The surf was small, the wind was lightly onshore and the hot Balinese sun was under minimal cloud cover. Even though we do love to just sit, chill and hope the waves pick up a little, we were feeling adventurous and readied the car. We left Medewi mid-morning with full tummies of nasi (rice) after breakfast. Dwi was designated tour guide/driver, Andi; a cousin and of course Kakak (Grandpa), who had lived in bali his whole life and yet had never seen some of the North Coast of Bali which is situated only a few hours from his home.
The many trips into the mountains that I have previously been on, we had only gone as far as Bunut Bolong, the home of the ‘magic tree’ and other local waterfalls in jungles throughout the North-West mountain region. This amazing tree was our stop number one. The freshest and surprisingly cool air of the tropical island was perfect to take a break and escape the humid coastal climate of Bali. In our case, this short stop was the perfect quick break to stretch our legs and experience the epic views once more. Of course it is only normal to support the locals and buy a drink or something small, as there are very minimal guests that literally travel through this amazing tree to the unique villages deep within the mountains.
After a quick cool drink we headed north past central Bali to the North coast. The roads were bumpy and broken. The horizon was lined with palm trees for as far as we could see, until we reached the coastline. The traffic here was quite different to the rat race of highly populated tourist areas with a relaxed vibe and friendly atmosphere as we drove from village to village. Dwi would often wave to the passerby’s and the young, smiling children on the streets that looked excited to see us. The mountains lined with thick palms were beautiful to drive through and it was amazing to see all the different villages, unique temples and of course the different Balinese smells that only a visitor can recognise. I’m not going to lie, the drive was long and we did get lost more times than we could count, but thankfully the Internet connection was our saviour and a few U-turns later we arrived to the beach know as Lovina.
I had this image of Lovina beach as white sand, crystal clear water and sun baking tourists lining the sand. I’m not sure if it was because it wasn’t peak season but it was quite different to my expectations. It was quiet with several local men sitting and chilling in the sand, no one in the water and it didn’t look too inviting. I didn’t even get to pull my bikini out for a swim to cool down! The beach area is well catered for tourists with several motels/hotels along the flat watered beach with several warungs (restaurants) and local shops and markets. Lovina is famous for epic snorkelling, diving and cruising with dolphins. We didn’t get the chance to leave the dark sand beach, board a small boat and apparently we missed the Dolphins, but that only makes me keen to go back. It was quiet except for the main road only minutes from the beach and not a lot happening on the shoreline. There were a few keen tourists paddling the waters in canoes but other than that we stayed no longer then half an hour.
We continued to drive along the north coast heading in a west direction. The roads here have a lot less traffic, with only few bikes, cars and the odd truck passing by. Up ahead we could see many Hindu people in the traditional dress placing offerings on the street and grouped together along the side of the street. We reached the Pulaki Temple where I spotted many different shapes and sizes of monkeys, there were hundreds and I don’t like monkeys! Dwi parked the car and he and Andi raced out to get a better view of the monyet (monkeys). With limited verbal communication due to the language barrier between Grandpa and myself using several facial expressions and hand gestures we both agreed that the monkeys were not our thing and the big male on the roof of the car was not at all inviting us to leave the car.
I have heard and read many things on the beautiful Menjangan Island. The snorkelling and diving are apparently unbelievable with amazing underwater sea life. Unfortunately, this day were couldn’t get a ferry out to the island and experience it first hand, but that is definitely on our list for next time. We arrived at the small parking area where the wharfs are and the ferry departs from several times a day. Even this docking zone for the small village boats and ferries is well worth the trip to see. There were many locals eating and relaxing within the many small huts and sitting areas. The clear water only added to my image I have of how beautiful the island, just a short boat ride away must be. We will find out in the near future!
With our bellies beginning to grumble and working up quite a thirst, we drove a little further along the coast and decided to stop for a quick lunch. At a local warung we stopped and enjoyed traditional Indonesian Bakso Ayam (rice noodles, soup, chicken) and a cool drink of ice tea. Driving south along the west coast of Bali in the late afternoon, we were hit with heavy traffic in the town of Negara and of course heavy, tropical rain.
We stopped at the village markets and brought some fresh fruit and a few snacks to take home for the rest of the family. We arrived home around 30minutes after leaving Negara. The waves had picked up slightly on the higher tide and a sunset surf was just an added bonus to an adventurous day.