Black Bali Beaches, Temples and Tartare

I actually managed to leave Malang, Ruud & the boys. Exactly 4 weeks after I arrived I got back on the bicycle.

If only I’d known the rainy season here runs from mid November ‘till mid March, I might have considered visiting Indonesia some other time then… well, from mid November ’till mid March.view from a restaurant

Not that I’m not having a good time! I am. I haven’t got too many photo’s to prove it though, don’t like to get the camera wet…wet season

It was downhill from Malang, I followed the Northern coast passing funny sounding places like ‘Probolingo’ and ‘Bondowoso’. Easy going, flat and friendly. The kind of place where you stop for a coffee and people refuse to accept your money when you try to pay…girl in the flood

The coffee is alright, not as good as I would expect being on Java. In the middle of coffee plantations.

I noticed this hill on my map, a volcano with a crater lake. It seemed like a beautiful place, so instead of following the coast road I went straight across up the hills. A very big long climb, I’d asked around and was told its 30km uphill. Turned out to be 70. Lucky a ‘bemo’ passed. A small van, with an even smaller driver, I doubt he was 18 yet.

Full of people, groceries, animals and other things. It seemed stuffed, but somehow I managed to chuck the bike up the roof and squeeze in the front seat with a bunch of school girls.

I got dropped off in the middle of a coffee plantation with a guesthouse and a pool! All day free coffee. I cycled around to find the nearby hot spring/waterfall before retreating to my private coffee/pool pool at the coffee plantation

I started cycling at 4 the next morning. And made it to the start of the hike, 14km further, 3 hours later… And that was without luggage! A friendly group of tourists offered to carry that up in their rented jeep… When I made it up the crater I was stunned. It was definitely well worth the climb. Ijen crater lakeA turquoise lake surrounded by the steep crater walls. Sulpher ventWith a slippery path down to a Sulphur vent at the lake. Going up and down the mountain are hundreds of workers, sometimes barefoot, carrying lots of yellow smelly sulphur up to 90kg a load. Carrying Sulpher up the hillOn the way they offer you to buy some of the stuff. Or ask for biscuits, cigarettes or money. Later I realized why.

They earn less than 2$ a day, walking up that mountain and down to the lake twice.bare feet

It was only 8am but clouds were rolling in so I couldn’t see much of the view, but still enjoyed the scenery. I tried walking around the edge, but when it sort of ended in a sharp ridge and rocks falling down on both sides into depths I couldn’t see, I turned around. Down the mountain. the edgeOnly to climb up again the next morning at 4am, to see the sunrise. I didn’t see it since it was behind a 2800m mountain. Still, it was fairly clear and absolutely beautiful!

And the downhill ride to the eastern edge of Java was some experience as well. To get down I had to actually get of my bike at times to hold both brakes and slowly walk down. That has never happened before! A sign tried telling me it was a 45% descent. surely not!Not sure I believe that, but steep it sure was.not the easiest downhill

And so I got to the ferry that took me across the 1 km of water that separates Java from Bali. It’s the same country but you’ll never guess. First thing I noticed were the dogs, and there’s roadside restaurant with complete roasted pigs, you wouldn’t see that on Java much. My road, that turned north of the main road, was nice and quiet.monkey forrest I cycled through lovely forest and along the coast till I was tired and stopped to ask two Dutch girls, Marlies & Anna, if they knew a good place to stay.Marlies, Anna & me

Turned out to be a whole lot of good places to stay because this is Bali. The standard of accommodation is high. The ‘breakfast included’ on the other hand.

Just about everywhere I’ve been so far I get Nasi or Mie Goreng (fried rice or noodles) for breakfast. Usually with an egg and some veggies thrown in. Good food. In Bali, for some reason unknown to me, they decide what I want is a ‘western breakfast’. So in the morning, hungry and ready to get going I get a plate with two pathetic slices of white bread, butter and jam.

I fall off the bike within 2 km if I have to survive on that. Rubbish. Lucky I always carry my emergency porridge.exotic fruit

There is this temple in the North of Bali. O, actually… there is a whole lot of temples, ceremonyit seemed like there is more temples on Bali then in India. And ceremonies going on everywhere at all times. I’ve been stuck behind funeral processions a view times. And every time of day people walk around with plates full of little leaf-baskets with flowers and incense that they set on the road in front of the house/shop/hotel or at statues and temples everywhere.rituals I’ve been told that the main income on Bali is from religious ceremonies… I would’ve sworn its tourism. But this one temple in the north called Pura Meduwe Karang is interesting because it has got a 1904 carving of a bicycle.

It is said to be this Dutch dude, W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, who rode his bicycle around Bali. He’s the first. I wondered the how manieth I am….Dutch dude on bike @ Bali temple

I walked into the temple but got stopped by a priest who assured me I needed to wear a Sarong. So he wrapped me up in one making me feel very frumpy but ok, no one around anyway.scary statue

I stayed two nights on the north coast at Lavina Beaches, but never actually made it to the beach. I had this whole great route planned out on minor roads over mountains, through forests, passed lakes and rice fields. But it rained.rice paddys

I set off from Lovina in the morning, cloudy and cool. Soon the road started climbing and the rain started falling. It didn’t matter that much because I was soaking wet already.Snale That road really climbs. I was promised great views. I saw nothing. Just the road turning into one huge waterfall and a lot of startled faces behind the windows of cars trucks and busses. It seriously poured down so hard it was funny. Except when I started on the downhill and got a bit chilly.

So I promised to treat myself on a hotel with hot shower. I found a lovely spot near to Lake Bratan, famous for a temple (another one) set on little islands in the lake.Sunrise at lake Bratan I walked out there for sunrise with a young Kiwi girl who I convinced cycling is the way to go. Last thing I heard, she bought a bike in Lovina and has made it to Java. Ha! Converted another soul 🙂

It was an easy ride down to Ubud (I had abandoned the overactive minor-roads-in-the-rain idea) Ubud is famous for the cultural stuff. It’s full of art-shops and every night there are traditional dance performances.

I saw none of that.Market Ubud

I did meet up with Marlies and Anna again, we enjoyed a bottle of Balinese rose together. And I found this brilliant little restaurant. French. Where, with my new French friend, I enjoyed dinner and wine and talk and laughter. All shop Ubud

We spend days chatting over coffee and every now and again wandering on to look at, for example, a monkey forest. monkey eats offersFull of spoiled monkeys who not even bother doing anything ‘cause they get fed bananas and peanuts all day by passing people who are sometimes even funnier to watch then the monkeys themselves.a family

One morning we figured it would be a good day for the beach so we got on a motorbike, checked the map (not necessary because whatever direction you take, you’ll get to a beach… I assumed). And set off. When we finally made it, my first Bali-beach experience was slightly on that beach It was all black sand that we reached by wading through a muddy field. It was FULL of rubbish. Big pieces of wood, plastic, old shoes… the lot. Balis beautiful beach...But we were there now, so we put our towels down and sat on them for about 10 minutes. Going in the water wasn’t an option, that seemed yuk too… so we headed back to our delightful little French restaurant. Where I had Tartare (raw meat). And coffee, wine & chocolate.Tartare

It was only 20km down to Denpasar, where I was gonna stay in Sanur with George and his wife. In their garden they have a guest room with a brilliant outside bathroom, where it’s glorious to have a hot bath while the rain is pouring down around you. In the meantime Marlies & Anna had found themselves a hotel (with pool) in Kuta. Kuta is something different. Nothing like Bali and nothing at all like Indonesia. It’s a bit rude, even I was shocked… and that takes something.

You can buy t-shirts and stickers with slogans I couldn’t write here. My grand parents read this as well (hoi Oma, hoi Opa!

But it has a nice bike route along the beach (this beach looks better than the black one… It’s busier as well) but where ever you go people want you to get a massage, a manicure, buy a painting or come and eat at their restaurant. It’s mad! And expensive…breakfast

I left my bike there to get back to Malang by bus to pick up some random bits and pieces and extent my visa… again…

Before I leave I want to send an enormous hug through cyberspace for Esther, my sister who turns 28 today 🙂

Happy Birthday sis!!! -xxx- Happy B'day sis!

24 thoughts on “Black Bali Beaches, Temples and Tartare

  1. He Mir, ga je ook nog naar Lombok? Jaren geleden, zo’n 17 jaar geleden, waren de Gili-eilanden erg mooi, leuk en relaxt. Heerlijk om even te rusten en te snorkelen!!

  2. Mirjam je bent onze heldin. We genieten van je mooie verhalen en foto’s, en denken met weemoed terug aan onze leuke momenten samen met jou in Kolkata. Worst place in the world, maar toch zo bijzonder. Oranje boven!;-) Dikke kus uit Zwolle

  3. Hoi Mirjam!

    Alweer een nieuw bericht + foto’s. En zoals altijd weer een geweldig verhaal! Leuke banner ook, trouwens. En gefeliciteerd met Esther (leuke foto..:-) )
    Ze viert haar verjaardag zondag a.s. We loggen nog wel even in vanuit Wesepe…:-)



  4. Hoi Mirjam,
    Ongelooflijk dat je nu in Indonesië bent. En dat, helemaal op de fiets! Ik heb er grote bewondering voor.
    Wat een prachtig groen land. Ik kan me voorstellen dat je er nog wat langer wilt blijven. Prachtig die foto van Bratan. Via je foto’s en leuke berichten geniet ik met je mee in het grijze weer hier. Schijnt de zon toch nog een beetje.
    Ik wens je nog veel veilige kilometers en veel genieten onderweg.
    Groetjes, Karin

  5. hoi zus, ik heb een heerlijke verjaardag hoor! net uit eten geweest met peter, en nu lekker op de bank bij de kachel 🙂

  6. Hey Mirjam,
    It was a great pleasure for me to meet you. For sure we were not very efficient in touristic discoveries but we had enjoy a lot! For me too Kuta was an evil place.
    Now Im in Melbourne and I like it very much.
    Take Good care of yourself. I hope to see u again somewhere in the world.

  7. Hopelijk komt er ooit een mooi boek uit van je reis met A4 formaat foto’s. Echt geweldig mooie foto’s!
    bedankt voor ‘t maken van deze prachtige en vrolijke site

  8. Only in the rainy season the black beaches of Bali (and the white beaches) are full of rubbish that comes from the sea. In dry season they are beautifull and clean. (By the way, thanks again for the glass of white wine in Pignou, the French restaurant in Ubud where you had diner – and chocolate dessert – with a French girl).

  9. zoals altijd weer bedankt voor je interessante verhalen en de prachtige foto’s, de tempels zijn schitterend en het weer qua temperatuur heerlijk, lekker buitje en de zon schijnt weer. wat een afstand heb je alweer afgelegd en dat op de fiets. Verder wens ik je met je vrienden van her en der veel gezondheid toe en ik zag dat er alweer een nieuw bericht van je was, dus voor zover toi,toi,toi.groetjes riet souer.

  10. You’re flying all the way back to Holland and then back to Bali?? Enjoy chica. Have to have a phone call at some point and catch up.

  11. Zo maar toevallig kwam ik op jou site terecht, en ben er even blijven hangen! Zelf ook in Indonesië geweest, geweldig! Prachtige foto’s zeg….

  12. Hey,
    Antonio Blanco also dissapointed at the first time he went to the Bali black beach in the rainy season. great story, see you soon at the airport

  13. Glad you got to Bali, I’m glad I saw Kuta in the 70’s before it got ruined.Hope you eventually saw some of the dances & wayang kulit shows.

    Enjoy your trip home and good luck with the next stage of your journey. Australia is waiting for you!

    Linda xx

  14. Hai Mirjam,

    Mooi stuk in de krant weer!

    Geniet nog even van Nederland voor je terugvliegt!


  15. Hoi Mirjam,

    Ik zag vandaag je stukje in de krant te Apeldoorn waar ik werk, ik woon in Zutphen en verterk 1 April op de fiets richting Tibet.

    Heb jij nog info voor me?

    Graag sta ik open voor tips etc.

    Groeten henk kamphuis

  16. Dag Mirjam,

    We zouden je graag voor het Apeldoorns Stadsblad ( interviewen over je reis, voor je donderdag weer vertrekt. Zou je ons willen bellen op 055-5380711?

    Tim Pardijs
    eindredactie Apeldoorns Stadsblad

  17. wauw! respect! ik volg je blog al een tijdje en je bent echt een inspiratie voor onze reis.
    wij fietsen momenteel door Nieuw-Zeeland (aanrader!) en vliegen 21 april naar Indonesie om daar door te fietsen. Vandaar richting Azie-vasteland. Welke landen weten we nog niet precies.
    Ik volg met plezier je verhalen! Blij dat je niet in NL gebleven bent! Misschien komen we elkaar nog wel tegen in Indonesie..

    Veel fietsplezier,
    groetjes, Mirthe

  18. Hier nog iemand die je blog al een tijdje volgt.Met erg veel respect en een grote glimlach om wat je allemaal meemaakt onderweg. Wij (vriend en ik) zijn zo’n anderhalf jaar onderweg en zitten nu in KL. Plan is om vanaf de zomer ook per fiets verder te gaan. Dus wie weet komen we elkaar nog tegen ergens.
    Goede reis terug naar Indonesie en fietsze!

    Groetjes Charlotte

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