Tag Archives: mountains

Around Bali in 5 days

So here goes. I’ll share with you exactly where we went to, what we did and some places that you shouldn’t miss! Be warned that it’s going to be a rather long post 🙂

Day 1 – From Jimbaran to Amed

Our journey started form Jimbaran where we have stayed throughout our visit to Bali. I pre-booked the accommodations through Booking.com a few days before. Since I have used their site so much in the past half a year I have gained some special status so all the costs for accommodations were really inexpensive :). Either way here are the places we visited on day 1

  • Tegallalang rice terrace – a beautiful deep valley with precision placed rice fields. A beautiful sight but it can be really touristy_MG_4659jpeg
  • Gunung Kawi temple – temple carved out from stone cliffs. Differs from a lot of temples in Bali so would recommend a visit_MG_4678jpeg
  • Tukad Cepung waterfall – this is something different from all the other waterfalls we’ve seen so far. To get to the waterfall itself you have to walk through a rather deep valley which is filled with about half a meter of water. But the walk and the waterfall itself are definitely worth a visit. Just be prepared to get wet!_MG_4683jpeg
  • Mountain road of Lempuyang Luhur – magnificent scenery of the mountains and jungle. You can also get a great view of the sleeping giant Mount Agung itself!_MG_4684jpeg

Amed itself is a laid-back town with a quiet atmosphere, beautiful black-sand beaches for snorkeling and more than enough places to stay for the night and grab a delicious meal. It’s hugely popular among divers (as are most of the places in northern side of Bali). All this adds up to a great place where to stay when visiting Bali. We spent the night at Fun Divers resort which is a really nice place with everything you need.

Day 2 – from Amed to Lovina

  • Snorkeling at Amed beach – just a few meters form the shoreline a magnificent underwater world unveils. One of the best places to snorkel in Bali_MG_4697jpeg.jpg
  • Discovering the wreck of US Liberty at Tulamben – this was quite an experience. In order to get a better view of the wreck you need to go diving (it’s the most popular diving spot in whole Bali) but you can also see quite much while just snorkeling. In some sense it was quite terrifying to see this huge ship laying in the bottom of the ocean and being slowly devoured by it. Sadly I have no pictures of it, it’s something that you just have to go and see for yourself! You can read more about the ship from here.
  • Mount Batur and Lake Batur – in order to get there from the shoreline you will end up in a narrow mountain road that will literally lead you into the clouds! This was definitely the most frightening road I’ve ever driven on with huge drops and steep curves! In several places the road itself was carried away by flood waters. But the adventure was memorable! The views to the clouds and valleys below were just breathtaking. And in the midst of all this there were people living – going to school, building a house, farming on 50 degree slopes and so on :). When you arrive at the lake it’s also quite a sight. It just feels like you’re in a some sort of magical village that lies in the clouds. At least it was like that when we were there. It’s definitely advisable to go inland between the mountains every once in while, not to just stay in the main seaside road._MG_4701jpeg.jpg

Lovina-Singaraja area is much more busy and noisier place compared to Amed and Pemuteran (due to the fact that Singaraja is the second largest city on the island). It’s hugely popular for dolphin watching but this time we decided to skip that. It will be in our plans for future travels :). We spent the night at Puspa Rama Pondok Wisata which was ok, but nothing special.

I must warn you that if you plan to visit more mountainous areas be ready to get a little bit wet. All the warm air that comes from the ocean gets colder when hitting the mountains and pours down as a rainfall. The air up there is much more damper, colder and it rains much more. So even if at the beach the sun is shining just an half an hour drive to the mountains and it’s raining.

Secondly be prepared to climb a lot of stairs. And I mean A LOT! There’s a staircase leading to almost every beach, waterfall, mountain temple and any sightseeing place out here. And they are not small ones. So climbing a few thousand stairs in a day (I’m not exaggerating) can be quite normal here 🙂

Day 3 – from Lovina to Pemuteran

  • Our first stop was Aling-Aling waterfall. It’s actually a set of many consecutive waterfalls with a beautiful river connecting them. Highly recommend to visit! It’s also very popular for cliff diving and sliding down the various slopes of the waterfalls._MG_4719jpeg.jpg
  • Banjar Hot Spring – there are numerous hot springs located all over Bali but this one caught our attention. The entrance fee was very reasonable (20.000 rupiah per person) compared to many other similar places and it had everything you need from a large swimming pool to smaller baths and even water-massages. The water is a constant 38 degrees Celsius so it’s like being in a nice and warm bath 🙂

Pemutaran is a really nice place with beautiful mountains, beaches with totally see-through water and also this kind of laid back atmosphere. We spent the night at D&D Dive Center/Trijaya Guesthouse and honestly it was one of the best places we’ve stayed! I really really recommend this place – staff was very friendly and helpful, everything was clean, breakfast and all other foods (there’s also a restaurant) were delicious, the bathroom/shower looked like being in a tropical rainforest and all of that for the same money as having a proper dinner for two (here in Bali). It was so nice that we actually decided to stay for one more night although the original plan was to drive on.

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Day 4 – spending time around Pemuteran

After 3 days on a scooter it was really good to have a quieter day. As said before scooter is still meant for smaller drives, not discovering the whole world 🙂

  • Snorkeling at Pemuteran beach – it’s like being in an underwater museum. Honestly, it’s nothing that I’ve ever seen before. In order to get corals growing back in the beach again they decided to make several metal/concrete sculptures and drop them near the beach at about 5-10m deep water. It’s actually working and the sea life has started using these as their homes and more and more sculptures have been dropped. It looks like an underwater exhibit. Marine life is very colorful here so it’s a place that shouldn’t be missed!
  • The most beautiful place that I’ve ever been to – more about it in tomorrow’s post 🙂

Actually the best place for snorkeling in Bali is considered to be Menjangan island but since it’s a part of the National park it’s quite expensive to get there (tours starting around 1mln rupiah per person). They don’t want to let too much people in the park (which is totally understandable) in order to preserve wildlife. Nevertheless if you have the opportunity to go there it’s definitely worth it, I’ve heard only good things about it!

Day 5 – driving back home to Jimbaran

It was going to be a long day on the scooter and after the morning swim/snorkeling we headed off. There was no place particular we planned to stay but I’d like to bring out Balian beach once more. We stayed there before while visiting a friend but the Balian Beach Surf Camp is a truly nice place to stay for the night while listening to relaxing waves, surfing or just chilling by the sea or having a delicious dinner at the local cafe.

One more thing that is quite rare in Bali is driving on a road where there are no houses or villages near you. Most of Bali is quite densely populated and even if you’re not in a village or town as such there are still almost always some houses by the road. But when driving on the road towards Gilimanuk near the National park you can truly get miles of road basically without any inhabitance at all. It’s supported by a very beautiful green scenery on both sides of the road 🙂

One last final thing – if you can, avoid the main highway coming from Gilimanuk heading towards Denpasar. I know that a lot of times it’s just not possible since it’s the only road there is! But in some places you have an option to take some detours or use smaller roads. The reason for this is that the traffic there is quite dense, the road surface can be very uneven in some parts but the most terrible of them all are the huge trucks that use this road in order to carry massive loads between bigger cities. Most of these trucks should have been retired 30 years ago but they load them up with about 50 tons of cargo and then try to get up of all the steep hills on the road. The result of this is that every time they do that a MASSIVE cloud of black smoke comes out of their exhaust and directly to your face! In addition the maximum speed going up the hill is about 15 kph so you just have to go through the cloud of black cancer. I’d seriously advise to use face masks when driving on this road with a scooter. Could save some days of your life 🙂

Hopefully you found some value in this post and congratulations to everyone who made it to the end :)! Next post coming up already tomorrow!

All the best!

Lauri

An awesome scooter driving road and a magical waterfall

Yesterday we went to visit a friend of mine who’s been living in Bali for the past 4 months. His place is about 2-2,5 hours drive from our accommodation so it was quite a journey. Getting there was without a hassle but driving back home in the dark was quite an interesting experience. Wouldn’t want to do it too often :).

The area that he is staying is called Balian beach and it’s quite remote place with not many people moving around. Beach is covered with beautiful sparkling black volcanic sand and there’s a nice place to eat right near the sea. Food is delicious and prices are very reasonable :). After lunch we drove around in the area, discovered a cave with thousands of bats and majestic cliffs and rocks carved by the sea through the years.  But the main highlight of the day was definitely a perfect scooter driving road and the walk to nearby waterfall. Honestly, if all roads would be like this, I would just keep on driving with a huge smile on my face until I’m out of gas since it’s quite difficult to imagine a more scenic place. The narrow but with a perfectly smooth surface road winds through mountains, jungles, majestic views to rice terraces and small villages. All the people by the road greet you with smiles and children want to high-five you :). There’s hardly any traffic and all this combines into one of the best driving experiences ever!

scooter heaven

At one point when you’re nearing the waterfall the scooter-friendly (if I say scooter friendly I mean about 1m wide narrow pathway between rice fields) ends and a picturesque walk begins. You most likely will get muddy, there’s a lot of climbing and balance exercises but the road and the views are totally worth it, not even mentioning the magical waterfall that waits you in the end. Since it’s quite off the grid and not easily accessible there was nobody there besides ourselves and I presume that it’s the case most of the time. So now don’t you all go flocking there together :). You can have a refreshing swim and just enjoy the nature at it’s finest. A truly memorable experience is guaranteed! You can really fall in love with Bali like this…

But as usual it’s best to see it with your own eyes (even if it’s through a laptop or a mobile screen). So here’s the third video of Bali 🙂

 

Driving around Langkawi

4 days ago we rented a scooter to have a proper look of the island. There are 2 bigger areas on Langkawi – one is the main city Kuah and the other is the tourist area Pantai Cenang near where we are located. And the rest of the island is full of smaller towns, villages, beautiful mountains, beaches, rice fields, forests and jungle. In some way (of course besides the mountains and jungle 🙂 ) it reminds my of an island called Saaremaa back home. Beautiful scenery, laid-back atmosphere and just an overall relaxing place to be. Since for some reason accommodation is not so cheap here compared to many other regions of SE Asia our hostel is maybe not the dream place to stay but in the big picture it doesn’t matter. Because when you get on your scooter and start driving around then you have to be really careful to watch the road since you find yourself constantly in awe of the surrounding nature.

By now we have basically made a full circle around the island and discovered some very picturesque places. For instance I highly recommend to visit Gunung Raya mountain which is the highest peak in Langkawi and easily accessible with a scooter or a car. On top of the hill there’s a a viewing tower (RM 10 entrance fee) from where you can see magical 360 views of the whole island (since the mountain is situated right in the middle of Langkawi).

Secondly one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been are just a bit north from the mountain at Tanjung Rhu. The sand is white, water is blue (although still not as clear as in Phuket) and there are not much people around due to it’s remote location. Of course there are still some top-notch resorts located there and some local villages but still it’s really quiet. The beach actually consists of 2 parts but I’d recommend to visit both of them. We will definitely go back there in a few days!

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Thirdly a must see place also located in the northern part of the island is Temurun waterfall where a small stream comes down from a rather high cliff into a beautiful clear water pool continuing it’s way through the forest. It’s actually quite easy to miss since there are not many signs around but when you look at the google maps you’ll find it.

By the way scooter rental here is 20 ringgit a day (about 4€) and one liter of gas is around 2,3 ringgit (about 0,48€) so driving around is really inexpensive! You have to be careful about the police though. Sometimes they like to put up roadblocks and check the documentation and as in Thailand to 100% legally drive a scooter you need a A category licence since scooters here are much more powerful.

Tomorrow we plan to visit Langkawi Cable car and Skybridge which are probably the main attractions on the island. More about that in the next posts :)!

Doi Suthep – beautiful temples, magical views and picturesque nature

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Chiang Mai area really has a beautiful nature. Just outside the city Doi Suthep mountain, temple and natural park are waiting to be visited. Today we spent most of the day there. Straight in the morning we hired a songthaew (local red coloured pick-up truck where there are 2 benches in the back, used for everyday transport) which took us up the hill to the temple. The temple itself was also gorgeous but the main attraction is still the view to the city and neighbouring mountains and villages. After looking around for a while we went for a little hike to the main viewpoint, the nearby village and the waterfall. It seemed that everyone else was either riding a scooter, driving a car or sitting in the back of a songthaew. But as said before we like walking. It has had quite an effect, during the 10 days in Thailand I have already lost 5kg’s and I definitely have stronger leg muscles :). But the views from the mountainside were something special (there will be a lot of pictures coming to my Instagram/FB + also a video). And so was the nature, we had never been in such a jungle before. Greenery, bamboos, beautiful flowers and trees everywhere. And some sort of funny insects (we presume cicadas) who live in the treetops and make really really strong electric alien voices. You just have to hear it to understand! We also passed by Hmong village where you should supposedly see how the local culture of the tribes living in those mountains look likes. But it still was greatly a touristy place. Nevertheless the village was interesting to see and a short walk from the village a picturesque Doi Suthep waterfall and flower garden was located. Once again would definitely recommend a visit!

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On the way back from the mountain our driver stopped at a small temple middle way down to the mountain. Right next to temple was this beautiful waterfall and all in all this was one of the most beautiful temples and locations we have been so far. It seemed that the reason why we stopped was that one monk (who was also in our songthaew) wanted to go there for a moment. And how could you say no to that. Either way we were very happy that we had an opportunity to see this place :).

Besides these adventures we went to the cinema and one of the biggest shopping malls in the city yesterday. We took a long walk through the city to catch a glimpse of how the locals are living. So on the way we saw for example a woman walking her goat with a nice pink collar near downtown Chiang Mai. Why not! 🙂

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The movie which went to see was Blade Runner 2049. It was pretty good although rather dark. But the ticket was 100 baht each (about 2,55€) and the cinema was really fancy. More like being in a theatre, not watching a movie. And who doesn’t know yet – before every movie in Thailand anthem is played and you have to stand up to show respect.

Shopping mall was huge. Really can’t compare shopping malls in Estonia to the ones in here. Every one of them has at least 5-6 floors and numerous shops and dining areas. After the movies we went for the first non-local food so to say and had a pizza. It was good but compared to local dishes very expensive.

I can say already that if you plan to visit Thailand, definitely come and see Chiang Mai :).

Once again sending sunshine back home!