Brown Sugar Surfcamp

The last week here in Bali has been spent at a surfcamp named Brown Sugar located in Medewi, about two and a half hour drive west from Canggu. So, we’ve been surfing quite a bit, seven sessions in total. Still feel like I’m improving a little week by week, and I managed to catch some good waves at Medewi Point, Irons, and Rivermouth.

IMG_7142

IMG_7413

We also did a lot of other fun activities here at Brown Sugar. For instance, we had two barbeque-nights, such as the one pictured below hosted by the surf-coaches of the camp.

IMG_1201

In addition, we went on a couple of field trips, such as one to a local food market. The supply of fruit there was pretty huge, and I discovered a tasty one called Jackfruit, which now is definitely on the podium of my favorite fruits.

IMG_1227

Furthermore, we went snorkeling at a coral-reef out by an island. The reef was really well kept there, and made for a spectacular experience.

IMG_1238

IMG_1234

DCIM100GOPRO

Tomorrow we leave for Japan, land of the rising sun, while the sun settles on our stay here in Bali. It’s been a wonderful time, I’ve seen and done so much, met so many great people, and I’m starting to get a decent grip on the surfing. Pleasure to meet you, Bali!

IMG_1187

Gili Trawangan

Went for a weekend trip to one of Bali’s neighboring islands, Gili Trawangan, also known just as Gili T. It’s one of the three Gili-islands, the two others being Gili Meno and Gili Air. Took the fast boat from Padang Bai, which brought us there in about an hour and a half. 

Map Bali Gili

It’s a true tropical paradise, and Gili T is perhaps best known for it’s excellent snorkeling, diving, and nightlife. We checked out both the former and the latter, both were a great success 🙂 Also, there are no cars or scooters on the islands, only bicycles and horses, which makes for a pretty relaxed setting.

Gili T main street

 

Playing cards

Working man

As for the snorkeling, it was spectacular, even saw a big sea-turtle! For 120.000 Indonesian Rupiah, we got a boat-trip that took us to three snorkeling-spots and had lunch included. In comparison, it costs more just in cover-charge to get into the club Svare & Berg in my home-town Hamar… (yeah, madness)

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

Now we’re back in Canggu after a bumpy boat-ride back to Padang Bai. To the best of my knowledge, everyone aboard was able to keep the breakfast in their tummies, which impressively exceeded my expectations! 😉  

The boat to Padang Bai 

Canggu

Decided it was time to create a post about the place where we’ve been spending most of our time here in Bali, namely Canggu. Canggu offers some great surfing as showed in earlier posts, and is in general becoming a highly popular destination for surfers, backpackers, artists, party-animals, and a wide variety of hipsters, creating a good, easy-going, and fun atmosphere.

However, there’s urbanization going on here at an incredible speed. Having spoken to people who’ve either been here before or are living here, they say that ten years ago, Canggu was nothing more than rice fields and a dirt road running through it. Tourists were a rare sight. Since then, there’s been an explosion of cafeterias, restaurants, stores , and hostels, so Canggu has become a crazy mix between countryside and urban areas scattered here and there. On one side of the road you’ll see cattle grazing or a rice field, in the middle of the road you might see a stray dog (there are lots of them here, most could surely need an appointment at the pet-doctor, poor creatures), and on the other side of the road you’ll see a booming shopping street lined up with Billabong and Quicksilver stores, restaurants and a lot of people. As a consequence of the urbanization, the surf spots are also starting to become over-crowded. At this pace, Canggu will soon become as crowded and touristy as Seminyak/ Kuta is today, as the city is simply eating its way into Canggu. I hope that Canggu will be able to keep some of it’s laid-back and chill identity as I’ve gotten to know it, although I doubt it’ll be able too. Probably have to go further west in the future for a similar experience, but these days, Canggu has been pretty awesome! 🙂

Some of the hotspots in Canggu are places like Deus, which offers the rare combination of a surf shop, a restaurant, a motorcycle store + garage, an art gallery, a barber shop, and a place for concerts & party. Talk about spreading the risk! Old Man’s cafe is also pretty popular with its happy hour from 5-6 pm every day, good food at a reasonable price, its concert-scene, and the close location to some sweet surf spots.  

Traditional Canggu

Modern CangguMan with trolley

Stray Dog

Crossing the road

Deus

Deus backyard

Old Man's Cafe

Old Man's

Batu Bolong

Mount Agung

Last night we got picked up at midnight and headed northeast from Ubud towards the highest mountain in Bali, Mount Agung, which towers 3.031 meters above sea level, is an active volcano (the last eruption was in 1964), and is regarded as one of the most sacred spots by the Balinese Hindu. The drive from Ubud was about two hours, and we collected a French couple on the way there, so we were a group of four plus a guide who started off from Pasar Agung Temple at around 2:15 am, meaning it was pitch black and we had to use flashlights to see where we were going. 

The temple is at an elevation of 1.700 meters, so the incline was constant and quite steep right from the start. We started out in a dense jungle and eventually worked our way up to a barren rocky landscape. The temperature also changed noticeably during the hike, from dripping sweat at the beginning to being straight out chilly as we got up close to 3.000 meters (a cold wind also played a part in lowering the temperature). It was without a doubt a pretty tough hike, and moving up the face of a mountain in darkness with parts so steep you have to climb on both arms and feet, means you have to be pretty damn careful. Luckily it was a pretty clear night, so the moonlight assisted our flashlights. It took us close to four hours to reach the top, in time to catch an amazing sunrise. We could even see Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok in the far distance. Not everyone is that fortunate, as Mount Rinjani (as well as Mount Agung) is often covered in clouds. So we picked a good night to do the hike. I must say though, I was expecting that the moment of sunrise would be a moment of peace, quiet and pure enjoyment, but some of the other guides (there were several groups going up) decided that the sunrise would be a good time to sing “Gangnam style”. Not the best timing… Besides that, it was pretty magical, and the view was spectacular. We could also see down the volcanic crater, while drinking coffee and otherwise trying to stay warm for the half an hour we were up there. 

Going back down took almost as long as going up, due to the steepness, and a lot of loose gravel and rocks, which were really treacherous. Naturally, we were starting to feel it in our legs, and the lack of sleep didn’t help either. But we made it back down in one piece, and could high five each other with big smiles on our faces. Got back in Ubud exactly twelve hours after departure, dead tired and slept the whole afternoon. 

IMG_1024

IMG_1053

IMG_1058

IMG_1060

IMG_1070

Rafting

This week we’ve gone up to a place called Ubud for a few days (Monday – Friday). Took us about an hour and a half on our scooters from Canggu, and is located inland on the island. Several fun activities to be found up here, such as rafting. Although the river didn’t contain as many wild rapids as we had hoped for, it was still good fun and took us through some amazing scenery. The rafting was also quite long, 10 km altogether, so we got a workout out of it. There were three times during the rafting when we could jump off the boat and float along down the river, definitely a highlight.

  IMG_1016 IMG_1010IMG_1009

The Canggu Surf Hostel

For the last week we’ve been staying at the Canggu Surf Hostel, a welcoming place with a lot of backpackers and chill atmosphere. Been surfing pretty much every day at either Old Man’s or Brawa Beach. Had one day in particular where I caught ten waves altogether that was pretty good, besides that it’s been a lot of paddling and laundry out there. Other events worth taking note of would be that my iPhone got stolen, and now I’ve got to deal with the whole insurance-deal, so that’s a bummer.  Also got pulled over by the corrupt police twice, but was able to get away with it a lot cheaper this time (150.000 for Eivind and me combined). And this morning when I was going to move my board, I found a snake resting underneath it. Turned out to be a small cobra, so we got a hold of Dode, the guy who runs the hostel, and he sorted it out with a few of the hostel’s guests as excited spectators 🙂

IMG_0991 IMG_0990 IMG_0986

IMG_0992 IMG_0994

 

Seminyak

After staying at the Balicamp in Canggu we moved down to Seminyak, and ended up staying there for nine days at the Island Hotel (which is actually a hostel). The Island’s a pretty nice place, reasonable accommodation in a twelve-person dorm for 200.000 Indonesian Rupiah a night, including a light breakfast. Seminyak is part of the biggest city here in Bali, as it has grown together with three neighboring towns; Kuta, Denpasar, and Sanur. It’s pretty hectic down there, a lot of traffic, and it feels very touristy. For about every twenty meter you walk down the street, you’re going to receive an offer of either transportation, a massage (the girls are practically clinging to your arms), a necklace, a painting, or maybe a tattoo. It get’s old pretty fast. On the upside, Kuta-beach offers some good surfing, the nightlife is fun, and people (like everywhere else in Bali) are friendly and helpful. So it’s totally worth checking out, but we decided to move back up to Canggu again, due to the surfspots that we’re familiar with here and the chill atmosphere. Feels good to be back in the countryside (except for the mosquitoes, that is).

IMG_0943 IMG_0878 IMG_0881 IMG_0886 IMG_0888