Our grand round-the-world trip
began on 29th July, when Claire drove us to Heathrow to catch our
Cathay Pacific flights to Hong Kong and on to Bali. This all went smoothly, and
after a long queue for immigration in the early hours we were driven to our
hotel at Sanur Beach, on the east coast of the island. This was a very pleasant
resort hotel, on a nice beach, and we stayed there for 4 nights.
While there we did two
excursions, with a car, driver and guide, to explore the temples and other
sights of the island. The first was to the east coast, and took in the courts
at Klungkung (with explicit pictures of the damned in Hindu hell) and a couple
of water palaces built by a Hindu king, which were highly photogenic. The second
tour was to the temple at Mengwi (very picturesque) and the most visited temple
in Bali, at Tanar Lot on the coast where everyone goes to see the sunset.
We had booked a three-day tour from
Bali to Komodo, flying to the island of Flores and then going by boat to Komodo
and the nearby island of Rinca. This went rather pear-shaped when we spent
nearly a whole day at the airport waiting for a flight which was finally
cancelled. We managed to fly out early next morning and do our advertised trip,
but had wasted almost a whole day in the process. We travelled in a small and
ramshackle boat with two other tourists (a young Catalan couple), and the
toilet facilities left a great deal to be desired. We had a great time,
however, and saw Komodo dragons in large numbers on Rinca, but only one on
Komodo itself. On the way back we stopped at the Pink Beach (on a small island
just off Flores), which is absolutely beautiful and has great snorkelling and
swimming. On our return to Bali we went straight to the hotel at Ubud which we
had booked, to find they’d sold our room because we didn’t show the day before
(even though we’d phoned them to explain the delay). We had to be put into a
different hotel – which was very nice, but further out of town.
We spent just over a day in Ubud,
which is inland and a cultural centre rather than a beach resort like Sanur. On
the last day we went on another tour, with a driver who took us to a couple of
interesting temples and to see views of the volcano, Mount Batur. We ended up
at the main temple on Bali, at Besakih, but the weather was rather grey that
day and we probably didn’t appreciate it as much as some of the others.
Altogether we had a great time on
Bali, and saw lots, including Komodo, Rinca and the dragons. We flew out on
Friday night, 7th August, arriving in Darwin in the early morning of
the 8th, ready to start the next phase of our adventure.