My nine-day trip to Indonesia started in Bali. On day 2, I woke up at 210am to shower and was ready by 330am, the designated pick-up time. I was asleep almost the entire travel time as our driver skillfully wove through the crazy winding roads of Gitgit for more than two hours to get to Lovina Beach.
Lovina Beach is located in the northwestern part of Bali, a collection of relatively tranquil villages that are fortunate enough to have long shores, clean water blessed with coral reefs and visiting dolphins. Lovina is coined from two words, the English word “love” and the Balinese word “ina” which means “mother” (same in Filipino). So Lovina means love for mother or mother nature.
Our boatman/guide is very experienced. He chose to move outside the circle formed by dozens of boats in the area. He was a trailblazer. At first, we were the last ones to get to the site of dolphin sightings but it paid off when we were the only ones who saw the dolphins up close in isolated areas.
Here are a couple of videos of dolphin sightings at Lovina Beach, Bali (they might contain shrieks and other irritating noise 🙂 ):
After almost two hours and several dolphin sightings, we made our way back to the shore.
On our way back, the boatman showed us the coral garden and I saw two people snorkelling. From the boat I could make out huge spherical corals that had a uniform look except for that one pop of color that disappeared quickly as our boat moved faster. Snorkelling is not part of our tour and would have cost us an additional SGD27 (US $19.86) per person for 1.5 hours. We thanked our boatman and had a quick breakfast (mine was green banana pancake and hot chocolate) in the vicinity of the water.
There were vendors selling their wares on the shore. I did not bother asking the price, but they had dolphin keychains, necklaces and other accessories.
Banjar Hot Spring
We proceeded to Banjar Hot Spring, which is more than an hour drive from Lovina Beach. There were more crazy winding roads that would have been enough to make others puke or feel nauseous, but I was too sleepy and tired to notice.
The Banjar Hot Spring is situated in the middle of a jungle with public and private pools filled with sulfuric water from a volcano. According to their claims, its 37 degrees Celsius is perfect to ease some minor body ailments and for relaxation. We visited on a Sunday, so it was brimming not only with tourists but also with locals who wanted to spend time with family and friends.
Banjar Hot Spring is open from 8am to 6pm. The entrance fee for adults is IDR 5,000 (US $0.38) and IDR 3,000 (US $0.23) for children.
Kintamani/Mount and Lake Batur
This is the part that made Virg and I excited. We thought that we could hike part of the mountain or drive our way to the top. Well, we were wrong. We should have known that the time scheduled for this part of the trip was not enough to do any of those. So there was no hiking involved, only a view of Mount and Lake Batur. On our way there, we saw these traditional Balinese activities that made us roll the car windows down.
We reached the Mount and Lake Batur viewpoint just in time for lunch, and of course, the viewpoint is conveniently located in front of a restaurant. 🙂
Mount Batur is an active volcano with a 7.5-kilometer-wide caldera. The effects of its 1968 eruption are seen to this day as an undeniable lava field is seen kilometers from the volcano. Lake Batur is the largest crater lake in the island of Bali.
After taking several photos of the volcano and lake, we had lunch.
Here is a video of the traditional music (Bali, Indonesia):
Kopi Luwak/Balinese Coffee
We drove to Ubud to try Balinese tea and coffee. Before this day, I have not had a drop of coffee in my system for almost 20 years. The last time I had a cup of coffee was for an all-nighter for a biology test in high school, but that streak came to an end.
Lumbung Sari is not just a place that sells Balinese tea and coffee, it is also a garden and a mini-zoo. A tour guide gave us a short introduction about arabica and robusta coffee, kopi luwak and showed us the animals that are responsible for it. I will not delve in animal rights and such because there are other platforms better suited for these things.
Lumbung Sari’s Balinese coffee samples included Bali Coffee, Coconut Coffee, Vanilla Coffee, Ginger Coffee and Ginseng Coffee. The Bali coffee was a little bitter for my taste while the ginger coffee had a strong aftertaste. I liked coconut and vanilla coffee. I bought a 200-gram pack of Vanilla Coffee for IDR 130,000 (US $9.99). The tea samples included mangosteen, ginger, lemon, lemon grass, herbal and Rosella. I liked all of them except for the ginger tea which was a tad too much.
A short drive from Ubud is Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Bali. It is a rock formation that is exposed to the ravages of wild waves. Instead of defacing the rock formations, their interaction with water elements have made them unique and lent them a certain aura of being otherworldly. It is composed of Pura Batu Bolong and Pura Tanah Lot.
A few days before we arrived Tanah Lot, an adventurous tourist braved the stone path/stairs and was caught unawares by the waves. As of our visit, his body was not found yet. There were police (yellow tapes) in the area and a lot warnings not to venture way out to dangerous territories (just for a selfie). It was raining hard when we arrived so I was a little apprehensive in going to the areas where the waves seemed mad.
The entrance fee to Tanah Lot is IDR 30,000 (US $2.31) per person.
Nitty Gritty Details
|Particulars||Local Currency||In US Dollars|
|Plane ticket from Manila to Denpasar and from Jakarta to Manila||P12,218.31||$274.57|
|Sabatani Ways Bali by Groupon (Day 2 Tour)||P1529.00||$34.36|
|Superior Room at Ronta Bungalows for 3 nights (with hot and cold shower and includes breakfast)||P1,304.60||$29.10|
|Airport Transfer from Denpasar Airport to Ronta Bungalows and vice versa||IDR 87,500||$6.72|
|Particulars (Days 1 and 2)||Local Currency||In US Dollars|
|Various snacks and 5-liter water from M Mini Mart||IDR 70,500||$5.42|
|Dinner Day 1 (Fajar Resto along Poppies Lane II) Nasi Goreng Seafood||IDR 19,000||$1.46|
|Snacks from Breadlife (Beachwalk)||IDR 18,500||$1.42|
|Lunch Day 2 (Madu Sari) Madu Sari Fried Rice, Spring Roll French Fries and 500-ml mineral water + tip||IDR 75,000||$5.76|
|Dinner Day 2 (Fajar Resto) Mie Goreng Seafood||IDR 19,000||$1.46|
|Tip to the boatman||IDR 50,000||$3.84|
|Tip to the driver||IDR 80,000||$6.15|
|Magnum Ice Cream (Caramel and Chocolate and Pomegranate)||IDR 26,500||$2.04|
|Various Souvenirs bought along Legian Street||IDR100,000||$7.68|
Ronta Bungalows: Legian Street Poppies Lane II, Kuta, Bali. Phone Number (0361)754246. It is newly-renovated, clean and just five minutes from Kuta Beach (on foot). They have friendly and accommodating staff.
Sabatani Ways: www.sabataniways.com. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Phone Numbers (+62)8975495866, (+62)3617863737 or (+62)3613641812. They provide spacious cars with friendly and well-informed driver who arrives on time. We hired the driver for four days.