I’m writing from Candidasa, which is on the eastern tip of Bali, a small seaside resort town, quite chilled and relaxed.
I haven’t written for a few days because there was either a slow internet connection or no internet connection where we were. But anyway, here’s an update on what we’ve been doing.
On Sunday we travelled from Ubud to Lovina via a Perama shuttle bus. Perama is a tourist company, and we were surprised to discover that our ticket not only included lunch, but also one night’s accommodation in a simple losmen (motel). It wasn’t flash but for an extra $3 AUD we got a room with hot water and air con and decided to stay there one night. The following night we stayed at Gede’s Homestay (recommended in Lonely Planet) which also very inexpensive and quite nice.
Lovina is a fairly chilled out place, mainly oriented towards diving and snorkelling and general relaxing. So, unlike Ubud, there isn’t many shops to buy things. What is in Lovina, however, are a number of persistant hawkers near the dolphin monument (you can also go dolphin watching) who can be very annoying. Right on the beach, there are a number of very nice restaurants and bars to relax in and just watch the sea, the local fishing boats and catch glimpses of volcanoes on nearby Java.
Whilst in Lovina we hired a motor bike and rode 40km west to Permuteran, a renowned diving and snorkelling village, to check it out. As I’ve never been this far west in Bali before, it was great to have the motor bike to give you the freedom from hawkers and ability to check out sights and places of interest. We looked at a couple of really flash and expensive (US $110 per night) hotels, and then found Reef Seen Diving Resort.
Reef Seen is run by an Aussie ex-pat, Chris Brown, and is a unique place that is both community and conservation oriented. It has its own website: www.reefseen.com – check it out. After seing the room – it had an amazing outdoor bathroom- we decided we’d stay 2 nights and booked in. The following morning we rode back up to Permuteran with our gear and then chilled out. We met up with Pete and Ursula, an awesome couple, who we hung out with and chatted to for hours. The next day, we went diving.
I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to dive, given my history with sinus, but after a few ups and downs to equallize my ears, I was fine. Gary and I spent an hour or so exploring the amazing repaired and recently established reefs just in front of our accommodation. It was like being inside an aquarium full of tropical fish. The diversity of fish was just astounding – words won’t do it justice. Our dive went down to a depth of 7.5 metres not very deep, but deep enough for us first-timers. I can see why so many of our friends are hooked on diving.
After our dive, we went snorkelling in the shallow waters which was almost as good. We saw so many different coloured fish and corals and electric-blue star fish.
Yesterday, after checking out of Reef Seen, we braved a long-distance bemo ride from Lovina to Candidasa. It took about 4 hours. It was ok for little me, in the bemo -which is a mini-bus- but poor Gary was a bit squashed and his bum got very sore.
We arrived in Candidasa about 3.30pm and are now staying at Kelapa Mas in a huge bungalow which has its own TV – kinda fun watching very bad Indonesian TV.
Today we hired another motor bike and went off cruising around. For some reason no one seemed to understand, there was a shortage of petrol in all the service stations, so we had to buy some from one of the many shops that sell it at a slightly higher price.
We cruised through some amazing scenery today: Tirta Gangga, a water palace built by the last king of Karengsam, the Amed coast – amazing fishing villages that now cater for diving and snorkelling. Again, we’ll have to post some photos as words don’t do it justice.
This afternoon we booked our tickets to go to Gili Air, a small island off the north-western coast of Lombok. We’ll be over there tomorrow night, staying for three nights, before heading back to Ubud for our last three days…