We had a pretty lovely stopover in Surabaya, en route to Bali, as we decided to treat ourselves to a nice hotel. Nothing much happened of interest other than an amazing meal in Chinatown where we discovered these awesome appetisers, kind of a warm scotch egg with an Asian twist – warm salted egg yolk inside a ball of shrimp and tofu. AMAZING!
Eggy balls of yumminess:
On our way to Chinatown we also bumped in to an Astronomy group who were out to look at the super moon. They all had telescopes set up in one of the central parks of Surabaya. We smiled at them and they started to chat to us in English and invited us to have a look through their telescopes – just another example of Indonesian friendliness!
After dinner we went to a bar that was described in the Lonely Planet like a home away from home, likely to be full of friendly faces. I even had the Cheers theme tune in my head before we arrived. We walked into a darkened room that was empty apart from a few punters and a band setting up, the vibe wasn’t exactly unfriendly, but the Cheers theme tune stopped immediately. A few minutes later the band started, a lengthy guitar warm up finally ended to a crash of drums and the lead singer screaming ‘DIE” followed by some severe body spasms as he and his bandmates head banged ferociously. To be honest the music was actually OK but the vibe wasn’t the light and friendly one we were looking for, so we just stayed for one drink. On the way out the hostess on the door asked if we were boring. We walked home singing “Where everybody knows your name” laughing our heads off. Lonely Planet fail!
The band in action:
We flew the next day from Surabaya to Denpasar, in Bali, where we were picked up by our hotel Villa Sarna and taken to Ubud. We considered just showing up and finding somewhere in Ubud but the area is pretty huge, having broadened to include several nearby villages, as the arts and cultural centre of Bali has grown massively in popularity, especially since Eat Pray Love was filmed there. Villa Sarna was a bit out of the central action but they put on a free shuttle to and from town all day and evening.
Our room was lovely, we had a huge balcony area that we could sit on and look at the countryside, an enormous big bed and even a dressing room – so much nicer than he backpacker standards we’ve got used to! The hotel also had a lovely little pool downstairs amongst the gardens.
The very chilled out pool:
On our first day we decided to find a little cafe I had been told about called Sari Organik. Some friends we met gave us the details and we followed a little map up through the rice terraces and countryside for about half an hour, hoping we were going in the right direction! Eventually we found it and were pleased that it was just as lovely as it sounded. It has its own organic farm next door and all of the food is super fresh and pretty healthy. They even brew their own organic beer and make fruit wines. The view and the walk were worth it anyway.
View of the rice paddies from Sari Organik:
On our last day we decided to do a bike tour through the countryside. We were taken up to the base of Mount Batur, a huge volcano, for the start of the tour before making our way 22KM downhill back to the hotel via a few points of interest.
Our first stop was a coffee plantation. They actually speciallised in Luwak coffee, similar to Weasel coffee in Vietnam. The coffee beans are fed to wild Luwaks, their poop is then collected and the digested coffee beans are retrieved and then roasted. Apparently it tastes amazing and it is famous for being the most expensive coffee in the world. It was actually so expensive that we didn’t even try it! We did try a selection of their other coffees and teas though:
We also took time to admire their resident pet bat:
After this we cycled through the countryside admiring the view. We passed lots of mandarin orchards:
And we cycled along the rice terraces next to farmers at work:
We also visited some villages. This little girl became distraight literally at the sight of us, her mum found it funny but I was a little concerned, my best attempts totally failed to win her over – she was terrified:
After deciding we had scared enough children for one day we went back to the hotel, got changed and made the journey to Denpasar. It was time to leave Bali for 3 days in Singapore. The trip was nearly over…