Bali, Indonesia

Sunrise

A lot of people don’t realize that Bali isn’t a beach destination. While it is a tropical island and does have some nice beaches, a trip to Bali is more about the overall experience – the friendly people, the beautiful landscapes, the relaxed atmosphere, the art, the food. I would personally add the motor scooter riding, but not everyone gets as giddy as I on a 50 cc vehicle.

Mount Batur, Bali, IndonesiaInternet cafe near Lake Batur

All of that said, after shivering in the mountains for two days, I wanted me some beach. So I went to the internet café on the right, sat on the ground and swatted flies for 15 minutes while I looked for a hostel on Bali’s east coast.

Undeservedly, east Bali doesn’t get much play in the guidebooks and local promotional material. That said, driving on a new highway along the coast on my way down from Mount Batur, I noticed a lot of undeveloped shoreline. I can only assume the hotels are on their way. Which has its own positives, but I’m glad that I got to see east Bali before it was popular.

The scooter ride was fun, basically two hours downhill and then about an hour through towns and along the coast. A truck almost pooped on me at one point, but I dodged and made it to my chosen hostel without much trouble (which is fairly incredible, since I still didn’t have a GPS, map, or compass).

I was greeted by this view:

Bali, Indonesia

 Sunset

This lovely shoreline is in Candi Dasa, an area with a few higher-end hotels and resorts and close to the highly trafficked port that takes tourists out to the nearby Lombok and Gili Islands. I had two solid outings while I was there.

The Unnamed Waterfall

The manager of my hostel showed up one afternoon soaking wet. She was giddy and couldn’t wait to tell me and another traveler, Emma, about a waterfall she had just visited. Turns out, there’s a waterfall in Candi Dasa that few locals even know about. It doesn’t have a name (which would probably be a logical first step in its exposure) and requires some fairly treacherous hiking to reach. I had her write me some directions and went with Emma first thing the next morning.

East Bali, Indonesia

Along with the directions, my hostel manager wrote out a phrase in Bahasa asking for help getting to the waterfall. We drove to the turnoff point on the road and approached the first people we saw. The first man to engage us was the father of the house and a local policeman. He looked at our note and called his teenage son out of the house and sent him to guide us there. I love developing countries.

East Bali, Indonesia, Candi Dasa, Bali

The hike was beautiful, taking us through a local town, rice fields, a bit of jungle, and finally, along a river that led to the falls. It was a short walk, but still challenging, since there is barely a path and it got steep at times. I actually slid down a muddy embankment into the river at one point, but hurt only my pride.

Here’s the falls:

East Bali, Indonesia

The Floating Palace

This is far short of the full story, but basically, in the late 1800s, the king of a city in eastern Bali built himself a palace in the middle of a manmade pond, so that it looks like its floating. He then surrounded it with a massive garden, which remains well-kept to this day. There are some shots below – wouldn’t you like to live there? (Critical thinking question: If you are the king of a city, doesn’t that just make you a self-appointed mayor?)

Taman Ujung, Bali, East Bali, Indonesia, Candi Dasa

Taman Ujung, Bali, East Bali, Indonesia, Candi Dasa

Taman Ujung, Bali, East Bali, Indonesia, Candi Dasa