Let’s pick up right where we left off! I chatted about part 1 of our Contiki tour on the blog over here, which included visits to Seminyak and Gili T. You can find all information about where to stay, what to do and where to eat, and today we are onto part 2 of the trip, which we spend on Lombok Island and in Ubud!
On Day 4 of the trip, we were off to our next island- Lombok. It is a 15-minute ferry ride from Gili T and then about an hour and a half drive to Senggigi, which is where we stayed. Now listen, I’ve stayed at a 4 star hotel in Mauritius and a 5 star hotel in Reunion Island, so I know what a luxury hotel is.
However, the Kila Senggigi Beach Hotel blew me away! This resort was amazing- firstly I really liked all of the Asian inspired architecture of it, it made me feel like I really was in Indonesia! Its so incredibly lush and dense, it’s drowning in greenery. It is quite big and has a restaurant, private villas, a beach and a fab pool. I loved this hotel, it was the best one of the trip and I wish we could have stayed more than 2 nights in it!
Senggigi is a beautiful part of Lombok that stretches along kilometers of beaches. The nightlife in Senggigi is not nearly as vibrant as that on Gili T, but that worked our perfectly for us. After 3 days of partying in Gili T, we needed some rest, which is exactly what we got at the Kila Hotel. The resort itself is pretty big and we took some time just to walk around and explore it. We had our fix of the Western food that day at the hotel by having lunch at the beachfront hotel restaurant (sometimes a girl just needs her pasta, you know). We took time out in the pool and just relaxed with the group after a few hectic days.
What to do in Senggigi
Many people make Senggigi their “home base” in search of other ventures, which is what we did as well. The following morning the group headed off on a waterfall hike trail (about an extra R500) but we chose to visit the Pink Sands Beach instead! That’s also what I loved about the Contiki- you were given options on what to do, but you didn’t always have to be with the group! So that day we broke away from our new friends and headed off for some snorkeling and fun on the pink Sands beach.
Jess (our tour leader) arranged for us to be picked up from the hotel that morning and transferred to the beach via taxi (2-hour ride) and then a boat ride (about 45 minutes). It cost us about R500 (and it included lunch) and we loved it. The beach is of course not as pink as you expect it to be (but we did keep it in mind), and you see it more when you are there rather than in pictures. It is made pink (or light orange) because of the color of the coral. The nature is just so beautiful and untouched there! We snorkeled with what felt like millions of fishes and then enjoyed a sunny day and lunch on the pink sands beach. A perfect, relaxed day.
Amongst other great thing to do in Senggigi, you could go surfing, get a lovely massage (which we did as well), scuba dive, explore and mainly, relax! Lombok, and Senggigi especially, were made to be enjoyed as a laid back vibe, so taking a couple of days out on this magical island is just what you need.
Where to eat in Senggigi
As mentioned, we did have food inside our hotel twice, because we were actually just too lazy to go outside and find food for ourselves. There are a few nice restaurants on the main strip in Senggigi (we went to Lucky Café for some drinks and to listen to live music). However, we did go out for dinner on the first night, to one of the most amazing places that I have ever been to. Not because of its food, or its lush design but because of its humanitarian background. We went to Rocky’s Banana Leaf Cafe, a real “hole in the wall” place with a lot of heart. Rocky himself was originally born in Lombok, and made a spectacular career as a chef for the Hilton hotels. After 17 years of working for the Hilton, Rocky came back home and now focuses on giving back to the community. In his restaurant, the Banana Leaf café, if you are broke, you eat free!
It serves the freshest and most delicious seafood that you will find in Senggigi, and while from the outside it might look a little rough, this place has so much heart. Give it a visit to listen to Rocky’s story, have the fresh lobster and squid and leave your own messages on the wall!
All about Ubud
On our last day of the Contiki tour, we headed off to Ubud for a day trip. The day tour is covered in your Contiki cost and includes the day trip and the yummiest lunch. I so wish that we could have stayed in Ubud more than a day because it is such an amazing place! This is really where I felt the cultural and the spiritual side of Bali come through. Its tranquil, it is so green and so very beautiful. There are so many things to do in Ubud and these are the ones that we did, which I highly recommend.
Visit the Tegallalang Rice Paddies
One of the most recognizable views of Ubud is the gorgeous rice paddies that unfold in front of you. Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud is famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving the subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system), which according to history, was passed down by a revered holy man named Rsi Markandeya in the eighth century. Tegallalang forms the three most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud’s shared region, with the others being in the villages of Pejeng and Campuhan.
You can take a hike along the terraces or just visit it and enjoy the view. We took some beautiful pictures there and it is a view that I will never forget. Because we were with a tour group, we did not pay entrance fee (it was already included) but it is around R20 per person. Not expensive for what you get to see!
Have the shittiest cup of coffee at a Luwak coffee plantation
I remember watching an E! show when I was a teenager, and they were talking about some of the most expensive things in the world- most expensive moisturizer, most expensive shampoo and the most expensive cup of coffee! Luwak coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, and it is made out of poo-literally. Kopi luwak or civet coffee is coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (this super cute animal in the pictures).
Civets eat the cherries, poop them out, after which it is collected, washed, and roasted to deliver, what turned out to be very yummy coffee!
We visited the Satria Coffee Plantation where you can see the whole process of making the coffee as well as enjoy tea and coffee tasting. The plantation offers up to 16 different types of teas and coffees and as an avid tea lover, I really enjoyed this part of the trip! The Luwak coffee was about R50 a cup and it is worth it- you might as well try it when you are there! A tour of the Satira Coffee Planation as well as the tea and coffee tasting is actually free so I highly recommend a visit to here.
Say hello to the monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
The Ubud Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, which owns it. The village’s residents view the Monkey Forest as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village. There are many of point of interest that you can see here. Other than around 700 monkeys, you also can see 186 species of trees in 12.5 hectares of forest, where will allowing you to get an abundant of fresh air.
Entrance is R50 per person, and you can buy some bananas and other fruit to feed the monkeys inside the forest. It is a lovely place and our tour group really enjoyed it. Personally, I have seen many of these little buggers in Durban (they actually scared me half to death the one time by coming into the place where we were staying through the window to steal my doughnuts ;)) but it is worth a visit if you enjoy animals.
Visit the gorgeous temples and elephant caves at Goa Gajah
One of the parts of Bali that I was really looking forward to is seeing the spiritual side of it, and we experienced that greatly at the Goa Gajah. The word of Goa Gajah comes from the word of Lwa Gajah, the name of a Buddhist Temple or hermitage for Buddhist monk. The temple is surrounded by greenery everywhere to create a beautiful scenery. According to the employees who works there, the trees are hundreds of years old. The whole area of Goa Gajah seen from the stairs but you should make some time to walk down and see the place in-depth.
We wandered around a bit and tried to take in all of the beauty of this place. You can go into the cave one by one, and explore as much as you want. The entrance to Goa Gajah is R15 per person, and do keep a little bit of cash on hand if you want to donate to the temples.
Have lunch at Laka Leke
The name “Lake Leke” is appropriate since it literally means “The Hideaway” and the restaurant is literally “hidden away” between two well know places in Ubud, the famous Monkey Forest and the unique wood-carving village of Nyuh Kuning. Laka-Leke is a gorgeous outdoor space that is full of culture, with separate, tree-shaded pavilions offering beautiful views of gardens, lily ponds and rice fields. Fine food, friendly service, and an aromatic atmosphere in the midst of Balinese culture all serve to make Laka Leke a place to visit and experience.
We had the most amazing Indonesian styled buffet there, which included everything from fried duck to Nasi Campur (a traditional dish consisting of rice and other small plates with it). The place is just beautiful and we enjoyed our lunch overlooking the lily ponds and the gorgeous statues. I highly recommend this place for a taste of local cuisine and culture!
There are so many more things to do in Ubud and I would go back there in a heartbeat! If you have more time then definitely visit the Puri Saren Royal Palace, try the Campuhan Ridge Walk that offers you an escape from the bustles of the main Ubud streets, visit the Ubud Art Market, stop by the Pura Taman Saraswati Temple and take a yoga class! You can spend days here and I am hoping to come back one day and explore more.
After Ubud, we headed back to Seminyak and off we went home that night. Would I recommend this Bal contiki to anyone? 100% yes! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and the people that I met will stay in my heart forever. Check out the costings of the trip in my Part 1 post over here, but overall I would say that I spend about R25000 on the 8-day trip and 10 day journey. I found it to be worth it and money very well spend!
Have you ever been to Bali? Tell me about it in the comments!