With high hopes to see the best of Bali in a short time frame, my sister Bianca and I decided to hire a taxi driver for the day. Our drivers name was Gede (Pronounced G’day an easy to remember Aussie greeting), but we affectionately referred to our new friend as ‘Wildcat’ for his contagious positivity and Cheshire cat smile. Nothing was a problem for Wildcat. We believe we found a rare companion in our driver as he was a confident, knowledgeable speaker, fluent in English, Japanese and Indonesian. Wildcat’s services cost 600,000 rupiah (approximately $60AU), which covered the use of a 4WD (to fit my surfboard), fuel, our own personal photographer and tour guide. That day we traveled an impressive distance visiting many well-known attractions including sacred temples, Ubud (adored by many yogis), Gitgit Waterfall, Hot Springs, Mt. Agung, and Lavina Dolphin Hotel (I’ll tell you later why this last activity was not a highlight after all). If you’re time poor on your trip definitely consider a driver service for the day!
As a gift to our friend Wildcat – here is his number HP: 6281 338 705 424 – if you ever need an amazing driver to look after you.
Gitgit Waterfall is one of the famous tourist destinations in North Bali which is located in Gitgit countryside, in the Sukasada sub district about 70 Km from Denpasar Airport. Earlier that week I sighted the waterfall on a girlfriends Instagram and was determined to see it for myself. To my delight it was even better than expected. It cost 20,000 rupiah ($2.00AU) to view the natural attraction. You’ll be in awe at the sheer size of the falls and the incredible energy which vibrates through the lush valley.
Banjar Hot Springs, locally referred to as ‘Air Panas Banjar’, are located approximately 5km southwest from the Lovina coast in North Bali. It was a hot, muggy July day in tropical Bali when we saw the Holy Hot Springs! Perhaps a bit too warm for the Holy Hot Springs, but regardless it was interesting to see this attraction. I’d recommend visiting this place in winter!
It was confronting to step out into the crisp air of Mt. Agung’s altitude. That same day we had enjoyed the warm tropical weather elsewhere are were not dressed appropriately for the cooler climate – take a jumper! Next time I’d love to hike the mountain in the wee hours of the morning to catch a glimpse from the top at sunrise. One of my friends said she enjoyed the experience, but I was shocked to learn she watched as locals retrieved the body of a European tourist who had fallen into the center of the volcano 2 days prior. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, I’m not sure what will…
Melka Excelsior Dolphin Hotel
Most girls would agree that at some point in their childhood they have dreamt of swimming with dolphins. Well on this day I was able to do just that… and at first I was beyond excited. When I heard that there was an opportunity to swim with dolphins I had envisaged wild dolphins lapping the shores freely at feeding time, but what I found was very disturbing. Melka Excelsior Hotel Resort is the first hotel in the world with dolphins in their pools for swimming and hopefully the last. At reception we were told the experience cost 150,000 rupiah (or $150.00AU) for 15 minutes in the water. We said that we wanted to see the dolphins before paying for the animal encounter as we were unsure of the experience conditions. Begrudgingly, staff escorted us through the resort to a tiny salt water swimming pool where one lonely, lifeless dolphin was trapped. The intelligent creature struggled to acknowledge our presence and genuinely looked distressed. The murky lime green water appeared unhygienic for swimming let alone to house such a stunning animal. I felt sick being there, and refuse to support such unhealthy animal captivity. Anyone who visits such a hotel is encouraging such sad exploitation.