A Travellerspoint blog

Make like an Australian

sunny 28 °C
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...and head to Kuta Beach.

That's how I'm spending my last couple of days in Bali. Actually, I like it better than Sanur. It has less hawkers and development right on the beach.

I've also checked out a few foot massages and had quite a painful reflexology session. If the foot represents all parts of the body then it appears that I'm a basket case.

I've been accosted by hawkers. They are very persistent. One even dragged me by the arm and was most disgusted when I wouldn't go into her shop. How many pairs of shorts do I need?

I found the local morning market very near to my hotel and got a f ew smiles as I wandered around. It was nice to finally see the local people going about their business instead of the tourist industry. The same place has the night market where there are a few useless items for sale and some very yummy food. I had a bowl of noodles for not much money. This is the kind of place that every Thai town has but I've found them difficult to locate in Indonesia.

Finally I had a beer on Sindu Beach (the local beach to my hotel in Sanur) with Stuart, the guy who operates the travelfish website. That was a pleasant way to finish.

Now I am in Melbourne airport waiting my flight home. Tanned and tired.

Posted by pythagnz 02:33 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Done a run on Ramadhan

sunny 29 °C
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So even tough the Crocodile River cottage had a lovely peaceful setting, it wasn't lovely and peaceful at night-time. Instead there was loud music and chants from nearby mosques. Sometimes in unison, and sometimes they took turns being noisy. It seems my first day there coincided with the first day of Ramadhan, which means this kind of thing goes on all night. There are occasional quiet spells but not for long. So I had a couple of fairly sleepless nights and ended up dozing on the couch on my balcony instead.

After having a happy morning fishing I had my pick-up to take me to Teluk Kodek to catch my fast boat back to Bali. The ticket included transfer back to my hotel and was a fairly reasonable price. But that was understandable after you'd travelled with them. I had a return ticket from Bali to Lombok and back so knew what to expect. That is, they go fast (it is a fastboat after all) and if you're sitting in the wrong place you get wet. On the way over I was completely soaked as I didn't have a proper seat and was sitting on the step in the middle at the back of the boat. Big waves would wash right over the top and then wave or dribble down on us. But going back to Bali in the afternoon meant there were a few empty seats and I was able to keep fairly dry.

Now I am back in Sanur at the Puri Mango Guesthouse where I am happy to report that their air-con rooms are much nicer than their fan rooms. But I am unhappy to report that I am back in the original fan room I was in last time as I thought I was leaving tonight (Friday) when I am actually leaving tomorrow night.

Posted by pythagnz 23:04 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Never Smile at a Crocodile

sunny 29 °C
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...or you may find yourself on the back of a motorscooter at night time with no helmet and two Indonesians in front of you (don't tell Mum). This was because I suggested to the woman managing the Crocodile River Cottage that they could have a list of activities for their guests and that going out fishing with a local fisherman might be fun.

So we went off to a fisherman's village where she knew someone and we sat around in his home and discussed the idea. Next morning I tried it out. They brought their small boat up the river to the lodge and Olivia (the manager) and I found our seats on the wooden floor and back down the river and out to sea we went. We fished using handlines in three different spots without much success. But I am pleased to say that I caught the first and biggest fish (and there were only two caught).

Unfortunately, it was the same day I was heading back to Bali so we headed back early and the guesthouse cooked up my fish for lunch. I had to eat it in a hurry as my pickup to take me to the harbour to catch my fastboat had already arrived.

The rest of my time at Crocodile River Cottage I spent looking at butterflies and iguanas (that swam in the river), having a traditional massage (better than the beach one at Senggigi) and lying on my balcony reading my book. A suitable relaxing time after the trek up Mt Rinjani.

Posted by pythagnz 16:38 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Mt Rinjani

semi-overcast 28 °C
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I bagged it! It was hard yakka too.

The first day started with a 5am pickup at the wonderful Beach Club Hotel. Only the guy came early at 4:45am. Just as well I was ready. We picked up a couple more people than headed for Senaru village a couple of hours away. Here we were given banana pancakes and waited around while the porters got the gear ready. There is a lot of waiting around in these places. Originally it was just me a French guy but at the Senaru office was another young French couple. They had wanted to do the trek the opposite direction to us but were told they couldn't so they joined with us. They were upset to begin with - its the expectation vs reality thing - but I think they enjoyed themselves in the end. And it was nice to have a group of four - me and four French people. There are loads of Europeans here. Not many kiwis!

Finally we were taken to Sembaluan village and after more waiting around began walking at 10am. The first half of the first day was a gradual ascent through grasslands. There were loads of people doing the trek and there was a bit of leap frog going on. The second half of the walk was up fairly steep hills. We had an ascent of about 1100m. I just put my head down and slowly and steadily made my way up to the crater rim. The porters were ahead of me and had set up the tents and started making dinner. They are quite strong and walk in flip-flops. They get paid 100,000Rupiah a day - about $20. The rest of my group finally arrived and we had a quiet and early evening.

Day 2 started at 2:30am with a snack and cup of tea and then the hard work began. It is 1000m from the crater rim to the summit of Mt Rinjani. The lone French guy didn't even start as he wasn't feeling well. And it didn't take long for the other two to fall behind and then realise they weren't going to make it. So the guide stayed with them and lit a fire to keep them warm and I continued alone. But not really alone as most other people were heading up too. I was feeling a bit ill myself but kept going and finally made the summit a bit after 6am. Nice views from the top. Mt Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia (3726m) so we looked down on the clouds and over to Bali where we could see Gunung Agung.

A couple of hours later and I'm back at camp for breakfast and then we pack up and descend a few hundred metres to the crater lake. This took about 3 hours as it was quite steep and we had to be careful. There is another campsite at the lake but we were only stopping for lunch. While the porters made lunch (they cook from scracth over an open fire) we had a soak in a nearby hot springs. Well - I dangled my legs in them while the others had a soak. The campsites are pretty disgusting with loads of rubbish and crap (literally) lying around.

After lunch and a short rest we started off again to climb to the crater rim on the other side. Most people camp here but we descended 15 mins to another rest area as it was slightly less crowded. Still dirty and disgusting though! Had great sunset views looking over towards Mt Agung again.

And on the last day a fairly easy descent mostly through rainforest to Senaru village. Where after the customary waiting around we were transferred back to Senggigi.

That is the brief account of my Mt Rinjani trek. Summary: it was hard work! But good to get to the summit and the route we did had a bit of variety with a nice way to finish (ie easy last day).

Posted by pythagnz 04:38 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)


Wherever I lay my head, that's my home

sunny 24 °C
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I thought I'd post a note about the guesthouses I am staying in:

Sawah Sunrise Guesthouse, Ubud
This is a very nice guesthouse set in the rice paddies. It is a 5min stroll down a lane, which can be quite dark at night but thanks to my trusty wind-up torch this was never a problem for me. One of the things I judge a guesthouse on is
the quality of the bathroom and Sawah Sunrise had quite a nice one. The bed was the right firmness and the pillows weren't too fat (unlike Thailand where you get hard, thin mattresses and very fat pillows). They had decorated the place with nice little flowers and there were two soap dispensers in the shower.

True to guesthouse fashion tho' the place wasn't perfect. After a day or two the handtowel rail fell off the wall (I didn't touch it, I swear). And I didn't know whether the two soap dispensers were dispensing soap or shampoo. Whatever it
was, it was a nice-smelling cleansing agent so I used it on my body, anyway.

Puri Mango Guesthouse, Sanur
Things didn't start great for this guesthouse as they weren't expecting me. I took a fan room with cold water only. Why is that fan rooms are so much lower in quality than air-con rooms? The room didn't rate highly as it had horrible pink paint and funny pinkish bed covers and seemed a little mouldy. The bathroom wasn't great either. But the sheets were clean and the bed was comfortable. The staff were extra helpful too (possibly because I was ever so slightly grumpy when I turned up) so thumbs up for that. Here's hoping their air-con rooms are a bit nicer than their fan rooms.

The Beach Club, Lombok
Aah, heaven. My bungalow is a few metres from the beach. It has a very stylish semi-outdoors bathroom, a hammock on the balcony, a comfortable bed. It is very relaxing, the beach is clean and not as developed or crowded as Bali. Later I will have a massage on the beach. Down side - I tried to use the safe and ended up locking my passport in it and then not being able to open it as the batteries for the safe are low. Hopefully, that is all being sorted while I am here. It is also noisy at night - with noise from the road and a call to prayer at some unseemly hour of the morning, even for me.

New Pondok Shinta Guesthouse, Senggigi
Well, it has nice balconies and the staff are friendly but that's about all going for it. The rooms are dingy and fan-cooled little cells. Not that great value either.

Crocodile Ecolodge, Lombok
Very nice, but then you are paying for it. The room is large, the bathroom is clean. There is a tv and lounge area in the room and a sitting out area on the balcony. The setting is nice by the river and cool from the trees. The staff are friendly and helpful and the food delicious. Definitely a great place to stay.

Posted by pythagnz 18:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged lodging Comments (2)

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