Tag Archives: Solo Travel

Nusa Lembongan + Nusa Ceningan – buy one, get one free!!

Let’s start with Nusa Lembongan! To often associated solely with Bali, Nusa Lembongan is very much it’s own and unique island paradise!
  
Many tourists visit Nusa Lembongan for the waves it offers but with breaks such as Shipwrecks and Lacerations who would want to surf here right? (Well… me and a few thousand other people every year apparently).  

Did I mention the surf was flat?
 

Even more tourists come here simply to chill out by the beachside, however, I can’t say that locations such as Devil’s Tears evoke too many feelings of relaxation. I’m quite sure Mushroom Bay is a more popular spot (can’t say I’m surprised).

Can’t see any devils crying around here! Better have a closer look!

But for me, Nusa Lembongan was simply about exploring! The freedom of hoping on a motorbike and riding off into the sunset so to speak is beyond addictive! In my opinion, getting away from the beach is where Nusa Lembongan really comes into it’s own. The ride up to the lookout from which you can basically touch Nusa Penida is definitely worth the effort. 

   
 

During the long hours I’ve spent in Indonesia, I’ve developed something of a fascination with riding across bridges. Particularly those bridges seemingly not sturdy enough to bear the weight of small creature (perhaps, a mouse?), let alone the weight of many motorbikes + riders at once. And this is where Nusa Ceningan comes in! Though the bridge connecting Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan appears significantly more structurally sound than most that I’ve come across, it still seems unfit for it’s role as a two lane highway!

  

Dream Point is quite a lovely spot on Nusa Ceningan. And if you’re looking for a nice spot to hang out for a little while, the new Le Pirate Beach Club is in a great location, if you don’t mind paying for it. 

   
 

A few side notes :
 – Seaweed farming is the main source of income for local families on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan and it is quite the sight to watch the seaweed plots slowly emerge as the tide ebbs away. 

  

 – Just because you can rent a motorcycle, doesn’t always mean you should. I saw many tourists with significant injuries due to crashes. Just because there are no cars as such on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, doesn’t mean it is safe to ride around. 
 – Most of the food options on both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are overpriced as they do cater solely to the tourist market. If you’re looking, for a cheaper (and tastier) alternative, try out Warung Bu Edy’s on the main road. Best meal I had by far!

  

Off the Beaten Track in East Bali!

Often described as the ‘real Bali’ by those few tourists who visit, East Bali is something of an escape from the overdevelopment seen in the south of the island. For now, rice fields and agricultural land still reigns supreme and visitors are exposed to a much more traditional way of life. 

Taman Ujung ‘water palace’ – built by the late Raja of Karangasem – is a spectacular site consisting of various large pools and historic structures set against a backdrop of Bali’s eastern shoreline.

  
   
Taman Ujung’s ‘sister site’ – Tirta Gangga – was also designed and built by the Raja of Karangasem and is equally beautiful. Also considered a water palace, Tirta Gangga is a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues.

   
    
 
In addition to two remarkable water palaces, East Bali is also home to a little known surf break, located near Desa Jasri. Chances are you’ll have the whole place to yourself while everybody else fights the hordes for waves elsewhere.

   
    
 
And all this under the watchful eye of the impressive and sacred Gunung Agung!

  

Lombok – blissful beaches and good-natured locals!

Following a short stay in the Kuta, Lombok area, I have come to the conclusion that describing Lombok as “Bali’s less crowded twin” simply does not do justice to this beautiful and pristine island. Sure, Lombok may be similar to the way Bali was from a time before I was born (in terms of untouched landscapes and a laid-back vibe) but Lombok deserves to become famous in it’s own right. Not just because it lies a mere half hour by boat or plane from Bali! And here’s why :

In Lombok, I was able to surf waves most tourists have never heard of, and then ride for hours on a scooter without encountering another person (though when said scooter did break down, the first people I came across gave up over an hour of their time to help). I became friends with a young lad who (after selling me a pineapple) wanted nothing more than to chat for a while. And of course, I ate some of the best nasi goreng ever!

However, I believe these images can do a better job than mere words of conveying what Lombok was like for me! Enjoy!     

  
                           

Top reasons to visit Central Java

1. Ancient temples 
There aren’t too many places in the world where you can visit the largest Buddhist temple in the world as well as one of the world’s most spectacular Hindu temple complexes in the same day. Central Java, however – home to both Candi Borobodur and Candi Prambanan – is one of those places. 

*Tip* : Arrive at Borobodur at 6am or stay overnight for the best experience!!

   
   
2. Awesome views

Located just 2-3 drive from the heart of Yogyakarta, Kalibiru was by far one of the most magnificent places I encountered during my time in Indonesia. The photos speak for themself!

   
 
3. Unspoiled and uncrowded waves

As one of my previous post suggested, I fell in love with Batu Karas. Suffice to say, I’ll be back!!

   
 

Where to stay in Batu Karas!

Villa Monyet (www.villamonyetjava.com) is hands down the pick of all accommodation available in Batu Karas. The rooms were fantastic, really quite affordable and best of all, located just across the road from the main surf break. More importantly however, after just a week long stay I felt like I’d lived there my whole life. My vocabulary isn’t broad enough to convey how great Villa Monyet and Batu Karas was as a whole! To put it simply, everyone was just beyond welcoming and super friendly.

   
         
Getting there…

I believe most visitors to Batu Karas fly either domestically or internationally into Jakarta and from there fly with Suci Air to Pangandaran before taking a short taxi ride to Batu Karas.

Alternatively, you can do as I did by flying into Yogyakarta before enlisting the help of a quality driver in order to tackle the 8-9 hour drive to Batu Karas through some very remote areas.

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.







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/