This trip, I wanted to visit Kintamani. Mount Batur seems like a nice outdoor place to visit and have a trek, maybe some running as well.
Reading reviews and travel blogs, made me concluded that it’s a place seldom visited and much under the radar by tourist. In-fact, it’s not even listed in lonely planet index, content pages. So when some of the online reviews disliked the haggling and touting locals “guide(s)” I could imagined the competition that they are having there to get that extra income. Not my idea for a holiday. Since my arrival to Kuta would be late in the evening, I arranged for accommodation in advance to avoid too much hassle on that first night, I did that via booking.com and planned to go straight to Kintamani the next morning after finding transport. I arranged for a place to stay at Kintamani too, and if necessary, extend the stay for another night. My plan is to Trek Mount Batur, climb and have a walk around the location for a few days before heading home. A short trip only just to unwind.
As usual, prepared the checklist, write essentials things, and started packing. While charging the DSLR battery, I got the idea of not bringing my camera as it’s just a few days trip and I planning other things in mind, trekking, probably jogging the country side. So, took out the camera and stow it away this time. Besides Iphone5 and Ipad camera will do the job for few good snapshots.
Became an instant millionaire with IDR2,812,000 from RM800 exchange. Hope its enough but experience taught me it might not and its always a good idea to have some backup cash or some other source like ATM, credit cards on standby.
night stop Kuta.
Arrived Kuta, searched for the hotel I booked earlier, Beneyasa. Suunto navigation helped a lot… Found in a jiffy. No worries not being able to find my way back. Before embarking on this trip, I need to know the coordinates first to save the location in the watch. The hotel… Scary, It feels like there’s no other guest there except me. They didn’t provide blankets and towel, rooms smells and the bathroom in a sad state, strange. Didn’t ask or complained much as I did not put high expectations on IDR75000/night. Besides’ its just for a night stop anyway.
Early next morning In Kuta, searched for transport to Kintamani but there wasn’t many, only a few operator offered shuttle bus there, and there’s only one trip each day at 9:00am which even requested a minimum of 2 person, IDR150000 per person. So head to Ubud first, IDR70000, then at Ubud, searched for a bike willing to send me to Kintamani. Found a guy, asked for 160000 which is ok than the first one who wanted IDR300000. It’s Always like that, first the outrageous quote, then the second and third, way down. Had a similar experience at the airport, Exit the arrival hall, grabbed by someone wearing an airport ID “tag” and quoted IDR400000 to Kuta! The airport published rate IDR70000.. what bullshit…
The bike ride took about one hour from Ubud to Kintamani. My driver said we were passing the famous coffee luwak area and asked if I wanted to stop for a cup of IDR50000 coffee? “next time” I said. Somewhere along the road, it began to rain, we put on our raincoats, fortunately it just ended in drizzle and dissipated afterwards, not enough to soak us wet. Passing Tampak Siring, I imagine making a hike from Kintamani down to Tampak siring and probably continue to Ubud but realised along the way that this 30 km road was just not suitable for a walk like that with all the vehicles and driving style, scrap that plan. Crossing Kintamani district border, you’d know it by the big stone gate pillar, strangely, there’s an entrance fee imposed to tourists. But my driver ignored the “toll gate collectors” and drove through.
The hotel location is awesome, high and superb landscape located at the caldera rim bit intimidating at first but the landscaped just awed me, unfortunately, there’s not much option when it comes to transport or getting around here. Locals selling souvenirs, fruits and other stuff are kind of pushy even to the point that Kuta’s touting hawkers seems polite if compared.
Earlier on, there were some busses bringing tourists, where they took some pictures and left. Late afternoon, went for a walk along the main road and noticed that I’m the only one out of place. Quite a number of restaurants along the road but all closed.
Dinner at the Kintamani backpackers @ lakeview
I broke my rule of budget, got myself a treat for not being able to get Mount Batur, (Explain later) Anyway, it’s not excessive, just a moderate dinner but for IDR150000, it’s pricey for a backpacker like me. The cafe playing music and only 3 guest at the dining hall, waiting for closing time. It’s A quiet night and even the owner in person requested me to join him for dinner, politely declined as I just wanted to enjoy the calm moment and make this entry with my iPad. Tomorrow, probably head back to Ubud or Denpasar, whichever is convenient. The receptionist can’t promised shuttle transport to Ubud/Kuta, I had to jump shuttle bus to Gianyar, then to Denpasar then to Ubud or Kuta. Private chartered car cost IDR400000, straight to Kuta. Things are really expensive here.
Mt Batur plan was kind of simple, get to the hotel, go to the foot of the mountain and climb or just trek around at the foot of the mountain. However, the 5 km walk to the foot of the mountains was along a steep road that was used by trucks and very busy, again making the hazard not worth it. Transport charges was at IDR160000 and you are given only 2-3 hrs down there.
I had the buffet breakfast compliments of the hotel and enjoyed the scenic view, awesome view but bit spoiled by the sound of car horns and traffic at the road down below, the access road to Mt Batur. At some instances, the traffic wasn’t even moving.
They provide rentals to motorbikes at IDR50000 and bicycle at IDR20000 for 4 hours. Compared to Kuta, or ubud, I could get IDR50000 for the whole day… I should have rented one earlier for three days and ride up there myself and it would been cheaper. Transportation cost to and fro covered. I decided to go back to Kuta and req some information on transport. Without many option I had to pay IDR450000 for private car. Public bus or shuttle bus ferrying tourist is available but the information was not very convincing, so instead taking the risk of ending up somewhere and probably paying up more later on I took the safer option. The ride was not all bad in fact, I got a driver and the car to myself. Stopped at Tegallalang for some pictures of the rice terraces. At first, I was not very pleased as having to pay for the transport fee, but remembering Bali traffic, that 60KM on motorbike is nothing compared the car ride. Its a huge difference in comfort and 400000 now seems a fair deal.
Back in Kuta. Looking for a nice bed.
Arrived Kuta an hour later… Found a very nice cosy room for IDR230000 per night at a hotel named Bougainville. gps(-8.721065, 115.174301) settled in and took off to the street again. I noticed that there aren’t any camera shop in Kuta which was pretty weird. There were a lot of sun glass shop though, needless to say beach stuff. No camera shop.
I thought it was too early just when it was first light, but surprisingly, when I came out, there was already people at the beach. Start at the alley where my hotel was, almost all the shops are still closed and went up north along Jalan Pantai Kuta towards Legian beach. Return back south this time along the shore line, great run. Here, even the dogs are happy, jumping and running around at the beach with their owner, you can feel the jovial mood in the air.
After a nice bath, bought a few “I love Bali T-shirts” for souvenirs. Haggling is common procedure, they asked IDR70000 price but got it for IDR40000. Guess its fair, considering some backpackers advised for IDR30000, if you are buying more than one, go for IDR30000 each, yeah they’ll tell all sort of excuses. The rest of the day, just strolled and wondered about watching people and having a great time.
Early morning, I didn’t want to race against the clock, packed everything dropped the keys, and managed to catch one of them “bikers” to airport (perks of being a backpacker, easy come easy go). IDR50000 is a bit too much considering I could rent the whole bike for one day for the same price, so I’m just being generous. 2:00 am in the morning and this guy is driving me there. Taxi might double or triple that for all that matters. Dropped me at the gate outside the terminal compound where there’s an opening, designated for pedestrians and from there just head to the terminal. There’s nothing much at Bali airport, some section still had construction going on so probably in the future it might be different. Fortunately, a cafe is still operating and so, I grabbed a bite, toast and coffee. After that, to a secluded spot at the terminal building while waiting for the boarding gate to open, watched “The other side of heaven” downloaded into my Ipad to kill time. Crowd started building up at the departure hall check in counter. Web check in, made things very easy. I had no luggage to check in, so passed everyone at the airport that morning and straight to customs and immigrations for clearance into boarding hall. There’s a IDR150000 fee or tax before leaving the country. Get that cash ready or you are in deep trouble.
In the end
Maybe the saying is right, it’s not the destination that matters but the journey which makes the experience worth while. I didn’t climb Mount Batur not because not being able to but just because I decided it was worth better to keep on moving. Got to see Tegalalang rice terrace, see Kintamani and spend the night at 1500 feet on the volcanic caldera do other stuff, write this blog and run along the beach instead. Can’t wait to visit again in a few month time.