One of the first things we noticed while driving through Bali(apart from great beaches and unbelievably yummy food) are the penjors(pronounced panyor). A penjor is basically a long tapered bamboo pole that is made to stand vertically on the ground by the roadside, and decorated with coconut leaves. Due to their length of more than ten metres, they droop charmingly over the pavement like an ancient street lamp.
We went from South Bali to North West to extreme east to central and it almost felt like these penjors were laid out to welcome every person passing through the streets. There was something about these penjors that emitted happiness which you could see on the faces of everybody passing by.
The best thing that happened to us through this trip is Made(pronounced Ma De) – We met him afte Nick from Mayo Resort (we stayed here) recommended him to us. He drove us from South Bali to North West Bali through beautiful temples, lakes, coffee plantation, strawberry farms and great conversations. Made became our buddy, someone we called every single time we had to travel over 100kms. We got so comfortable with him that we would leave all our bags with belongings in the car when we went to experience a place. So much so, that when we had to go to the neighbouring island – Lembongan, we left all our belongings and souvenirs with Made and only took stuff needed for our stay there.
Bali – B for Barrse – Clean, A – Aman – Safe, L for Lastare – beautiful forever and I for Indah – nice to see. Here’s Bali for you 🙂
Day 1 – After a brief visit to our friends in Kuala Lumpur(we were severely jet lagged, something about moving in the opposite direction of earth rotation), we reached Denpasar, the main and only airport in Bali on Aug 13 at 7:00 PM. We took the airport taxi to go to Grandmas Hotel – Seminyak. The room here ends before it starts but its proximity to the beach (and affordability) makes it very convenient. The walk to La Plancha (recommended by many blogs and Lonely Planet) was through this beach with shacks and restaurants who had placed beanbags, colourful umbrellas and lights on the beach. There is uniformity across which makes the entire setting look so beautiful. I loved sitting here and watching the sea and just soaking in the fact that I will be able to experience all the places I had read about 🙂 🙂
Day 2 – Next morning when we felt comfortable and not jet lagged, we again walked to Seminyak beach for breakfast and then hired a bike and headed towards Nusa Dua. This ride is through a really long sealink and a must do I would say! Nusa Dua is where we first saw white sand and blue waters. For someone who has hardly travelled abroad(me) and has never seen such blue waters it’s a huge deal I’m sure. After lazily walking around the beach for some time, our guidebook – The Lonely Planet recommended lunch at Nusa Dua Beach Grill. It was a bit of a search but it is so totally worth it. Our first exposure to Indonesian food was grand and both of us being such foodies, fell in love with it almost instantly. We relished the calamari rings, prawns with mango sauce, chicken with cucumber and nasi campur, all this while watching the sea 🙂
We headed towards Uluwatu Temple for sunset. The place has a lot of tourists and monkeys but it is still an experience. The walkway from one end to the other makes enjoying Uluwatu convenient. The sunset here is gorgeous and the colours add to the beauty of this temple on a cliff. We missed the Kecak Dance performance as we had not booked in advance. We then rode to Jimbaran Beach for dinner. On map it looks like it’s only 2kms away but on road it took us about an hour because you have to move away from the coast, enter a village and then come back towards the sea. Dinner at Jimbaran Bay was yet another wonderful experience. There are over 200 tables laid out perfectly on the beach with candle lights on all of them. The seafood served here was sumptuous and we left when the waves reached our table!
Day 3 – We missed the sunrise at Tanah Lot but still it made for a beautiful morning! Our bike ride to Tanah Lot was through the rich rice terraces of Tabanan.
On return, we checked out of Grandmas Seminyak and headed up north. Made charted out our itinerary for us and our first stop was the famous Pura Taman Ayun. The logic behind the several layers in these structures is based on caste. 11 would mean it is a Bramhana temple, and lesser would mean Vaishya, khsatriya, shudra accordingly.
Taman Ayun is surrounded by a beautiful park and breezy places resting spots. Our next stop was a coffee estate where we tasted various unique teas and coffees. We also had the world-famous Kopi Luwak 🙂
We were gaining altitude by now and our stop for lunch was at Pachung, before Bedugul. Jeevan tried the suckling duck here. Soon we were at probably one of the most beautiful temples in Bali – Pura Ulun Danu. This temple is by a huge lake which makes for a perfect magical setting.
The drive through Lake Buyan and Tambinglan was chilly and misty. Getting some sun here felt so good and we enjoyed our time on the hillside watching the lakes from top.
We reached Seririt when the sun was almost down, but as we drove past the sea to enter Mayo Resort, we instantly fell in love with the place. Mayo has this greek influence in its decor, it has a gorgeous pool overlooking the black sand and blue ocean. We checked in and immediately jumped into the pool. And the best thing happened. I managed to swim (Never done it in life so far). I was so thrilled. I’m so happy Jeevan taught me how to swim 🙂 This part is my personal highlight of this trip!
Day 4 – This was a do nothing day and we couldn’t have picked a better place. Mayo is a treat to the eyes. We stayed back, enjoying the view from our balcony. I got my Balinese massage here and if time and money permits, I will go back to Bali just for the massages. Ok that’s a lie. I will go back just for the food.. And maybe for the beaches too.. And people of course! 🙂
We stepped out post lunch time and rode up to Lovina Beach. Sat there by the sea at Sea Breeze Cafe and had some really spicy food. We loved our bike rides between Seririt and Lovina as it was so green and pleasant.
Day 5 – We were leaving Seririt today and heading towards East Bali, to Tulamben. On our way we visited Brahma Vihara Aarama – a replica of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist Monastery in the world, Hot Water Springs in Banjar, Beji Temple and Maduwe Karang Temple. We stopped at Damai for an amazing lunch and reached Tulamben around dusk.
Tulamben is a village with hotels offering rooms for divers. The ship wreck of Liberty during WW2 brought this town to life bringing divers from across the world to experience the sea. Jeevan and I strolled around in the empty street of Tulamben till we found Matahari Resort to dine. This place is facing the sea and serves very good Balinese food! It was a starlit night 🙂
For rest of the itinerary click here