Friday, 30 May 2014


With a boat and A bus ride we found ourselves in Ubud; Cultural darling of Bali that in recent years got alot of attention from that Eat Pray Love book. 

For four nights we stayed in a home stay right in the centre of it all.  If someone was to ask me what I did in Ubud, my first thought would be not a lot, just chilled. However, when I look through my pictures it tells another story....

We went to the Monkey Forest

This is where tourists come to take pictures of monkeys, whilst the gang of hooligans steal anything they can and fornicate amongst forest entrapped temples. And yep I bloody loved it! Monkeys playing in water, monkeys messing with bamboo, monkeys doing what the hell they wanted. 

They even had punk monkeys -check out the Mohawk on this guy.

Although my outfit choice of the day wasn't the best, as many baby monkeys liked my skirt so much that they kept trying to pull it down.

And it turned out the temples in the complex were pretty cool and definitely worth a look. 

We relaxed with a capital R

Watching the sunset and rise from our room's balcony was pretty cool.  Over looking several family compounds (turns out no one moves out here, only sideways and up) and hearing the sound of roosters, scooters, kids playing, temple prayers and dance shows from the palace, we got a good feel from Ubud. Although I didn't like the row after row of tourist clothing shops selling overpriced hippy clothes and their aggressive owners, I did enjoy getting a massage and just getting that chilled out feeling.

View of rice fields from an Ubud Cafe.

We went to a traditional dance show

These guys can put on a show.  Great costumes ,a little humour and fantastic choreography.

Only major annoyance was this woman raising her camera every two seconds into the view of those behind her and not actually watching the show. I mean sure, I too took photos but I spent the majority of the time watching the show I payed to watch. What a doughnut.

We got fat to help others

What's better than eating the best food in the whole of Bali? Knowing that all the profits of the restaurant go to a community hospital that's what!  Wandering the streets we came across Fair Warung Bale, a restaurant set up to give Ubud's neediest medical help.  The food wasn't good; it was amazing. I actually believe it was the best we tasted in Bali! We made multiple trips during our stay in Bali.

Mosquito dusting from our balcony through out the lanes of Ubud.

We took in the sights on our way down to South Bali

As we needed to relocate to South Bali to spend some fun times with Zim's family (more on that next time!), yet still wanted to see some of the countryside and other sights, we decided to kill two birds with one stone by hiring a driver to take us to Nusa Dua and stop and stop at some sights along the way.  Our driver, Edy, was a family member of our home stay and was really chilled and helpful.  Sights included a rice terrace, Goa Gajah (elephant caves) and a really wicked temple that to my shame I can't remember the name of. Yeah I really am that lame!  By starting early we also missed the crowds and had many areas to ourselves.

Offering over rice terrace.

Bali traffic.

Walking over bamboo 'bridge' to caves-I decided to crawl...

Ancient Caves

And that was our time in Ubud.  It was touristy, it was relaxed (Except for the stupid calls for taxi as you walk passed idol drivers) and it was fun.  Then it was time spend a few days in South Bali...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Gillis

After the wedding was over and the party had disbanded, we took a boat to the Gillis; a collection of three islands off the coast of Lombok, Bali's Muslim neighbour. After a 10 minute walk along the main street we got to our accommodation, Flush Bungalows on Gilli Trawengan. I know, I too was a bit sceptacle over the name. However, the place not only came with a recommendation from a friend, a group of people we had work with on the Milford track would be meeting us there. And our lodgings were fantastic; all the mod-cons and just opposite the beach. 

Our first action on the Gillis was to get on it straight away and order long island iced teas at the bungalows beach side bar.  

Our outdoor bathroom even came with a giant gecko. I named him Bob.

There is no question Gilli T is an explosion of tourism with signs that isn't coping; In a short space of time multiple bars, restaurants, resorts and bungalows have taken over the shore line. This little stretch of land is struggling to keep up with water and electricity demands. Power cuts are so regular that most businesses have their own generator. 

The Island was busy enough for me with holiday makers and backpackers, all looking for their slice of hedonistic pleasure. I would hate to go here in high season!

However, that all said my five nights of Gilli T were amazing and one of the highlights of our stay in Indonesia. 

I think the sunsets played a big part. Living under the gaze of mountains for a year, I'd forgotten how dramatic and beautiful the end of the day can be. 

On three occasions we made our way over to the west side of the island, to watch the sun hide behind Bali and its towering volcano, Gunung Agung. The natural light show made me feel so happy that I came to this place and it was the perfect spot for a beer or cocktail.

Another reason I really enjoyed the Gillis was the snorkeling. As my sinuses have stayed blocked from a virus pre-travel, diving will have to take a step down in my priorities. Now I knew from research that its coral was in bad shape, due to dynamite fishing a generation ago. But its fish life and abundance of turtles were worth putting a rubber tube in my mouth.

Although we did pay to go on a boat to snorkeling spots around the other islands, we were all a bit put out by this expedition. Note to other tourists to the area: a cheap price will mean snorkeling with 40 other people chasing after the same turtle. The best snorkeling I had was just off shore, from the beach, on the west side. I saw lots of pretty fish and at least six different turtles.

Our group even got to get some paddle boarding in, which turns out to be pretty addictive! After five nights it was time to say goodbye to our friends, Gilli T and the sound of Bob Marley ringing through our ears. We were off to Bali's mainland! 

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