Beautiful Bali

50 minutes on a fast boat is pretty hard going, but it got me to land where I was able to get my bus to take me to Ubud, Bali. What was supposed to be just over an hours journey turned into a 2 hour journey when the wheel axle on our bus broke. We had to wait for roughly half an hour for another bus to come and get us. The second bus got me safely to Ubud and luckily it stopped only 15 minutes walk from my hostel, The Happy Mango at a price of £4 per night.

As soon as I arrived at the hostel I went out to book a morning trek up
Mount Batur which is an active volcano, last eruption was in 2000.

The trek cost me 350,000 IDR which included transport, breakfast, a guide and lunch. I was picked up in Ubud at 2:30am so that we could see the sunrise over neighbouring volcanos. Walking 1,700m up a volcano is not easy at all, but I did it and was extremely proud of myself, even overtaking many other groups.

We made the trek in good time for sunrise, but, unfortunately it is rainy season in Indonesia and the beautiful view was ruined by cloud and rain.
But the trek was still an
amazing experience and a great achievement for me.

Our guide then took us on a walk around the top of the volcano to view the steam vents, where we could warm ourselves up, just a shame it couldn’t dry us too, the old lava flows and the spot where there was once a village which was wiped out by an eruption and an ancient cave used as a temple which is very sacred so we were unable to go inside.

The trek was amazing and I would certainly recommend it.

Wanting to stay active after an alcohol fuelled and lazy week on Gili, I booked a cycling tour for the following day. The tour cost 300,000IDR and was worth every penny. We had a massive traditional breakfast of black rice and coconut milk, chicken, rice, crackers, salad and pancake, overlooking Mount Batur which I had climbed the day before. The sun was out and I was able to see the volcano in all its beauty. We then hopped on our bikes and cycled through Ubud to the local villages, where the children were extremely excited to see us, running along and shouting hello. We saw people at work in the rice fields and got to marvel at the beauty of Bali away from the tourist hot spots. We were then treated to another traditional feast of roasted duck, chicken, rice, noodles, satay, vegetables and an array of sauces also followed by a fruit and honey dessert. Delicious!

I have really enjoyed my time in Ubud, next stop is Kuta which I have been warned is a noisy, touristy area, but 1 night before I leave wonderful Bali wont harm.

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The Lows of Lombok & The Highs of Gili

Another last minute decision to visit Indonesia turned out to be a great decision, although my first day in Lombok I didn’t quite feel that way. I arrived in Lombok after a 3 hour flight from Singapore, but landed a lot later than expected due to a delay. I was not keen on using the cheaper local transport which I had originally planned because I was on my own and it was no longer daylight so had to pay out for a taxi to take me to Singiggi, over an hour away, where my pre-booked hostel was.
I checked into my room with the little Indonesian Rupiah I had which then left me with no money, which I expected, as I had planned to draw money out at the ATM. Unfortunately the ATM didn’t want to give me any money and so I tried to call my Bank on the 2 phones I had with me but neither of them would connect. I was in a terrible hostel, which normally I laugh at but I had no money and no phones, and it just felt as though everything was going wrong. I was feeling a bit low but I decided to hold my head up and reminded myself how much I am loving travelling and that these were minor issues that were going to happen sooner or later. So, I got myself a drink, took a stroll along the main high street and as I was starting to feel happier I came across an ATM and just decided to try my luck, and as luck would have it, I was able to get some cash out! I instantly knew I was not going to enjoy Lombok and so by 10pm I had booked a bus and ferry to Gili Trawangan leaving at 9am the next day.

After a short bus journey and a slow boat I stepped onto Gili Trawangan the largest of the 3 Gili islands but the estimated permanent population being only 800.

I checked into my hostel, Le Grand Gili Backpackers at a price of 80,000rp (about £4.50) but it was really empty and I was the only one in the dorm, so I set down my backpack and went in search of another hostel. I found Gili Hostel which was right on the beach and close to all the bars. I booked myself in for the following 3 nights.

Gili Trawangan was a lot like Sihanoukville in Cambodia; beach, bars and accommodation. This made an ideal setting for my birthday celebrations. I had an amazing 4 nights on the island partying by night and sunbathing by day. It is also very popular for scuba diving and snorkeling trips but I decided to use the time in Gili to relax and save a bit of money. Every night there is a food market where stalls set up in a square and in the middle if the square is seating, the food was freshly cooked, extremely cheap and was a good social area. A must do if you visit Gili.

In asia fire stick twirling is quite popular and one night at the sunset bar I asked the talented guys if they would show me how to do it and I was lucky enough to give it a go. It is not as easy as it looks!

Whilst on the island I was able to get some good tips on my next stop which was to be Bali. So filled with more excitement I booked my fast boat and bus ticket to Ubud, Bali.

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