

    […] On our way down we almost suffocated in the dense sulfur damps, even though we wore our gasmaks (which didn’t fit properly). Unimaginable that most sulfur miners don’t even wear these, they just walk around with a scarf before nose and mouth and tolerate these toxic damps on a daily basis while enjoying their pro-cigarets. Fortunately we could catch a few hours of sleep before heading to Bali, our next destination! […]