Wanderlands Travel Bali Tour: Canggu, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Ubud & Mount Batur Sunrise Hike – (Days 1-7)

A whole new adventure – South East Asia. A huge cultural shift from the familiar Westernised world we’ve been used to.

Over the next three or so months, we’ll explore Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan on guided tours, and go it alone in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Our first stop is Bali where we’ll be spending the next three weeks.

The week before the tour…

Adjusting to the South East Asia way of life again with the vastly different culture, food, thousands of mopeds that can run you over at any second and people who try to sell you anything and everything probably took us the entire of our first week. I’m not exaggerating when I say we must have said “no thank you” over a thousand times.

Nothing could have prepared us for the heat and humidity when we landed in Denpasar. It’s something we’re going to have to get used to.

Before starting Wanderlands Travel 13-day tour of Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok, we enjoyed a week of much-needed relaxation in Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu. Em booked a private villa for a few nights for our nine year anniversary and my birthday which was idyllic.

Unfortunately, Em didn’t feel too good for the first week but she’s fine now. I suspect it was the heat to begin with and then ‘Bali belly‘ – where she somewhere must have consumed bacteria found in either contaminated food or water.

We spent the first night on the tour in Canggu getting to know the 14 others on the tour over a welcome meal. There’s a nice mix of ages, genders and nationalities. Perhaps now showing our age and travelling experience, Em and I are two of the older ones in the group.

Our tour guide, Pedro is a 33-year-old Brazilian; Samuel, Linus, Alicia, Lea, Lucy and Marina are all aged between 18-22 from Germany; Gregor is 33 from Switzerland, Anas is 27 from Saudi Arabia and Ben is an 18-year-old Brit. We’re joined by Josh and Tim – two 27-year-old British trainee tour guides and Frazer, who is a videographer from Manchester.

Day Two – Tanah Lot & surfing for the first time

With sweat pouring from everywhere on the body and with water always at hand, our first point of call was to wander around Tanah Lot – a temple home to the ancient Hindu pilgrimage, which we did in unbearable 31°C heat. The first of what I’m sure will be many temples we see in Asia.

This wouldn’t have been too bad – we’re used to travelling in soaring temperatures, but this was different. It was 80% humidity. People say the humidity in South East Asia hits different and they are absolutely right. It’s fair to say bemoaning the heat is becoming a common theme throughout the tour!

Surfing on Kuta Beach was next on the agenda – an activity Em and I have both never tried. I was apprehensive because of my left-sided weakness, but I managed to get up on the board three times. Em did amazingly well too!

It took two hours to get back to our hotel in Canggu just six miles away, which gives you an idea of just how bad the traffic is here. It’s no wonder the vast majority of people get around on mopeds. I honestly think the traffic in Bali is worse than in London.

Tonight we partied…and hard!

Day Three: Nusa Lembongan

All nursing horrible hangovers, we made the trip over to the island of Nusa Lembongan. Because of the alcohol and jet lag for others, today was spent chilling out by the pool once we arrived at our beachside accomodation.

In the evening, we hopped in 4×4 jeeps to Dream Beach before watching the sunset from Devil’s Tears Bay.

Day Four – Snorkelling, Diamond & Kelingking Beach (Nusa Penida)

Em and I have been fortunate enough to go snorkelling in some incredible locations, none more so than the Great Barrier Reef. With my arm and leg muscles still aching from surfing a couple of days ago, we were up at 07:00 AM to go snorkelling in what was a cram packed day of activities.

The first snorkelling destination was at Manta Point. Em got some brief GoPro footage from the choppy water of a manta ray, but this was spoilt because of the hundreds of jelly fish floating around the surface. Em got a nasty sting to her top lip which looked as if she’d had Botox.

Shortly after, we then went to Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay, which had far more fish and less litter & jellyfish. Josh – one of the trainee guides, who is also a highly qualified diver took our GoPro and free dived underwater to get some amazing footage of us all.

Once on land, we squeezed through the secret entrance at the Pura Goa Giri Putri Temple and marvelled at the underground network of temples hidden within the caves before heading to one of Bali’s most iconic spots.

If you’ve ever seen a picture of Bali online or on a postcard, the likelihood is that it is either Diamond Beach or Kelingking Beach. These beaches on the island of Nusa Penida were absolutely phenomenal. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to hike down, but we could appreciate them from the vantage points we had.

Day Five – Ubud: Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Today, we left our hotel on the gorgeous sandy beached island of Nusa Lembongan behind us and headed for Ubud – a popular backpackers town in the mountains. We were staying at the Puri Garden Hostel in shared mixed dorms, which was our first time ever doing so.

I’m not against hostels and shared accomodation – I get why most backpackers do this because they’re cheap, but I’d much rather have our own private room in a hotel or hostel. It felt strange being in the same space as Emily, but sleeping in separate beds.

After chilling out by the pool and speaking to some of the other guests staying at the hostel, we made our way to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

We were told to keep our phones and sunglasses safe, not to bring any food or drink with us and not to look directly into the eye of the 1200+ monkeys at the Sanctuary. One of them touched Lucy’s backside – they must have liked what they saw! Cheeky sods.

The traditional Balinese frog dance which incorporates ancient Hindu traditions through dance and music was interesting to say the least. I had no idea what was going on until Pedro explained how the performance told the fairy tale story about how the princess marries the frog.

Day Six – Visiting a Balinese Primary School & Tegenungan Waterfall

This morning we had the unique opportunity of spending some time with students on their break at a local primary school. They took a liking to all of us as soon as we arrived by grabbing our hands and taking us to the classroom and playground to play.

Em got involved in the primary school classic game duck, duck, goose, whilst I had hand wrestling competitions with others. It was only fair that I let them win. We then had pictures with the kids before leaving a donation for the school. It was wholesome to see all of their beaming smiles appreciating their life for what it is.

For the rest of the afternoon, we chilled out at the Tegenungan Waterfall and then at hostel pool.

Day Seven – Sunrise Mount Batur Hike, Coffee Plantation & Cretya Day Club

The highlight of my first week in Indonesia was undoubtedly getting up at 02:00 AM to hike to the summit of Mount Batur at 1771m for sunrise.

This is the hardest hike I’ve ever done, but the struggle was worth it. When we hiked to the Mount Taranaki Pouakai Tarn in New Zealand, we had to climb 8,000 flights of steps, but this was harder because of the slippery, uneven rocky terrain.

I’m thankful we had a guide because if we hadn’t, I don’t think I would have made it to the summit. He held my hand for balance and was great encouragement when the group was tiring.

We got back to the hostel for 10:00 AM and were out again at 11:00 to visit the Uma Pakel coffee plantation and swing. No rest for the wicked.

Em and I have gone tea leave picking and coffee tasting at a plantation in Sri Lanka when we first went travelling, so we had an idea of what to expect. We sampled Bali, Avocado, Coconut, Ginseng and Vanilla Coffee – none were really to my liking!

The heavens then opened for the next few hours when we were at the Cretya Ubud by Alas Harum day club. We’d seen this on Instagram and TikTok, but unfortunately like most places you see on social media, it was overrated and full of wannabe influencers.

In the second half of the Wanderlands tour, we’ll party hard in Gili Trawangan (Gili T), go snorkelling and scuba diving in Gili Air & Gili Meno before spending our last couple of days in Lombok.

As always, if you’d like to keep up-to-date with our adventure, you can either enter your email at the bottom of this article to receive instant notifications every time I post a new blog; click the Follow ‘Al’ Around The World link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @AlecW95 or @alatw95.

Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.

Thanks for reading, until the next time…


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