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My SE Asia Adventures: Part 4 - Amed & Nusa Dua, Bali

Friday 31 August – Ubud to Bunutan, Amed

At 15:30 we started our drive to Bunutan – just a bit outside of a seaside town, Amed. Jean Paul had got a great price from a local driver in Ubud: for Rp 385 000 (this is about AU$38 – move the decimal place 4 places) he would take the four of us (Jean Paul, his friends Elisa and Verena and myself) about three hours up North East to our new home for the next 2-3 nights. Verena and I had found the place on Agoda last night and were quite impressed with ourselves finding a bungalow for all four of us with a pool and so near the ocean.


We drove past Gianyar to Klungkung, Goa Lanah, Padang Bai, Candidasa, Jasi, Amlapur, Tita Gangga where we stopped for a cigarette break for the others and to stretch our legs. Here's the view of the rice fields opposite where we stopped:



We were about half an hour or so away from our destination. We had to drive through Amed to get to Bunutan. Here's some of what we saw:



We arrived at the Beten Waru Bungalows and Restaurant about 18:45 to a wonderful view. I think we will really like it here!

That night we stayed at the hotel for dinner, not that great but something to help fill our stomachs. I had the Gado Gado – rice, vegetables and peanut sauce with no egg Rp 22 500:


My friend Siska who I had met at Sanur Avenue at the beginning of my SE Asia adventures, rang me to say that she was now in Yogyakarta and that I could stay with her and her family when I was in the area. It was great to hear from her and I’m glad she quit her job and is home with her family and boy friend again.

Saturday 1 September – Bunutan Locals

We awoke to wonderful views:


Once again I’m having banana pancakes for breakfast:


Jean Paul, Elisa & Verena wanted to stay at the hotel and work on their tans at the pool. I decided to walk down the mountain from Bunutan into Amed to explore the area. I met some friends along the way:



When we were driving to our destination yesterday, I had spotted a vegetarian health place that I wanted to check out. I walked about 30 minutes and found Aiona Bali where I wanted to have something to eat. It’s a vegetarian place with a shell museum and a lot of healing. The owner’s wife was away and due to him running the place by himself he couldn’t make me any food which was unfortunate. I ended up speaking to a couple from Serbia: Srdjan and Lana, who run an online design and photography business as well as blog about their extensive travels. They have great photos and a short video on cock fighting that you should check out. Cock fighting is pretty big over here in Indonesia. It's also quite underground and there's a lot of gambling and debt involved - as well as immense cruelty obviously.

The owner of Aiona Bali suggested I walk a bit further and have lunch at C’est Bon Café so I walked a bit further until I found it, and did. I met the manager, Rusty who chatted to me when I was waiting for my food. He’s the singer and guitarist in a band and they were to play tonight at C’est Bon Café. I also met Robbie who was also in Rusty’s band and Putu. The four of us spent a bit of time together - they were great. Another friend of theirs, Benny also dropped by for a bit.

I ordered Fried Tempeh with sweet sauce Rp 15 000 with rice:


I went over the road to check out the beach and met a few more friends:




It's really sad to me that these beautiful animals are petrified of humans. It took me quite awhile to get up close to the cows. The Mums are all tied up on very short ropes. The babies are all free to roam though. Here's the view of the beach - I walked past these cows to get there:



Robbie gave me a ride back home on his motorbike and I asked Jean Paul, Elisa and Verena if they’d like to go to the café for dinner and watch the guys perform. They did, so Robbie would come to pick us all up at 19:30. Then I joined Verena to work on my tan. Finally after 3 weeks of being away I’m working on colouring my skin a bit! Here’s my view:


When Robbie came to pick us up, we ended up chatting to a couple who were staying at Beten Waruas well, Lauren from San Jose in Los Angeles, USA and Gianpaolo from Salerno, Italy. They are a couple living in the US and have a blog. They ended up joining us for dinner at C’est Bon. I ordered the Tempeh curry in coconut milk with greens Rp 16 000 and Papaya juice Rp 8 000:


Rusty's band performed from 19:00 until about 22:00. That's Robbie on the left and Rusty next to him at the front:


Rusty had planned for me to sing with the band tonight. I had a look through the options – one folder of songs and one of reggae songs. I sang Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits and then Talkin' 'Bout A Revolution by Tracy Chapman which was fun. Here's some photos by Verena:



After that the five of us drove up to Wawa-Wewe Bar and Restaurant where Benny had gone earlier in the night. A lot of tourists go here to drink, listen to the live covers band and have a good time. We joined Benny and his mates and I ordered a Banana Juice Rp 12 500. At the end of the band’s set a couple of local guys got up and sang a few songs. Then I sang I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor – this song is also from the Pricilla Queen of the Desert soundtrack and was one of my karaoke/getting ready to go out regulars with the gals from school years ago. I also sang Faith by George Michael and Bob Marley's I Shot the Sheriff - after the initial title sentence I realised I actually didn’t know this song, at all. Benny drove me home on his bike. It was a really great night hanging out with the Bunutan and Amed locals as well as getting to know Gianpaolo and Lauren.

Sunday 2 September – Adventures with Gianpaolo & Lauren

Jean Paul woke the girls up to see the sunrise a bit before 06:00 today. I had a quick look, took some photos:


and then went to bed. Gorgeous, but I have to get up early for my adventures.

I had the banana pancake again for breakfast. Jean Paul, Elisa and Verena seem to not want to do anything other than work on their tans at the pool. I need to go exploring the area – that’s what we came to Amed for: the beach, the sea and snorkelling. So today, I set off with Gianpaolo (GP) and Lauren who had hired a car from Kuta and always had great adventures to tell of. 

We stopped along the way to take some photos of the rice fields - they look even more incredible in person:



There is no ATM in Bunutan or Amed. The closest is about 45 minutes away at Amlapura. Keep in mind, Amed is a sleepy, fishing, seaside town. The three of us stopped at the first ATM in Amlapura to get money out and didn’t really stick around for too long in the town as there wasn’t much to do – especially on a Sunday.

Then we went to Tirtagangga Water Palace. Entry fee Rp 10 000. The palace is a bit hard to find, we drove back to where Lauren had seen a few buses and that was it. Here's the entry:


And a very vegan sign just on the tree below:


There were various areas in the water palace. We started with the stepping stones:


LC_at_water_palace LC_water_palace

The pics above and the one of Lauren and I below are by GP:


Here's a couple of GP and Lauren:




There were a heap of fountains and water features:


water_features_at_water_palace water_feature_water_palace

water_fountain_at_water_palace water_palace_temple


Along with various statues:

statue_at_water_palace  guardian_at_water_palace

statue_at_water_palace_2 protection_at_water_palace


Some fishes:





A lily pond - the hotel to stay at the water palace is just behind:



Such a beautiful place to be with so many things to do. Including swimming:



We really loved it here. Here's a few more photos of the scenery:







There were also some great fruit stalls near the entrance. I bought some mangosteen, bananas and passionfruit to take home:


We had spotted a rice field that had an eatery so we headed to Rice Terrace Coffee Shop after the palace. Here’s our guide:


Here’s our greeter:


I ordered the Tahu Goreng served with spicy tomato sauce and rice Rp 28 000 and mango juice Rp 18 000


Here's the three of us:


And me writing - pic by GP:


And the view from where we were sitting:


There's some tiny birds upon the ends of the leaves of these banana trees. Can you see them?


We headed back to Bunutan to go snorkelling around Selang beach. The girls and Jean Paul didn’t want to join us at the beach so, Lauren, Gianpaolo and I headed to Good Karma to first have a banana juice and hire the snorkelling equipment for Rp 30 000. We stayed out for a couple of hours, looking at the reef, fishes and coral. The ocean wasn’t too clear but it was still good to be out in the ocean. I need to make more of an effort when I get back home to Brisbane to snorkel more. We have some of the best beaches in the world.

The three of us sat around and spoke to the locals for awhile and we waiting for a guy from one of the dive shops to come to speak to Gianpaolo about a night dive for tonight. Benny’s quote from last night ended up being more expensive so GP went with another company – that wasn’t a big one anyway. Better to support the locals instead of the big hotels that operate tours. The locals said that they are busy in July and August but for the rest of the year not much happens. A lot of them are fishermen but the fish are getting less and less…

Jean Paul and the girls also needed to go to Amlapura to get money out, so they had organised the owner of Beten Waru to take them into town. I got home from my outing with GP and Lauren at 17:00 , quickly changed and joined them. The girls want to go to Amlapura to have dinner and wander around the shops. It’s definitely not Ubud and I really doubt that there’ll be anything for them to do there.

We drove to a big supermarket where we spent awhile looking at everything. I found some guava juice, a packet of cassava crisps and some chocolate. The driver then said that we would have to go back to Bunutan or Amed for dinner as there wasn’t anywhere to go in Amlapura. We drove back towards home and stopped at Amed Café and Restaurant where I ordered an avocado lemon juice Rp 25 500:


And Tempeh Satey Rp 29 500:


They were great and it was a lovely restaurant. We were all quite impressed.

Oh and we have a semi-outdoor bathroom. Here's what the shower looks like at night when you look up to the stars:


Monday 3 September – Japanese Wreck

Lauren and Gianpaolo left this morning as I was having my banana pancake for breakfast. Hopefully I will meet up with them somewhere in Asia sometime soon as they were great fun. I have met so many lovely couples over here. Travelling either makes or breaks a relationship and I have met some unsuitable partnerships on my travels overseas previously. In Asia however, I’ve been meeting and travelling with some great couples – Lauren and GP are one of these great couples. I also will catch up with them in Los Angeles next year when I’m in the USA again.

The manager at Beten Waru, Gaday and his crew are always trying to sell us something when we’re around the hotel: tours, trips, massages etc. It’s actually really annoying and the reviews on Agoda had said this already so I was prepared for it. I think they are working on the selling tactic of “keep asking until you wear them down and they say yes” – I definitely do not like the constant sales pitches. I know it’s their job and I know it’s not really that busy, but it’s ever so annoying.  Anyway, I asked Gaday if he would drive me on his motorbike up the hill to the Japanese wreck at Banyuning and back plus hire his snorkelling equipment. All together Rp 50 000 (about AU$5 if you’re wondering!)

Here's how the beach looks:


Gaday dropped me off and I proceeded to swim out to the coral that I found quite easily. I knew the wreck was somewhere close but wasn’t sure where. So I swam in the general direction, and then floated across until my head got tangled up in some rope – just underneath was the wreck!

It wasn’t as exciting as I thought. The water wasn’t very clear so a lot of the underwater scenery wasn’t very visible at all. I do think that I was spoilt growing up in Papua New Guinea as the beaches on and around Bougainville Island were simply stunning. I have fond memories of my family and I snorkelling every Sunday at the beach.

There were so many colourful fishes – both large and small - and areas where you could dive down to get a closer look at the fishes, the wreck, coral and other ocean creatures. There was a great long fish with a pointy/long nose that was cool - I think a long-nosed hawkfish. I spent a couple of hours in the water swimming around. When I got out someone said that there was a better place to snorkel to the left of the coral, near the rocks. A lot of people try to sell you things all the time – not just at the hotel – so was this really true or just a sales pitch? I will never know. Around here:


I went over the road to Baliku International Dining where I ordered a falafel salad pita wrap - with no sauce for Rp 44 000:


And thought about getting the vegetable samosa too. Decided not to. The breakfast for their guests is black rice pudding – sounds divine. Due to the fact I hadn’t bought my phone or worn my watch ring I had no idea what time Gaday dropped me off, so I just started walking home. Here's some views of the beach from above:


Some scenes along the way:



Gaday found me a bit up the hill, which was great as it was so hot and the walk up the hills was a bit intense. Here's a couple of other photos from the ride back:



I had a great sleep when I got back in the afternoon as I was tired and too hot. Then I worked on my blog. The girls wanted to go to the same restaurant for dinner tonight that we’d been to last night. I talked them out of it due to 1. We have already been there and should be trying other places 2. We would have to get a driver to take us there and back as it wasn’t really walking distance especially at night 3. I wanted to explore up the mountain more for food ideas and there seemed like a lot of great warungs to try. We settled on a compromise: we would go to a place similar to last night’s restaurant, up the hill and within walking distance.

Dinner at Puri Wirata – Dive Resort & Spa was great. Very similar to last night as it was higher scale dining at a 5 star resort with great views of the ocean. I ordered the Vegetarian fried rice with tempeh sate Rp 30 000:


Something had been brewing with Jean Paul and Elisa the past few nights. The three of them are from South Tyrol, Italy and speak their own unique dialect, a combination of Italian but more German. Sometimes I have no idea what they’re saying and I get bored. Tonight they were getting very heated and I assume arguing. I didn’t want to be around this so I walked to the beach, lay on the pebbles (no sand) and watched the stars. I saw a shooting star!


There’s nothing better than being in Nature. On the beach I could feel the beat of the sea through the stones I was lying on. The blue Moon was shining on the sea and it was just so, so dark. There were no lights except the stars.


It was beautiful.


Jean Paul and the girls found me and the four of us spent a bit more time there. It’s hard when there’s three versions of yourself – who you were, who you are, and who you are trying to become. I think that Jean Paul is struggling with this as the girls remind him of the person they knew, who he no longer is...

Tuesday 4 September – Amed to Nusa Dua

Today Beten Waru was out of bananas so I had a pineapple pancake for breakfast. The four of us finally decided where we wanted to head to next today: Nusa Dua - much to the dismay of the owner and his team who would have loved if we stayed a few more nights. It was such a wonderful place to stay at with a stunning view but I didn’t really understand why we came all the way to the beach to go to the beach and snorkel and no one else went swimming or snorkelling on the beach, or even on other adventures – they just wanted to stay at the pool at the hotel and work on their tans. I can handle that for exactly 3 hours and then I’m bored. I need to be doing things and I can go anywhere to lie by a pool...

Anyway, we left at 12:30 for Nusa Dua. I had an email from Gianpaolo that morning to let me know that they were in Nusa Lembongan – one of our options to go to, along with Lovina. It took us forever to find the hotel, Bali Village Spa. It probably didn’t help that the sign said Bali Village Hotel and the number was way out of sync with the rest of the street. Anyway, we found it and the trip cost the four of us Rp 100 000 each.

Jean Paul and I were hungry so went exploring to find something good for lunch. Down one of the side streets we found a great warung where I had the following with cooked jackfruit!


I wanted to get my hair cut and arms waxed, so on the way back home, I stopped off at Carla Spa for a hair cut Rp 40 000, wax Rp 80 000 and a shoulder massage for Rp 20 000 until the hair dresser arrived. That’s about AU$14 all up for those who are playing at home!

I heard from my friend Chindy the General Manager of the Indonesian Vegetarian Society (IVS) and the Vegan Society of Indonesia (VSI.) about some upcoming veg events in Java that I will be attending. Should be good. Then I caught up on a bit of computer work. 

That night when the four of us were walking along the main street trying to find somewhere to eat dinner, everyone was trying to spruik their restaurant, services, tours etc. It was a bit intense. We settled on dinner at Laguna Garden restaurant where there was a great host who spoke many languages. There was a quite good vegetarian section with a few "vegan" options listed that weren't really. Over here, you ask as many questions as you can, but honestly sometimes you just hope for the best. I ordered the Mie Goreng Vegan which was listed as vegan but included fried egg noodles with vegetables. I asked for rice noodles instead Rp 41 000:


It was a great restaurant with a homey vibe, friendly staff and a live music duo performing requests. Here's a photo of the four of us L-R: Jean Paul, Leigh-Chantelle, Elisa and Verena:


Wednesday 5 September – Motorbike Adventures to Uluwatu temple & Tanah Lot

Today started early, with strawberry (instead of banana!) pancake


in my belly and reconstituted juice, Jean Paul and I hired a motorbike to go out and about for the day. Elisa and Verena also hired a bike and would hopefully not lose us when we all headed to Uluwatu temple. We paid Rp 60 000 per bike. At Uluwatu we paid Rp 20 000 for entry and I got to wear my new batik sarong with one of their scarves around my waist. Uluwatu is stunningly beautiful.

Uluwatu_Temple Uluwatu_Temple_view

Jean Paul and I walked up one side of the temple area and I climbed up on a few areas to get better photos. There are no railings anywhere, which is a bit worrisome. Getting too close to the edges is one of my specialities so that freaks out Jean Paul every now and then.


Here's a photo with the new haircut:


More of the view:

Uluwatu_Temple_-_the_view Uluwatu_Temple_view_2

More of me:



And even a photo of Jean Paul:



There were a few monkeys who were quite intense – some of the tour guides were even walking around with sticks. Fortunately I didn’t see any abuse to the monkeys. A few humans were harassed by the monkeys - though mostly in regards to not giving all their food away.


monkey_at_Uluwatu_Temple_  monkey_and_bin_at_Uluwatu_Temple



Then we walked right up the top of the hill over the other side.



I wanted to get a great photo of this cool rock with a hole in it, but the head monkey chased me away - along with the rest of the monkey group who all came from out of their hiding place under the trees. Here he is just before:


Jean Paul and I hung out at the top for awhile and then headed back to leave. On the way out I walked past a monkey who grabbed onto my sarong and wouldn’t let go. I pulled it back from him or her but not before getting this photo:


We stopped off at Pecatu to eat at Warung Muslim:


One of the places I really wanted to go to – and that a few friends had suggested for me to see – was Tanah Lot. So today we headed that way to see what all the fuss was about. It took about 45 minutes. We parked, paid the Rp 30 000 entry fee and walked through the area that was set up like a go kart racing track. We sat down to share a coconut drink. Here’s me:


Then we walked along to what we thought was Tanah Lot. It’s actually Batu Bolong temple. I was wondering why there weren’t that many tourists!



Close up:



We walked around Batu Bolong temple, down on the cliffs, onto the beach




and got some photos together


I just love these photos of the rocks:



Here’s a great photo I took of Jean Paul atop a cliff:


Me looking for crabs:


They were too fast for me. Jean Paul got a photo though, can you see the critters?


We spotted the rice fields just outside of the temple and beach area so walked there.



Such a beautiful place.


It’s mean to be one of the best places for watching the sun set but we wouldn’t be staying around for that.


Here's the views back towards Batu Bolong:


And the view to where we walked:


Great pic I took of a hibiscus:


We walked back past a couple of ladies selling Balinese cake – I think called Klepon – made of flour, coconut and palm sugar. We bought one lot for Rp 5 000 and two for Rp 10 000 at another lady. I really like them. They’re green outside with the sugary coconut inside, these ones the sugar popped in your mouth. When we were walking up the other side, we found the real Tanah Lot:



Here’s a cute pic of myself and Jean Paul with Tanah Lot in the background:


Today was our last day together so we were making the most of it. I will miss having my Italian travelling companion around. We walked past another temple:


Some ducks:



And then got up pretty close to Tanah Lot.



We didn’t end up seeing the girls so assumed that they didn’t come. I thought they would have been shopping in Kuta and then when back in Nusa Dua went for beauty treatments.

Underneath Tanah Lot, there was a priest sprinkling holy water onto people and then pressing rice onto their heads. This is done as a blessing to take away the bad energies and replace with good ones.


There was also a sign for a magic serpent, which sounded great. But I didn’t see any snakes, and you had to pay.

Here's the view of the golf course that Greg Norman designed along with the resort:


And then we headed back to Nusa Dua. Here’s the signage:


And a cute pic of Jean Paul and I on the bike:


One of the things I love about driving around (on a motorbike) in Bali is that there are kites flying in various areas. At particular times of the day – late afternoon, probably when the kids have finished school – you can see the sky filled with various colours flying through the sky. Here’s a glimpse:


It took us awhile to find how to get to our street


So we stopped at Nusa Dua beach where all the 5 star resorts are. We walked along the beach for a bit which was lovely.




Sun about to retire:


We went back home and I saw the girls for a bit next door and found out about their day. They ended up staying in Kuta for awhile and hanging out with the guy who we hired the bikes from for sunset at Nusa Dua. I was going to stay for another night at Bali Village Spa by myself before leaving for Malaysia late tomorrow night. Jean Paul and the girls had decided to part ways due to differences in opinion on what places are suitable for eating and staying at. I had no issues with the girls, I loved their new energy and having them around. When the four of us were having fun, we had a lot of fun! I look forward to catching up with them all in Italy one day soon.

Jean Paul and I then headed out for dinner at the favourite warung: Warung Arema even though there was no cooked jackfruit. Ate for Rp 15 000


Then had a banana juice at Laguna Garden – where we had eaten dinner last night.


The staff gave us extra special attention and service, as we were return customers. Jean Paul even had OasisWonderwall played by the musical duo as a request. Such a great day – one of my best so far on this trip – with beautiful weather, wonderful scenery, great adventures on and off the motorbike plus lovely company.

Thursday 6 September – Warung & Ice Cream

Strawberry pancake and tea for my last breakfast with Jean Paul, as today he was leaving for Kuta for a few nights before flying back to Darwin for a few months. He will then probably head back home to South Tyrol, Italy as he will have been away from his friends and family for over a year by then. We have been travelling together for over two weeks so it will be weird not having him around. The girls left for Kuta after breakfast. They would be in Bali for a couple more weeks before heading home.

We went to Warung Arema for lunch but there was no cooked jackfruit and less options for me. Will try again tonight and tomorrow, I’m sure. We walked up the road a bit to another warung that was quite hot. Jean Paul paid Rp 35 000 for both our meals.


We waited for awhile after 13:00 for Jean Paul’s motorcycle ride to Kuta and then I caught up on some computer work. I miss him already.

For dinner, I went to Warung Arema where they finally had the cooked jackfruit! I made up this great ditty about the warung and jackfruit last night when trying to sleep. Unfortunately I forgot to write the great lyrics down and have no idea what they were. If I did, I would have be singing the song in my head as I ate. My meal was Rp 29 000 and I can’t find the photo…

I went over the road to Basket, a 24 hour convenience store and looked in their freezer section for something sweet. To my utmost amazement and joy, I found my friend, Hendro’s vegan ice cream, Lu Ve Littee for sale Rp 8 000 each. I bought one of the green tea and one of the chocolate flavours. I ate one on the walk home and one when I got back. Great way to cool your mouth after hot Indonesian warung food! I then stayed up too late working out my plans for when I arrive in Malaysia late tomorrow night.

Friday 7 September – Denpasar & Serangan Island

Today I had the fried rice with vegetables for breakfast and forgot to take a photo. I also had the tea and reconstituted juice. I also had my last lunch at Warung Arema which is about a 15 minute walk away for Rp 15 000 and followed up with some ice cream from over the road.


I had organised for Anam, a guy Jean Paul and I met the other night; to take me to Denpasar on his motorbike with my backpack to meet up with my friend, Wenslaus for the afternoon before my flight to Kuala Lumpur. Anam picked me up at 14:00 and drove me to Udayana University (for Rp 100 000) in Denpasar where Wenslaus had studied tourism previously.

I dropped my backpack off where Wenslaus was staying for the week in a house at Sanglah with about 20 (!) students from Udayana University. They were all from West Papua (like Wenslaus) and were studying various things. We drove on his motorbike to an Internet café in Renon so I could print off my boarding pass and hotel info for tonight.

We drove past a few dress shops in Waturengong and we ended up going back to check them out. I tried on a few items, but most weren’t good quality and not the material I like. There was a ceremony in the street – so many ceremonies all the time over here!

Then we drove to Serangan Island (Turtle Island) where they’re getting ready for a ceremony tomorrow. We stopped to sit down opposite Benoa Bali Harbour where all the cruises come to dock.


It was a wonderful place to stop and beautiful sunset. I'm quite impressed with these photos I took!






Then we stopped at Benoa Water Sport area for a bit and drove back around the island:




Then I took a few more photos of the sun setting:





We drove to Daftar Makanan Rico’s in Sanur – a food court type area that is part of the Lotte mart shopping centre. I ordered the Gado-gado Rp 10 000


and Jus Mangga (mango juice) Rp 10 000. Not the best meal but at least I had something in my stomach for the flight to Malaysia. There were a couple of cat friends hanging around, playing with each other and various bits of paper rubbish.

cat_friend_1 cat_friend_2


Wenslaus then drove me to pick up my bag, to the airport. He walked with me into the departures area of the International airport which was lovely. I paid Rp 150 000 airport tax and due to being in Bali an extra 2 days past my visa I paid Rp 400 000. I walked around the airport until boarding after I’d checked in my backpack and then waited for my 21:20 flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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