Back in Bali

Thursday, November 23, 2017
My first visit to Bali in 2014 left me torn. On one hand I really enjoyed the beauty of the island, but on the other hand; I felt like it was so overrun by tourists, it had completely lost its Indonesia vibe.

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple on Bali, Indonesia
It's been three years and I was forcing myself to visit Bali again with renewed open-mindness. In hopes of changing my opinion and idea of Bali. Our old friend from back home; Hannah, had joined us in Bali after she finished some volunteer work in Nepal.

Sunset at Kuta Beach on Bali, Indonesia
We had planned to stay a little longer this time and try to cover some more ground to pin some needles in the map. We rented motorbike (75.000 IDR per bike) and headed north from Denpasar. Bali is infamous for its notorious underground drug mafia, which is possible because of the corrupt police force. We experienced that first-hand as we bargained a "fine" down from 2.000.000 IDR to 500.000 IDR. Corruption at its finest.

Tegenungan Waterfall on Bali, Indonesia
Eventually we arrived at our first stop; Tegenungan Waterfall. The fall itself was absolutely stunning, but the surroundings was... touristic. Several entrances fees, a lot of people and "guides" were to be found on the premises.

Goa Gajah on Bali, Indonesia
Goa Gajah was not far from Tegenungan, so we impulsively decided to make a stop there. The gardens surrounding the temple was beautiful and the temple entrance itself quite terrifying. Inside there wasn't much, but I'd definitely recommend a visit. Some of the vendors will try to sell you scarfs to cover your knees. Don't bother, a rental one comes free with the ticket.

Ubud Palace on Bali, Indonesia
Ubud has a very special vibe to it. One you feel right away as you enter the city. We stopped for refreshment at a café and visited Ubud Palace before heading off to the west coast of Bali.

Pura Batu Bolong near Tanah Lot on Bali, Indonesia
Tanah Lot was crowded. We didn't know, but we had chosen a day of celebration and ceremonies for the local hindus of Bali. We enjoyed the view to Pura Batu Bolong, where the waves came crashing in under the rocks.

Prayers at Tanah Lot Temple on Bali, Indonesia
At the water temple; Tanah Lot, the prayers were going on constantly, and the day of celebration had brought many families and friends together. They where having picnics and it was clear that the day was a day of social importance. We left just as the sun set into the ocean and quickly realized the massive amounts of traffic on the roads. We got home safe, but soaked and quite late.

The three Gili Islands seen from above, Indonesia
After a few days of relaxing in Kuta, we decided it was time for another day trip. So we headed for Gili Islands, more specifically the middle one; Gili Air.

Horse-sleighs and boats side-by-side on Gili Air, Indonesia
On Gili Air, there's where no cars, only boats and horse-sleighs. We only had a very short time there and dropped straight in the water on the south east side of the island.

Snorkeling at Gili Air, Indonesia
The marine life and the coral seabed was very much alive. Huge schools of fish included some rare surgeon fish and a few butterfly fish swam the ocean. The fish seemed curious and getting close was not a problem. Visibility was excellent and even though the weather wasn't the best the snorkel was still outstanding. On our way back from Gili Air we hit some rather rough weather, which released a chain-reaction of seasickness. Luckily for me I come from a family of sailors and had no issue with the unsteady boat.

Hannah, Joe and me at Ulun Danu Bratan Temple on Bali, Indonesia
I've always wanted to visit Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, so I was pretty keen to make it happen this time around. The trip to north Bali is quite far and cumbersome, so we hired a driver to take us around the northern parts.

Me, Hannah and Joe at Gitgit Waterfall on Bali, Indonesia
Compared to Tegenungan, Gitgit Waterfall was excessively better. We saw no tourists as we hiked the small paths between the two waterfalls in the area. The lush nature surrounding the waterfalls are full of beautiful flowers and colorful insects like butterflies and dragonflies.

Lovina Beach on Bali, Indonesia
We drove through the old capital of Bali; Singaraja before arriving in Lovina for lunch and a visit to the black sand beach.

Surfing at Kuta Beach on Bali, Indonesia
We spent the last day surfing the waves at Kuta Beach, something I really like, but I'm still a novice or a sharkbicuit as they say in Australia.

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