Tag Archives: Travel

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!

  

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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!     

  
                           

Batu Karas – surfing heaven! 

I seriously wish I could spend the rest of my life right here in Batu Karas! Surfing perfect waves one after the other was absolutely incredible! Even when I wasn’t in the water there was plenty to do, including cruising around in the Villa Monyet surf mobile, exploring secret beaches, riding a scooter over a rickety old bridge made entirely from bamboo and volunteering in a local turtle conservation centre. In a word… Or three : thumps up times! 

   

                               

A Week in Java

This week was probably one of the greatest weeks of my life! Honestly, what could be better than surfing for days in Batu Karas, visiting the oldest Buddhist temple in the world, killing time with friends in one of Jogjakarta’s largest malls and taking in the view at Kalibiru atop a bamboo platform suspended high in the trees.

   

            
 

  

  

  

  

 

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

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/




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.