Indonesia – Surf’s Up in Bali, 23-26 September 2012

Couple of friends and I managed to put together a short weekday trip to Bali. Only mission of trip? Ride some waves.

Apart from full service airlines (KLM, Singapore Airlines, Qatar, but to name a few) that fly from Singapore and Bali, there are also multiple budget options that head there, including Jetstar , Tiger Airways , and Airasia. Air Asia gave us the best combination of price and schedule, so we ended up taking that option. I think Lion Air flies there too, but I’m not that keen on that. To keep costs low, we stayed at Tune Hotel, which is run by the same company that operates Air Asia. It’s a no frills hotel that’s mostly clean, has a great shower, and a nice bed. We booked into the one at Kuta, and it was located at a central location, giving easy access to Kuta Beach.

Upon arrival, our first mission was to get some lunch. Previously, we ate at Warung Made on Jalan Pantai Kuta (it’s about 500 ft away from the beach) and were satisfied with the fare, so we returned. They offer cheapish and excellent Indonesia food. Our first meal was a nasi goreng (fried rice) and gado-gado (Indonesian salad with boiled veggies, tofu, and peanut sauce), which we washed down with some draft Bintang. Whole meal costs us around 50000 rupiah (~ 5 usd).

As we were still early for check-in at Tune, we ended up going for a foot massage. Recently, multiple massage places have popped up around Jalan Pantai Kuta, and their rates are vaguely the same. They cost around 5 usd for a foot massage, and 7-8 usd for a body massage, both lasting 1 hr each. Frankly I don’t know much about massages, but they all seemed pretty good.

Surfing. Well, there are actually a couple of options available in Bali, including more advanced options. But as we are beginners, we decided that a beginner’s beach break is the best option for us. Kuta is an excellent option, if you are looking for a beginner’s beach break. Equipment rental is cheap (from 4 usd a day to 4 usd for half a day, depends on your bargaining skills, and your willingness to carry a surfboard for some distance), and if you so wish, you can also hire one of the beach boys as an instructor.

Some things to note – if you are not a strong swimmer, I highly recommend that you do not do this. While the waters are shallow, the under currents are very strong. It requires a certain level of water confidence to battle the waves. Also, for a more painless surfing experience, the area that’s closest to the entrance to Kuta beach at Jalan Pantai Kuta is your best option. The further north you head, the crazier the waves get. It can be fun, but it is also exhausting. Do also watch out for surfboards headed your way. As there are many beginners out there, you never quite know if someone rams a surfboard in your direction. So heads up .

In a strange little twist, our surfing trip turned into a shopping trip, due to the intensity of the surfing. One of my friends has lovingly christened our soft boards the cheese grater. We lost quite a lot of skin after the first day, prompting us to invest in rash vests, and non-chaffing board shorts. So do try to bring some equipment, as this can be quite painful. Or if you do decide to buy, there’s a shop at the south end of the bar scene on Jalan Legian that sells surfing (and other beach) stuff for a discount.

We ended our days with cold Bintangs and beautiful sunsets by the beach.


Indonesia – Komodo to Labuan Bajo to Bali, 30 June 2011

Final day of the boat trip, captain Mat brought us to our last snorkelling site, which is also known as R poo bay, because he pooped in the bay the last time, and the water current changed directions, bringing the poop to the rest of the crew (resulting in a mad scramble away from the floating poop). A man of tradition, he repeated it once again. Thankfully, the direction of the water current didn’t change this time round.

After the morning snorkel (which I did not join), Captain Mat bested himself. It’s really a shame he isn’t a chef or something – he made us ayam goreng kecap manis (fried chicken with sweet soy sauce). It was delicious and we cleaned up the plate. All in all, an excellent boat trip!

After landing in Labuan Bajo, we had about an hour to kill before our flight, so we headed to the fancy Tree Top for some ice cold beer. It was decently-priced and had a good view of the harbour. We didn’t climb to the top. (and you probably shouldn’t if you plan on getting pissed drunk)

Getting back to Bali, we were pretty much just left with time for dinner (after a VERY, VERY welcome shower after three days of not bathing). We went to Poppies Lane and had Mexican, concluding our little expedition to Komodo.

Our boat to Komodo

View of Labuan Bajo Bay from Tree Top

Indonesia – Bali, 24 – 26 June 2011

As we couldn’t get tickets out of bali on 25 June, we ended up spending two full unintended days in Bali. Since some of the crew haven’t been to Bali, we hired a car, and went on a food/sight-seeing (well, mainly food) tour of Bali on 25 June 2011, we brought us to eat some babi guling (suckling) pig in Denpasar, and a banana dessert place amidst the rice fields in Ubud. Minimal pictures, because I was quite lazy with whipping out the camera (especially given that C was more than happy to take food pictures), well, and also because I am not a huge pork fan. The general consensus is that pork in Indonesia is good.

On Sunday, C and I went for a one hour surfing lesson. Bali is way better for beginner surfers than Hawaii. There was less space for a lot more people learning how to surf in Hawaii, and consequently, it was just an accident waiting to happen. After my endless attempts (I think this is my fourth try in my fourth country), I finally managed to stand on the board twice, thanks to our instructor Eddie. It was quite cheap, I think about 100,000 rupiah for two of us for one hour or something like that. There are several surfing spots in Bali for varying skill levels. Due to my paranoia about reef breaks, we went to Kuta beach, where there was a beach break, and endless waves that gave beginners endless time to stand on the board. For the kamakazee type of surfers, there are other options involved in other parts of the island. Just go check out wannasurf.

Our Caffeine Sampler somewhere in Kuta

Cool Vintage Car in Kuta

Banana Fritters

Amazing Waves at Kuta

Indonesia – Komodo and Bali, 24 June 2011 – 01 July 2011

Ok, I am getting ridiculous. Sigh. Hopefully I will be able to update the posts soon. But in the meantime, more itineraries.

24 June 2011: Bali

25 June 2011: Bali

26 June 2011: Bali

27 June 2011: Bali – Labuan Bajo

28 June 2011: Labuan Bajo – Rinca

29 June 2011: Rinca – Komodo

30 June 2011: Komodo – Labuan Bajo – Bali

01 July 2011: Bali

*Note: We were supposed to have left Bali on 25 June for Komodo, but as we couldn’t get tickets, we ended up spending more time in Bali than intended.