A waterfall, snorkeling & a boutique hotel

There are loads and loads of waterfalls in Bali. For example, this is a short two-day trip by the intriguing Salt in our Hair blogger:

If you want more, here’s a list of 31 waterfalls on the island of the gods.

We went to Banyumala Waterfalls and it was wondrous. The hike is 15 minutes down a fairly rugged trail, and a sweaty 30 minutes back out, but if you are in reasonable shape its very worthwhile.

Before the trail to the waterfalls there’s a small cafe (known in Indonesia as a warung) that serves both Indonesian and Western food. The entry price for accessing the trail is 30,000 rupiah per person. From our retreat it is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes to the trailhead.

After Banyumala Falls we went to Lovina, a small town on the northern coast of Bali. We found a delightful new boutique hotel, with ten rooms and a yummy cafe. (Room rate during the low season is 450,000 rupiah or $31 USD. A great value).

The next day we went snorkeling with Donnie. We met him while walking to the beach the previous evening, and for 75,000 rupiah per person ($5.15 USD) he would take us snorkeling (25,000 rupiah less per person than the hotel rate). He also takes people to see the dolphins, but we didn’t want to wake up at 6:00am lol.

In the video below I got nipped by a fish. It didn’t hurt but it was a bit startling:

Some tips:

  • When traveling by scooter, bring water for your brakes. When coming down out of the mountains towards Lovina the road is steep and the brakes heat up to the point where the brake cables stretch and can make braking difficult or impossible. Watering the disc brakes immediately resolves the problem.
  • Pace yourself when coming back up from the waterfalls. You are in the tropics and the heat can get the best of you.
  • Lovina is a quiet town and so its best to slow down and enjoy the slower pace. Surprisingly most of the locals we met speak English quite well, so language difficulties shouldn’t be a problem.

Have you found Paradise?

Have you ever had a particular moment in an extraordinary location where space and time were forgotten? Or are you seeking such a thing for the first time? In any case, the concept of a paradise is an elusive one, and here in Bali the word gets thrown around quite a bit. So let’s investigate.

When you first learn of Bali you may have read or heard of it as an Island of the Gods. Indeed, there are Balinese temples not just in every village, but in every home too. There are even micro-temples in Balinese shops and warungs (cafes). In addition there are daily offerings to the gods that inhabit each and every corner of this sometimes other-worldly island. Why? Because these gods are very powerful! They need paying attention to, requiring ongoing devotion.

But can an Island of the Gods be a paradise? Is it relevant if the gods aren’t your gods? Or if you don’t believe in any gods?

I think the relevance is this: when you visit Bali you can interact with people who have embraced other values than material goods. The ceremonies and offerings are constant reminders of the limits of the material world.

Like the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”

And so if Bali doesn’t quite live up to your vision of paradise, at least you can be in a place where most if not all of the people aren’t taking advantage of your tourist status in order to rip you off.

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
“Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

Continue reading Have you found Paradise?

Early evening stroll in Pererenan

The best times for walking are early in the morning or the late afternoon. Not only are the ultraviolet rays milder and thereby less damaging to your skin, it is also cooler (although in the tropics “cool” does not mean “grab a sweater”).

Map: Directly across the road from Ohana Retreat Bali is a lovely walk among rice fields and the Pererenan backroads

Early evening light as we begin the walk from Ohana:

Photo: Formwork for the roof is visible in the distance

On our way to a lovely beach. Perhaps 15-20 minutes across the rice fields, past a lovely creek, and then onto a back road:

At the beach, surprisingly the crowds were out in full force. A few vendors selling satè and bakso etc kept the vibe completely local:

While not recommended, if you had to walk home in the dark, the walking trail is known to be safe.