A Travellerspoint blog

Our last two weeks in Bali

Amed, Sanur, Nusa Penida

sunny 29 °C

October 22 to 28. Days 19 to 25

We said good bye to our wonderful staff at Satori and met with Eka for our drive to our next location, Lipah beach in Amed.
Taking our luggage down to the parking lot by motor bike

Sideman was a bit of a diversion but I was told how beautiful the countryside was and it did not disappoint.
We pulled off the road to walk through some ones rice field for a bit. Once again the drive was on very twisty narrow roads up and down the mountains.


Around four hours later we checked in to Bintang beach villas, a small resort with 9 units. We had two clean, spacious rooms each with small fridge and kettle. The staff was so wonderful here. My only complaint was intermittent wifi, but that seems to be it common in a number of places. We were spoiled in Ubud.


Right out front is a beautiful coral reef which is why I chose to stay here. Fall in the water snorkelling
Fish and coral I have never seen anywhere else, it was wonderful. The beach had black sand which was like walking on hot coals. But in the water it was white sand. We saw a number of large turtles too.


A fellow on the beach took us out in his jukung pontoon boat around a couple of bays to where there was a sunken Japanese ship not far off shore. Cost was 500,000 IDR. These boats are quite small and unique and rather challenging getting in and out of especially for us old folks.

It was great snorkelling and a wonderful coral garden with so many amazing fish. The problem was the current was so strong we would just get swept right by it and when I tried to turn around to go back it was like a very strong lap pool, I was giving it 150% but not getting anywhere.

I finally grabbed onto the pontoons and our boat driver trolled Doug and I over to where we started and we were able to hang out there for a bit. Lana did not want to go back in at that point.

We ate at only a couple of wrungs as we enjoyed them so much. One was Wrung Indah on the beach and they had a great vegetarian curry for only $5
We really enjoyed talking to the family members who owned the place.

The other was Arung Warung, we went here twice for dinner and once for lunch. It was so good, fusion Indonesian food. The owner/ cook had perfect English so we could ask lots of questions. I had a jackfruit dish one night and then vegetable teriyaki rice bowl twice and veg spring rolls with her own siracha sauce which I could have eaten with a spoon it was so good.
And as a bonus at night her husband played music and sang covers which was great. He was a fantastic guitar player.

We would spend our day snorkelling and swimming out front for a few hours, then reading by the pool with a dip now and then to cool off, followed by dinner and early night. It was so relaxing once again

One day we did venture out for some sightseeing. We left at 8:30AM to head for the Gates of Heaven, Lampuyang temple. We hired Wayan for the morning and he dropped us in the parking lot. We had to take a small bus up the twist and turns of the narrow road to the top of a mountain. From there we had to walk. A woman asked if we would like a motor bike ride the rest of the way for 5,000 (4.50 CDN). We said no thanks. Ten minutes later we had wished we had said yes . It was an incredibly steep hill to walk up and we were pooped by the time we got to the top but happy to be there, a sweaty breathless mess none the less.

This is probably to most popular and famous instagramable place in Bali.
I had number 154 for a photo. We came early to beat the crowds, so we thought. It opens at 8 and we arrived just after 9. They said it would be about a two hour wait.

Problem was there were groups, so a group of eight people would have one number so it was deceiving how long the line up would be

Some young men sat in front of the gates and one would call out a number. 88. ( shit this will be a while)
You would go up to the gates after giving one of the young men your cell phone. They would yell out next pose, next pose. You were allowed a total of four, some took more. If you were a couple you had four together and four each alone. It was a process but these guys moved everyone along and did so in a very kind and caring way.



Four hours later we were getting close. Problem is after two hours you have already invested so much time you don’t want to give up now.

We love the pictures though so in the end I guess it was all a worth it. Thankfully it was an overcast day, which meant that unfortunately you could not see the volcano in the background but it wasn’t super hot.

fruit seller on the way down. Durian really does stink even with the skin on

Next stop Turta Ganga, Hindu water park. This was a beautiful park with lots of statues and pools with stepping stones. Fish food was sold to get that perfect photo, but that meant these were very well fed Koi and some the size of a walrus.


We invited Wayan to join us for lunch, which is expected when you hire a driver but he was the only one who really expressed his gratitude for it.

It was in the temple grounds so far more expensive than usual but the food was good. In the end for the four of us for a good lunch and drink including tip it was $44, or $11 each. Our big splurge.
We loved Amed and the people here were all so incredibly lovely.

This is how much of the goods are transported in the smaller areas

October 28 to Nov 01. Days 25 to 30

After six nights we hired Wayan to drive us to our last stop, Sanur. It took about four hours but we stopped on the way at an indoor market to buy some oranges. People come to sell thier local produce starting at 4AM every morning.


We then stopped at another water park, Tasman Ujung.
Lana climbed to the top of these stairs but coming down would have been too difficult for me because there was not a handrail.


Sanur is very busy with so many tourists compared to Amed. We have a decent room, at Besakih Beach hotel which has a pool and restaurant
located on the beach. There is a boardwalk in front that goes for quite some ways past shops and other places to eat.

On our second to last day Lana and I did a day trip to an island close by, Nusa Penida.
What an ordeal it was for me, by body does not have the flexibility it once did, the car accident a year and a half ago has really messed me up. I am glad I did it, but there will not be a repeat performance of this kind in my future I don’t think

A van picked us up at 7AM to transfer us to the ferry terminal, which was only about a 10 minute drive. He parked quite a distance and then we walked the rest of the way, which seemed to be the way it was everywhere today.

Doug decided to stay back at the hotel and did not join us

Waiting for an hour we see the outdoor area in organized chaos as different tour groups arrived as well as individuals waiting to go to one of the islands to stay.


Four other people from India were going to snorkel with us. None had snorkelled before and one did not even know how to swim!
A woman arrived and yelled “ok let’s go”
We have to remove our shoes at the terminal. I have very sensitive feet, riddled with arthritis so there was no way I could walk in bare feet the rest of the way so I put on my flip flops. Glad I did cos we had to wade into the water and there was lots of rocks and pieces of coral to step on.
These people must have feet of leather.
The waves were active, we lined up to wait our turn in water up to my thighs until we got to the back of the boat and now it’s my turn to board
Someone took my backpack for me, there was a small area to step on but my legs are too short, I had to kneel and then go from there. A guy on board holds out his hand, another from the other side and I hoist myself up. They took my flip flops and put them in a big bin while we found our seats.

The boat probably held close to eight hundred passengers, half being on the top deck
It was supposed to take just over a half hour, but it was an hour and a half later that we arrived.


We did not go up to the beach like the other fast ferries for some reason and had to transfer to smaller boats which took us in. The boys on the boat had a real hard time securing it enough on the beach for us to get off, and then we had to go in, without shoes, to the beach. The waves were higher and stronger here. But I managed to do it without having to take a swim.

When we left Sanur the guide took our photo and sent it to our guide on NP so he was there to greet us and help us find our shoes and take us to the snorkel shop to get geared up.
Once again we wade out to get on another boat with 8 others to begin our snorkel tour
The guide says they did not see any Manta rays yesterday and hopes we are luckier. So do we.

The ocean is very choppy as we are slammed into the waves heading south to our first stop, Manta Bay. Other boats are heading back and the drivers are holding up fingers and doing thumbs up so I am assuming today has a good sighting.

Pulling into the bay I am not sure I will go in. This is the roughest water I have ever been in. But the Indians gear up, put on a life jacket and are excited to go. And they have never snorkelled before!

Lana gets in, which I am very proud of her as she is not a confident snorkeler even in calm waters. There’s a young guy built like Arnold Schwarzenegger travelling on his own and he jumps in without a life jacket. As I am going down the ladder to get in, he is trying to come up
“ I need a life jacket” he says.

I went in without one but it was very choppy. The others on the boat were all huddled together around the guides and some floatation rings, and the guides kept calling me over to be close to them. I stayed away, the swimmers were scary. So nervous and grouped together , getting a fin in the face if I got close. No thanks. I kept saying I was fine on my own. Lana and I kept watch over each other

Then I saw one. A manta ray about 5 or 6 feet in diameter, swimming close to the surface.


I have snorkelled with mantas before in other places, but these were different and bigger.

Then I turned around and four were swimming straight for me, just below the surface. The first one came almost right up to my face before diving just a few inches below me, and the rest followed.
Thankfully I had the presence of mind to snap a couple of photos with my underwater camera. That was worth it right there!


We went to three other snorkel spots , Lana and I did not got into the first one, ( I am a snorkel snob and it has to be good for me to make the effort)

The next two were okay, but again high waves and strong current.
The last one the current was so strong that we just jumped in and the boat picked us up down the way. Didn’t even have to swim.

It was sad though the amount of plastic garbage in this area. It really took away from any beauty of the reef for me.

I spent some time talking to “Arnold” , who’s name was actually Sergio. He was around 38 I would imagine, from Brazil but now living in Australia where he has his own martial arts studio. He was kind of moping at the front of the boat so I went up to talk to him and found out he was very seasick. He was quite embarrassed I think , this big strong guy taken down by some waves. He never went in the water again. More on him later.

We showered off and our driver, Wayan took Lana and I on private tour of the island for a few hours. Every first child in Bali is named Wayan, so there are a lot of them. They also have second names but I think they must only be used by close friends and family.

If we thought the roads in Bali were narrow and twisting, Nusa Penida was wild. The car had to stop many times to let someone pass going the other way and there would be less than 1/2 inch between them. On one corner the other car scraped Wayan’s mirror. But neither of them said or did anything, just kept driving. They are all just so chill.

If a car came around the corner too fast, or too far over Wayan would comment that they were probably from Bali. Local people know how to driver there. There is a car ferry that comes once a day.
You can not rent a car on NP which is a good thing, but you can rent scooters and there were many tourists on them. Mostly young people, but then most of the people on NP and the ferry were around 30ish. Lana and I are by far older than anyone. As a matter of fact the guys working on the snorkel boat called Lana and I ‘grandma’

We stopped for an included lunch at a tourist place and saw some of our other snorkel mates. Sergio was there and having lunch and said he was feeling a bit better which is great.

Kelingking beach was our first stop, one of many very popular instagram spots. It is just gorgeous. There is a path and stairs to go down to the beach but our grandson Silas did this a few years ago and suggested, as did our guide and everyone else, not to do it. It is a dangerous path.

Next stop Broken beach, or Manta bay which overlooks where we were snorkelling. We got vertigo just looking over the edge, and no guard rail of course. But the view again is spectacular


Last stop is Angel Billabong, another gorgeous view. The pathways were very steep and not in great shape but Wayan took such great care of me. I am okay going up hills, it is going down that is a real challenge .

Farming is the main industry in the island, after tourism. The rolling hills with so many tropical trees is just breathtaking. Wayans family farms corn and other crops. There is not enough water to grow rice here. He said monkeys are a problem for them though. Their farm is near the jungle and the monkeys come in a steal bananas and mangos. Like our deer and rabbits to some degree
There are so many monkeys in Bali
The people of Bali really rely on tourism, for many everyone in the family is involved somehow, drivers, guides, hotels and resteruants. Shop keepers as well, so two years of no tourists due to the pandemic really took its toll on folks here. They are all just so happy and grateful to have us back again.

Time to get back on the boat. Even more wave action now, I have to step up onto this small step beside the engine that is hip height. Try as I might I could not do it, my hips are just so screwed up from the accident.

All of a sudden someone from behind lifts me up and places me the boat! I found out it was Sergio, to my rescue. Rather demoralizing but I was grateful none the less.

It was after 6PM when we finally got back to the hotel, exhausted. A quick change and Doug joined us for dinner, once again across the street at Mona Lisa. And again it was amazing food and service.

Today is Monday, October 31. They don’t celebrate Halloween here that we can see, maybe some tourist places but it’s not a Hindu or Balinese thing.

Today we are just relaxing and packing up. Our Bali holiday has come to an end.

The people of Bali are the kindest, happiest and most chill of any place I have been. I never heard a harsh word or raised voice while I was here. And I think it must rub off on the tourists too, as almost everyone of them is also very laid back.

The countryside is spectacular with its rice fields, rolling hills and tropical vegetation.

Hindu temples everywhere, but different from India’s. Very beautiful.

The food is so delicious. It’s not often as a vegetarian/ vegan I can enjoy such a variety of incredible food. In one month I only had one meal that was not great.

Inexpensive. Holy cow. I wish I lived closer. I can see why the Australians are here so often, for some it is just a four or five hour flight. Apparently it is more expensive than it was pre pandemic because like everywhere else the prices of fuel and everything else has gone up, but still so affordable

Sanur, and I imagine Changu and anything close to Denpasar, the capital, are quite a bit more expensive than the other places we went. But still, affordable holiday for sure.
Bali has been incredible, and we are so glad we came. Having close to a month here really made us feel like we have been to Bali.
Tomorrow we start the Vietnam portion of our trip.



Posted by debbep 05:06 Archived in Indonesia

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