Best of Bali in the Wet Season

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Best of Bali in the Wet Season

Bali was to be my first taste of Indonesia like it is for so many others. It is certainly a world class tourist destination and has plenty to offer to all kinds of travelers from backpackers to celebrities.

Somewhere along the way on my flight from Singapore I crossed the equator and entered the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Soon after the clouds below started to fill in and my view of the beautiful turquoise waters disappeared. I knew it was wet season in this part of the world, but I didn’t know quite how bad it would be.

equator

Crossing the equator.

After arriving late in the afternoon I negotiated the crowds of drunk Australian teenagers and found a place to stay in Kuta close by the airport. It wasn’t exactly beach weather and looking at the forecast it wasn’t going to change anytime soon, so I figured I wouldn’t stick around dirty Kuta very long.

The next day on a whim I got in a van bound for Ubud, the main tourist destination in central Bali. It is well known for its vibrant culture such as Balinese dancing and some of the best food in the country. Plus the town is surrounded by scenic rice terraces with a multitude of volcanic mountains and waterfalls.

The resort I stayed at, which was an incredible value, was right next door to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Sitting on my balcony or by the pool provided for constant entertainment from these monkeys passing back and forth. They are completely fearless and almost domesticated so I really had to watch my belongings. One of them took my food and water. It was hilarious watching this monkey unscrew the bottle cap and drink like a human. Another almost took my Nikon, that was not so funny.

Later I took a walk through the Monkey Forest and got some pretty nice photos of these primates. A good piece of advice if you plan on visiting Monkey Forest is to not make eye contact with the monkeys. It is a sign of aggression as I learned when I was in Ko Adang, Thailand and almost got attacked by one of these little things.

monkey forest ubud

Grooming time

Grooming time

Exploring Bali on Two Wheels

I decided that Ubud would be a good base to explore Bali for the next few days before moving on to a different part of Indonesia in search of better weather. For the next couple days I would rent a motorbike and see as much of the island as I could. Unfortunately there is a shortage of nice motorcycles in Ubud so I just rented a little 100cc scooter. It would have been nice to have a bigger manual bike for some of the mountain roads I was planning on riding.

I set off in between rain drops early in the morning bound for Bedugul and the surrounding volcanos and temples. On the gradual climb to an elevation of slightly over 4000 ft the temperature began to drop to a refreshing 70 degrees and it actually cleared up enough to get a glimpse of the volcanos towering above me. My next stop was the famous Ulun Danu Temple set on Lake Beratan.

ulun danu temple

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Riding north towards the coast I stopped at a couple waterfalls on my way and even got to go for a swim in the pools of one after a long hike through the jungle.

Bali waterfall

gopro waterfall

I rode down the twisty mountain roads and along Bali’s north coast that afternoon before finding an amazing deserted backroad where I could see what this little scooter could really do. Turns out it’s not much although the speedometer wasn’t working so who really knows. Climbing back up the mountains the hazy view over the ocean was breathtaking.

Bali

north coast bali black sand

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Surfing Indonesia

I learned to surf almost 10 years ago in one of the worlds premier surf destinations, the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Now it was time to see what the breaks of Bali have to offer. I rode out to Canggu the next day and rented a long board. I haven’t surfed in a few years so the gentle breakers were just right to get my balance back. Unfortunately it rained almost all day, but who really cares when you are surfing.

surfing canggu bali

On my last day in Bali I wanted to see more of Ubud, so I returned the scooter and took to my feet for a walk around town. There are quite a few very interesting and old Hindu temples surrounded by lush jungle scenery. Some of the sculptures were so detailed it is hard to imagine how they did this hundreds of years ago. It reminded me of the temples of Angkor in Cambodia that I visited in December.

For lunch I had Bali’s famous Babi Guling at one of the best warungs for the local dish, Ibu Oka. I figured it would be one of my last chances to enjoy some pork for the next month in a predominantly Muslim country and it didn’t disappoint.

I also walked through the local market and almost bought one of these masks but reminded my self that there is no room left in my backpack.

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Ibu Oka Babi Guling

Ibu Oka Babi Guling

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Ubud

I took a hike through some of the trails surrounding Ubud and then to a place that serves Luwak coffee in a nice setting by the rice terraces. I was hesitant to try this stuff, but apparently it is a delicacy and this is where it comes from so I guess I had to. Despite where it comes from it was actually quite good. There are these little animals called Luwak that like to eat coffee beans and after they are “processed and fermented” by the Luwak they are ready to be ground and brewed.

Luwak

Luwak

rice terraces ubud

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Despite the fact that I had bad weather for most of my trip and I wasn’t too impressed with my first night in Kuta, Bali is definitely a place I would like to return. I only saw a small part of the island and with a faster motorcycle and more time there are endless places to explore in this tropical paradise.

Brooks

Brooks

I am traveling the world focusing on adventure and photography.

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