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Indonesia

Indonesia, Wrap Up

Experience

semi-overcast 28 °C
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Currently sitting at Bali airport waiting to catch a plane to Malaysia, so thought I would update the blog with my overall experience in Bali.

The areas of Indonesia that I visited over the 21 days were very diverse. I came here with an open mind and ready to experience as much of the culture and country that I could in the time I had.
Overall I had a fantastic time with the people being very friendly, helpful and genuinely seem happy, you very rarely see them angry or frustrated. I am sure they have these emotions, however they do not show them in public. Most of the locals are happy to have a conversation with you as they use it as a way of learning to speak better English, they realise that tourism is important to the country and communicating with the tourists provides a better experience.

KUTA
I found Kuta to be a typical large city where you can get whatever you are looking for any time of the day or night. Great for partying, shopping, surfing and getting harassed every 50 metres by ladies asking if you want a massage and guys asking if you want a lady or drugs, this gets old pretty quickly. I suppose when the economy is pretty poor you will do anything to survive, particularly when the population is large and the competition is everywhere. Great for singles under 30 and surfers

GILI AIR
This little island was fantastic. Everywhere you can stay is very close to the beach and there are many restaurants and bars along the beach, so you are never at a loss for food and drink. The water in most places I saw was very clear, so snorkeling is easy.
It is unfortunate that there is still a lot of unrepaired damage from the earthquake in August 2018 and the locals do not help the image by throwing trash and litter where they please. The culture here is very evident and the locals will always smile and say good morning.
Great for couples, families or if you just want some peace and quiet.

LOMBOK
This place was probably the most damaged and unfortunate due to the damage from the earthquake being the most severe that I saw while in Indonesia. The island is still suffering the effects and there are a lot of businesses that have closed due to the quake having stopped a lot of tourists from visiting
Ironically this is probably the happiest place I spent time in. The locals could not do enough to help you. The manager of the hostel I stayed at even came for a beer with me at one of the local bars called Happy Cafe. They have live music almost every night and close at 11pm, so not too tired the next day, hahaha.
Senggigi Beach was beautiful. great for swimming as there are not large waves and the water is warm and clear. Again it could be almost perfect if it wasn`t for the litter that washes up on the beach.
Great place for couples, honeymooners and getting away from the city life.

UBUD
This was probably my favourite part of Indonesia. It is in the hills so not near any beaches, however there is still plenty to do. The food here has something for everyone, from organic to local food and even hamburgers, chips and pizza. I had one of the best pizzas ever at Mama Mia`s, that would be as good as anything I had in Italy. Locals are friendly, it is easy to find your way around and close to nature. There is coffee plantations galore in Ubud and may of them will do free tastings of the coffee and tea that they sell. They are also happy to show you how they process the coffee and again there is no charge. The only money they make is if you decide to purchase any product before you leave.
Great for couples. honeymooners, nature and alternative lifestyle.

CANGGU
Pronounced Chang goo and is probably my least favourite place I visited, as it is the most westernised but still a great place. The beaches are amazing and have the least litter on them of any beaches I have been to in Indonesia. Food is great, again there is a wide variety that will be suitable for everyone. Unfortunately unless you love the beach there is not a lot else to do or places to visit in or around Canggu. If you are a surfer, you will be in heaven here as the waves are pretty decent but not to big if you are a learner. I guess I would call this the Mount Maunganui of Indonesia.
Great for surfers, couples, families and sunbathers.

INDONESIAN MONEY
I thought I would put a sample picture of the money for anybody that is interested. When I added this information the $NZD was worth $9426 IDR, so the $100,000 IDR is $10.61 NZD. To make it easy while I was working my way around Indonesia I have just been dividing the price by 10,000 not perfect but gave me a rough idea of what I was paying in $NZD

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Posted by Geete01 23:47 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Canggu, Indonesia

Surfer Heaven

sunny 30 °C
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20/5/19

Had an absolute shocker of a drive from Ubud to Canggu with the taxi driver, I will try and explain so I can give you an idea of what it was like. Firstly you need to know the trip was 1 1/2 hours and the drivers ability to drive the car was a cross between somebody who had consumed 12 Heinekens and a learner driver on his 3rd day.
He would move the steering wheel left to right consistantly like you used to see in the old movies and I never thought anyone drove like that. This would make the car swerve from one side of the road to the other continually crossing the centre line into oncoming traffic. Then to combat this problem he would need to use the brakes excessively so we did not have a head on accident, this would then mean your whole body lurches forward only being stopped by the seatbelt (which luckily I had fastened). Imagine all of this and the constant use of the horn. I never thought a reasonably short trip would have been so exhausting.
However, I have made it to Canggu ready to start exploring this part of Bali.
Just behind the hostel is a private residence where the kids seem to run around the yard all day and fly kites. Snapped the pictures below of a little girl just happy to be running around with a couple of umbrellas.... no mobile phone, TV or game consoles in sight.

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21/5/19

Staying at Castaway Hostel which is very central in Canggu, about 5 minutes walk to shops for clothes and food, then about 10 minutes walk to Batu Bolong beach. Had a pretty relaxing day at the beach and a couple of beers at the Sand Bar, little bar that overlooks the whole beach. Lots of surfers go here due to the good waves not far of the beach.

Batu Balong Beach

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Had an amazing breakfast at an organic place called the green guru this morning, so will probably go back there tomorrow. Headed to a Warung for dinner tonight called Bu Mi. I have heard you get to choose from 3 different types of rice then choose from about 25 other dishes what you you like to add to the rice for about $6 nzd.
Also wandered down to the beach this afternoon and had a beer.
This hostel is definately not as friendly as the one in Ubud, but lets see what happens tonight, supposed to be live music here, so people may open up a bit more.

23/5/19

Have had a relaxing few days to make my way around a lot of Canggu. This is probably the most Westernised part of Bali I have visited so far, even the locals are more Westernised. It is very reminiscent of a typical beach area in NZ and there are far more tourists here than I have seen anywhere else.
Everybody here is insanely good looking. All the guys have abs with 5% body fat and all the females have perfect bodies, Oh add to that they are all golden brown. Awesome place but if you don`t have any insecurities about your body image when you arrive, you are likely to before you leave hahahaha.
The food here is all amazing, I think the most you will pay for a meal is $12 - $15 nzd but this will be in a pretty cool restaurant overlooking the beach and you will never get anything for that price in NZ.
Probably not my favourite part of Bali but definately worth a visit.

Posted by Geete01 03:10 Archived in Indonesia Tagged canggu Comments (0)

Ubud, Indonesia

Paradise in the Hills

semi-overcast 29 °C
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Stopped into a little food outlet at the port of Bansal on Lombok while I was waiting for the boat and saw a can of drink called Pocari Sweat (Yuck). Not sure what a Pocari is but damn sure I do not want to drink the sweat of anything, hahahahaa.

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Well lucky I have plenty of time.... the boat back to Bali from Lombok was supposed to leave at 2pm but didn`t get underway until about 4.30pm. We had a pretty bumpy 1 1/2 hour trip back to Padangbai ( the port in Bali). Included in my ticket was a shuttle bus trip to Ubud, hahaha however the driver proceeded to tell me it would be about a 3 hour trip minimum, which meant I would not arrive to my accommodation until around 9pm. I decided to ditch the shuttle bus and caught a taxi which only took me 1 hour 20 mins, far more acceptable after a long day.

Arrived at the Wayan Family Homestay about 7.30pm

16/5/19
Met a German guy this morning staying in the same room at the hostel as me. He introduced himself as Toby. He is 31, so he is the only person I have met so far that is not 18 - 25. Awesome dude, so we went to the Monkey Forest and then had some lunch at a local Warung (family owned place for local food), I think it cost us about $4 nzd each. Food is pretty cheap here if you keep away from restaurants. It was really interesting to talk to him about Germany and his experiences so far on his trip, I think he said he was going to be travelling for 2 years.

The monkey forest was hilarious, there is literally thousands of monkeys, in the trees, on the ground, everywhere. They will steal anything that is not hidden. Even then they will jump on your back and try to open the zips on your bag. It was a typical tourist attraction that charges too much to get not much but was worth the entrance fee of 80,000 idr ($8 nzd) to experience the forest and monkeys.

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17/5/19
Had dinner last night with Tobi (Germany), Sikara (Ireland) and Tash & Adam (Canada).
Myself and Tobi hired a scooter each this morning and went to Goa Gajah Temple then to Pura Tirta Emplu Temple.

Goa Gajah Pictures

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Pura Tirta Empul Pictures

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and then to a coffee plantation where the make a coffee called Luwak coffee.
An animal they call the Luwak (it is a civet cat) eats the coffee beans from the tree and when it poops them out they collect the poop and then process the beans from the poop. So literally this is a shit coffee.
Here is the web link for more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_luwak

They served us various teas and coffees at this plantation and there was no charge for anything. We had to check several times that it was actually free because we couldn`t believe any business woud do this for free. They also showed us around the plantation and how they harvest and process the coffee beans and cacao, everything is done by hand including pounding the beans to create coffee powder.

Pictures From the Coffee Plantation

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Attended a traditional Indonesian Kecak & Fire dance tonight. It was about 150m walk from the hostel in Ubud. I would absolutely recommend going to this or something like it. I cost $7 nzd for an hour show and is highly entertaining. Unfortunately, due to the lack of light I could not get any photos.
The Kecak dance is unique in that it has no other musical background other than the chanting of the male dancers and is internationally recognised as one of Bali`s top 3 dances.
Here is a link to the exact dance I saw (not my video, it was taken from Youtube)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W_tA3ssAkM

18/5/19

Took a scooter to the Bali Bird Park this morning, which is about 25 minutes away from the Hostel. I thought on Bali standards this was a bit expensive but I really wanted to see the park as they had advertised there are 250 different species of bird and is on 2000sqm of land. Not sure if there is that many but there is certainly a lot.
The place was amazing. All the birds seemed well looked after and healthy. They also offer to take your picture with the birds and you can purchase the photos, however they will also take your picture with your camera, so no need to purchase the pictures that they took, which is a nice touch. some of the birds are not caged enabling you to literally stand right next to them.
This was the first time I have seen a Komodo dragon, I was quite surprised how big they are. The biggest one at the park is about 2.5 metres long and can run 20kmh.
I would highly recommend the Bird Park if you ever get to Ubud, Indonesia.

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19/5/19

Was looking around today and found a butterfly park that I was not aware of so went inside and the amount of different butterflies was outstanding. Could not get photos of all of them but there is a few pictures below to give you an idea of what to expect if you ever get the chance to go there.

Pictures from Butterfly Park
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Also went to the Tegenungan Waterfall. It was a bit touristy but definately worth the $2 nzd entry fee. The waterfall is 15m high and you can swim in the pool that is created at the base of the waterfall. It is quite a hike first down the steps and then back up when you are finished, so not for anybody that can`t handle the steps and 30 degree heat.

Pictures from Tegenungan Waterfall
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Since I arrived I have noticed a lot of English that is lost in translation, particularly on signage. So today I went to a local shop to buy some fruit and almost laughed out loud when I was standing in line to pay and saw some reuseable bags for sale at the counter that read "Shooping Bags"

Posted by Geete01 02:53 Archived in Indonesia Tagged ubud Comments (0)

Lombok, Indonesia

Heartbreak Island

sunny 31 °C
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Started out earlier than normal today at 6.30am, pretty damn early considering I am on holiday. Needed to walk about 10 minutes in 30 degree heat with all my gear to get to where I booked the days trip with Kiki. He promptly grabbed one of my bags and carried it for me to the harbour where I met the boat to Lombok from Gili Air . One thing I have noticed about the Indonesians is they are always willing to help and seem to have endless patience.

Today I splashed out and paid for a full day tour around Lombok. I had two amazing drivers/guides that spoke very good English which made communicating a whole lot easier. The first driver Adan, i am sure was smashed on weed. He told me they are supposed to be fasting for Ramadan (they are not supposed to eat or drink anything until 6pm each night) but around midday he got the munchies and had to stop for a packet of biscuits which he inhaled in about 2 minutes hahaha. The second driver Dede was Adan`s nephew who spoke great English considering it is not his first language.

First stop was what they described as the Monkey forest, sounded like a commercial entity but no, we just pulled off the main road at the top of the hill under the shade of trees and low and behold, monkeys everywhere. Had a bit of a laugh to myself that they were making money off something you could do yourself, however these guys were fantastic so no complaints. I fed the monkey that was the leader (not sure how they new that) but he was a greedy bastard. Tried to hand him a peanut and he took the other 6 I had in my other hand...

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Rice fields literally filled every space of land that wasn`t already occupied. Apparently they sell the rice for $1 nzd per kilo, which seems unbelievably low considering the amount of effort that goes into producing the rice.

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Next we went to what they described as a traditional Indonesian village called Sade village which the best way to describe it is a gated (private) homeless community with around 200 people and it was absolutely heartbreaking. Now clearly they are not homeless as it is a village but the level of poverty here was astounding. The ladies all made items off clothing and mats using a traditional weaving loom. They told me it takes up to 2 months to finish one of the mats working up to 10 hours a day and they still cook the meals, clean the house and tend to the kids. Sasak is the traditional language spoken in these villages. They also dressed me up in a traditional outfit, Might wear this when I get back to NZ.

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We also stopped at 3 different beaches today but Mawan beach stood out to me as the most photographic and had the bluest water I have seen so far in Indonesia.

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Have settled in at Selasar Hostel in Senggigi Beach, Lombok about 1 minute from the beach. Been chatting to the manager Aaron for the last hour. Interesting Indonesian guy who has lived in NZ for 9 years, so has a different perspective on things than the general population in Indonesia.

13/5/19

Went for a fish with some locals today. Didn`t speak great English so not sure what their names are but they were very accommodating. Only got 2 fish but we were only out there for 3 hours. They were big enough to eat so I gave the one I caught (I think they call them Leatherjacket or Cream fish in NZ) to the guy who owned the boat, he seemed happy.

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Lombok is extremely quiet at the moment as the high season doesn`t start until next month and they still haven`t recovered from the earthquake last August. It seems everywhere you go there is abandoned businesses due to the buildings being uninhabitable. I have put some pictures below of the hotel Santosa that is about 2 minutes from where I am staying. I went for a walk around it to get some photos and met a guy who worked here for 24 years, he told me there used to be 200 staff at this hotel which is now closed. Hilariously, they are trying to sell it for $80 million usd and it is a complete wreck. Here is a link so you can see what it used to look like. http://www.santosalombok.com/

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14/5/19

Just seen today in the local guide they are planning on building a MotoGP circuit in Kuta, Lombok for the superbike world championship in 2021, so this should help drive a lot more tourism back to Lombok. It s a 3 year agreement to build a purpose built street circuit for the event.

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I was aware that some of the last information portrayed Lombok to be pretty desolate, so I also wanted to add the following photos as it shows that there is also a lot of beauty on this island.

These shells I found while walking on the beach this morning.
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The following plants were in the front of the hostel where I am staying.
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This is down one end of Senggigi Beach.
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Finally the people here are extremely positive given that most don`t have conventional jobs. Not sure how they survive but they are always smiling and friendly. There favourite saying is "Never Try, Never Know"

Posted by Geete01 23:08 Archived in Indonesia Tagged lombok Comments (0)

Gili Air, Indonesia

Best Little Island

sunny 30 °C
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This morning I got picked up at 7am from the hostel to embark on a chaotic 1 1/2 hour drive to the port to catch a 2 hour ride in a fast boat to Gili Air (one of the 3 Gili Islands off Lombok). Hate to think how long the slow boat would have taken, hahaha.

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On arrival you need to get a taxi to the accommodation however not the traditional motorised taxi, it is a horse and cart as they have no cars on the island, which makes the island extremely tranquil.

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The accommodation is either single or double bamboo huts...literally but they have thought of everything so they have fans and mosquito nets. Not sure how we keep the snakes and spiders out though... Oh and there are about 200 cats, not sure if anyone owns them but they are everywhere.

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Went down to the beach about 6pm and got an amazing picture of the sunset. The beach is only a 2 minute walk from the accommodation so that`s pretty nice. Got dinner at a little restaurant on the beach, BBQ whole fish with rice and veges

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So internet is fairly sporadic, so this is all I can upload tonight. I will try and get some more photos uploaded tomorrow.

UPDATE 10-5-19

Spent quite a bit of time over the last few days getting to know some of the locals. Most of them seem to come across I thought shy but I believe they are more reserved, however it doesn`t take long before they open up. They don`t appear to care much for the environment either, they have an amazing island but just throw all manner of rubbish on the ground when they have finished with it. I met a couple of young boys yesterday that were picking up plastic bottles off the beach and filling big sacks with them, once I got talking to them they revealed the only reason they were picking them up is they get paid when the sacks are full and this is how they survive.

It does seem that there is still a lot of areas of the island that have not been cleaned up from the recent earthquake so those parts of the island look terrible.

Also met a guy called Datu who lives on Lombok but travels to Gili Air and rents a small piece of land on the beach to sell the necklaces etc that he makes. Not sure how he survives as it didn`t look like he was selling much but the Indonesian people are pretty adept at making not a lot go a long way.

My final dinner on Gili Air was at a little place on the way to the beach called warung Ada, it is only about 1 minute walk from my accommodation at Begadang. Had an amazing chicken curry with rice for $4 nzd.

Posted by Geete01 13:18 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali Comments (4)

Bali, Indonesia

Getting the Hell Outa Dodge

sunny 30 °C
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Well it`s day one of the big trip, still not sure that quitting my job at 48 to travel for 12 months was a smart move but i`m in boots and all now, so here we go.

I have arrived in Bali to 30 degrees, slightly warmer than the 11 degrees when I left Auckland this morning. I have to admit, I am not going to miss the cold weather.
Staying at a place called the M Boutique Hostel only $12 NZ a night and it includes breakfast, lets see what breaky is like in the morning, but the hostel is clean and modern.

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Picture is of the 5th floor where you can hang out and have a beer.

Just went for a wander down the street to get orientated for later when I go looking for something to eat. Was probably only out for half an hour and already been asked if I want a massage about 20 times, hahaha, must look like I need one.

I have figured out pretty quickly that everything here is negotiable, the taxi from the Airport told me it was IDR 300,000, told him I would give him IDR 200,000 and we settled on IDR 250,000, so that`s about $26 NZ for a 20 minute ride.

Going to look at catching a boat to Lombok or the Gili Islands on Tuesday for a few days.

Anyway I just wanted to start the blog and let everyone know that I have arrived safe.

Posted by Geete01 02:48 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali Comments (1)

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