The Monkey Forest!

Here there be monkeys.  Lots and lots of monkeys (I can’t remember what type they are, sorry).  You could buy bananas and feed them if you wanted.  Otherwise all your food had to be gone and drinks locked up tight in your bags.  And plastic bags had to be put into other, more proper bags.  It was neat to watch them though..even if it was a bit nerve-wracking when people were being stupid with them or suddenly they (the monkeys) just decided to roar.

Besides the monkeys there was also some nice architecture to see and a few creepy statues.

It was interesting, but not something I’d do again.  I’m not overly fond of monkeys…even if the babies are adorable

Beach, Beach!

We went to 2 beaches during our trip: Kuta Beach on Bali, and the beaches of Gili Air off of Lombok.

Kuta Beach: Actually really nice, very clean and lots of space.  Downside: there were so many hawkers that would come up to you and then come back 10 minutes later.  They were very persistent.  We were able to get some surfing lessons though (1 hour lesson, `1 hour free time for 150 000rph).  Our instructors were good and the hour of lesson time was very helpful and I was actually able to stand up and ‘surf’ a short distance.  During our free time however I realized how much help the instructor gave me by pushing the board onto the waves: I lacked the arm strength needed to actually catch a wave myself.  But it was kind of nice to just float out on the water! (and every now and then attempt to surf again)

Gili Air: The beaches along the main drag here were pretty nice.  There were restaurants right up along the beach and many had chairs that you could (if you ordered something) sit in.  Our time spent here was mostly relaxing on the beach which was a nice way to end our trip.

Another day in Ubud we went on a bike tour with Bali Eco-cycling (aka Bali Budaya Tours).  We got picked up bright and early in their bus with 7 other people (from the Netherlands, Belgium, and somewhere else..) and then drove up on the caldera of Mt. Batur, an active volcano, for breakfast at the restaurant there (pretty good!).  We then continued in the bus to a coffee plantation where our guide gave us some info on the various plants and the luwaks (or civets) which are cat-like animals that digest a certain bean which is then used to make a special coffee. YUM!

While at the coffee plantation we sampled a variety of coffees and then went to get set up with our bikes.  Thus began a 25km downhill cruise that required absolutely no exertion on my part.  

Our first stop was a traditional Balinese household.  They all follow similar set-ups: in the NE corner is the family temple.  The North building is the grandparents house and for 1 night is the honeymoon suite.  The East building is ceremonial; where the dead are laid out (length of time varies depending on the family’s wealth), wedding or birth ceremonies are also performed here.  Then there are other buildings for each family (usually 4 because that is how many kids most families would have).  Lastly they have a yard/garden.

Carrying on we stopped at a rice field and watched some ladies cleaning the rice off of the stalks.  Then to a large banyan tree to have a banana snack.  Then to a wood carvers shop making traditional Balinese doors and window shutters.  This is a very profitable job here.  Our final stop brought us to a restaurant for another good meal.  We then bussed back into town and back to the hostel to take some late afternoon naps-very much needed!

This was a pretty great activity for the day.  Our guide was great, we got to see a lot of the countryside and see how people live outside of the ‘city’.  I definitely recommend it.

While staying in Ubud we made a trip to Bali Treetop Adventures.  We had to hire a driver to go there (about 1-1.5hrs) who then waited for us for 2 hours while we climbed and then he drove us back.  The place was pretty awesome: they had several courses of varying difficulty.  The special sections were two ‘Tarzan swings’ (one smaller one, close to the ground; and one huge jump really high up).  Basically you clip onto a rope and then jump off the tree and swing towards a giant rope wall.  Pretty scary stuff.  A lot of the other things were balances to walk across, and there were several zip-lines short and long.

It was a great afternoon, albeit terrifying (I was shaking every time we got off a course) and a real arm workout!  

The Treetop Adventure Park is located in the Botanical Gardens which are also beautiful from what I saw

These are ALL of the food photos that I took while travelling Indonesia.   How sad :(

We ate a large amount of Western style food on this trip (onion rings, burgers, pasta, etc.) and on our very last day we found a buffet in the style of “Sunday Roast” (DELICIOUS) for super cheap.

For breakfasts: usually banana pancake or toast with jam.  For lunch/supper: rice and veggies and maybe some meat (usually chicken).  There were lots of curry foods and coconut milk sauce stuff.  Fish chips were also popular (and kind of nasty).

I’ll be honest: almost none of the food appealed to me during our entire trip (except for the Sunday Roast).  And even when we were eating ‘western-style’, it was also distinctly not western.  I really wanted to get home by this point though, so that may have contributed to this feeling.