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Bali – Munduk to Padangbai – 16th Feb

We left Munduk at 9am and were ready for our drive to Padangbai. We wanted to see more of Bali and so headed north first towards Lovina, stopped there at the beach to see the falling down dolphin statue and got a little harassed by hawkers trying to sell tours or massages and so on. We didn’t stop for long but stretched the legs and had a little explore along the streets.

We drove through the very busy Singaraja but didn’t feel the need to stop until we reached the artful temple Pura Mdduwe Karang, there was a small donation on arrival and the locals who run the place were keen to give us a little tour for some extra cash. It’s all a bit staged but we did notice some tourists sneaking in the side and moved around the temple very quickly to avoid this. We didn’t know any better and so just gave them some money and left. The temple is really beautiful though with some very distinguished carvings including one of a Dutch man on a bicycle, the first to bring bikes over to Bali.

We then made our way southwards and drove towards the very tourist-centred Gunung Batur. Most people will visit this at around 5am to see the sunrise, and the surrounding village is full of hawkers, expensive buffet style restaurants and of course tourists. We asked our driver Ketut (our driver the other day was also called Ketut – perhaps it means ‘driver’) to take us to a local warring rather than a buffet place and he did not disappoint. In Kitamani he pulled over at a small place offering the local dish of Ikan Mujair; small sweet fish caught in the volcanic lake and grilled in spices served with rice and a side of fish head in broth. Okay the fish head wasn’t to our taste but the grilled fish was really good and it was nice to have the local dish. For all 3 of us to eat and have drink we paid 53,000 IRPS which is around $5, not bad.

He then took us to a look out over Gunung Batur away from the main look out areas, we had a good view out to the volcano and it surrounds of lava fields, rich farm land and the volcanic lake Danau Batur below. When we left the area completely we were moving towards our final destination Padangbai, and in total the drive was around 6-7 hours with stops. We went straight to Topi Inn at the far end of the bay and opted for a room costing 200,000 for the night, it was a family room and way too big for us (we actually felt a little bad for taking a room with 2 spare beds!) but we didn’t want to be wandering around too much searching for better deals.

Later on we realised we really should have found a room elsewhere, Topi Inn has a great backpackers vibe especially in the cafe and along the balcony, but at around 8-9pm they started playing the loudest bad euro pop which mean’t we literally had to shout to hear each other speak. The entire place is made of bamboo and so the music just gets everywhere. We recommend this place for food and drinks and if you want to party, but not to sleep.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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