Day 11: North to Lovina BeachJune 26, 2016 in Indonesia
Early start today as we had a lot of driving to do! Our driver from Seminyak a couple of weeks ago had agreed to drive us around for the day, ending in his birth city of Singaraja on the northern coast. He was coming at 8 so we needed to be packed and breakfasted by then, but unfortunately our hotel breakfast missed the memo and turned up at 7:55! A quick gobble and off we went.
I was feeling much better today after finding some cold & flu Panadol tablets in a convenience store the night before, and dosed up on Gastro-Stop as well since something was causing a few "issues". I also noted pretty quickly that Putu, the driver, was suffering a cold, so he shot to the top of my suspects list!
It had rained heavily overnight but clear skies beckoned, so we headed westwards out of Ubud, firstly arriving at the Jatiluwih rice terraces. This is a whole valley where rice is cultivated (much like the rest of Bali), but obviously with steep valley walls they need to carve out small terraces to grow. A beautiful little spot, and it looked there were some great hiking and cycling paths around. But literally 2 minutes after we got out of the car, the heavens opened and drenched us, so back in the car we go.
This time we drove northwards to Batugul, the first of three alpine lakes in Bali. Batugul is well-known for having a Hindu temple sitting out on the lake, which is what we'd come to see. It's so distinctive it even features on the Indonesian 50,000 rupiah note ($5 AUD). Again a very beautiful sight, and thankfully not as touristed as Tanah Lot temple, but still quite crowded with mostly non-Western tourists. And again, after fine weather during the 90 minute drive in, the heavens opened and we got drenched for the second time today.
Stopped for lunch at a buffet restaurant on the edge of town - I suspect Putu doesn't know many places to eat and only recommended this because he knew it was where the tourists went. Definitely not something we would have chosen, it was 180,000Rp each (about $18) for a frankly unimpressive buffet of mostly fried foods. Tea & coffee included, any drinks including water were extra. Most of our lunchs have been less than $18 in total for two meals and two drinks! But alas.
Northward we drove, across the mountain pass in the centre of Bali over the shoulder of a volcano. Stopped briefly at a small monkey forest where the monkeys were much friendlier than the ones in Ubud (which are super aggressive around food). Bought a few bananas from a conveniently-located lady and fed the monkeys for a few nice photos.
Back in the car to the next stop of Gitgit Falls, a large three-waterfall area on the northern side of the mountains. Putu told us it was 200,000Rp each with a guide, but after sticking to our guns it was actually only 20,000 each for entry, and I'm not really sure what a guide would have offered! The path was very clear, winding around through rainforest and past cocoa and clove plantations and little jungle huts selling the usual Balinese trinkets.
As seemed to be our luck today, 5 minutes into the walk the heavens opened again, massively this time, with an enormous tropical downpour. Thankfully we'd had the foresight to bring rain jackets on the walk, but even so it was tough work. The walk itself was only about 20 minutes thankfully, but with scarce shelter from the hammering rain and booming thunder, we contented ourselves with a few pictures and a squelch back to the car.
And so we arrived at our destination - Lovina Beach. It's not really a town but a collection of hotels on the northern coast of Bali. We'd chosen one a bit further from town than we thought, but had an excellent private villa available with our own plunge pool. And right on the beach too. So even though we'd been drenched several times today, we plunged straight in (remember that it's basically 31 degrees and 85% humidity every day here!). After cooling off and relaxing, we wandered down the beach for a bit to discover exactly how far from town we were.
As it turns out, quite a way, so we turned back. Black sand beaches over this side of the island as they're volcanic rather than coral sands, and due to offshore reefs the water is much calmer. The beaches are pretty dirty though, with lots of plastic rubbish around. As we'd spent most of our cash on paying Putu for driving us all this way, and didn't feel like hunting around for an ATM in the dark in an unfamiliar (and frankly, not very touristy) place, settled on dinner from the hotel restaurant which we ate in the room.
Very early start tomorrow for dolphin watching at 6am!Read more