Dives, Delights, Dragons &... DoneJuly 29, 2017 in Indonesia
Yoga teacher: "Relax your mind and body, allow the calm to wash over you as we go into the salutation." I'm at a yoga studio in Ubud, Bali's alternative centre. I'm attempting a spot of the popular pastime along with a load of other novices. It's way harder than it looks, my body just doesn't want to go in the direction it's supposed to. Although once you get the hang of it, it's quite nice and relaxing. The centre also offered a number of other more 'outlandish' activities. One was shamanic meditation 🤔 - I looked through the window to the studio and people were on the floor shouting and wriggling about, it appeared more like some sort of cult, but whatever works for them I guess.
Ubud is a lovely little place, pretty touristy but also very quaint with a hippy vibe and lots of interesting spots. I visited the famous monkey forest, a beautiful green space with towering trees made for the hundreds of monkeys who live there. They are just as cheeky as ever, climbing up on people uninvited and stealing whatever they can see - classic. 🐒
After Ubud, I went to explore Nusa Lenbongan, a small scenic island off the coast of Bali. I did a drift dive here and it was great, you just fly along underwater with the current and fishes, bit scary initially but good fun once you get used to it. After Nusa I took a bumpy boat to Gili Trawangan or Gili T has everyone calls it. By day it's a beautiful island with stunning beaches and snorkelling galore. By night bars emerge with varying qualities of live music and drunk patrons dance to the wee hours in the street, whilst agitatied looking horses are sadly forced to pull lazy punters along the seafront. On the calmer side of the island, curious visitors sit on the soft sands spacing out to repetitive beats on readily available magic mushrooms touted by the locals, before entering back into the nightlife fray a few hours later.
It was time to wrap up the trip and for the last few days I headed for Komodo island one of only three places you can find wild Komodo Dragons. A three night boat trip awaited me and I have to admit I was quite nervous as I'd heard the sea could get really choppy here and the boats aren't exactly known for 'quality'. There have even been stories of them sinking occasionally! Luckily we had very calm and sunny weather so it was really pleasant. One night in the middle of the ocean you could see thousands of stars which was beautiful. Over the three days we stopped at stunning turquoise beaches, went snorkelling in crystal waters, sunbathed on the deck and played games on the boat. Finally we arrived in the Komodo national park.
Enter the Dragon... one of the last remaining animals that was also around in the dinosaur era. They are terrifying looking but also awesome to see. There was a massive one about two and half metres long. It actually looked like a prehistoric beast and the guide explained that they bite their prey with poison and then pop back a day or so later to eat the dead animal - lovely! We roamed around the park for a while admiring them and watching them skulk around before setting back on the boat to the final stop at the edge of Flores.
I spent the last couple of days on the mainland and undertook another breathtaking dive around Komodo island. I don't think I've ever seen so much colourful marine life in one place - sharks, rays, eels and turtles along with hundreds of tropical fish; definitely the best dive of the trip. I headed back to Bali in a plane that genuinely looked more like a childs toy, but thankfully it made it across the ocean safely. For my last days in Indonesia I attempted to surf in the rough seas, almost dislocating my leg in the process and spending more time underwater than 'ripping up' the wave. I gave up after a while and sat on the beach watching the pros. 🏄
So that's it, almost six months of being on the road and it's done. I'm back to where it began in Bangkok to catch the flight home. Eight countries, countless bus and boat journeys, endless hostels and different characters to meet and greet. A few highlights were getting my ass royally kicked in Thailand with the Thai boxers, marvelling at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the entire cultural experience of stunning Myanmar, learning to dive, meditate and swim in crystal waters, playing with elephants, sampling delicious Asian cuisine and watching ocean sunsets under palm trees amongst a whole lot more.
It will be nice not to live out of backpack but I know I'll miss this life, and may not be long before I head off somewhere again.
Untiil next time...
Wandering WordSmith. 🌏🌍🌎 ✈✈✈Read more