This was a 9 day trip to Bali, Komodo National Park and Ijen volcano that my husband and I went on in September of 2017.
Our trip expenses were THB 42,000- this includes all expenses (food, internal flights, accommodation, tickets etc) for a couple, except for international flights.
Our Indonesia trip. We started at mumbai and flew in to Bali (Denpasar). We actually got ourselves some pretty cheap tickets, 20k INR round trip. Not bad. The flight was uneventful, we only had carry on bags . The check in staff did make sure they were under the 7 kg limit! We had a short stopover at Kuala Lumpur on both flights, and then straight to Denpasar.
On landing at the airport in the evening, the first thing we saw were the enormous immigration lines! It took us about two hours (!!) to get through it. INdians are visa exempt, in fact most people coming to Bali would have been visa exempt. So all my plans of getting to our hotel in Ubud soon and maybe having a quick stroll around the Ubud market area were stopped right there.
As soon as we got out of the airport, the first thing we did was buy a sim card for each of us from the nearest convenience store, right outside the arrivals gate. I don’t remember how much it cost us, but it was fairly inexpensive for data+ voice calling.
One thing to note was that my MI Redmi phone did not support the 3g/4g band in Indonesia, so perhaps check on that before making a trip, if fast internet is important for you. Fortunately it worked fine on my husband’s phone, so that was enough for all our google maps needs. Neither of us are very avid users of social media.
Once we had our sim cards, our next step was to get a cab to our hotel booking in Ubud. Ubud is a quaint little interior area of Bali, about an hour away from the Airport, which lies in the south part of Bali. We booked an Uber, since Uber indonesia offered some discounts to first time users. Was reasonably straightforward, although it took a little while to explain to the driver where we were, considering he spoke pretty basic english only.
We got to our hotel in Ubud- Chili ubud cottage. Cute little breakfast-included place. The rooms were individual cottages that were arranged around a small pool. The pool looked nice, but as usual, I was feeling far too cold to actually use it. The small area was very green, and they even had a few of their namesake chilli plants in one corner. The decor was like everywhere else in Ubud- very green, lots of bamboo structures, firangipani flowers of different colors everywhere, lining the roads. That typical balinese bamboo music playing everywhere really created quite an atmosphere. It really seemed like this was the standard Balinese decor for any hotel or restaurant.
The hotel had a scooter we could rent at 60,000 IDR/day, which we booked for the next day. After our long and tiring day of travel, we only went to sleep that day.
The next morning after a simple breakfast of rice or noodles, we took our scooter out and headed off to Telagang Rice terraces. We had a lovely time walking around the scenic terraces. The whole of Bali had a number of rice fields that looked inviting, but these particular ones were on a particularly hilly part, making the terraces very scenic. The rice patches were still flooded with water and the whole place was green and soggy, with coconut trees dotting the terraces. It seemed to be a pretty popular spot as we were far from the only tourists there, but it was still pretty.
We walked around quite a bit and once we ventured out to some of the further trails inside, the number of tourists thinned out as well. We had some refreshing (and overpriced!) coconut water at a small hut inside the fields, and walked back to our scooter.
Next we headed to Gunung Kawi temple. Again, as seemed to be the theme in Bali, it was mossy, green with lots of little streams running through it. Before entering, we were provided with sarongs to cover up our lower halves when entering (on rent from the temple, as part of the ticket). When we visited, there was an important festival coming up and all the men and women who worked there were preparing decorations and offerings for the upcoming festival, so that was pretty interesting to watch. The women were putting together the food offerings, and the men were building the large flag type of decorations we saw on the side of all the roads in bali. Everything was made from bamboo or coconut leaves it seemed.
The temple itself had some interesting structures and carvings, and a few familiar hindu gods were labelled. Most of the people at the temple were tourists, although we did see a single family who had come to pray.
Our next stop was Goa Gajah temple, but on the way we stopped to sample some Durian and some of the local snacks (‘Perkedel’ and a giant mug of tea). The durian was not quite as ‘flavorful’ as we had heard it was. In fact it was rather creamy. We actually ran into the family we saw praying at Gunung Kawi at the durian shop. They explained the empty pedestal that they were praying to - where the highest god manifests… something that confused Rohit and I when we first saw them.
Goa Gajah had some interesting temple architecture to see, but I think by this point we were underwhelmed by it, and as a result missed out on seeing some of the better temples later in our trip! We even missed the iconic gateway to heaven one. Oh well, I can go back some time.
Later in the day we just chilled out and had a beer and a shisha in the Ubud market, since we had a Mt Batur tour booked for 1 am that night! We booked the tour through our hotel front desk.
The tour began with a minivan picking us up from our hotel at 1am. After picking up a few others from their hotels, we headed off to a restaurant where we were given a hot cup of tea, and snacks to carry with us on our Batur trek. The trek was in complete darkness (the tour company provided us torches). It was a steep slope, took us about 3 hours maybe to get to the top. The entire way up was super crowded and all i could see was the butt of the person in front of me the whole time. At least it was dark. We reached the summit in time for sunrise, and now we could finally see the whole crowd that had gathered there to get a view of the same sunrise. There was a little shop on the top selling some snacks. We could see the Batur lake as well as Mt. Agung. It was quite scenic, if one can ignore the hundreds of other people :)
After a short detour to see the crater, as well as our guide showing us spots where there were still hot gases emerging from the mountain, we headed back down.
The hike down was more scenic than the way up, in any case. We got to see from above the impact that an earlier eruption of Agung had made on the surrounding landscape - the (dried) lava flow is still visible.
On the way back the tour company took us to a civet cat coffee plantation. That was interesting, although the poor civet cats were kept in rather questionable cages.
We sampled a number of teas and coffees although we finally left without actually making any purchase.
We were back from the tour in time for lunch- we went to a restaurant famous for it’s duck, i forget the name now, and had a lovely meal of duck and Bintang beer.
After this, at my behest, we headed off to the Bali butterfly park - a small enclosed area where they breed and house various species of butterflies. This was only of particular interest to me, and my husband got awfully bored, although it was a well maintained butterfly park I thought.
We spent the rest of the evening relaxing - visited a cat cafe and another place near our hotel for dinner and more Bintang, before heading off to bed.
The next morning we headed to Ubud monkey park where we would spend some time before catching our flight to Labuan Bajo!
The monkey park was nice to walk around, there were a few temples inside the park as well, and a lot of curious and friendly monkeys.