|Hidden beach on the Bukit peninsula|
Bali is very different from all other parts of
Indonesia we visited. It is
also by far the most touristy island. The price level in Bali is
significantly higher than in Java. Even for basic things like fried
rice or a bus ticket you often pay twice to three times the amount
you would in Central Java. To get around in Bali, you have four
options. Public buses and minibuses are rather slow and highly
unpredictable. Also, several drivers tried to rip us off. We usually
got around this by asking some locals about the fare and simply
paying the “usual” fare to the driver and walk away. The second
option is renting your own motorbike. It's cheap, about 50-60'000 IDR
(2-2.5 EUR) per day and very convenient, as you can easily reach
almost every spot on the island.
|Restaurant on the beach close to Bali airport|
|Fresh catch on the fish market|
|Our house god|
After a nice four hour drive through rice fields, over hills and with stunning views we finally arrived in the hotel Anugerah Villas. The driver was a friend of our hotel manager, both of them were lovely and very helpful, but they also immediately tried to sell us tours across Bali, massages and many other things. The entire family offered their services, which sounds wonderful but also can cause a lot of pressure for the tourists if they cannot friendly but clearly say no. Once that was sorted out, everything went smooth and easy. The hotel was clean, spacious and the view was stunning.
Over all Ahmed seems to be a wonderful place for divers and surfers, tours across the island are also great and offered from around 550'000 IDR per day. We hiked to a waterfall, saw lots of monkeys, temples and beautiful beaches. For people who look for party or white beaches Ahmed is the wrong place though.
The far north of Bali is a completely different story compared to the busy places like Kuta, Seminyak, Benoa and so on. It's still touristy, but as I went there towards the end of the summer season (late August), it was already relaxed and much cheaper than the busy south of Bali. Arriving on Sunday afternoon with the ferry from Java was not the best decision. There wasn't much transport along the northern coast, so the bus and bemo drivers in Gilimanuk tried to rip us off. In the end, the four of us just entered a bemo after having asked locals for the “real” price of the ride to Lovina. In Lovina, a good hour down the road, we got off the bemo and gave the driver the fare. He tried to ask more from us, but as I spoke some Bahasa Indonesia we made it very clear that we wouldn't pay more. In the end, he left. We quickly found a very nice cottage for 200'000 IDR (13 EUR) in Barcelona guesthouse.
|Around Pulau Menjangan|
While Bali is never completely untouristy and even low season brings in large flocks of sun-seeking Australians and Europeans, Lisa and I still managed to find many places we like. Once you get out of the urban and overdeveloped nightmare around Kuta and Denpasar, Bali is still very much worth a visit.