I visited Indonesia for 1 month in December 2016, after leaving the Philippines. The islands I visited were Bali (for the most of my time), Gili Trawangan, Lombok and a little island near Bali called Nusa Lembongan.
I knew the areas I was going to would be more ‘touristy’ then the other islands, but I had always wanted to visit Bali and I am so glad that I went, however next time I will spend more time exploring the other more than seventeen thousand other islands. I know right… this means Indonesia is the largest ‘island country’ in the world.
Bali and Ubud –
Known for some of Bali’s best landscapes, arts, culture and temples, I loved hanging out in Ubud and was there for just over 10 days (including for Christmas). I ended up meeting some lovely friends here (and met my lovely UK friend Beth here as well for a ‘holiday’!) it was such a nice location to chill and take some timeout from the sometimes hectic travelling life! (Yes it can be tiring…yawn).
My favourites parts of Ubud were visiting the amazing Tegallalang Rice Terraces which is one of many rice paddies involving the subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system). It was such a beautiful place to visit, very green and serene. We even found a local villager selling coconuts in the rice paddies, so we sat and brought one off him and listened to the serenity and peace of the fields.
I shared a taxi with three others and we did a day trip to the Rice Terraces, Tirta Empul (water temple) and a coffee plantation, we paid around 300,000 Indonesia Rupiah for this ($29 USD) between the four of us and spent about 6 hours driving to all these places. It was such a fun day and luckily we had beautiful weather!
The water temple, Tirta Empul (meaning ‘Holy Spring’ in Balinese) is a Hindu Balinese water temple. The temple pond gives out fresh water regularly and Balinese Hindus go for ‘ritual purification’. It was amazing to visit here and walk around while many of the locals bathed in the temple pond, it was so beautiful to watch.
On a visit to Bali everyone should try to visit a coffee plantation if only to sample the famous Kopi Luwak coffee which is the most expensive coffee in the world. It’s so expensive due to the uncommon method of producing it. It comes from the Indonesian cat-like animal a civet cat, who eat the coffee beans and then the coffee is made from their poop! It’s also known as cat poop coffee…so now you know why!
I also enjoyed watching a traditional Legong Balinese dance show at the Ubud Palace, it was about an hour long and I was mesmerised by the beautiful movements, costumes and music accompanied by the dance. It was amazing to watch and great to visit the beautiful Ubud Palace which is very central in Ubud.
Gili Trawangan, Lombok and Nusa Lembongan –
I also visited Gili Trawangan together with a friend and we also decided on a one night, one day trip to Lombok from Gili T which is very close by. Our highlight was visiting the amazing Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfall, about a 2-3 hour drive from Teluk Nara on the North West coast of Lombok. These we so beautiful and we were lucky enough to find not too many people here!
I also visited Nusa Lembongan a small island off the south-east coast of Bali, I arrived here from Lombok which took around 2-3 hours (the boat trips around the main and smaller islands in Indonesia were renowned as being rough!). This island is so beautiful and has a very laid back ‘surfer’ feel to it. I loved the snorkelling here, as the waters were so clear and I saw so many fishes, turtles and even swam with a Manta Ray (the island is famous for seeing these amazing creatures and there are loads of tours you can go on to see them).
All photographs copyright Jemma Nicholson.