We arrived into Denpasar late in the night and immediately checked into our guesthouse before venturing to a night market for a little grub. The following day we set out to rent a car around the neighborhood which turned out to be near impossible since there’s surprisingly only two car rental shops with the same ownership and all their cars were occupied. So we had to get a taxi south to Kuta (the most touristy area of Bali, and the location of recent Islamic fundamentalist attacks) to rent a car. There are a plethora of car rental shops amidst the narrow streets crammed with surf shops, restaurants, and tourists. We didn’t feel the need to stick around so we found a place that looked legit enough and rented a car, cheap enough to warrant the hassle and large enough for us to crash in if accommodation wasn’t available in certain places. Since the car was stick, Jessie was our permanent driver with me as the navigator (a job I failed at miserably, even though I blame it on the terrible map we had). We set out south to the Bukit Peninsula, which is popular for their many beach and surf spots surrounded by limestone cliffs. We only spent a day total there, but it was a definite highlight of our Bali tour. Each town was constructed on the cliffs, and long downhill walks were needed to reach the beaches. Dreamland beach was our first stop and by far the most picturesque, while other locations farther south were better for surf lessons, which we took advantage of the following morning. On the very southern tip of the Peninsula is the Uluwatu Temple, which is perched high on a cliff providing nice views of the surrounding water and is also the location for Kecak Fire Dance performances that takes places each night. We saw the show, and it was really good. It was completely different in style to the ballet we experienced in Yogyakarta, and the overall atmosphere and performance itself was impressively better. The following morning we woke up and had our first surf lesson with the company Impossible Surf. It was a great lesson as the waves were just right and there weren’t other people out that day, so we weren’t getting in anyone’s way. It lasted about 3 hours and we got up on our board tons of times, which built our confidence and made the whole class much more enjoyable.
We had an issue that first night with the passenger side window, so after the class we headed back to Kuta in order to get a better, functional car and then took off for the East Coast finishing our day’s trip in Padangbai, the jumping off point to either the Gili Islands or to Lombok (the neighboring island, a destination we were hoping to visit). We arrived late in afternoon, and after much debate (a little too much) we decided it wasn’t worth the cost or time to visit Lombok or the Gilli Islands for this trip, and it would better to see more of Bali at a leisurely pace instead of rushing through it. Lombok will just be for another trip. We slept in our car that night near the Blue Lagoon Beach and woke up to catch sunrise before renting some snorkel equipment to check out the fish and coral in the surrounding area. It was surprisingly really clear and the water was at a shallow depth so visibility was high. We had breakfast and continued on our busy day that would eventually lead north to Amed.
On our way to Amed, where we would organize a dive trip to see the Liberty ship wreck, we stopped through Candi Dasa, a nice beach resort town for a glimpse of one of Bali’s many black sand beaches, we also took the opportunity to book our plane tickets to Hong Kong at that point. We then continued on towards Tirtagannga, a small town overshadowed by the largest volcano in Bali, Gunung Agung, and where Bali’s most beautiful scenery is situated. On the way we saw signs for White Beach/Virgin Beach which that Canadian kid we met recommended us seeing, so we stopped there for a quick stroll, and it was indeed a really pretty beach and very quiet. Afterwards, we made it to Tirtagganga where the Water Palace is located and had a visit there while taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery of the volcanoes, hills, and rice fields. Lastly, we arrived in Amed late in the night and organized our dive trip for the following morning.
The dive site is actually located in Tulamben, about 20 minutes West of Amed, but we heard the operators were cheaper coming out of Amed so we went there instead. The dive was really nice. It was a two dive package, the first dive took us around the entire battle ship to view it from the outside while the second dive was more focused on the interior. We had woken up for sunrise that morning as well and the skies remained crystal clear, exposing the huge Gunung Anung in the distance. After the dive ended, we had lunch (included in the cost) back at the dive shop and then left for Kintamini where the volcano Batur is located (a really beautiful hike for sunrise).