Our 9am pickup arrived and we headed further into the hills on our way to the beachside area called Lovina. Climbing into the mountains provided many beautiful views! Our first stop along the way was at Lake Bratan. Almost at the top of the mountain was a big plateau, with a huge lake of glistening blue water. At the edge of the lake was a temple complex with beautiful gardens and lots of brightly coloured flowers. The main temple was not actually within the complex, but a small island roughly 20 metres from the edge of the lake. The temple had a tiered roof – the number of tiers represents what the temple is for. For example, two tiers is for the sky and Mother Earth. There are temples with 2, 3, 7 and 9 tiers. The tiers in between earth and sky are for things like the different gods, such as the Hindu’s version of the holy trinity, they have Vishnu, Shiva and Dewa (I’m pretty sure that’s the three, and I am not convinced I have spelled them correctly). The Bratan temple in the lake was beautiful to look at and on such a clear day, was colour rich.
As our drive continued we drove over the peaks of the highest mountains, alongside the road monkeys sat and watched traffic, or tried to scam some food from the road workers. Descending the mountain on the other side we stopped at Git Git waterfall. On such a clear, sunny day, it was rather a hot hike into the jungle (even if it was only a few hundred metres)…the waterfall was really pretty. There are two tiers, but we only went to the lower one, as we didn’t want a 2hour jungle hike. The lower tier was a waterfall of 40+ metres, crashing into a small rock pool below. The water was crystal clear, bubbling down the stream, and when we dipped our toes in, we’re pleasantly surprised that the water was not so cold (waterfalls back home always have super chilled water!)
In the early afternoon we arrived in Lovina, we checked into our hotel, and then wandered down to the beach to check out the local scene. Lovina is a much quieter town than Legian and Ubud. You still get hassled by hawkers, but they seem to be less insistent here. We checked out a few stalls and had a look at the beach which has black sand. Because there are a number if volcanoes in Bali, numerous beaches have black sand, I think that perhaps it is volcanic ash or dust. Yvonne found out that the sand, particularly when wet, is not as dense as the sand beach home, and walking in the water, she was quickly sucked into the sand up to her knees…and lost her flip flops in the muddy suction. After collecting some more shoes from the hotel we sat down at one of the beachside cafe’s for a late lunch and a beer. While sitting there we chatted to one of the locals, who we then hired for the following day.
After lunch we figured that in being at are relaxed beach location, we should indulge in some relaxation, so we went to one of the massage parlours near our hotel, where we both had an hour traditional Balinese. At $8 each, perhaps I should do this every day?!?
We spent our evening at a local restaurant by the beach, the Bali Bintang, where we got chatting to one of the staff, Budi. Budi said that there was a big volleyball match on, the semi-final and Lovina was playing a team from somewhere near Denpasar (I didn’t recognise the name of the village, so promptly forgot what I was told). So when Budi knocked off work, his friend Gede (pronounced G’Day and I am assuming it’s not spelled that way) collected us from our hotel on their motorbikes and drove us to the next village to join in the fun.
There was a big crowd and everyone was excited! The game started and both teams were scoring, but soon the other team started to have a clear lead. After about 30mins we realised our team didn’t have a chance so we got out of there and headed to the pub (Budi had bet quite a bit of money, so we think he may have been trying to drown his sorrows).
We spent the few hours of the night enjoying live music and bintang beer at Poco’s. Though the music was quite tragic and mostly reggae, we got up and boogied the night away, crashing back at the hotel after midnight (with such a late night, I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a pumpkin!)
With not much sleep but no hangover (bintang is definitely not what you would choose to drink if you were aiming to get drunk. I don’t like getting drunk, so my previous evenings drink of choice was a good one), we got up in time to be collected by our driver for the day (well first half of the day as we planned a relaxed afternoon).
We drove out to a neighbouring village to visit an Buddhist monastery, Brahma Vihara Arama. It was nice to see a different style of temple, and this one was built into the hill and had several different levels. Near the top was a beautiful meditation garden with a large shrine to Buddha, the shrine had a small moat filled with white and purple water lilies as well a some pink lotus flowers. I found the design to have better flow and more of a calming effect than the Hindu temples we had seen.
Our second stop was Air Panas Banjar, natural hot springs in the jungle. There were three pools, a long narrow one at the top that cascaded into a larger one below. These both had a row of sculptures (not quite gargoyles, but that style) which served as water spouts into the pools. Under these water spouts was the place to be, with the warm water massaging your neck and back. It was so relaxing! The third pool was set to the side of the other two and had three spouts set much higher up, the pounding massage you got from standing under these was intense, but very welcome!!
While it was really pleasant to enjoy a natural warm water massage the volume of people on the murky, smelly water meant that we didn’t stay in for very long. So after our natural water massages we headed back to the hotel for a good scrub in the shower!
Since we were both quite tired we spent the remainder of the day doing our own thing. To start with I attempted to walk to Anturan. The area called Lovina is actually comprised of two villages: Kalibukbuk and Anturan. They are 5km apart and Kalibukbuk is the busier of the two and consider to be the centre of Lovina, this is where we are staying. So anyway, I thought I would attempt to walk along the coast to Anturan. The only problem with this idea, aside from the distance, is that there is no path. So I walked along the beach for a stretch, the walked alongside some rice paddies, bush bashed a little and wandered through local villages.in one of the villages a small boy came running out to say hello to me, then he held out his hand to me asking for money, I didn’t give him any yet he continued to follow me, once he caught up to me he actually tried to open my handbags grab some money for himself. A firm “No!” and a stern look made him turn away, cheeky little bugger!!
After wandering in the heat for sometime, I eventually reached a dead end where it was either walk through a rice paddie or swim and I gave up, I asked a local villager to give me a lift on his motorbike, back to town, where I promptly found a cafe with wifi to sit down and have a drink and catch up on email.
Having recovered from my failed explorations and with a tummy full of satay and vanilla milkshake, I headed back to the hotel, making a minor detour to a massage parlour along the way. An hour long foot massage (again for just $8) was absolute bliss!! I’m pretty sure I actually twitched myself awake a few times during the massage. Once it was over I dawdled across the street to the hotel (I literally mean dawdled because I was so blissed out it was amazing I could stay upright!!) and zonked out on the bed for a solid hour!
After I caught up on some much needed ZZZ’s I spent some time blogging and reading my book before Yvonne and I headed out for some dinner.
At 9am we wandered down to the beach where a guy called Ketut took us out to a local reef in his boat for some snorkelling. The coral wasn’t very brightly coloured, but the reef was still teeming with fish. I found Nemo as well as quite a few others. There were many beautiful colours, yellows, blue’s, purples, oranges and many different variations and patterns. The water was lovely and warm, we spent an hour or two bobbing around in the water. It was a very chilled out start to the day!
We spent the next few hours chilling out, reading, emailing, eating etc, at 3pm our friends Budi & Gede collected us and drove us into the hills on their motorbikes to check out the Aling-Aling Waterfall. Yvonne and I both thought it was nicer than Git-Git! It had quite a lot of water-flow and the water was falling from quite a height. The noise was thunderous and even from 50metres away we were getting soaked by the spray.
After the waterfall visit the guys had to get to work, so Yvonne and I enjoyed a wander along the beach chatting to locals and taking in a beautiful sunset. I found it particularly nice to watch the local kids silhouetted against the sunset, hanging out on the jetty and jumping into the water.
What was supposed to be a quiet evening watching live music at the bar, didn’t turn out to be so quiet. We had a few drinks, requested a few songs and soon enough they were closing the bar. So the staff and a dutch girl that we met, joined us at our table for some drinks. Then a guy called Bing decided we needed tequila shots, but the bar we were at had no tequila, so we all loaded into his car and headed to another bar. There we had tequila shots, made some new friends and danced the night away (well the dancing part was mostly just me). I think I crashed out in bed around 3am.
Although I didn’t plan a big night, it was a fitting way to end our stay in Lovina and to get a chance to party with our new friends.