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Table of Content for indonesia2013:

More pages: November 2013 December 2013



2013/11/19 Trip to Indonesia for visiting and Diving
π 2013-11-19 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips
Jennifer and I had planned to go to Raja Ampat, which is in the middle of nowhere, Indonesia, and probably also why it's so pristine and filled with aquatic life.

To get there, a good option was to go through Bali, and since we used award flights (free flight in business using the stack of United miles I had gathered), we had to arrive in Bali 4 days before our connection to the next towns on the way to the boat.

After a quick online search, and asking some friends, I quickly figured out that spending 4 days in Bali wasn't the worst thing in the world, so that's what we did.

The flight from SFO to Bali (via Taiwan) with EVA Air was really good. Made flying as much of a breeze as it can be:


seabass was on the special order in advance menu, quite tasty
seabass was on the special order in advance menu, quite tasty

met the definition of lie flat :)
met the definition of lie flat :)

Taipei has a very nice airport
Taipei has a very nice airport

The EVA Business Lounge was quite nice too, even had ice cream :)
The EVA Business Lounge was quite nice too, even had ice cream :)


2nd and last flight to reach Bali
2nd and last flight to reach Bali

After the last flight, we arrived in Bali in pourring rain, to be greated by our guide, see next post.

2013/11/20 Indonesia: Bali, Day 1
π 2013-11-20 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips

We arrived in pretty good rain, which only got worse over time for the rest of the day


Everyone seemed to have a tour or a guide waiting for them, we did too
Everyone seemed to have a tour or a guide waiting for them, we did too

Our guide took us for an evening at the Zoo where we had dinner, saw an animal show, and got to visit the Zoo at night with a flashlight (not forgetting getting to feed an elephant):




bearcat
bearcat


After the visit, we got a drum and dance, and fire dancing show:



and that was it for the evening, despite the great flight, we were beat and jetlagged.

See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 1
2013/11/21 Indonesia: Bali, Day 2
π 2013-11-21 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips
We enjoyed the views from our beach hotel in the morning (Puri Satrian) before heading out. It's a beach resort hotel, which wasn't really what we're about, but we still had a look around:










Next, Tawan, our guide, came to pick us up. He drove us around Denpasar in the morning and took us to the Bajra Sandhi Monument:








Next, he took us to the near island where we booked our dolphin experience with Bali Dolphin Interaction (beware, there is another one, and apparently it's not as good). Driving around was "interesting", you got to see all kinds of things:



Eventually, we got there. Before I put more pictures, I'll answer the "isn't this mean to inhumane to the dolphins" part. I'm not an expert, but while their enclosures didn't look super big, they were in the ocean (i.e. real water), they are allowed to go swim with one another after their work hours (bite marks and scratches they do to one another confirmed that), and allegedly, they're let out to swim in the ocean on sundays, but they come back for the easy food and the routine they're used to. While I'm not sure if I could believe that, cats and dogs do that happily and come back for food and companionship, so maybe it's possible for dolphins too, at least I hope so.
All that being said, we were split up in groups and had one dolphin to play with for each group. The dolphin is obviously trained to do tricks, but just like a dog that likes go fetch a ball, apparently our dolphin was more than happy to do some of the tricks and bring us back a ball too:










Once our dolphin fun was over, Tawan took us to a place that sells Luwak Coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world, where individual beans are eaten and pooped half digested by a local animal (Luwak). Apparently, it makes coffee better (I wouldn't know because I hate coffee :) ):


Luwak, the choosy animal
Luwak, the choosy animal




Next, we went to the monkey forest, which is both a nice temple, and lost of wild monkeys, which you're not supposed to feed since if they bite you, you can get rabbies, but you can pay a local to feed them for you and make them climb on you:




some tourists fed the monkeys directly, but it wasn't a grand idea. Some do end up bitten.
some tourists fed the monkeys directly, but it wasn't a grand idea. Some do end up bitten.

just what you're not supposed to do
just what you're not supposed to do

we paid a handler to get the monkey to climb on us without risking our hands :)
we paid a handler to get the monkey to climb on us without risking our hands :)

the forest was quite nice too
the forest was quite nice too




We ended by having dinner close to our new hotel in Ubud, at Indus, with a great view and good food:






See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 2
2013/11/22 Indonesia: Bali, Day 3
π 2013-11-22 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips
We got to enjoy the pool and views by the resort in the morning:


breakfast location
breakfast location



Tawan then took us out for a drive:

lots of rice fields
lots of rice fields

people drying their rice on the side of the road...
people drying their rice on the side of the road...





We went to Gunung Kawi. On the way down to a temple, lots of stores:








Next door was Tirtha Empul Temple:




offerings
offerings







Next, we went to a Volcano Rim, but unfortunately the weather and visibility were poor, so the view was not that great and we ended up not going to the hot springs that were down there, but we still had lunch at the view restaurant that was right there, and the buffet was tasty and quite cheap:




Later on the road, we went fruit hunting for Jennifer :)



We finally found the smelly Durion fruit
We finally found the smelly Durion fruit


On the way back, we went to Penglipuran temple and its street of traditional houses for tourists to see:









Last, but not least, the elephant cave and its surroundings:




On the road, we saw a flock of ducks used to 'clean' a rice field :)


See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 3
2013/11/23 Indonesia: Bali, Day 4
π 2013-11-23 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips
We started with another great breakfast and since we had a bit of spare time in the morning, we spent it to enjoy the resort:


the lizards were having breakfast too :)
the lizards were having breakfast too :)

the staff kept the ground meticulously
the staff kept the ground meticulously

This is not what I usually do, but we had some spare time in the morning :)
This is not what I usually do, but we had some spare time in the morning :)


We then started our day with the bird park, which I figured would be fun. I was indeed right, on top of having unusual birds, they had some you could interact with (including the big blue parrot that came down from its perch slowly and calmly to bite my finger pretty hard, stupid parrot).


they showed us how cocks fight. Mmmh, ok
they showed us how cocks fight. Mmmh, ok


this one was super friendly and literally asked me to scratch under its feathers :)
this one was super friendly and literally asked me to scratch under its feathers :)

the big one bit me later when I came to say hello without its handler
the big one bit me later when I came to say hello without its handler





this little guy wanted to clean our ears :)
this little guy wanted to clean our ears :)

I kept it with me and it spent its time cleaning my ear
I kept it with me and it spent its time cleaning my ear


Next door, they had reptiles, we had a quick look:





Our next plan was to have suckling pig, a local specialty. Yummy piggy was had :)




Next, we got to visit places that had art for sale: wood carvings and paintings:




art indeed
art indeed




To finish the day, we went to Tanah Lot to see the fesh water source in the middle of the ocean, the temple that hosts it, and the surroundings. Once is supposed to see the sunset there, but it was an utter clusterfsck of people due to a special gathering of motorcrossers that day, as well the regular tourists. It took us almost 45mn just to get out of the parking lot before sunset, never mind what it would have been later... (yeah, we missed sunset, but we were going to be 10 days on a boat, so we'd get many more):






at the lowest tide, you can walk to the fresh water island
at the lowest tide, you can walk to the fresh water island


fresh water comes out of the small island
fresh water comes out of the small island

they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)
they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)

they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)
they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)



After a long drive back to Ubud (which would have been twice as long, if not more, had we waited for sunset), we got an evening reflexology massage, which did include some severe foot plant manipulations to stimulate nerve endings


We're still wondering how much we really got for the painful foot manipulations :)

And that was the end of our 4th Day in Bali.

See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 4
2013/11/24 Indonesia: Bali, Day 5
π 2013-11-24 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips
Our last day in Bali was really just the morning to burn before going to the airport for a couple of flights to Sorong (via Makassar) to reach Raja Ampat, our ulimate diving destination.

A few more pictures of our resort, Ubud by Como, on the way out:




We got up early to visit the Bali Zoo and Saphari Park. Lack of planning and knowledge (and them having a useless website), caused us not to know they had private safari tours in a jeep for 2 where you could hand feed the animals. That would clearly have been the highlight of the visit. Instead, we got the normal group safari tour, which was still good to see animals there.
We didn't sign up in time for an elephant ride that would meet the time we had to leave by, but we got the camel ride instead, which wasn't bad :)










the private jeep we should have been in :)
the private jeep we should have been in :)



We went to visit the tigers:


just like our cat, but a tiny bit bigger :)
just like our cat, but a tiny bit bigger :)

either it was very tired, a bit too drugged up...
either it was very tired, a bit too drugged up...

but eh, it was hard to pass on :)
but eh, it was hard to pass on :)

grooming, just like our cat
grooming, just like our cat

Time for our camel ride:





Even if we didn't get to ride one, we did get to feed some elephants before their bath. Their trunk is very very good at probing and tickling you everywhere until you hand out the food :)




Then was time for the elephant show, this zoo's main feature:







Last but not least, we had a quick look at the rest of the place before heading out:







After the Zoo, Tawan drove us towards the airport, but since we had a bit of time left over, we had lunch by the beach, where we hadn't spent any time so far :)




some good shrimp before the flight did the trick
some good shrimp before the flight did the trick

And that was it, the end of our trip in Bali. Next were the flights towards Sorong (via Makassar) to reach Raja Ampat, our ulimate diving destination.

See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 5
2013/11/26 Trip to Raja Ampat to go Diving
π 2013-11-26 01:01 in Indonesia2013, Trips
I have many pictures of Diving in Raja Ampat on the Waow.

While you should go to that page for more details, I'll put a few pictures here:










For more many pictures of Diving in Raja Ampat on the Waow, go here.

See more images for Trip to Raja Ampat to go Diving

More pages: November 2013 December 2013