Sampai jumpa Bali  – December 2018

The semester abroad in Bali was a great experience for us. In the beginning we had to get used to many things like the traffic, the totally different culture, the language and the university. We were both a little surprised at first how long it took us to settle in.

But at the end we are able to say that Bali is our second home and we enjoy daily life. It was a unique experience and we are very grateful to have been able to meet great new people and to get an insight into a new culture.

But the most important thing was that we could develop our personality and get to know ourselves. Also we got an understanding to truly accept a different culture and that people from different places think differently.

This time would certainly have been different, if we hadn’t had each other and we are thankful that we could experience the time in Bali together.

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Volcano tour to Java – December 2018

For one week our friend Vera who studies with us in Switzerland visited us from Australia where she is currently staying for her semester abroad. That is why we wanted to do something special with her and visiting Java to see an active volcano sounded like the perfect thing to do.

Kawah Ijen (2386 m) is an active volcano located within the Pleistocene Ijen Caldera (old volcanic crater), at the easternmost part of Java island. The world’s largest hyperacidic lake on earth and native sulfur can be seen there too. The volcano is very famous because you can see blue fire which is ignited sulphuric gas, which emerges from cracks at temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius. It is the largest blue flame area in the world and one of the purest sulfur mines.

While hiking down to the blue fire you can see miners caring loads ranging from 75 kilograms to 90 kilograms, up 300 meters to the crater rim, with a gradient of 45 to 60 degrees and most miners make this journey twice a day. It was very impressive to see them doing this job.

We did this trip in two days from Bali. The first day we spent driving up to Java and hiking up the volcano during the night to catch the sunset. After the sunset we hiked back down the volcano and drove back on the second day. It was a exhausting trip but we are very happy we did it and got the chance to see a little bit of Java.

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Days well spent in Singaraja & Lovina – November 2018

Last weekend I and my mother visited Singaraja, the hometown of my mother. My grandmother and family members are living there, which is the second largest city of Bali. The drive takes about 4 hours from Uluwatu to Singaraja. My mom showed me the traditional market, which she often visited as a child. We enjoyed the sunset in Lovina, visited the wonderful Git Git waterfall and spent time with our Balinese family.

Izzy and Izzy on the Nusa islands one more time – November 2018

In october I visited Nusa Penida for the first time. Then we spent almost all the time diving and could not really explore the island. That is why Izzy from Germany and I needed to go back and see the island one more time.

It was definitely worth going there twice. We spent two nights on Nusa Penida and then moved further to Nusa Ceningan for one more night to visit Nusa Ceningan as well as Nusa Lembongan. For us the Nusa islands are just a magical little place. Even if the roads can be really bad at times we think it is worth the struggles because the nature is just that beautiful, especially now in rain season when everything is even greener. Also the island feels like a little get away from all the traffic and many people in Bali and you can find some peace and quiet which can be hard at times in Bali. The people on the Nusa island are so friendly. They are very happy to help and talk to tourists – probably because they don’t have that many tourists there yet. I really hope to be able to return there one day for the third time.

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Road trip through Flores – October / November 2018

After our wonderful boat tour we decided to do a road trip through the whole island. The Hostel in Labuan Bajo got us in contact with Piter. He drove us around for about CHF 280.00 for four days and showed us the island. On the map you can see the way we drove. Our main destination was the Kelimutu volcano on the other side of the island.

Flores Karte

1st day – Labuan Bajo – Bajawa

We started from Labuan Bajo at 14:00 and arrived in Bajawa at 23:30. Although the hostel reminded us of a horror movie we were just glad to have a bed for the night. The drive was very exhausting and we all got sick from the curves of the roads and the driving style from Piter.

Day 2 – Bajawa- Moni

The next day we visited a traditional village in the forest. Aside from the fascinating architecture and religious aspects, visiting a traditional village offers an insight into the everyday life of the Ngada people. We ate lunch in the city “Ende”. In our opinion, it is not a beautiful city. Then we drove on to the village called “Moni”. Moni is a dreamy village near the Kelimutu volcano. It is a small village at the foot of the volcanic Mount Kelimutu and a good base for a trip to the colored lakes of the volcano. The guesthouse was fine and we ate delicious food in the restaurant called “Mopis”.

Day 3 – Kelimutu – Ruteng

In order to see the sunrise over the Vulcano we got up at 03:30 in the morning. The view was impressive and it was really worth it. We choose the short climb of 30 min, because we were too tired and exhausted from the drive. After breakfast we drove to Ruteng, it took about 8 hours. In Ruteng we choose a new and nice hotel because we needed a good bed. It is a small town with no real attractions.

Day 4 – Ruteng-Labuan Bajo

On the 4th day we visited an excavation site in a cave. The fossils of Homo floresiensis or the flores hobbits were discovered in 2003 in a cave surrounded by dense bush. It also has a museum with interesting information about the excavations and historical backgrounds.

Then we visited the rice terraces, which look like a giant spider web. It took another 6 hours to arrive in Labuan Bajo. This trip was a good experience. But we recommend to go one way by airplane. Last but not least, we can say that we have seen the whole island and got to know our limits anew.

Komodo & East Nusa Tenggara Islands boat tour – October 2018

Komodo National Park is home of the unique and rare Komodo Dragon. The Park is declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Also it’s part of the Coral_Triangle, which contains some of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth. The Islands in Komodo National Park have beautiful panoramic views of savannas, rain forests, pink sand beaches, beautiful corals, clean crystal blue seas and many endemic flora & fauna.

That is why the Komodo National Park was a must see for our semester abroad in Indonesia. To explore the islands we organized a boat trip with 10 other friends from our university,

Our trip started in the port town of Labuanbajo. We got picked up there by the boat company (only two hours late) and started our boat adventure. Our boat was very nice and we had shared cabins so that we could spend the night on the boat. The staff cooked fresh meals on the boat which were delicious.

The first island we visited was Kelor Island which has many highlights, including beautiful beaches, mountains, local activities, and a calm sea. Our next stop was Rinca Island which is the second biggest island in Komodo National Park. There lives the Parks most famous habitat: the biggest lizards in the world – the Komodo Dragon. We also watched a beautiful sunset there.

The next day we visited one of the seven pink beaches on this planet! This exceptional beach gets its striking color from microscopic animals called Foraminifera, which produce a red pigment on the coral reefs. Then we climbed on top of a hill on the island of Padar and were amazed by the great sight of 4 coastline forming four arches. Next we went snorkeling at Taka Massar and could see the beautiful underwater scenery. We also went snorkeling at Manta Point. You could also call it a Manta hunt because the boat drove around looking for Mantas and when they found them everyone jumped out of the boat and snorkeled behind the Mantas. It was impressive to see them – they are huge!

On our last day we headed back towards Labuan Bajo and visited a tiny little island which only consisted of white sand. We were the only people on the island and it was very beautiful.

It was an amazing trip and we enjoyed spending time with friends from university. We also had a lot of fun on the boat, tanning, singing karaoke with the crew at night and talking.

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Lombok – October 2018

Last week we spent five days in Lombok. Lombok is an island east of Bali, but it is less famous. While every year millions of tourists are attracted to Bali, many places on Lombok are still untouched. Over there mass tourism is still unknown and we were very impressed with the breath taking beauty of the nature.

You can visit Lombok by ferry, speedboat or airplane. We decided to go by airplane, it was cheaper (one way approximately CHF 17.00) and the airport is located only a 20 min drive away from Kuta, Lombok. With 25min it was our shortest flight ever!

A friend of ours from University visited the north of Lombok  at the same time as us and told us, that the north of the Island was still destroyed from the earthquake which happend two months ago. Some people are sadly living in tents next to the streets.

We stayed in Kuta Lombok all the time. It is probably the second largest tourist hotspot in the south of Lombok and was not affected by the earthquake. We found a perfect hostel and we’re super happy with the location, the friendly staff and amazing service. If you are going to Lombok, we highly recommend it! (it’s called boogie hostel)

We rented a scooter and visited the stunning empty beaches in that area. The streets are much better than in Nusa Penida and the traffic was a dream in comparison with Bali.

The goal of this trip to Lombok was to improve our surfing skills. The waves were amazing and there we’re almost no people and now we are a little bit more motivated to go on with surfing.

On our last day we booked a day trip to the Gili Nanggu,Sudak and Kedis Islands with two friends from university. The islands are located southwest of Lombok and can only be reached by boat. We went snorkeling around the islands and there were beautiful corals and colorful fish. The beaches are stunningly white and you will find crystal clear blue water, where you can perfectly snorkel, swim and relax.

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Balis little neighbour «Nusa Penida» – October 2018

Normally we have university from Monday to Wednesday. The long weekends are perfect to explore the island and other parts of Indonesia. Last weekend I went to Nusa Penida with Anna and Izzy, two german girls we met at university. Unfortunately Vanessa was unable to join because she had an eye infection. We had to go to the hospital but now she is healthy again.

On Nusa Penida we mainly went diving and I started with my advanced open water diver. We also went to the most touristic spot on the island – kelingkin beach – which is beautiful but a little overcrowded.

On the last day I explored the north of the island by scooter while the other two girls went diving. My destination was Atuh beach and on the way there I discovered Goa Giri Putri Temple. The entrance to the temple is a narrow opening in a rock face. You need to crawl to get through the opening inside the cave. The temple is located in the cave which is quite big and smells strongly of incense. It was very interesting to watch the ceremony taking place inside and it sounded nice as the music they played echoed inside the cave.

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10 tips on driving a scooter in Bali – October 2018

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1. Always wear a helmet

Many accidents happen on the roads of Bali. So wearing a helmet is a must. We recommend wearing a full face helmet.

2. Shadow a local

When first arriving in Bali the traffic can be a little overwhelming. An easy way to find out how to drive like a local is to shadow a local. Look for a local person which is driving at a speed and style you feel comfortable with. Then just follow that local – when he overtakes, you overtake. You will quickly learn how to get through traffic faster.

3. Carry little money

Always have 50’000 IDR (about 3.50 CHF) handy. If the police takes you out just keep smiling and if they ask for money give them a little. Don’t open your purse and show them all the money you have with you.

4. Focus on what’s ahead of you

From driving at home we are used to keeping our entire environment in sight – forget that in Bali! With so much traffic, bad roads, dogs and chickens on the road it is impossible to keep an eye on everything. So just focus on what is ahead of you, people behind you will do the same.

5. Keep left

If you get stuck in traffic keep on the left side of the road. A two colon road will become a four colon road. On the left of each side there are scooters overtaking the cars and in the middle two lanes are the cars which are slower than the scooters. Some crazy scooter drivers also overtake between the two car lanes.

6. Get a scoopy

Scoopy is a motorbike model here in Bali that is one of the most popular. It is a good model for beginners and quite cheap to rent (around 50 CHF per month). Look that you find a trustworthy dealer – the best option is to get a good recommendation from your guest house or people you meet. And get a contract!!

7. Refuel

You will see Vodka bottles everywhere besides the road. These are a good option if you run out of petrol and need a last minute fill up. But gas stations are cheaper.

8. Parking

Parking is quite easy in Bali – just go there where you find a spot. Lock your scooter and don’t forget your key in the scooter.

9. Getting a grab / taxi

Driving in Bali is much more exhausting than in Switzerland. That’s why we recommend getting a grab (like uber) for longer distances.

10. Dress properly

Ideally when driving a motorbike you should wear a leather jacket, leather trousers, gloves and closed shoes. But as the weather is hot in Bali it can be quite uncomfortable. So we recommend to wear as much protecting clothing as you can manage with the heat – especially in the beginning when you don’t feel as comfortable yet. The minimum should be a helmet and closed shoes. Don’t wear your handbag across your shoulder. Either put it under your seat or in front of you.

Our new home – September 2018

We are living in Uluwatu in the South of Bali. This part of the Island is known as a famous surfer spot. You will find there one of the best waves all over the world. We love it to explore the fancy shops, restaurants and bars in this area. The sunsets in Uluwatu are breathtaking and it takes about 15min to get on the beach.

We are staying in a residency in two separate appartments. We have enough space and it would be possible to live together in only one appartment. Both of us have an empty room with nothing in it. The rent for one appartment costs CHF 300.00 per month. For Bali it is a fair price. They are cleaning our rooms twice a week an totally has the residency  six appartments.

Additional we have two little baby cats and one crazy golden retriver, who are living in our residency as well. One of the baby cat adopted Isabelle as her Mummy. It waits for her all of the time in her garden or in front of the door. Isabelle is getting more and more to a cat lover.

We are spending the most of our time in the outdoor living room or at the pool.

All in all it is a dreamy place to stay for the next four months.

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