In this blog you can read all about our adventures by rental scooter in North and West Bali. We visit Lovina, the town known for dolphin watching, we go diving at Menjangan Island (deer island), pass through surfer towns and visit the beautiful Aling Aling waterfalls. The last part of our trip goes in the direction of Ubud, to finish in Seminyak and fly to another Asian country from Denpasar. Bye magnificent Indonesia!
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We arrive in Padangbai by boat from the Gili Islands. Our diving adventure has come to an end for now, but luckily we still have some time on our visa to explore North and West Bali. We think it might be fun to go all around the island on our scooter. Since we have already seen the southern and eastern coast (read about it here), we take off to see the northern coast. The plan is to follow the coast line all the way to the most western point of Bali. After that we will follow the west and southern coastline back to Denpasar to return the scooter. We have 7 days left on our visa (and before our outbound flight to Malaysia) to complete this trip, so that should be doable.
The road is easy, because there is basically only one big road going all around Bali. From Padangbai we decide to first go to Tianyar, and once we are there we will make up our mind if we want to go climb Gunung Agung or Gunung Batur. These are 2 big volcanos in Bali that are often climbed at night to see the sunrise from the top. A spectacular sight, but we have seen pictures of many tourists doing this and for us that’s a reason not to. We don’t like places where it’s impossible to make a picture without other tourists on it.
We heard about Ijen, which is in West Java; a volcanic crater with a sulphuric lake where you can see blue flames. That sounds a lot more interesting than the volcanoes on Bali, because it offers you two spectacular things, the sunrise and the flames. Since Milou isn’t the type for climbing (a lot of) mountains we agree on doing just that one. We drive in the direction of Java, which is still quite far away.
A few kilometres before Lovina, we find a cheap hotel for 80.000 rupiah and decide to call it a night. The waiting for the boat, crossing the ocean and driving our scooter is beginning to take it’s toll, so it’s time to get some sleep. Close to the hotel there’s a small diner where everyone is staring at us upon entry. Apparently they don’t get that many tourists here. For 5.000 roepia we get some dinner, including live music. The singer of the band personally welcomes us and says he’s honoured with our visit, how sweet.
The next morning we continue our journey to Lovina, a place known for its boat trips to spot dolphins. The stories we heard about it though, weren’t all that great. It’s more like hunting dolphins than watching them. When there’s one dolphin in sight, all the boats will speed towards it, scaring the crap out of the dolphins and making them flee. This circus keeps repeating itself till time’s up. We both don’t really want to be a part of this, so we agree on not funding this exploitation of animals. We hope more and more tourists will come to this conclusion, so these hunts will eventually stop.
We do think that diving here would be a nice opportunity to spot a dolphin, but first we need to find a place to sleep. There is plenty of accommodation to find for a reasonable price, which is about 150.000 rupiah. Hostels though are even more expensive than a 2 person bedroom and will only save you money when travelling alone. While waiting in the street for Milou to come back from asking about a room, a friendly guy approaches me. He is offering us a place to stay in a guest house with swimming pool and breakfast for 150.000. Time to go check that one out. The guy is wearing a dive shop shirt, so maybe we can get some info on diving in Lovina as well. Pulestis Homestay is beautiful and in the centre of Lovina, next to the beach.
The swimming pool is a true gift! After our first refreshing swim we drive up to the Aling Aling waterfalls. It takes us some effort to find the entrance though. After being up the mountain all the way to the top and back again, it appears to be just a few meters past the ticket counter. Makes sense, haha. We pay for parking and head down the pathway. If you are interested, it’s possible to make a cliff jump here, but that was not in our budget for today. There are a lot of tourists though that take this big step off the cliff. After having seen all 3 of the waterfalls, we climb back up towards our scooter. Along the way we stumble upon a beautiful rice field, full of kites and scarecrows.
Back in Lovina we take a dip in the pool, watch the sunset on the beach, swim again and then find some dinner. The Global Village Kafé is a fair trade restaurant, the type of restaurants we like to support. After some great food it’s time to get some sleep, because tomorrow we go diving! Unfortunately not here, because that wasn’t possible according to the owner of Pulestis. Instead we’ll go to a popular dive site called Menjangan Island; a deserted island that’s the home of some deer. You can find beautiful corals and see creatures here. Since it’s an hour drive from Lovina in the direction we would like to go anyway, we’ll take our scooter so we can continue our trip after diving.
The next morning Milou gets in the bus and I’m driving the scooter, following the bus. After about an hour, we both arrive safely in Sumberkima. We get into a small boat and after roughly 20 minutes we reach the island. We make 2 dives here, one from the boat and the other from the island. Both of them are gorgeous. This is again a dive site with a vertical wall full of coral and hidden fish, like on Gili Meno. We find several scorpion fish, a stone fish and lots of other colourful fish. Our first fun dives were very successful! We feel quite comfortable under water, even without our diving instructor Patrick from Dive Central Gili who taught us how to dive. Then it’s time to strap our backpack to our scooter and go catch the boat to Java. You can read more about our one week adventure on Java in our next blog.
Once back in Bali we complete the trip along the coastline, a beautiful road passing many, bright green rice fields. When we are about halfway we think it’s nice to stop and get some rest and also enjoy our last night in Bali. After some searching we end up at a surf guest house, which was in our maps.me app. Good thing though, otherwise we would have never found this remote guest house. There isn’t that much life in the villages we past through today and even less tourism. So it’s a great choice to escape all the tourists around Denpasar and Ubud.
The owner is very cheerful and offers surfing lessons. To me that sounds like big fun! It has been a while since we had our surfing holiday in Portugal. Only downside is that we can only do it tomorrow morning because of the tide. Which means we won’t be leaving this place earlier than 2 o’clock to head to Denpasar, but according to the owner that’s plenty of time to catch our flight. That means I will be surfing tomorrow, yaaay! To get back into the surfing a bit, I can borrow a surfboard for now until the sun sets. That made my day. Sunset and surfing combined in one!
The next morning I am all ready to go surfing but there is no instructor to be found. I wait for half an hour to see if he shows up, but sadly there’s no one there . What a disappointment. I agree to Milou’s plan of having breakfast and then head towards Seminyak a bit earlier as planned. Which turned out to be a good choice, because after about 5 minutes of driving, while overtaking a car, our tire explodes. Without hesitation I hit the brakes and before we even come to a complete stop, the scooter starts to wobble and slide sideways. Without falling we stop safely in the middle of the bend. Imagine what would have happened if the tire exploded while we were driving in the bend. The car we overtook passes us and while doing so he honks heavily while making angry gestures from behind the wheel. As if we planned on doing this!
Guess it’s time to find a mechanic again. After lots of flat tires in Java, we’re quite experts on how to find them by now. We find a very helpful one this time and together with his neighbour, who speaks a few words of English, we explain to him that this has been the 5th time we got a flat tire and that we even changed the tire yesterday. The mechanic looks as if he feels sorry for us and starts to work his magic. Within a few minutes he has removed the back wheel and tells us that the new tire is a front tire, not a back tire. They are weaker and cheaper, so I guess we got screwed over by the last mechanic. He changes the tire and cuts the old tire into pieces. He uses these pieces as a protective layer between the inner and the outer tire. He shows us that the outer tire is in a very bad shape, it has some huge holes in it. Later today we will return the scooter anyway, so we’re not going to make the big investment of replacing the outer tire now. I think we have invested enough in this scooter by now.
The rest of our trip goes smoothly. We collect our stuff from Made’s place, say goodbye to him and look for a nice place to eat. And of course we get an ice cream at Gusto Gelato, right across Made’s place. This is the best ice cream we ever had and they have a huge variety of tastes for a low price. Then it’s time to head to the airport, a bit early, but that won’t hurt anyone.
Once we’re at the airport we instantly realize that it’s a good thing to be here so early, because the check-in alone already takes an hour and a half. There were only like 10 people in front of us! We have little faith in the plane leaving on time. After the check-in we still have to go through customs and the luggage check. Luckily the lines are shorter there, but all together it took us about 3 hours to reach the gate. Once we’re there we hear the speaker announce that our boarding is delayed and that we should take place in front of the gate. What a surprise!
About half an hour later it’s time to board, and our travel continues to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
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