In September 2016 we spent some time traveling across Bali and Lombok hanging out on beaches, climbing mountains and even trekking through the jungle. Before flying from the UK I had a dilemma between bringing my Canon 5D for taking holiday pictures, or playing it safe with just a camera phone. Eventually I made the decision to bring the DSLR and it turned out to be one the best holiday packing decisions I have made, as I brought home some of the best photographs I have taken. This blog post covers a brief diary of our trip and a selection of photos from the places we visited.
The first place we stayed was called Bukit Peninsula, located at the southern point of Bali. This was a nice place to start the trip as it was away from the tourist hot spots, but had lots of beautiful beaches that were well hidden and we often had the whole place to ourselves. I think the best part of staying in Bukit was renting scooters and exploring the Peninsula.
In contrast to Bukit there are areas of Bali more suited to tourist, such as Kangoo. Kangoo is actually pronounced ‘Changoo’, and the whole time we were there we were saying it wrong and confusing the locals. Kangoo is a good place to go if you are into surfing or visiting temples and other cultural places. One of the places we managed to visit was Echo Beach where we spent a few hours falling off surf boards into ridiculously big waves.
Our next adventure across Bali took us north up towards Ubud, a renown hot spot for culture, yoga, and Balinese massage. We were staying north of the town in a quiet resort called Om Ham, which was a stones throw away from one of Bali’s most famous rice terraces.
When staying in Ubud we joined a trekking tour that would take us up one of the nearby volcanoes, Mt. Batur. We were to wake up at 4am the next day, catch a mini bus to a cafe near the foot of the mountain where we would drink some very unusual coffee; a unique blend of which requires the beans to pass through the digestive system of a small animal called the Luwak before the coffee is brewed. The locals only explained this to us once we had drank the whole cup.
After getting over the fact that we had literally just drank diluted animal excrement from a cup, we continued onwards to meet our guide at the foot of the mountain. The whole assent was made in pitch black with only a head torch to keep us from stepping over the edge. It was completely dark all the way up until the summit at which time the sun was beginning to rise. Luckily the weather was perfectly clear and we got an amazing view of the sunrise.
Just west of Ubud there is a 10 kilometre ridge walk which also had some equally stunning views. We were still recovering from extremely sore legs after climbing Mt. Batur that morning so we only made it to the half way point of the ridge.
After spending a few more days in Ubud relaxing, we made our way East of Bali to catch a ferry across the sea to Lombok’s Gili Islands. We decided to stay on Gili Air and do some scuba diving and paddle boarding.
After spending a week on Gili Air drinking Oreo milkshakes we decided it was time for something more active. We decided to climb one of the biggest active volcanoes in Indonesia, Mt. Rinjani.
We made our way across the sea to mainland Lombok where we were to catch a mini bus that would take us to Senaru, a small village at the foot of Rinjani.
We arrived at Senaru a day early for the mountain trek. Our guide, Eddie, offered to take us to some waterfalls in a nearby forest.
The next day we made our way to Rinjani park office and signed all the documents required to enter the national park. The whole trek took three days and we were to camp on the crater rim.
The visibility of the night sky was like nothing I have seen before. The milky way was so clear, and luckily I managed to capture it using a 20 second exposure with my bendy legged Joby tripod. I am now inspired to purchase a wider, faster lens for future night sky photography.
When climbing to the summit, the volcano rubble (image above) was the hardest thing to walk on, it was literally one step forwards and two steps back. Coming down from the summit however, was a completely different story. I found myself skating down, sliding two or three meters with each step; maybe a little dangerous, but loads of fun.