Friday, July 24, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Wamberal - surf - 25 july 09

A sunny and warm winter's day. There was very little wind and small, crisp, fun waves. The photos are from my new camera.

Indonesia - Bali - Lovina - 1999

Lovina is a group of villages within a 10 kilometre radius. Kalibukbuk is the main area. The beaches are black sand. The area is very quiet, pretty and laid back. It is a good base to explore north Bali due to the range of accommodations and restaurants.

Things to do

Lovina – kalibukbuk

Dolphin watching tours
Snorkeling – boat to reef.
Bull races – Yayasan Budaya Den Bukit Lovina – Friday
Sit on the beach at sunset
Walk the streets and beaches
Talk with the beach vendors

Yeh Sinih – black sand beach – fresh water springs into pools – Pura Ponjok Batu location – art zoo

Singaraja – harbour and waterfront

Gitgit – entry fee -waterfalls – touristy – walk further 2 km to multi-tiered waterfalls, nice track, jungle.

Brahma Vihara Arama – Buddhist monastery

Air Panas Banjar – hot springs, gardens

Indonesia - Bali - Legian - 2009

Legian is an area north of Kuta. It is a built up area of houses, hotels, shops, temples and restaurants. The beach is grey sand and wide and very active with beach selling and tourist life . The area is quieter than Kuta. It is a good base to explore Bali while enjoying lots of facilities.

Things to do

Waterbom park
Massages – many types
Spas – get the works
Timezone video arcade
Bungy jumping
Sit on and walk along the beach morning and afternoon
Temporary tattoo
Talk with locals
Wander the streets
Eat at different restaurants
Bang some bongo drums
Ball games on the beach
Sit around the hotel pool
Have a cocktail while floating in the pool
Hair braid
Fingernail painting
Fly a kite

Legian - Jayakarta left right mid to high; Padma
Kuta - surf club high; ½ way at low
Kuta reef – 20 minute paddle or boat – mid to high
Airport lefts – mid to high
Airport rights – 2x rights mid to high

Where to stay
There are lots more but these are within 10 minutes walking to each other.

Hotel Jayakarta

Villa Pisang Mastel jn Werkudara
Jl. werkudara
62361 738830

Kumala Pantai
Jl. werkudara
0361 755500

Hotel Kumala
Jl. werkudara
0361 732186, 733448

Blue Ocean
0361 730289

Puri Tantra Beach Bungalows

Su’sCottages II
0361 752127

Bali Village Bagak Hotel
0361 753893

Indonesia - Bali - Bike tour - 2008

There are a number of downhill cycle tours through the Balinese countryside. They all seem to offer similar activities but the route taken by bike is different.

We went on the Bali eco tour. The tour agent recommended this as she said this group was better with children.

We were picked up by air con van and driven to a number of locations in Ubud picking up other riders. There were three family groups in all.

The first stop was by some steep and beautiful rice field terraces. They made excellent backdrops for photos.

The next stop was Kintamani, where we sat in a restaurant and had breakfast. The views over Gunung Batur and Danau Batur were excellent.

The next stop was to pick up the bicycles. All bikes were adjusted for each person and safety instructions were given. We were given time to cycle around to get use to the bikes.

The guides lead us to a number of venues at a leisurely pace along quiet rural roads. A van and truck followed in the rear in case there were any problems.

The main guide was very informative and very alert for any dangers or problems.

We stopped at a:

1. Temple. We were explained Hinduism and the function of the temple in Balinese society
2. Primary/elementary school. The kids were on a break when we arrived. We caused a certain amount of mayhem as we walked through the classrooms and chatted with the teachers and the students.
3. Home. We walked through the family compound and were explained the functions of all the buildings. Some members of the family compound were present.
4. Rice field. Once again the informative guide explained the importance of rice and the stages of rice growth. Ducks were wandering through the fields eating insects.

While all this was happening, we were greeted as we cycled by small children yelling ‘hello, hello’. I was in Bali in the early 80’s and this reminded so much of a time that I thought was long gone.

We finished with lunch at the company owner’s family restaurant. The food was a selection of various dishes and it was excellent. Finally, a bit tired we were driven back in air con comfort to our hotels

Best points: exercise, sights, guides, hellos

Worse points: started to get uncomfortably hot just as we were finishing, it ended


275 000 adult 200 000 child (April 08)

Here are some sites to check:

Indonesia - Bali - Berewa - 2009

Berewa is a grey sand beach with a backdrop of palm trees and rice fields. It is very quiet.
Berewa is about ½ by road from Kuta. It is about a ½ walk from Canggu along the beach.

What to do

Hotel Tugu – classic hotel for dinner and look – 0361731701

The Beach House – dinner

Walk to Canggu

Echo beach

Tanah lot -- sunset

Sit on the beach at sunset

Talk with th locals


Legong Keraton beach – left/right

Right reef

Far right reef

Canggu – right – high; left – mid on

Where to stay

Legong Keraton

Bolare Beach Bungalows
0361 730258
Jl Pantai Berawa Cangu Kuta
Phone : 0361-730258, 0361-732295
Fax : 0361-73166

wayan’s - two rooms only
0361 8622288

wayans uncle - one room only - budget
lisa – 081337486494 fan

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Bali Bird Park and Rimba Reptil Park - 2007

The entry fee is quoted in dollars us and converted at their rate in Indonesian rupiah. You can buy a separate ticket for each park or a double pass.

There is plenty of parking. You can get there via a tour your own transport or hire a car/driver.

You can guide yourself through the park or hire a guide.

The bird park has quite a number of birds from Indonesia and from other parts of the world. The walking paths meander around the open parks, water features and gardens of the park. There are number of birds that roam freely around the park, are in cages, or in walk through aviaries. A show of various birds in flight is presented at regular times and there is a touch/photo area near the entrance of the park.

There is a restaurant, souvenir shop and toilets.

The reptile park, which is next door has a number of reptiles from Indonesia. This includes Komodo dragons.

Best points: pleasant surroundings, touching birds, walk through aviaries

Worse points: some cages too small.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Terrigal to Skillion - HIKE - 21 July 2009

Terrigal (skillion) walk July 2009

The walk can be started at Terrigal Beach or from the Haven. It is an easy 1 hour walk. This walk is best done at low tide with a small swell. The waves are more spectacular when the swell is running but it becomes too dangerous to proceed on the full walk.

Starting from Terrigal there are two directions either via the rock pool or follow the footpath above it. Via the rock pool, there is a short difficult climb from the rocks above to the rocks below that lead to the beach at the Haven.

Follow the haven beach, then along the rocks around the small cliff face. Eventually, a small bay is reached just before the skillion. From here, you can walk some distance around the base of the skillion until the water and rocks become impassable. Rocks falls on this part of the walk is a possibility.

Walking towards the road which winds around the skillion and to the left is a steep climb to the top of the skillion. There are excellent views from the top as far north as Crackneck Point and the Cape Three Points to the south. Surprisingly, there is a lot of bird life around the outer bushes of the skillion climb.

Follow the footpath back to Terrigal or via the haven beach and the rock pool.

Indonesia - Bali - Bukit - 2007

What to do

Walk along cliff path to other breaks

Walk along beaches



Surfing or watch surfing

Ulu Watu temple – kecak dance at sunset

Pura Mas Suka

Nusa Dua
Beach promenade 5km
Nice beach

Tanjung Benoa
Water sports


Balangan – left – mid tide on
Dreamland – short right and longer left - low
Bingin – short left - mid
Impossibles – three shifting peaks – low
Padang Padang – mid to high
Ulu Watu – several spots – low to high at various spots
Sri Lanka
Nusa Dua breaks – boat south of Hilton

Where to Stay

Mick’s place

Leggies bungalows

Kembung kuning ocean view bungalows

Chocky’s place

Secret garden

Podok Indah

Lynnes place

Rocky’s Bungalows

Padang Padang Inn

Ayu Guna Inn

Flower bungalows

Guna Mandala
0361 847073

Ala Manda Cottages

Balangan Sea View Bungalows

Indonesia - Bali - Gunung Batur - 2009

Gunung Batur is a large volcano with a lake at the bottom of the crater with a group of smaller volcanic cones.

There are villages on the upper rim from Penlokan to Penulisan. A road leads down to the bottom of the crater from Penlokan. There are a number of villages at the base of the crater – Buahan, Kedisan, Toya Bungkah, Songan and Toya Mampeh.

There is an entry fee for entering the base of the crater.

What to do

Trunyan is a Bali Aga village
Get a boat – cemetery – different customs – Pura Pancering Jagat

Toya bungkah
Hot springs – Tirta Sanjiwani Hot Springs Complex
Volcano climb – mainly for the sunrise and to see the other smaller volcanoes – this can be approached also from Pura Jati, Songan or Kintamani
Danau (lake) Batur
boat ride from jetty in Kedisan - swim

Pura Ulun Danau Batur – market gardens

View - market

views - Pura Puncak Penulisan

Amazing views from nice restaurants.

Where to stay

There are hotels/restaurants in the villages along the rim at Penelokan and Kintamani.

In the crater, there are accommodations at Kedisan and Toya Bungkah.

Note We stayed in Kedisan for about four nights. It was very quiet, enjoyable to explore and very scenic.

Best Points: volcano climb, walking around the area, views

Worse Points: sellers to a degree.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Wamberal - surf - 20 july 09

Beautiful, warm but crisp winter's day. Great to be alive! Reasonable waves at Wamberal this morning.

Indonesia - Bali - Balian - 2009

Balian is tourist/surfer enclave on the west coast of Bali. It is a black sand beach with a river cutting the beach into two. There is also a smaller river at the far south of the beach. The backdrop of the area is rolling hills covered with palm trees.

It is very quiet with a range of accommodations and restaurants.

Things to Do

Surf – left – mid to high
Right across river

Walks along beach, cliff top and crossing rivers
Sea cave
Serpent rock

Klating Beach – black sand

Taman Kupu Kupu (butterfly park)

Blayu _ monkey forest at pura alas kedaton

Sangeh monkey forest at Pura Bukit Sari

Yeh Panas – hot springs

North of Balian

Medewi – surf, walks, restaurants

Pura Rambut Siwi – small temple on cliffs – nearby caves – get a blessing

Follow coast road to Pura Perancak

Perancak - buffalo races 2x a month – planned crocodile/turtle park

Negara –in south of town there are stilt houses

Rening – beach

Candi kusuma – beach

Belimbingsari and Palasari – Christian villages towards mountains – churches - dam

Gilimanuk – gateway to Bali
possible to trek from Teluk Terima

Kendang Mebarung – ceremony

Bunut Bolong – tree over road

Jegog dance

Taman Nasional Bali Barat - Cekik headquarters of park – trekking walk or boat

Places to Stay

Balian Beach House
house two storey double and single up and single down air con upstairs

Pondok Pisces Bungalow

Villa Tranquil

Balian Breezes
08 1734 4520
pool hot water air con breakfast with interconnecting rooms
(too far back)

Gajah Mina Beach Resort - pool
62 81 2381-1630

Balian surf bungalows/homestay

Ayu’s warung and homestay

Balian segara homestay

Made’s homestay

Kubu Balian Beach bungalow

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Amed - 2005

Amed is an area of black sand beaches and coves on the north east coast of Bali. It is a series of distinct villages and areas spread out over approximately 10 kilometres. The areas that make up Amed are Jemeluk, Lipah, Lehan, Seland and Aas.. There is a small fee for entering the area. There is a lot of accommodation with restaurants attached which are spread well apart over the Amed area. The feel of the Amed is very quiet.

What to do

Hire local boat to sail/fish

Snorkel – coral, fish, Japanese boat wreck at Aas, Selang


Walk around beaches and coastline

Drive around coast towards Ujung – spectacular beaches and coves

Trekking – Gunung Seraya and villages


Salt making to north

Tubamben - wreck of Liberty

Massage on the beach

Chat with the locals

Where to stay

Pondok Vienna


Hire a car/driver, car or motorbike


Indonesia - Bali - Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a rugged limestone island off the east coast of Bali. there are white sand beaches in the north and high cliffs in the south. t is very quiet with limited facilities.

Where to stay


Made's Homestay

Bungalow Pemda

Nusa Garden Bungalows


MM Diving Resort and Mutiara Bungalows

What to do

Hire car and driver or motor cycle

Pura Ped
temple on island in lotus pond
ferry to Nusa embongan

Goa Karangsari
cave – short distance south of Suana

Semaya – Pura Kunning

North east coast beautiful

Beach at Penida village

Tanglad - cepuk sarongs

Batukandik - waterfall

Limestone hills - Bukit Mundi (highest point)

Getting there and back

Ferry from Padangbai to Sampalan
40 mins
4 per day

Boat to Nusa Lembongan from Toyapakeh - early morning

Charter a boat

Indonesia - Bali - Snorkel

The west coast of Bali is not good for snorkeling. Generally, the water is too murky or there are waves.

Snorkeling is best on the far south, east and north coast of Bali.

Bukit – though there are waves and strong currents there is also good visibility and coral. Best when there are no waves.
Nusa Dua and Sanur reefs – haven’t snorkeled here but there are boats to take you out to the reefs.
Nusa Lembongan – is an island of the east coast of Bali – entry into the water is from the beach. The seaweed farms cover a lot of the coral close to shore. Best on the outer fringe of the reef.
Nusa Penida – I haven’t snorkeled here but it is supposed to be very good.
Padangbai - Blue Lagoon north of Padangbai is a small bay ten minutes walk - entry is from shore - coral, fish

Candidasa - inside break wall and just outside break wall - there is great snorkeling at the three offshore islands but you will need to organize a boat to reach them.
Amed area - close to shore - can drive to venues or get a boat.
Lovina - boat to reef or a bit of a swim.
Pemuteran - close to shore or boat to Menjangan Island


In all areas beware of currents, change of tides, waves, entry in and out of the water, foot protection, sea urchins, jellyfish and sea lice. Ask the locals about conditions. All these factors can affect visibility and the pleasantness of the water

Snorkeling with young kids

When my kids were younger we took body boards. I would attach the body board leg rope to my leg and the girls floated on board while I pulled them around.
My youngest had difficulty with a snorkel so she used swimming goggles only.
The limitation is that I couldn't dive under unless I detached the body board from my leg but we all got to happily snorkel.


Most snorkeling venues you can hire gear. We preferred to take our own gear for hygiene reasons.

Getting there

There are a number of ways of getting to snorkeling venues:

1. an organized tour
2. Hire local boats – usually areas where you need to get to the reefs by boat the locals have formed a cartel and so the price is reasonably fixed – make sure to discuss and agree to how long and where you will be snorkeling.
3. Some spots have snorkeling straight from the shore.

Indonesia - Bali - White Water Rafting - 2008

White water rafting is based on rivers near Ubud. It is fairly tame and shallow. Best time is the wet season. The trip goes through beautiful narrow gorges with some rapids and calm sections.

You can organize it through a tour agency or directly with the company. The prices include transport to and from your hotel, all equipment, insurance, instructions, shower at end with towel and lunch.

Bring swimming gear, thongs and shirt. You can leave your gear with your driver who will meet you at the end. The guide has a waterproof bag for your camera.

I usually book in Ubud at any tour agency but you can book anywhere.

It is fairly safe for children. Both of mine have done it since they were 7 years old.

Some tour operators:

• Ayung River Rafting
• Bali Adventure Rafting
• Bali International Rafting
• Sobek Rafting
• Mega Rafting
• Bali Fantasy Rafting
• Bali Safari Rafting
• Unda River Rafting
• Bali Rafting
• Bakas Levi Rafting
Some sites

Friday, July 17, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Pemuteran - Gondol Beach - 2009

Gondol beach is west of Pemuteran. It is described as an undeveloped white sand beach with good snorkeling.

The beach is on a headland on the west side. It is a small, narrow, coarse white-sanded beach. This is reached after walking along a long path of broken bricks and open sewerage drains. Yes, open sewerage drains! The flat section of the headland is a sewerage treatment works. In my view, the sewerage being emptied into the ocean wasn’t very treated and the ocean water was highly discoloured.

We walked a long, long way along the headland, pass the treatment works to find a suitable spot to sit and snorkel. The beach here was only about a metre wide. The snorkeling was poor with a lot of eerie looking seaweed (reminded me of weed in the lake in Harry Potter), some fish and a lot of sea urchins.

The east side of the headland is black sand and not very inviting.

Best points: nothing

Worse points: snorkeling, beach, smell, sewerage works.

Indonesia - Bali - Medewi - Surf - 2009

Medewi Left- A 200 – 400m long left hand point break, best on a high tide and breaking over slimy boulders.

PK’s River mouth- A fast relatively short hollow right-hand hander, best on a high tide and breaking over slimy boulders, always uncrowded and lots of fun.

PK’s Bombora- Surfed only a hand full of times, this adrenaline racing wave is perfect for tow ins but can also be paddled into, surfable on all tides breaking left and right and needing a decent swell, this wave is the big wave spot of West Bali.

Pk’s Reef- also rarely surfed; this reef/rock ledge has some very sucky peaks. Guaranteed to be un-crowded.

Yala’s Peak – Rarely surfed, an A- Frame peak breaking over a rock ledge. Picks up good swell.

Yala’s Rights- Located to the right of Yala’s Peak, the rights offer good quality fast barreling rides.

You can also hire Surfboards and surf guides

CENTRAL COAST - Wamberal - surf - 18 July 2009

Wamberal had some nice lefts and rights which improved with the incoming tide.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Padangbai - 2009

Padangbai is a seaside village and ferry port. Traditional fishing boats line the beach and various sized motor boats are moored to the shore. At the middle part of the bay is a small jetty where boats leave for the Gilis, Senggigi and Nusa Lembongen. Further down is a boat for Nusa Penida. The south end of the bay is dominated by a large ferry terminal for ferries to Lombok. The large ferries arrive and leave frequently.


The beach at the middle and north end of Padangbai is white sand. The water is clear and reasonably clean for swimming with a sandy bottom.


The town has various levels of accommodation. The more up market hotels are at the north end of the beach. The road in this section is more like a small boulevard. Some hotels in this area have pools available for guests only.


There are a small number of nice restaurants. The food is good and varied. Whole fish with whatever you want is cheap and good. Cheaper food is available in the middle and south end of Padangbai and the more up market restaurants are at the north end.


At the north end of the bay and following the road to the right is a nice temple Pura Silayukti) with great views. If you follow the steps or walk through the small jungle on the point (lots of mosquitoes here).

The north end of the bay and to the left takes you after a ten minute walk to Blue Lagoon. There are two restaurants with reasonable food, showers, chairs and snorkeling gear. The coral reef is right up to the shore and is very pretty. Entry into the water is best at the north end as it avoids stepping on coral.

Walk past the ferry terminal on the south end of the bay and partly up the hill and you will come to sign directing you to little beach (Bias Tugal). A 15 minute walk through the bush gets you to a beautiful white sandy beach. Good for swimming though the currents can be strong. There are several restaurants to eat at but they are not very good. Drinks are okay.

If you continued over the hill and follow the road, you will eventually come to a long, black sand beach. The fishing boats come very close to the shore and with Nusa Penida as the backdrop it can be a very pretty scene, especially very early in the morning.

Pick a spot to sit and watch the local Balinese people in their daily lives. The beach, the small wharf and the ferry terminal provide a variety of daily life scenes.

Swimming and snorkeling off the beach at the northern side of bay

Surf – right - south of bay – needs to be a big swell

Bicycle ride or walk around the town

Visit the local market

Diving tours

Watch boats leaving and arriving to/from Nusa Penida, Gilis, Lombok mainland, various tours and fishing.

Activities nearby to Padangabai

• Puri candi dasa, lagoon
• Pura gomang, east on hill,
• snorkel off shore islands and in an behind breakwater

Pasir Putih

Balian Beach

• Markets
• Puri Agung Karangasem
• Puri Gede

Tengagan – Bali Aga village

• Puri Taman Ujung - water palace
• road views east towards Amed

Tirta Gangga

Gunung Agung

Gunung Batur

Gunung Lempuyang – turn off to ngis tista – stone steps to top

Goa Lawah - bat cave

Indonesia - Bali - Candidasa - 2005

Candidasa is located on the east coast of Bali about one and a half hours north of Sanur. It is basically a series of hotels, restaurants and shops that are spread along either side of the main road. Towards the north end of Candidasa where the road veers to the left there are more hotels and restaurants to be found continuing along the dirt road. The main road runs more or less parallel with the coast. There is not much beach, especially at high tide and concrete breakwaters run parallel to the shore for the length of the town.

Getting there
Car or public transport

Getting around

Walking or bicycle


There is a variety of hotels and losmens that vary in facilities and cost. They all seem to be well cared for and look pleasant.


There are lots of restaurants with reasonably price food. Some restaurants will pick and drop you from your hotel. Some restaurants provide entertainment of live music or traditional dancing shows.


Snorkeling between the shore and the breakwalls,
Snorkeling at the islands offshore of Candidasa. Hire a local boat to get out to the islands.
Walking and cycling around the town and local area
Views from the temple on the cliff edge at the northern end of Candidasa. Monkeys are also at this temple.
Pura Candidasa
Talking with other travelers and locals.
Deciding where to eat.
Visiting nearby villages. Candidasa makes for a good base to explore from.
Trekking around the countryside
Pasih Putih

Best Points: quiet, relaxing, temple has sweeping views, snorkeling at offshore islands, good base to explore local area

Worse Points: lack of beach

Indonesia - Bali - Tirta Gangga - 2005

It is a small village in highlands near Candidasa. It is very quiet and relaxing. It has beautiful views of the neighbouring rice fields. It is really worthwhile staying for a few days.

Getting there

By car with or without driver is the easiest. Motorbike.
Though I have seen people arrive by bemo and bicycle.


There are quite a number of clean, cheap places to stay amongst the rice fields or with valley views. The water palace also has rooms.


There are some small restaurants around the main square or eat at your hotel. The food is cheap and tasty though it takes awhile to cook. A good sign that the food is fresh.


The water palace (Taman Tirta Gangga) has beautiful gardens on various levels and two pools for swimming, one for locals and the other for tourists. Water is cold and clean. Goggles are fun as there are fish and crabs in the pool. there is an entry fee for the gardens and another entry fee for the pool.

There are walks around the rice fields with or without a guide. The guides are very informative about the local culture and the plants of the area. There are great views over the rice fields. This is a great place for the rice field photos.

Talking to the locals is very interesting as they are very friendly.

Best Points: quiet, pretty, nice views, ricefield walks, water palace gardens and pool.

Worse Points: none

Indonesia - Bali - Amlapura - 2005

We visited Amlapura markets as part of a day drive to other destinations. It was very interesting and colourful.

The market is undercover and is a warren of very narrow paths between stalls selling a variety of everything. We were a little apprehensive, as the closeness of people along the paths seemed like a dream come true if you were a pick-pocket. No problems occurred and we had a great time wandering around and looking at the various wares.

Some of the items were very different to what we had seen in other markets. We bought a lot of decorations used in the Balinese temples, such as trimming, umbrellas, etc.

Throughout the whole time there, we were the only western tourists which made the whole experience an adventure as well as fun.

Indonesia - Bali - Tenganan - Bali Aga village - 2005

Tenganan is a Bali Aga village not far from Candidasa.

We were guided around the village by one of the local inhabitants. Our village guide was friendly, polite and informative. Payment was a donation at the end of the tour which we placed in the donation box.

The village is walled and inhabited by decedents of the original Balinese. The village has paved and dirt paths between temples and houses. No motorcycles and cars are permitted. It is quite a clean and pretty village.

They basically keep their life style to their original customs. This includes a number of very different customs and ceremonies. We were told that the people of the village can only marry from within the village and to do otherwise is permanent banishment. Another custom is a traditional fight using sticks with thorny leaves. Our guide showed us his scars.

As we walked through the village the people were indifferent towards us and carried on with their normal lives (must have a few visitors). We were shown into shops and houses and we were explained the customs, architecture and ways of the people of Tenganan.

We purchased locally woven clothe which is suppose to have magical protective powers. There was no pressure to buy.

Overall, it was a very informative tour and it was so interesting to see inside the houses.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Wamberal - surf - 16 july 09

wamberal at surfers lane had a very nice left. at dead low tide it didn't look to good but it improved a lot with the incoming tide. there were only 4 out when i took photos.

Indonesia - Bali - Candikunning - Bali Botanical Gardens and Tree Top Adventure Park - 2009

The gardens are situated near Candikunning. The turnoff is near the big banana which is in the centre of the main roundabout.

There is plenty of parking. Enrty fee is 7 000 rupiah.

The gardens are basically large areas of mowed grass very suitable for picnics. There are a number of arboretums housing certain species of plants. There are also various ponds and places to sit around the park.

The park is well used by locals on the weekend. We went on a weekday and virtually had the place to ourselves. We went again on the following day, which was a Saturday and the place was crowded with huge family groups of picnickers. It was great sitting around watching and being watched (we were the only westerners where we were sitting). People were friendly.

The big attraction is the Bali Treetop Adventure Park. This is an excellent and safe colour coordinated ropes course. The flying foxes are amazing long. The course is suitable for young children to those who want a challenge. Fee: 230 000 rupiah.

Best Points: treetop park, gardens, locals, relaxing atmosphere, buying picnic food at Candikunning markets (hot corn on cob, strawberries, excellent bakery downhill pass the markets)

Worse Points: make sure you bring your own food and water.

Indonesia - Bali - Banjar - Brahma Vihara Arama – 2009

Parking is available just outside the monastery and there are a number of small shops for eating. A little further down the road is a hotel.

A sarong is needed to enter the monastery. These can be hired for a donation at the entrance.

The monastery is situated in a high position with excellent views over the valley and down towards the sea. The monastery is tiered and pretty. Each tier contains a number of small and/or large temples and gardens. The various tiers are connected by paths and steps.

Though there is not a lot to say it is a very pretty place and well worth the visit.

Best points: pretty, great views, very quiet.

Worse points: none

Indonesia - Bali - Banjar - Air Panas (hot springs) - 2009

Air panas means hot water. Air Panas, Banjar is a hot springs in Banjar, north Bali.

There is a parking lot at the entrance for cars. Further along there is a parking lot for motor cycles.

The entrance fee is very cheap. The road continues from the entrance passing a number of shops. The entrance to the springs is along a small bridge which spans the narrow river. There are three pools where hot water pours from statues. The water is pleasantly water rather than hot.

There are mainly locals using the pool. They are friendly and courteous.

The area is steamy and lush with tropical vegetation.

The restaurant was closed when we were there. There are change rooms, showers and lockers.

The paths are very slippery. Modest costumes are appropriate.

Best points: hot springs, pretty, a great experience to mix with friendly locals

Worse points: slippery.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Terrigal and Avoca - surf - 15 july 09

Small waves today and crisp winter conditions. Very cold. Terrigal very small but avoca was producing nice ones at times.

CENTRAL COAST - Pearl Beach to Patonga - HIKE - 14 June 2009

Generally, it is a hard 3 ½ hour walk. The hard part is th coastal section. Start the walk an hour or two before low tide.

Park the car near café close to beach.

Walk along the beach towards the south. Cross over the trickle of Green Point Creek. The rock pool is deep enough for a reasonable swim. Walk along the rocks to green point. The cliffs to the right side are steep and have been buffeted for rock falls. The water is deep. Around the point is a flat area of rock great for sitting and admiring the views. There are some hoses built very close to the cliff edge. The rest of the walk involves flat areas of rocks, slippery rocks, scrambling over, under and around large boulders, some walking into the bush and swimming when there is no other option through. At one point the beaches on Lion Island can be seen quite clearly. Eventually, dark corner near Patonga is reached. 2 hours.

The creek empties out at the north end of Patonga. At this point there is a steep track leading upwards. This is part of the great Northern Walk. The track eventually joins with a trail towards Pearl beach. Along this route there are a number of turnoffs to the right for great views over broken bay. A turnoff the trail to the left leads to Warrah Trig. Further along there are some huge overhanging caves. Eventually, the streets of Pearl Beach are reached and it is a short walk to the car. 1 hour.

CENTRAL COAST - Terrigal and Wamberal - surf - 13 july 2009

Big swell. Huge on the beach yet amazingly long flat spells at times. Surfing at north point at Wamberal and Haven.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Surf

For a beginner, you can just hire a board on the beach or book into surf lessons.

Surf lessons

There are many surf schools along the beach from Kuta to Seminyak. When you get there you will see them if not ask someone and they will point you in the right direction.

The waves on the beach break on shallow, flat sandbanks. Between the banks are strong rips which can have good surf. Out pass the breaking waves the currents are very strong and will easily take you quite a distance along the beach. The waves are crowded with experienced foreign and local surfers, who at times come dangerously close to beginners if they get in their way. The safest places to learn are on the shallow sand banks riding the white wash and the reforming waves.

You can organize the lessons when you get there. This way you can check them out the surf schools directly so that you feel assured that they are okay.

Generally, the surf schools are well organized with good equipment and instruction.

Here are the web sites of a few of them.

Warning: a certain number of people both locals and tourists drown each season on Kuta’s long beach. If in trouble raise your hand. Don’t panic if you get caught in a rip or current. do not swim against it but swim at roughly a 45 degree angle with the rip towards the shore. Don’t panic and remain calm someone will help you

More experience surfers


There are two seasons. Wet and dry. Generally the east coast is off shore in wet season and west coast is off shore in dry season.

What to take

Board and board bag
Wax comb
Rash shirt
Clip on hat (for some people)
Board shorts with elastic in pocket to tie on keys
Day pack

Where to surf

The following breaks, as well as, other places are well known. Explore and there are more breaks. Be prepared for crowds Locals are hot with no fear. Beginners will paddle out and get in the way. Most people are wave hungry until the sun slows them down. Yet, despite what I said, I’ve had a number of surfs with no one out except me. Enjoy and explore!

Medewi – left point on rocks

Balian – beach

Canggu – beach

Legian/Kuta – beach
Kuta reef
Airport reefs - lefts and rights
Balangan – left
Dreamland – short right and longer left
Bingin – short left
Impossibles – three shifting peaks
Padang Padang
Ulu watu
Sanur reef
Nusa dua breaks
Sri lanka reef
Nusa lembongan – shipwreck right, lacerations right and playgrounds left and right

Indonesia - Bali - Gunung Batur - a volcano trek - 2009

The tour can start from any venue in Bali but the cost will vary. It can be booked at any of the hundreds of tour agencies in Bali or arrange your own transport and hire a guide at the base car park at Gunung Batur. Purchasing on the web or at an agenct in your homecountryWe started at Ubud and the tour was 250 000 r person. This included pick up and drop off at your hotel. For the trip you need shoes, warm top, comfortable walking clothes, torch and water. A reasonable level of fitness is required though there are lots of rest stops.

The driver picked us up at our hotel at 2 am driving for approximately one hour to reach the car park at Gunung Batur. At this point we met our guide. The torches provided weren’t very good but we had our own. The trek up to the crater edge to Gunung Batur 1 is in the dark. The walk is reasonably graduated and it becomes steeper in the last ½ hour. There are many points to rest along the way. If you need more rests tell the guide. Once you reach the top you are covered in perspiration which becomes icy cold with the altitude and cold breeze. You are now glad you have a warm top. If you are still cold there is a shelter to huddle inside from the wind.

The sun gradually rises from approximately 6 am. The mountains (Gunung Abang and Gunung Agung) and misty Danua Batur come into view with the increasing light. The sun rises over Gunung Rijini in Lombok as a fiery red ball. The ever increasing light creates a magical scene of the nearby and distant scenery. While you have been watching this glorious procession, your guide has been preparing a breakfast of banana jaffle and egg using volcanic heat.

Not long after the sun rises the mountain monkeys appear. During the cold night they have been huddling in the nearby volcanic crater next to a heat vent for warmth.

The next stage of the trek is an easy level walk along trails to Batur II and views of Batur III. Batur erupted periodically in 1999 to 2000.

The trail down starts on loose volcanic sand which makes for a comfortable step/slide down the steep track. Eventually, the track joins with the upward trail, leading back to the carpark and your waiting driver.

Worse points: getting up early

Best points: views and feelings of achievement.

Indonesia - Bali - Danau Bratan - canoe - 2009

We hired a canoe with stabilizing poles on the two sides the day before at Ashram Hotel. We picked up the boat at the front of the hotel with three paddles early in the morning. The rear paddler sits on the stern gunwales which made for easy paddling. Paddling was harder for those sitting in the canoe.

The day was sunny but cool. We paddled to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan in about 20 minutes and circled the temples which were built on small islands. The islands were encircled by lily pads. The temple is very pretty.

Next, we paddled across the lake in ½ hour to the Japanese caves. We looked at the entrances but didn’t go ashore as mooring was very difficult due to 1m stone walls and water depth of about 1m.

We paddled along the shore line passing a sunken large boat, a small dam and the Taman Reckreasi Bedugul (Water Recreation Park). The shore returned to jungle and we returned to Ashram Hotel.

The total paddle was about 1 ½ hours. The best part was the pleasure of canoeing and the silence of the water being only broken by the sound of the paddle dipping into the water.

Canoes can be hired for 30 000 for 2 hours.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Danau Bratan - 2009

Candikunning is situated near Danau Bratan. It is a small town with a tourist/local market and a number of restaurants (Indonesian food is the main items on the menus). Nearer to the lake and towards Bedugul are a number of hotels.

The weather is cool with mist filling the lake in the evening and/or early morning. The local people are very friendly and helpful. In general, it is a peaceful and relaxing place that is very different to the rest of Bali. The scenery is calming.


All these can be arranged from your hotel. Guides are needed on some treks.

Visit the beautiful Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – beautiful temple on the lake. It is worth seeing by boat as some of the temples which are part of the complex are on small islands.

Taman Reckreasi Bedugul – this has a number of water sport activities.

Bali Botanical gardens – 7 000 rupiah entry - lots of grass areas to sit. Heaps of people from all over Bali and Indonesia come here to relax, especially, on the weekend. Get a picnic lunch from Candikunning market and the bakery down the road from the market. There are a number of greenhouses in the grounds with specific types of plant species. A treetops ropes course which is divided into colour coded levels and is heaps of fun – 230 000 rupiah per person.

Hired a canoe for 30 000 rupiah per hour and canoe around Danau Bratan. Two hours is plenty. Visit the Japanese caves (Goa Jepang) and the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.

Walk through Candikunning and the market. The people were either friendly or indifferent when we visited it. The market has also small alleys to walk through. The markets are very interesting selling fruits, vegetables, flowers and tourist items. Strawberries sell for 5 000 rupiah a large punnet or 3 punnets for 10 000 rupiah.

On the left of the road down the road from the market is an excellent bakery. The food is excellent and it has an amazing variety of European pastries.

Drive along saddle above Danau Tamblingan and Danau Buyan – amazing views

Visit Mundok and walk around the one road town. There are places to stay here as well.

Trekking at:

Start at Danau Bratan - trek 4 hours - goa jepang, gunung catur, pura puncak mangu (monkeys here)

Start at Danau Tamblingan finish at Danau Buyan

Trek to Gunung Lesong

Trek around Lake Tamblingan – start with locals canoeing you across lake canoe, walk, temples, rainforest.

Waterfall trek at Mundok

Indonesia - Bali - Overview of where to go

Bali is a beautiful island and each aspect of it is unique. Many people come and stay in the south of the island and some travel and stay all over he island. It an extremely easy place to travel around. There are plenty of tour agencies who will organize everything for you or you can self tour. each way has its pluses. so where are the places to go in Bali.

The following destinations that are throughout the island I feel are worthwhile to stay at or visit as a day tour. They all have good accommodation, food and activities unique to that area.

Kuta/Legian/Seminyak . This is the busy south. There are heaps of hotels, shops, restaurants and activities. The areas blends into each other becoming more milder as you move north. It is crowded and buildings are the main feature. The beach is greyish white sand and activities abound along the whole stretch. Highlights: shopping, down the beach at sunrise and sunset, clubbing.

Kerobokan, Berewa, Canggu, Echo Beach and Pererenian Beach. This is further north along the same beach. It is much more quieter than Kuta area and rice fields begin to appear there is solitude to a degree on the beaches, much fewer restaurants and accommodations. A great place to stay for tranquility yet close to the Kuta action. Highlights: quiet beaches with a lot of local life, surfing.

Balian. A beautiful coastal enclave with great accommodation and food. The coastal scenery is great and the beaches isolated. Highlights: long coastal and village walks are great, surfing.

Medewi. A rocky, black sand beach village on the west coast of Bali. It has reasonable accommodation and food. The beaches are devoid of tourists and are very pretty but the water is very murky. It is an excellent base to explore the coast and cultural features of the area. Highlights: Pura Ramut Siwi (get a blessing) and Pupuan (see the rice fields), surfing, explore the quiet coastline.

Pemuteran. A pretty and isolated coastal area in the north of Bali. Hotels are generally expensive and the food is good. It is the best place to explore the north west corner of Bali. Highlights: trekking in Taman Nasional Bali Barat, snorkel/dive Menjangan Island.

Lovina. A mixture of villages on the north coast with a reasonable amount of accommodation and restaurants. There are plenty of things to see and do. The atmosphere is laid back. Highlights: snorkel/dive reefs, hot springs

Amed. A mixture of coastal beaches, coves and villages on the north east of Bali. Hotels and restaurants are spread out over a wide area. Highlights: diving/snorkeling at Japanese fishing boat, Jemeluk, Lipah, Selang and Liberty wreck, trekking in hills, drive the spectacular coastal road from Amed to Ujang.

Tirta Gangga. A beautiful, small and quiet village in the mountains. Highlights: water palace, trekking the rice fields.

Candidasa. A long stretch of coastal village along a shore of break walls. Highlights: temples, snorkeling, diving

Padangbai. A small size coastal town with a ferry port and white sand beach. This a sea transport hub to Lombok and other destinations. lots to do in and around the area. Highlights: snorkel/dive blue lagoon, swim at white sand Tugas Bias, seafood, watching Balinese coastal life.

Sanur/Benoa/ Nusa Dua. Coastal towns with white sand beaches. All facilities can be found with a slower pace of life than Kuta. Nusa Dua is a pure tourist created town. Highlights: views, shopping

Bukit. The hill area of the south of Bali. It is arid and dry but has spectacular coastal scenery. Surfing is the main attraction. highlights: coastal scenery, Uluwatu temple, monkeys

Ubud. In the centre of Bali, it is a town spread over a large area (incorporating a number of villages). It has all facilities but laid back. It is a great base to explore the centre of Bali. highlights: cultural activities, walking, spas, historic sites, food

Danua Bratan Area. A quiet natural hilly area. There are beautiful lakes, views, quiet towns. peace and quiet is the theme. Highlights: lakes, trekking, botanical gardens, views

Agung Batur area. A dry, volcanic region in the centre of Bali. There are volcanoes and lakes within volcanoes. It is a quiet area with okay facilities. Highlights: views, volcano climb

Nusa Lembongan. A dry flat small island off the east coast of Bali. The coastline of the island is varied and pretty. Surfing/diving is the main attraction. Highlights: surfing, walking, snorkeling.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Medewi - where to stay - 2009

There are a number of places to stay in Medewi and the surrounding area. They range in price from budget to evrything included packages.

Medewi Beach Cottages 2009
62 365 40029 - 40030
Garden room air con
504 000 rups breakfast included
Ocean View rooms air con
Fan rooms, which are across the road
120 000 rups no breakfast
40 000 rups non guest use of the pool includes pool towel and shower
(note tele on site is different to hotel)

Mai Malu
90 000 rups (2009)
good chaep food

Warung & Homestay Gede 08123976668
Situated by walking a short distance along the beach towards the north.
cheap food. good for snacks but too much coconut oil for my liking

Medewi Bay Retreat - expensive - can't seem to find exact location

Puri Dajuma Cottages
Located on headland south of Medewi
Rooms start at 1 500 000 rups

There are lots of budget accommodations along the road leading to the beach.

If you get stuck for a place to stay, just ask one of the local surf guys at the end of the road. They will find something for you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Medewi - things to do - 2009

Medewi is situated on the west coast of Bali about 2 hours drive of Kuta. It is a small, quiet village.

The beach at Medewi is a long sweep of black sand to the north. The point is made up of volcanic rock and boulders and the water is murky. On the rocks are barnacles so foot protection is needed to get in and out of the water. A number of rivers cross the beach at various points.

Walking towards the south is a reef which ends at the river mouth. After this, there is a black and grey sandy beach that is suitable for swimming though the water is murky.

Turning off the main road at Medewi are a few restaurants and guest houses. The guesthouses have clean basic fan rooms for about 80 000 to 100 000 rupiah breakfast included. The Medewi Beach Cottages have air conditioned rooms for 500 000 rupiah and upwards. It also has a pool that is available to non-guests for 40 000 rupiah.

There are restaurants at the corner of the turnoff to Medewi, the Medewi Beach Cottages and along the beach to the north.


Visit Balian – a surfing spot

Explore the beaches – white and black sand – all empty.


Walk around village. Walk along the beaches – cross a river, watch the locals in their daily life

Talk with local surfers – they are friendly and will provide anything you need.

Sit around the pool at Medewi Beach Cottages

Sit and watch the surfing at medewi point


Visit Pura Rambut Siwi – a coastal temple on cliffs – visit nearby caves - get a blessing

Follow the coast road to Pura Perancak

Swim at Renning or Candi Kusama

Watch buffalo races

Visit Christian villages in mountains - Belimbingsari and Palasari.

Watch a local dance

Trek at Taman Nasional Bali Barat


A relatively very cold winter in Australia. We had been waiting a long time for our next overseas trip and it always seems so far away but t...