Goa Gajah – the Elephant Cave

One morning I woke up early and with no destination in mind, I jumped on my scooter, only to find myself pulling into the parking lot of Goa Gajah not long afterwards. Though it hasn’t changed much since I last visited 5 years ago, I still quite enjoyed my quick walk through the cave. For first timers, the shopkeepers out the front will attempt to persuade to buy a sarong, claiming that you need one to enter Goa Gajah. This is in fact true, however, sarongs are given freely once you pay the entrance fee (Rp 15,000). Though if you are interested in buying sarongs (if you’re a woman, for example) the shopkeepers do have some nice ones that you can pick up for around Rp 20,000. Also, once you’re inside, local guides will offer to walk around with you and give you a quick history of the site for a small fee but it is by no means compulsory to accept their assistance.







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Campuhan Ridge Trek, Ubud

This trek must be one of Ubud’s best kept secrets! Luscious grasses spill down the slopes on either side of the gently sloping track for around 2-3 kilometres before the trail ends in place of a road that leads to the official endpoint of the trek – Karsa Kafe – where you can eat some delicious food overlooking the rice paddies or even get a massage if you find the walk sufficiently strenuous. The Campuhan Ridge Trek is best tackled early in the morning to avoid both the heat and stumbling across one of the many young local couples (as I did) who often hide just off the path. 

For details on how to get there, check out : http://www.liveloveraw.com/campuhan-ridge-hike-ubud-bali/




Gili Trawangan – much more than just a party island!

Just 1.5 hours from Padangbai, Bali by speedboat (with average tickets costing around Rp 1,000,000 return, though mine only cost Rp 550,000), Gili Trawangan is a pretty spectacular place if you explore past the crowded harbour where (often drunk) tourists are the norm. In between circumnavigating the island on foot, swimming in the (mostly) pristine waters, riding through the local villages on the oldest bike on the entire island that broke down every 5 minutes (that’s not an exaggeration), pigging out in the night market and sipping drinks at sunset, my 3 days in Gili T were well spent. Given more time I would have loved to check out the much quieter Gili Air and Gili Meno as well.






Amed – the town of sunrises and fishing

Everybody who has ever visited this quiet coastal town on the far east coast of Bali remarks about its beauty! For me it was a simple and very short change of scenery. Between snorkelling for hours and waking up at 4am in order to go fishing with a local fisherman (Pak Nyoman) – whilst witnessing one of the best sunrises of my life – my trip was over far too soon. My only hope going forward is that the ever-growing number of tourists to Amed don’t disturb the relaxed atmosphere and more importantly, the local way of life.

A big shoutout to Mark from the Onion Collective in Ubud for inviting me on what was in essence a family getaway! Also, thanks to Sama-Sama Bungalows for great accommodation and even greater food!

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Everyday Bahasa Indonesia Words and Phrases : Part 1

I have studied Indonesian both at school and abroad for the last 5 years, so I have some idea of what I’m talking about. Anyway, here’s a handy list of various Indonesian words that are bound to make you sound just a little more Indonesian.

Pronouns
Me, my, I – Saya (formal – if talking to someone older or in a higher position than yourself) or Aku (informal)
He / His, She / Hers – Dia or -nya (as a suffix, e.g. his pen – penanya)
You – Anda (formal) or Kamu (informal) or -mu (informal, as a suffix, e.g. your bike – sepedamu)
Dad / Mr, Mum / Mrs – Bapak / Pak, Ibu / Bu

Greetings / Goodbyes
Hello / Hi – Halo / Hai
Good morning – Selamat pagi (2am – 10am)
Good day – Selamat siang (10am – 3pm)
Good afternoon – Selamat sore (3pm – sunset)
Good evening – Selamat malam (sunset – 2am)
Good bye / See you later – Sampai jumpai / Sampai nanti

Etiquette
Thank you – Terima kasih
Sorry – Maaf
Excuse me – Permisi

Numbers
1 – Satu
2 – Dua
3 – Tiga
4 – Empat
5 – Lima
6 – Enam
7 – Tujuh
8 – Delapan
9 – Sembilan
10 – Sepuluh
11 – Sebelas
12 – Dua belas
13 – Tiga belas
14 – Empat belas
15 – Lima belas
16 – Enam belas
17 – Tujuh belas
18 – Delapan belas
19 – Sembilan belas
20 – Dua puluh
21 – Dua puluh satu
100 – Seratus
1,000 – Seribu
100,000 – Seratus ribu
1,000,000 – Sejuta

Bargaining
How much? – Berapa?
Too expensive – Terlalu mahal
Wow, cheap – Wah, murah

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more common questions to come next week.

P.S. The feature image above was taken at Deus Motorcycle Workshop, Canggu

Obtaining a Social Cultural Visa for Indonesia (for Australian Citizens Only)

The Sosial Budaya visa is the most popular visa for anyone who is planning to visit Indonesia for an extended period of time. Unlike a Tourist Visa (30 days VOA), the Social Budaya visa is valid for six months. Just to be clear, it is not a work visa and to do so is illegal.

The visa is initially valid for a period of 60 days and can be extended four times – each subsequent visa is valid for a period of 30 days – after that. Once you have been in the Indonesia for six months, you will need to leave the country.

You need to apply for your visa at an Indonesian Embassy. I applied in person at the Indonesian Consulate in Sydney.

“Visas are submitted to the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney by filling out the appropriate forms (1 copy for each person) and enclosing:
– Passport (still valid at least 6 months from the date of entry).
Non-passport documents (such as Travel Documents, Certificate of Identity, and Certificate of Registration, Emergency Travel Document, etc.) will not be accepted.Check your passport for blank visa page (minimum 3 blank pages should be available). Please be advised that we will return your application and passport if we found there are no blank visa pages on the passport or incomplete application without prior notification.
– One recent colour Passport photographs.
– Proof of a ticket in and out Indonesia, or a ticket to continue travel to another country.
– Proof of permanent residence for non-Australian Citizen. Please be advised that applicant with no proof of PR would be suggested to obtain Indonesian visa from country of origin/country of residency.
– Letter of invitation from family or social organization, which describes the purpose of the visit and guaranteeing all transportation and living expenses that will incur in Indonesia.
– Copy of ID of the sponsor. If the sponsor is non-Indonesian citizen please provide a copy of KITAS and passport. If the sponsor is an Indonesian citizen, a copy of the KTP (Indonesian ID card) must be provided.
– For minor applicants, a statement letter from parents or guardian and copy of parents’ or guardians’ ID.
(source: http://www.kemlu.go.id/sydney/Pages/ServiceDisplay.aspx?IDP=5&IDP2=23&Name=ConsularService&IsRootWeb=false&l=id&l=en)
– the visa fee is $60 and can not be paid in cash (but Eftpos is accepted).

My visa took 3 weeks to be processed due to Christmas/New Year closures so be sure to leave plenty of time for acquiring your visa before your departure date. Additionally, visa applications at the Indonesian Consulate in Sydney can only be submitted and collected during the following hours :

Monday – Thursday:
Submission
09.15am – 12.15pm EST
Collection
02.15pm – 04.00pm EST

Friday:
Submission
09.15am – 12.00pm EST
Collection
02.30pm – 04.00pm EST

Elephant Safari Park, Bali

The Elephant Safari Park advertises itself as the most popular tourist attraction in Bali, with the Trip Advisor reviews to back that up. Although, it is also hands down one of the most expensive (hence why I haven’t visited in my 9 previous trips to Indonesia). Now that I have been however, I can offer my own opinion.

Firstly, what to expect…
– There will be many photo opportunities (and you can use your own camera).
– The elephant ride is really short (about 20-25 minutes) and although track is well landscaped, the sound of cars and motorbikes driving up the road destroys the sense of being in a Sumatran rainforest.
– Your visit to the park will be strictly scheduled (regardless of whether or not you’re merely day-tripping or staying overnight (possibly so as to avoid panic amongst the elephants when there are hundreds of people milling around and taking photos.
– The elephants are also chained at times throughout the day (signs around the park explain why so read these before you judge too harshly.
– The mahouts carry tools (similar to the Ańkuśa) but these are rarely used.
– Dinner at the park carries 5-star price tags without the 5-star quality to back it up but breakfast was excellent (and there was lots of it).
– The elephant “talent show” is run several times a day and will not be enjoyed by all (though it does provide much need mental stimulation for the elephants). Personally, I think it should focus more on education and what the park hopes to achieve.
– Super friendly staff who will remember your name… And your room number.

For the best experience…
– Stay overnight at the Elephant Safari Park Lodge! Being able to bathe and swim with the elephants before the park opened was definitely the highlight and provided a much more hands-on experience than simply riding an elephant, taking some pictures and then feeding them through a fence.

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Travel blog of a solo 17 year old traveller.