Friday, December 12, 2014

INDEX

THAILAND

Post-sunset shot at Ko Adang National Park headquarters beach.

INTRODUCTION - WHICH ISLAND OR BEACH?

ADANG

BULON LAE

CHANG (big Chang eastern Gulf)
Little Ko CHANG, Andaman side
CORAL ISLAND

JUM

KANCHANABURI
KRADAN
KRABI, RAILAY, TON SAI
KHAO LAK
KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK
KHO KHAO
KUT (KOOD, KUD)

LANTA
LAO LIANG
LIBONG, HAT YAO
LIPE

MAK (MAC, MAAK)
MUK (MOOK)

NANGYUAN
NGAI (HAI)

PANYEE/PANYI
PATTAYA
PHANGAN
PHANGAN PART 2
PHANG NGA BAY
PHAYAM
PHRA THONG
PHUKET
PHI PHI
PHI PHI NEWSPAPER ARTICLE BY TEZZA

RAILAY, TON SAI AND KRABI TOWN
RAYA/RACHA

SAMET
SAMUI
SIBOYA
SIMILAN ISLANDS
SIMILAN ISLANDS LIVE-ABOARD
SUKORN
SURINS ISLANDS

TAO
TARUTAO

WAI (WHAI)

YAO NOI
YAO YAI



General Thailand Information

SOME TIPS ON NOT DROWNING

WET WEATHER INFORMATION

SNORKELLING IN THAILAND

THAILAND'S BEST BEACHES



INDONESIA
Spoiling visitor on Seraya Island - West Flores

BALI
BALI'S BEST BEACHES - incl THE BUKIT PENINSULA
BALI - AMED
BALI - BEDUGUL AND LAKE BRATAN
BALI - CANGGU
BALI - JIMBARAN
BALI - NUSA LEMBONGAN
BALI - NUSA DUA, TANJUNG BENOA AND GEGER BEACH
BALI - MEDEWI
BALI - MUNDUK
BALI - LOVINA
EAST BALI - PADANGBAI AND CANDIDASA
BALI- PEMUTERAN AND MANJANGAN ISLAND
BALI RICE TERRACES EAST - SIDEMAN
BALI RICE TERRACES WEST - KEBUN VILLAS
BALI RICE TERRACES TIRTA GANGGA + WATER PALACE


BINTAN

LOMBOK - THE GILI ISLANDS
LOMBOK - THE KUTA LOMBOK AREA

PERAMA SLOW BOAT - FLORES/KOMODO/LOMBOK

SERAYA & KANAWA ISLANDS + LABUANBJO - FLORES



MALAYSIA
Salang beach on Tioman

GORGEOUS TIOMAN ISLAND

CHERATING BEACH

KAPAS ISLAND

LANGKAWI

LANG TENGAH

PERHENTIAN ISLANDS

REDANG ISLAND

SIBU ISLAND



AUSTRALIA
Bound for Hook Island on Oetella

CRUISING TROPICAL ISLANDS ON A BUDGET

BUDGET RESORTING ON THE WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS

SPENDING TIME AT AIRLIE BEACH

BYRON BAY - BEACH PARADISE

NOOSA HEADS - MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE



GREECE
Paradise Beach - Kos

GREEK ISLAND HOPPING



TURKEY
Paragliding Mount Babadag to Oludeniz Beach

BUDGET CRUISING AND PARAGLIDING THE TURQUOISE COAST
THE NORTH AEGEAN COAST
THE SOUTH AEGEAN COAST

READERS' TRIP REPORTS
Trip reporter Cocodrilo at Similan's viewpoint
Read the trip reports or submit your own


THE FORUM
Yon Cassia has a lean and hungry look (image Deco Dermots)

Questions, comments, shoot the bull.



GENERAL
Kwak joins the Worry Collective - image BEDARD

JUST FOR LARFS - PART 1
JUST FOR LARFS - PART 2: STONES FROM THE JOKER IN THE GLASS HOUSE (1 thru 11)

JUST FOR LARFS - PART 3: THE WORRY COLLECTIVE

ABOUT THIS SITE


LADY TEZZA'S TRAVELLING JAPAN
Fashions for sale in Takeshita dori - Tokyo

The basics - Osaka - Kyoto - Hiroshima&Himeji - Takayama - Tokyo - Kyushu - Daytrip to Mt Fuji National Park - Accessing your money - Other helpul stuff

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If you have questions, please don't post them below - I seldom get to scroll down this far. Put them in THE FORUM which I try to check most days when not travelling.

Monday, June 9, 2014

BEDUGAL AND LAKE BRUTAN


LAST VISITED MAY 2014


The orchid enclosure at Bedugul Botanic Gardens.

I've passed thru the Bedugul-Lake Bratan area several times, stopped twice for a meal or an overview of one of the crater lakes, but have never stayed in the area. So in May 2014 I made sure I spent a few nights there.


Bratan-Bedugul is in mountainous central-north Bali about 60km north of Kuta. It is on the main road from south Bali to the north coast - Bali's old capital Singaraja and the Lovina tourist strip, so the road is busy with trucks, buses and local traffic - the last can be horrific in the first 20km Kuta-Denpasar strip. As a result you are looking at 2 hours+ in the day time. Add 20 minutes from the airport.


This area has 3 crater lakes surrounded by towering cliffs or volcanic cones - collectively known as the Bedugul caldera. The original cone and its explosion must have been huge. 
Our digs, Pacung Indah at bottom, was according to booking site Agoda's map within walking distance of Bedugul. Nope - it turned out to be in the roadside village of Pacung, 10km south, a bit far to walk. This is the 3rd time Agoda's maps have let us down.


Oblique shot of Bedugul caldera from the north. Note the main west-east road from Munduk and beyond passes around the rim of the crater from alongside the L Tamblingan place-marker far right to the gap some distance below the UG of "BEDUGUL" towards bottom left. Some magic views along here.


Lake Buyan from the west. There are pix and info of Lake Tamblingan on the Munduk page.


THE BIG 3 ATTRACTIONS IN BEDUGUL ARE THE MARKETS, BOTANIC GARDENS AND ULAN DANU TEMPLE.
Note that the temple is actually in neighbouring Candikuning. This merges into Pancasari further north which extends around the northern shore of L Bratan and across to the south-eastern end of Lake Buyan. The whole conurbation is about 7 km long. However not all is housing - at least 50% is given over to market gardening and similar activities.

BEDUGUL MARKETS
This area is a major vegetable and fruit growing area so there is no shortage of produce stalls. Plenty of clothing and other retailers too. However it is smaller than I expected for a pretty major mountain center.


This is the top right hand (south-west) corner of the markets. Place with TOILET sign at left is a real nice cafe with good hot and cold drinks at fair prices and okay music. The toilet is spotlessly clean. It doesn't sell food. The guide books mention the place upstairs at the end as an Aussie-run tourist restaurant - however it was closed for renovation. Plenty of other places to grab a feed, but all orientated towards locals rather than tourists. Result - yummy food at low low prices in pretty basic seating areas.


The main road outside the markets is super busy with passing traffic and people. I sat here for 15 minutes and watched the passing parade.


We came the 10km up the hill from Pacung village on a local bemo (public minivan bus). Seat in front loaded with produce from Pacung markets which looked bigger and busier than Bedugul's. Woman with produce hopped off and went into her house near Bedugul market. Suggests price competitiveness is maybe lacking at the latter.

BEDUGUL BOTANIC GARDENS


The side road from just south of the market to the Botanic Gardens' entrance takes less than 10 minutes to walk. Along it are several budget homestays, restaurants, flower and produce stalls and this bunny rabbit retailer. Cute. Could't help notice the restaurants had rabbit on the menu - not all that common in Bali.

Entry into the Gardens is only a few dollars. They are pretty big at around 160ha and have a bunch of different attractions. I reckon if you moved fast you could cover them in a half day. We had less than 3 hours and had to be a bit selective....


No Bali attraction is complete without a temple. This is the Batu Meringgit temple not far from the entrance.


The cactus house had examples from all over SE Asia. Click expand shot for detail.


The interior of the orchid house was as exotic as the exterior (see shot top of page). 


A winding lane replicates a path thru a typical highland tropical forest (the area has an altitude of 1250-1450m)


The Treetop Adventure Park was entertaining a group of senior Indo schoolkids. There are 7 circuits here to suit a variety of ages from quite young up. I notice this area is rated "#1 Bedugul attraction" by Trip Advisor contributors. The tariff seems a bit steep at $US 24 for an adult - no doubt these kids got a big discount. http://www.balitreetop.com/

Getting onto some of the take-off platforms was an adventure in itself

If you have the time there is also a bamboo display, rose garden, aquatic garden, fern house, begonia house, bamboo collection, a giant rainforest tree, lots of traditional statues plus a number of places to eat and take it easy - and lots more.

ULAN DANU TEMPLE
Now here's a cop out. Bali has temples wherever you look and in 20 visits I've seen hundreds, including this one several times in passing transport. I'm suffering big-time from temple fatigue and decided the crowds of visitors and the fact that there is no entry did not make the half hour walk from the Botanic Gardens worthwhile.
But it sure is pretty - one of the most photographed and visited in Bali. It figures on the Indo 50k rupiah note. I ripped this shot off the Bali Tourism Board's site balitourismboard.org

PACUNG INDAH
Pacung (say Pachung) Indah would have been just about perfect by our budget standards if it was positioned closer to Bedugul. Agoda's location map had it 5km south and I mapped out a good trek up to the crater by a scenic backroad - in reality it was another 5km down the main road. 


At about $US21 including breakfast in shoulder season May 2014 our room was very good value. Recently renovated, it was spacious, clean, had a jug and flatscreen tv (all Indo channels). The mattress was old but comfy, the fan quiet (don't need aircon this high) and the rooms were far enough from the road for noise not to be an issue. The bathroom was spacious and had good hot water. If you click-expand you may be able to see the individual courtyard outside which appears new and eliminates one reviewer's moans about lack of privacy.




These 2 shots show the outlook from Pacung Indah's large roadside restaurant. Nice, but we were less impressed than we should have been because we had just come from Aditya Homestay in Munduk with its fabulous outlook.
The restaurant is set up to serve passing daytripping buses, vans and cars and could probably seat 200+ people. Food seemed good at prices above Bali budget levels but pretty good by western standards - one good deal for staying guests was the impressive luncheon buffet reduced from 8Ok idr (abt $US7) to 60k. All prices have a 21% tax added. The inclusive breakfast was not buffet but the "Australian breakfast" choice was pretty good - basically an American breakfast plus cereal and milk.
I strolled 10 minutes up and down the road and couldn't find any budget restaurants in this southern part of Pacung village.


The main road here runs up a ridge towards the Bedugul crater rim - so there tends to be pretty good rural views each side. The road is very busy during the day with slow vehicles lumbering up the hill backing up long lines of traffic. The cops up road (click-expand) didn't help by periodically stopping traffic so buses and other vehicles could enter and exit the even bigger LABHAGGER PACUNG restaurant. Joint must have some push to get the local cops doing this.


Lebhagger was on the other side of the road and the westward view was more impressive - some pretty nice rice terraces. There would be views of some volcanic peaks when the cloud cleared. Wide angle shot reduces depth/height and steepness of slopes. I like to explore areas like this but couldn't find any side lanes either side of the road within easy walking distance. 
Restaurant prices seemed much the same as at Pacung Idah.

JATILUWIH RICE TERRACES


This area is another place often visited by Bedugul tourists. It is about 25km ssw of Bedugul, is rated the best in Bali and is an UNESCO heritage area. I had seen the best in East and West Bali so I was pretty keen on checking the best of the lot. One advantage of Pacung's southern location was that Jatiluwih was only 14km away and I intended to do a detour on my trip down to Sanur on exit day. Unfortunately logistics interfered - maybe next year. Image from bali-agung-tours.com

There's a lot more to do in the general Bedugal area - water sports on the lake, visits to market gardens, fruit and coffee growing areas, climbing, cross country cycling. yada. A visit to the Git Git waterfall a short walk off the main road as it descends to the north coast is time well spent - there is a pic on the main Bali page. -------------------------------------------------------

IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE EXTRA INFORMATION, PLEASE POST IT BELOW. BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE POST THEM IN THE FORUM WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT INDIVIDUAL LOCATION PAGES.


BACK TO INDEX.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

MEDEWI


VISITED MAY 2014



Medewi (say Me-de-wi : each "e" as in deck) has for some time been a surfing spot on the mid-western coast of Bali. The uncrowded coastline, clear sea-water, peaceful villages, attractive hinterland and relaxed nature of the area has seen it also become a destination for midrange travelers wanting to escape the bustle of south Bali.


Medewi is approx. 80km by road from Kuta, but the west coast highway is choked with large trucks heading for the Java ferry at Gilimanuk plus local traffic which can be horrendous in the first 30km, and is slowed by road and bridge works - so you are looking for maybe a 3 hour+ trip. Probably quicker at night - but those ferries run 24/7. Add 20 mins from the airport.


Our resort, PURI DAJUMA (lower right), was at Pekutatan beach  just under 2km or 35 minutes walk south-west from the Medewi point break surfing area. The resort runs a free shuttle for people not keen on the hoof. The walk from the resort up to Pekutatan village was 1km - 20min.




The main Medewi surfing area is a left hand point break. Despite a fairly small swell and slight onshore wind conditions, riders seemed to be having a good time. It was uncrowded.
These shots click-expand for detail.


There was a second inferior beach break several hundred meters north for dudes wishing to go right.


Locals had set up a beach cafe overlooking the point break. The beer was cheap which is all surfers ask. There were two smallish resorts with touristy restaurants adjacent - several other places to stay nearby including a surf camp.


 This lane connects the point break area with Medewi village up on the main highway. It's only about 300m long. Lane had a few places to stay, a surfboard repair joint, some small shops.


 Medewi village is fairly small with fewer services than Pekutatan less than 3km south.



PURI DAJUMA BEACH ECO RESORT AND SPA
Situated above a rock platform between 2 beaches, Puri Dajuma at $US110 for their least expensive accommodation in shoulder season May 2014, is several steps up from our usual Bali digs. But being our first place this holiday (excluding our usual Bukungsari budget refuge in Kuta after a late pm flight arrival) I felt like staying somewhere a bit special. With very good user reviews on the various sites, this joint suggested that. Note that this place was formerly known as "Puri Dajuma Beach Cottages".


Puri Dajuma had their cottages in a nice garden setting on the slope down to the shoreline. That's our Deluxe semi-detached digs above. It was spacious, clean, quiet, fully equipped and had a funky inside/outside bathroom. 


The pool looked out over the rock platform and was a nice place to spend time. Because the number of cottages are limited it and other areas were never crowded.

User reviews give the sea view restaurant raves, except a few punters think the food overpriced. It was certainly up 100% or more on budget Bali restaurants, but not appreciably higher than some other midrange places we stayed at later in the trip, and still a bargain by western standards. I thought the quality was real good but Lady Tezza was less sure, getting violently sick on our second night there. Restaurant service was excellent as in other parts of the resort.

Even without The Lady's ill fortune, I was a bit disappointed in this place. Sure it has above average rooms and facilities, but I think it is overpriced - I've stayed in several places in Bali near this standard and sometimes better positioned, at considerably lower prices. Note the free wifi was iffy and when it was working could only be picked up in reception. Tours and onward transfers were very expensive. So was the spa - a lovely place but deserted whenever I checked. The place has "Eco Resort" in its title - um, seems to be more a marketing thing: gas hot water instead of solar panels and they ignored their own request to put towels and bed linen out for replacement only when wanted - they changed them each day irrespective.


The rock platform in front of the resort was fully exposed at lower tide levels. That is a 150% scale concrete boat for show only. If you click-expand you will better see the high tide mark on the beach and the lady relaxing in the beachside hammock - there are several and they are nice places to spend time approaching sunset.


The rock shelf begins to flood with the rising tide, a popular time for locals to fish off the edge of the platform.

NORTH BEACH

North of the rock platform is a pretty nice beach. Has a bunch of fishing boats close to the resort. Note sand is not exactly black - more brown-grey. Water very clear. Some okay waves came thru just after these pix and I had a nice little body surf. Fellow guest using free body board from the resort was having a tough time - only late-takeoff experts can paddle onto a wave without fins on a body board. Novices should stand beside board in the white water and launch themselves and board onto a broken wave as it passes. Can be surprisingly good fun.
The lower shot is about 10 minutes down the beach which continues most of the way to Medewi point - only the last 200m is rock platform which may be a bit difficult to walk when the tide is full. The opening pic shows much of this behind-camera beach area north to Medewi point. 
Several streams cross the beach - these were no problem in dry season May but could be a bit difficult to ford in wet season.

SOUTH BEACH
On the other side of the resort is this shorter beach. Real popular with local kids for soccer before and after school. At the far point begins a low rock platform which runs maybe 400m south. Past there begins a long beach - I walked about 3km of it but as far as I can see on Google Earth it continues at least another 7km. Stream crossing once again may be a problem in wet season. There is a handful of midrange places behind the section I walked including Kelapa Retreat and Medewi Beach Cottages. The latter is a fair distance from Medewi itself.


PEKUTATAN VILLAGE
Being cheapskates we went looking for some budget tourist restaurants but didn't have any luck both around the resort and in Pekutatan. The village is one km up the lane and there were plenty of fried chicken stands to service passing trucks etc - but we couldn't find a proper restaurant. Most unusual.
Otherwise the village had a pretty comprehensive set of services and shops including a bank and ATM.

SUM UP
Medewi seems just the ticket for surfers wanting a good wave away from the crowds. Although it may get busier in peak season it is just too far time-wise from the Kuta area to attract hoards of daytripping waxheads (I did speak to one young Aussie and his girl in Medewi village looking for the beach, who had travelled all the way up from Kuta on a hire-moped. I hope they didn't do that terrible trip just to scope the scene, but were surfers. There are plenty of hire boards available. Not every surfer-dude can say they've surfed Medewi. As a retired waxhead I can - although not on a surf-board).
For midrange travellers it seems a very scenic, relaxed location. There is actually a host of things to inspect in the area including some good rice fields, rubber plantations, scenic rainforest and mountain regions etc. It's kinda nice just walking the lanes behind the beach. Medewi's position is ideal for people wanting to move on to Java or Bali's best snorkeling area of Menjangan Island in the far left of the north coast. Or like us the central mountain area around Munduk and Lake Bratan - a very picturesque mountain road takes off towards these places (and Lovina on the north coast) in Pekutatan village.
Puri Dajuma? Well I reckon it's not a good idea to rely on one person's sum up - read as many user reviews as possible to get a consensus. For sure, I haven't seen too many places rated as "8.5 - Fantastic" on Agoda or "90%" on Trip Advisor.




IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE EXTRA INFORMATION, PLEASE POST IT BELOW. BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE POST THEM IN THE FORUM WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT INDIVIDUAL LOCATION PAGES.


BACK TO INDEX.