May 21, 2011

Paradise at the Center of Indonesia

So here's the story of visiting paradise at the center of Indonesia, Bali and Lombok. I've been to bali for several times, but I always went there with my families, and don't think much about the budget or care more on the itineraries. As long as I can go shopping along Kuta street at night,, As for Lombok, it would be my first time, and you know what, I really can't wait to go back and explore more!!
Okay, so where do we start. Well, first you need to know that I only visited Bali, Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. The Gilis are part of Lombok, however it was two of the small islands that surrounded the bigger island of Lombok. The big picture would be like this. I took a flight from Jakarta to Bali, then took another flight from Bali to Lombok, a ride from Selaparang airport to Bangsal port, and a boat to the Gilis. More on the transportation options later, let's go through the itinerary first.

Day 1 is for south part of Bali. We went to Sanur Beach, straight to Tanjung Benoa for some water sport activities, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, a walk on Blue Point Beach, and the last one, sunset & Kecak Dance at Uluwatu. Not to belittle anybody or anything, but I find Sanur Beach not too special, the place is a bit dirty, not as mesmerizing as I expected a Bali beach would be. But I guess if you'd like to go for a picnic for some sea breeze and really clear blue sky, it's still OK. Tanjung Benoa is a place to do any water activities, you can go jet ski, water ski, parasailing, diving, snorkeling, anything! When you come here, a salesperson will handle you a booklet and price list for every water activities available. Whatever the price they give you, haggle! Because it's bargainable :). Me and my friends ended up going to the Turtle Island at half a price they gave us at first (150K IDR per pax). Blue Point Beach might be the most unique beach I visited this time. This place is heaven for those of you who like to surf. I guess,, since I don't surf myself. But saw a lot of people doin' it, plus the little village up the cliff are crammed with shops offering pictures shots of you while surfing, or surfboards, or surfboard reparation. Then again, figure the waves must be good, since Blue Point beach is located at South Bali, which makes it go straight to the Indian Ocean. Last but not least, we ended the night by watching Kecak Dance at the Uluwatu Temple (tickets @70K IDR). It's not Kecak Dance unless it's an open air theatre and you see some fire actions in it. The sunset and mystical sky is a bonus if you're watching it at the Uluwatu Temple.

Day 2. This time we go North! The places to visit were Bali Bird Park, Ulun Danu Temple at Bedugul, and Tanah Lot. It took us 1 - 2 hours to get from one place to another, but the long ride was worth it. Bali Bird Park is really a fun place to be, you got to feel encounters from the birds, as some of the birds *mostly the ones that can't fly* are set to roam around the park freely. When you visited, make sure to catch the "Bird of Prey" show, they've got a really nice and well trained hunting birds. Plus the show was set with a real paddy field background. Really good place to relax. Ulun Danu Temple is a Hindu temple located in a middle of a lake. Basically what we are doing at this place is, taking out our tripod, setting up the camera on timer, 10 shots per five second, all participants into frame and have fun with the multiple shots! Tanah Lot is another Hindu Temple located in West Bali. If Ulun Danu is in the middle of a lake, then Tanah Lot is in the middle of the sea. In order to reach the temple you need to wait for the low tide *suggest you to visit at around 3-5PM, that's when the tide is low*. Otherwise you can only see the temple from afar. But they got really nice lookout points scattered around the temple. OK, so this time I got lucky and able to see the temple closely. Apparently there is a cave below the temple, in which you can spot a freshwater spring. It is believed to be a blessed spring, so took a sip from the spring, a priest will then blessed you afterwards, and don't forget to leave some donations.

Day 3 is the time for Lombok adventure. So we took the earliest flight from Bali to Lombok. As I've explained before, we then took a taxi to Bangsal Seaport as we need to tranfer to the smaller islands. The airport taxi will only take you to the terminal (115K IDR). You need to get off at the terminal and use a Cidomo/Horse Cart (20K IDR) to get to the port. Once you arrive at the terminal you'll be swarmed with people offering you hats, flipflops, or service to carry your bags. If you don't want to be bother, firmly say NO! Once on the port choose the most convenient boat that suits you,, :) FYI since we were transferring to Gili Trawangan (which is the busiest Gili out of the three) we decided to take the public boat, and it only take us 20minutes to wait for the boat to fill up. More on the public boat fare? see picts on the right.
You must have wondered what we do at Gili Trawangan. We rent a boat and go snorkling around Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. And in the afternoon we go sunset hunting. If you are staying for longer times, do not hesitate to take the diving lessons. Oh,, and don't forget to visit their turtle conseration site.

Day 4 We go transfer to Gili Air via the Island Hopping service. A public boat that regularly carries passengers who want to go to the other island. If I'm not mistaken the Island Hopping only run twice, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. So if you'd like to transfer via this service, make sure you be ready at the port at 9.00AM as the boat leaves at 9.30 AM *for a small island service, we find it to be very on time*.
Gili Air is a much quieter place than Gili Trawangan. The bungalow we stayed in really support the atmosphere.You just want to sit back, enjoy the breeze, the blue sky, and the white sand beach. Also if you want a little bit of activity it was right in front of Gili Air's snorkeling spot.
One more thing, when you're here, do visit Kelapaku Fashion, there's this guy who made jewellries out of coconuts and shells. And his works are really artworks.

Day 5 transfer back to the big island of Lombok. Since population at Gili Air is much smaller than that of Trawangan, it would take longer time for you to wait for the public boat to fill up. Unless of course you leave really early in the morning along with the local residences who'd like to go to the market. So we decided to charter a boat at 150K IDR. It's worth the money if you don't want to miss a flight schedule, :)
Back at Lombok, we make a pit stop at Senggigi Beach. Lunch on the beachside is perfect to end the trip.

The Place to Crash

Bali : We stayed at Segara Sadhu Inn on Poppies Lane 2. The inn is closer to Kuta street rather than Legian. Pretty cheap at 150K IDR per room per night include breakfast. Although don't expect a big buffet breakfast at a five star hotel. They only serve indomie (fried or soup) or toast with egg.

Gili Trawangan : Staying at Lumbung Cottage. A mid-range lodging at Trawangan. At 300K IDR per room per night you'll get a spacious cottage that looks like a Lumbung, open air bathroom with hot water, and more digestable breakfast. Also the place is spacious enough if you'd like to rent a room for three.
Gili Air : Staying at Sunrise. Also a mid-range lodging. At 360K IDR you'll get a 2 story cottage. The first floor being an open air terrace, suitable for relaxing equipped with a hammock and a single bed with mosquito net. And the second floor equipped with a double bed and a balcony. If you're travelling in three, renting one room would be enough. But one of you need to sacrifice by sleeping on the terrace. :P

Picture Collections of The Places to See

I uploaded the most interesting ones so you don't have to think twice to go visit! Enjoy the video!

Paradise Islands Slideshow: Mayankcat’s trip from Jakarta, Java, Indonesia to 2 cities Bali and Lombok was created by TripAdvisor. See another Indonesia slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.

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