15 Feb 2019
50 Pictures from a 3 week stay in Bali
24th April to May 16th, 2018
Seems like a long time ago. I and Shyjal visited Bali in Indonesia. It was a vacation plus “work-whenever-possible” kind of a trip. A lot of things happened that made the trip memorable to me. Writing about all of them down would be insane. Let me share the story of our journey in 50 photos in no particular order.
I never knew such an airline existed in the first place. Maybe that’s because I never travelled to this part of the world before. In Bali, Denpasar is the airport you land in. The landing strip actually stretches into the ocean and this made the landing experience a unique one. We could literally see the waves splashing by the side as the plane made the touchdown. A perfect entrance to Bali!
2. Vertical House
This was our first stay in Bali and possibly one of the best. I am not sure, why it is named “vertical”. It is situated high up on a cliff and you get a good view of the city and the ocean. The hosts, Paz and Andrea were very welcoming. Andrea runs a surf school and most of the inhabitants were his students.
3. English Breakfast Tea
I did not pose for this photo. No, I didn’t. I was busy taking down notes of the trip. Anyway, this picture was taken at La Pasion, a beautiful cafe with ambient music and a pool in the middle. We should have visited this cafe in the night because they have some really good jams.
4. Bali Pose
He did pose for this one. This is taken from Pandawa Beach. You can see how shallow the ocean is and in the distance, the waves are just gliding over. They only come close to the sandy beach at high tides. This makes it easy for us to walk for long distances. The place where you walk may have sharp objects. So you have to be careful about that. But it’s a unique experience you won’t get in the other beaches of Bali.
Beach Cat House
Another place you should check out in Airbnb. This place is called the “Beach House”, but it should have rather been called a “Cat House”. They have 3-4 furry big beautiful cats that demand to be pet. Plus the house is well decorated. We got to meet other fellow travellers here.
6. Just Before Sunrise
This was the scenery that awaited us at the top of Mount Batur. It was an early morning hike to top, not a difficult one. This is one place that was on top our list. We reached the top, moments before the sunrise and just waited and waited for the first sun beams to shine through the clouds.
7. That Rich Feeling!
One Indian rupee is 180 Indonesian Rupiah. This means when we convert our money, we are going to get a lot of cash, a lot. Just for a second, you feel like you are a billionaire. Then the next moment, you realize that one meal can cost up to 60,000 IDR. So there goes that feeling!
8. Half Blue Half Orange
This picture speaks for itself doesn’t it? This was somewhere close to the Kuta beach. Its very long and lined with restaurants facing the ocean. Each restaurant had something special offer to by their side of the beach. There was a Balinese dance show and after sunset, we even got a distant glimpse of the Balinese fire show.
9. Angel Billabong
This is from Nusa Penida, an Island to the South-East of Bali. You have to book a cruise service from the main island, in advance to reach there. There are many places to see in Nusa Penida, but the Angel Billabong is at the top. The ocean that day looked a bit rough, with waves splashing high. And that almost cast a rainbow, which you can see in the picture.
10. Broken Beach
This is the second spot from Nusa Penida, which is a must visit. It is at walking distance from Angel Billabong. It’s almost felt like a part of the beach was trapped by the cliffs. It almost looks like a scene from a Pirate movie. We tried capturing the entire broken beach from different angles, but this is the best we could come up with.
11. The Endless Walk
Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the three islands to the south of Bali. It’s sandwiched between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. While going to Ceningan, we saw this clean ocean by the side of the road. Apparently, this part of the sea between Lembongan and Ceningan was very shallow and you can literally walk on it for miles and miles. Imagine that, walking endlessly into a sea!
12. Most Expensive Coffee
Kopi Luwak is said to be the world’s most expensive coffee. But if you go to the place where they are made, you can grab it for the price of a regular coffee. You can’t see it in the pictures. But you can get it from the coffee plantations of Tegalalang. They were very welcoming and offered us free samples of everything they produce and also showed us how the coffee is made. BTW the Luwak Coffee was extremely powerful. It just took away all the drowsiness I had from my travel.
13. Temple of Enthusiasm
There are a lot a beautiful cafes and restaurants in Canggu. But at the heart of it all, you will find Deus Ex Machina. We just bumped into as we were driving by in the night. There was a crowd gathering there, listening and dancing to the live music show. It’s a place where motorcycles and fine dining meet in the middle of a rice field. Another place worth mentioning from Canggu is Dojo Bali, an exquisite co-working space for digital nomads.
14. Gates of Heaven
This not the shot from the Gates of Heaven at Pura Lempuyang temple. We didn’t go there. But you will find these temple gates in almost all parts of Bali, regardless of whether there is a temple or not. These pointy triangular gates does demand your attention. There is another one at Handara which is easier to visit.
15. Working from Cafes
When you have a company to run and still wants to travel at the same time, then these cafes become your best friend. Fortunately, Bali has some of the best cafes, I have seen. The WiFi is strong plus the food is just excellent as well. We had never been disappointed with the taste anywhere. Every day it was a new space for working and it gave us this rekindled energy to work forward.
16. Sun Lights up the Road
You have a clear empty road. Trees surround you on both sides, casting their long dark shadows. Then slowly you see a light at the end of the tunnel, almost adding a Sepia effect on the frame. That’s what this picture reminds me of. It’s one of those “live-in-the-moment” things that you just have to capture to write it to your memory permanently.
17. Green Green Everywhere
I am from Kerala, God’s own country. We have rice fields and greenery everywhere. And I never thought I would take the photo of a rice field. But what’s different in Bali is that these fields are not on a plane surface. They have squared the hilly earth with these fields and made them look extravagant. The high rise gives you a better view of their efforts.
18. Water Sports @ Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is the place to be at, if you want to do some water sports. There are all kinds of activity going on this place; jet skiing, parasailing, banana boat ride and more. A fun place to roam about as well. You can also just sit by and watch all the other people trying to do their stunts and failing. For the non-daring folk, you can opt to do boating in their modified fisherman boats.
19. It’s a Bird..It’s a Boat
Actually, it’s a kite. Being surrounded by beaches, there is a lot wind activity in Bali. You can see kites soaring in the sky, not just on the beaches, but inside the mainland as well. Some of these are shaped as huge flags or birds. I remember seeing one every time I looked up in the sky.
20. Swing Over the Waves
Swings are a thing in Bali. This one is from Nusa Lembongan. Drive over to the Mangrove Forest in the North and you will find the Agung Beach Club. As you walk by the side, you will see other seating arrangements that they have made in the shallow ocean. There is also another famous Bali Swing in Ubud. It’s costly IMHO. There are other places to swing by in Uma Dunga to do the swing.
21. Yummy Crunchy Delicious
I am talking about the food in Bali. I am merely going to write down the must-tries. No room to mention all of them. Over to the top left, we have the Fried Red Snapper served with a plate of white rice from Warung Jungle. To the right, we have the Seafood Platter from Fish & Co Samasta. The place also has a great ambience. If you are trying Street Food, don’t forget to try Martabak. It’s called the King of Indonesian Street Food.
22. Before the Disembark
This reminds of our boat ride from Nusa Penida to back to Sanur Port. It costs about 150K IDR per person. During the return trip, something jammed the engines and we were left floating in the middle of the ocean for some time. It was not a panic scene, just a typical day for the boat employees. Things were sorted pretty fast. Here you can see one of them getting ready to lower the anchor to stop the boat.
23. The Best Sunrise
I can’t forget this view from Nusa Lembongan. We had booked our stay at Bukit Ancak Lembongan Villa from Airbnb (All our stays were in Airbnb BTW). This picture says a lot. An infinite pool overlooking the island of Ceningan; a gentle mist floating over the ocean; the sun slowly making it’s way up, cutting through the trees. It was calm, pristine and surreal.
24. Misty Waterfall
Looks absolute, doesn’t it! Felt the same way too. Shyjal did a great job capturing this one. This is from the Air Terjun waterfall close to Munduk. You won’t feel like leaving this place, once you reach there (until you get the point where you get drenched from the mist). There are other waterfalls in Munduk, but the local guides (we prefer calling them mafia) will not you go there without a guide. Some of them need a good amount of trekking as well.
25. Strange Surprises
Sometimes you stumble into a deserted beach. Yes, that can happen in Bali. This was one of those places. It’s part of Padang Padang Beach, but not in the map. There, instead of sand, you will find a smooth rock formation trapping the water from the waves. You can also a large piece of rock that has split its way from the Mainland. We also found also a secret place of worship opposite to that rock. I guess, if you roam around too much, you will find such surprises.
26. Choice of Transport
Throughout our stay in Bali, we rented bikes. They cost about 50K to 70K IDR per day. You will get helmets from them and the bike will be loaded with a full tank. You simply have to return the bike on a full tank. The roads are filled with two-wheelers. They are also the default choice for surfers because they can easily hook their surfboard to the side. Just a warning - do wear helmets in the city, because the fines are enormous!
27. Tyrannosaurus Rex
Doesn’t this look like the resting place of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? This is actually the top view of Kelingking beach. This place is out of the world, because of the height of these cliffs. If you are not careful, you can easily fall down. There is a rocky stairway to the bottom. However, as we were descending, we were stopped by a few local people. They said the tide was rising and a tourist was in danger of drowning. We could see them (the locals), racing to the bottom. Last we heard, they were able to reach him on time. He hit his head while swimming and lost consciousness. If the locals were late, the waves would have swept him away. The bottom line is you don’t know when or where accidents can happen.
28. Cooling off
Our daily routine in Bali, in brief, would be: have breakfast, find places to visit, route the map, take the bike out, find cafes to dine where we can also work, then crash back at the place where we stayed. Most days we would end up on a different beach to enjoy the sunset. This one is in Kuta. Just sitting back and taking it all in.
29. Rocks Balanced
You can find stacks of rocks balanced in many places. I am not sure who started it or if it has any cultural significance. Perhaps it was the Balinese people or it may be the tourist’s doing. Whatever the case may be, this art transforms a normal rocky terrain into something of more value.
30. Beef Satay
This is another food item that I forgot to mention. Satay is sweet peanut sauce. What you see here is Beef grilled in Satay over charcoal. It was the first time, I ate meet with a sweet flavour. The first bites were crunchy and yummy, but as you dig in, the sweet taste gets to your head. It’s a traditional dish and I would recommend you to try it.
31. The Best Sunset
The Single Fin Cafe in Uluwatu is the place to be if you want to watch one of the finest sunsets in Bali. We read a lot of reviews about it before going to the place. In fact we reached an hour before the sunset to book seats. I can still replay the whole scene in my head as I am writing this down. The music, the ambience, the smiling faces; it is definitely one of those experiences that we can’t forget.
32. Python on the Road
We were on an early morning ride to Beratan Temple. It’s an uphill road and it was freezing. We decided to take rest and take a picture of the valley and we randomly stumbled upon a street performer. He had this reticulated python and a few other animals on the road for a show. Apparently, these are random things you bump on the roads in Bali. Nothing special about it.
33. Titanic Sea Cliffs
I use the word “Titanic” to express the sheer size of some of the cliffs you can see at Bali. I am not sure which is the better view, the view from the top of the cliff or the one from down. This was taken from Tembeling Beach. It doesn’t capture the depth of it altogether. But I can say that the small rock you see in the middle of the ocean is at least the height of a 50-story building. Now you do the scaling!
34. Only 700 steps
If you goto Peguyangan waterfall, there you will find the famous Blue Stairs of Nusa Penida. Legend has it that there are 700 steps and a freshwater pool at the bottom. We don’t know for sure though! Because we never went down all those steps. I can imagine going down that many steps, but not climbing them back. Let’s just say, our itinerary was jam-packed for that day. Do share your experience, if you tried that.
35. Paradise for Surfers
If you look closely, you will see tiny dots on the surface of the ocean. Surfers they are, plenty of them. I was really jealous that I couldn’t do what they were doing. It’s great watching them play with the waves. They race with the waves, struggling to find their balance. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail. But always, always they finish off with a smile. Plenty of surfing schools in Bali to learn this stuff, but I guess guys like me should learn swimming first.
36. A Temple in the Middle of the Ocean
Tanah Lot is amazing. It’s a temple situated on rocky formations way into the ocean. When the tide rises, you can’t go to this place, because the pathways are submerged. It’s a pretty crowded tourist spot and the best time to visit is close to sunset. You can’t enter the temple unless you are a devotee.
37. Tegenungan Waterfall
This is situated in Sukawati. You have to trek a bit to get close to the waterfall. The beginning of the trek starts with this view. It almost looks like it was taken from a Drone, doesn’t it? As you get closer, you get to see how big this waterfall is. The volume of water was very high and is it goes down, most of it becomes mist or drizzles away.
38. The Lost Boy
Another day, another beautiful sunset at Devil’s Tear. You can’t capture this place in pictures, because it’s all about the rough sea and the shapes that have been carved on the rock. They have literally torn the surface. Everyone was just sitting there as the sun started to sink down when a lone boy appears out of now where and stands very close to the edge of the rock. No parents or anyone to stop him. Just like a free bird or perhaps a lost boy in Bali.
39. Edge of Ceningan
If you goto the south of Ceningan, you will find a lot of rocky cliffs. The ocean is a bit turbulent here. Boats don’t ride there. It looks like a large a whirlpool and when the roaring waves hit these cliffs, they crash, lets out a cry and go up anywhere from 10 to 20 feet in the air; then it rains down upon you. That’s what that guy in the picture is about to experience.
40. Lake Buyan
This is one of the largest lakes in Bali. The highway is built around it. It rises in altitude as we go north. So the view just gets better and better. It has a sister lake close by and at one point, you can get a 180-degree view of both. It’s on the way to Munduk. A lot of small hotels on the way and they have built these human-sized nests by the road that you can dine in. Not easy to miss.
41. Waterfall inside a Cave
There is a waterfall called Tukad Cepung which is inside a cave. It’s a jungly experience. You have to walk along a trail for a few kilometers and take a steep stairway. You will be able to hear the rumbling sound of the fall, but will not able it to see from the top. The cavern takes its narrow twists and slowly opens up. It keeps the surprise going till the last moment. The light seeps through the jungle above into the cave, shining on the waterfall and that is a sight to savour.
42. Upside Down World
When you have visited a lot of natural places, you can change it up by visiting this place. It’s an Instagram worthy destination. Just a regular house with all tables, chairs, sofa and kitchen items turned upside and fixed on the roof. And when you take a photo, it looks like you have acrobatically conquered gravity.
43. Conquering a Volcano
Climbing on top of Mount Batur to see the sunrise is in everyone’s bucket list. A lot of things happened on this day and I can write a complete blog on it. If you are planning to go there, don’t miss this. Leave early or you will miss the sunrise. There are two points. The last part may be more demanding, but clearly worth it. You can’t go there without a guide. We tried a lot of other options, but the local mafia is very strong. Ask your guide, if you can take your scooter till the last parking area, else you have to walk on flat earth for a long time. BTW the place may be open or close depending on the activity of the volcano.
44. Blue Lagoon
The sand and limestones mix together nicely to give this place it’s bluish color. This is in Nusa Ceningan. From the top, it almost seems as if the land is clutching a perfect circle of the ocean with two hands. As the waves reside from the sand, it leaves a trail of white foam. Clearly a feast for one’s eyes.
45. Yellow Bridge
This bridge connects Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It’s the only way to get across the two islands by-means of road. From our stay in Lembongan, we could get a good view of this one. Ceningan Island is very small in size. We could cover almost all the spots in just one day. I should also mention that one-half of the road is not done properly and it was a pretty bumpy ride.
46. She Screamed
Pandawa Beach is in the south tip of Bali. It’s a major tourist spot with lots of activities and hotels nearby. There is a special parking place just for the tourist buses that come there. We reached there at around 3 pm and it was low tide time. So you can actually walk about a 100 meters into the ocean. Here the ground is covered with what looks like the remains of a coral reef. And you can see people picking up shells and other fancy things. That’s when I heard a Balinese lady, close to me, let out a scream. I thought something bit her. Well, it was a scream of joy. She was picking up different types of starfishes for her aquarium when she happened to find this puffer fish. Scary, but cute.
47. Shopping Insights
Shopping in Bali is not very expensive (from my perspective). You can buy t-shirts or other decorative items for a nominal price. Some good places, I would recommend for shopping - Samastha Lifestyle Village in Jimbran, Shops near Rice Terrace in Tegallalang, Pandawa Beach has some touristy items, antique stores near Tanah Lot and of course the Art Market in Ubud.
48. Water Blows
A place where water blows up. That’s the best way to describe these spots. Water is pushed into a hole and the sheer force of the waves gets magnified as the space becomes narrower, spitting the water out high into the air. This one is from South Kuta. For me, it’s these pointy rocks that are more interesting. Not sure, what they are made up of. They are brittle but sharp. You have to be careful where you place your footing.
49. Stays In Bali
Try to avoid hotels. Choose Airbnb, that’s the best advice I can give. You can get better deals and examine more detailed reviews before booking a place. Sometimes you get hotels, other times it is someone’s home. When you stay with the locals, you get a better Balinese experience. You will get tips that no search engine can give you. The above picture is of our stay from Kampung Jimba.
50. Bye Bye Bali
We shall miss the waves, the sunsets, the mountains, the lakes, the food and the friendly people of Bali. They have a mix of everything there. Definitely worth a holiday. Do check the volcanic activity in Bali before you plan your trip.
That’s all folks! Looking forward to hearing your travel stories.
Do share your comments below