A month in Indonesia

Trip Start Mar 07, 2013
Trip End Jun 11, 2014

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sorry for the lack of updates, so here's a big one!

Since you’ve last heard from us we’ve been spending time in the amazing country of Indonesia.  We spent the first couple days on what is probably Indonesia’s most famous island, Bali.  After making the mistake of spending more than one night in the party city of Kuta, we headed to the town of Ubud- a small picturesque town that is famous for its yoga studios, spas, and hippy health food stores.  Thankfully we found a nice restaurant with very nice pork tenderloin.  We also found a very nice coffee bar, with many types of coffee, and brewing methods, yum! 

When we weren’t in the coffee shop we visited a tourist trap known as the monkey forest.  It is essentially a beautiful old temple that has been overrun by monkey and tourists that love to risk getting rabies by feeding monkey bananas that the locals sell just outside the temple.  Insanity!  We walked around, until the lack of common sense drove us away. 

In addition to the monkey forest we also went on an eco bicycle tour in Ubud. Our tour took us to the more rural areas of Bali; we ate breakfast with a view of an active Volcano (Mount Batur), we visited a coffee plantation, we learned about traditional Balinese living compounds, we walked through rice fields, played with spiders, and ended the day off with an amazing meal of local food.  This of course was all accomplished by bicycle - twenty kilometres in total (all downhill of course!)  We really enjoyed our afternoon on the bike tour mostly due to the incredible scenery.  The highlight of the coffee plantation was trying the Luwak coffee- coffee that has been eaten by a Civet, pooped out, cleaned, then roasted and brewed -CatPooCino if you willJ  It was an interesting experience, and while the coffee was nice I can’t recommend due to the outrageous price tag.

Finally, on our last evening in Bali, we enjoyed a local traditional dance that consisted of 100 chanting men, wonderful costumes, and a firewalker that walked on burning coconut shells- it was a unique experience.

After spending a week in Bali it was time to leave, and our next stop was Gili Air - a small island that has no cars and is dog free.  We spent our time laying on the beach, snorkeling, and scuba diving.  The Gili islands (there are three of them) are known for being among the best places in the world to see sea turtles.  I, however, had horrible luck- between three scuba dives and countless hours snorkeling I saw one turtle, even the locals were shocked with our bad luck!

Once we had our fill of relaxation it was time to go see the last remaining Dragons on Earth, I of course mean the Komodo Dragons.  We took a four-day boat trip to visit the dragons.  Although we are at times failing to be budget travelers, we opted for a budget boat trip, meaning we slept on the deck with our 15 new best friends.  The facilities were limited to a toilet that was flushed with a bucket of water, and no sink or shower!  Needless to say by day four we were very salty from sweat and swimming in the ocean.  Along the way to the dragons we did small treks on a few of the 10,000+ islands.  On these treks we saw picturesque waterfalls and hiked up to heights offering stunning views.  We also spent a fair amount of time snorkeling off the boat. The coral and fish outside the more well-traveled areas was amazing.  We were very fortunate to have a great group of people on our boat with us and we enjoyed spending time with fellow travellers.

Finally we got to Komodo National Park, and to be honest, the dragons were underwhelming.  Yes they were big, but they just looked like giant iguanas.  Every dragon we saw was just outside the ranger station, although the rangers claimed they didn’t feed the dragons.  I guess I was just hoping we would see a dragon in the jungle, or that they’d be bigger…

Finally after the four day boat ride we settled in to do some scuba diving in Komodo National Park, allegedly some of the best diving in the world.  We did five dives over two days and highlights included sharks, turtles, some of the best coral in the world, many nudibranchs (a wonderfully colourful type of sea slug that has external gills), and finally manta rays. Manta rays are massive creatures, with some apparently growing up to five-meters wide, which soar through the water.  Although we didn’t see any rays that big, we did get to see approximately 20 manta rays.  It was amazing to watch them swim, eat, and play follow-the-leader and was definitely an experience we’ll remember forever.  Unfortunately we don’t have the proper filter for our camera, so all the red light is missing from our underwater photos (water absorbs red light easily), but hopefully you can still enjoy the shots. 

Once again, we apologize for the long delay in updating the blog, we’ll do our best to get two or three more updates in before we head home in a around a month. 

Till Singapore!

Denny and Christine

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