Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bali, Sengiggi, Lombok - Christmas 2009

My Christmas holiday has been more than relaxing and it has been busy and quiet at the same time.

I left for Bali with Yovita on Tuesday afternoon after she finished work. She picked me up on the way and we got to the airport for 6.30pm as our flight was the last Lion Air flight to Bali for the day. We leave at 8.30 from Jakarta and get to Bali at 11.40 (time difference etc) and so that what ok. We had hotels etc booked ready.
During the day I went and got my hair cut at Puri Mall as there is a good barbers under Carrefour but it was closed and so I had something to eat and then came back. It was heavy rain all the way there and all the way back but I did not mind.
The flight to Bali was with no surprise delayed by 90 mins which meant we would get there by 1am. Waiting at the domestic airport for that long is a challenge. They provided us with food and it helped. We had to wait for the flight from Manando then we could fly.
The flight itself was ok. We got the seats next to the emergency exit and so lots of leg room. I was asked by the stewardess if I spoke Indonesian and I said no, so she never explained when or how to open the door. Lucky there was no emergency.
Landing at Bali, we had to take a shuttle bus to the arrivals and then took a taxi to the hotel. Driving through the streets at 1.30am Kuta looked deserted and probably was.
We were staying at the new Tune Hotel in Kuta which advertised itself as cheap and safe. Neither impressed me. Greeted by a miserable receptionist who looked like she did not want to be there we checked in.

For my full review of this hotel and the others I stayed in, check the link above.

In need of food and a beer I dragged Yovita out to look for something to eat. Walking around Kuta the only people we met were men on bikes asking us if we wanted a ride, drugs or girls. I like that about Bali, everyone is so helpful.
We eventually settled in a small 24hr mart which sold food and beer and the bottle opener was in a tree outside.

2 beers and a hotdog later we went back to hotel.

The 23rd of December was a hot sunny day and showed Kuta for what it is. Touristy. Wandering down to the beach I noticed 3 things. The first was that there was no one about. The second was that the beach had been changed by man. It used to be flatter and less steep to the waves but it was still Kuta beach and thirdly there was a lot of dead fish on the beach. I later read that the fish were there due to algae in the sea which poison the fish (sardines) and they wash up there. Well it is better than the plastic that normally lies about.

We hired a bike to go exploring as I have seen Kuta beach many times and headed off out of the area. I had a Honda automatic which was easy to ride but just no fun.
We ended up in Nusa Dua which is a lovely stretch of land by the sea with white sands, flat seas and full of expensive beach resorts but still simply stunning.
It was hot there and I had noticed how hot it had become. So I went off swimming and Yovita sat under a tree.

We then rode off to a place called Dream Land. Dream land is a beautiful section of beach at the end of a well looked after area full of golf links and well maintained gardens.
The beach is quite narrow but does stretch out but the most interesting and exciting part is the fact that the waves crash into the beach with a lot of energy and feriocity and even where the there are no waves the pull of the tide back out is very strong.

The beach at Dreamland was amazing and the weather was stifling hot but ok. The clouds you can see are just clouds there was no heavy rain at all around the South West of Bali that day.
Riding back to Kuta we stopped off at the Rip Curl factory outlet where lots of clothes were up to 70% off although the styles were drab there were some bargains to be had.
Kuta was so quiet and once we had showered and changed we went out to eat and drink. Yovita went and had a Creme Bath (shampoo and massage, they are nice) while I sat in a bar and drank. That was good.

The next morning we were up before 6am as we had a ferry to catch to get to Lombok. There was heavy morning rain and so while we waited we got some food and sat about. The mini van arrived to take us to the port at Pandang Bay and so we sat in the noisy speedy thing as we dashed along the coast to the harbour.
The harbour was quite nice with some shops and restaurants and we dumped out and told to wait in a restaurant which might well have been part of the deal. Still the omlette was good.
We paid 290,000 for 2 people one way and so we bought the tickets to return as well while we were there. Waiting for the ferry, the street vendors were quite aggresive and tried to get everyone to buy rice, fruit, water etc at inflated prices.
We had arrived at 8am and the ferry arrived at 9 so the vendors had a good go and like all other forms of uncontrolled transport they followed us onto the ferry and continue to hassle us until the captain or someone told them to go away.
The ferry was a roll on roll off type and it was fairly comfortable. We sat outside in the shade looking out to sea and this was quite nice for a while. The highlight of the trip was seeing the dolphins on the way.

The ferry took about 6 hours instead of the informed 4 hours, maybe because of the weight of all the trucks it carried, maybe due to the 1.5 hour wait outside the port in Lombok as there was a queue of ferried waiting to dock but took forever.
We left Bali at 9 and got to Lombok at 3.30ish and finally found the minivan to drive us to Senggigi.

It was a long trip to take but worth it as the sea was flat and the views into Lombok were great and the sun was just enough to make the skin redden slightly.

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