Solo backpacking trip to Indonesia was the first thought on my mind when I decided to start globe-trotting. It was almost an impromptu plan. I booked my return flights from Pune to Bali just 6 days before my travel. My project at IBM was keeping me completely occupied with difficult routines. I had only 10 days of leave which I wanted to use in the most optimal way in Indonesia. My priority list included Open Water Scuba Diver Certification and trek to an active volcano. I did a few hours research on these and came up with the most efficient plan I could. I chose Lombok for 3 days trek to Mount Rinjani and Gili Islands for 4 days of diving. I was left with 3 more days that I chose to spend in Bali. 2 days before I start to Gili Islands and the last day before I depart.
No bookings and just a plan in my mind, I flew out of Pune. I just had enough time to collect dollars at a high exchange rate from my privileged bank. The processing is on the spot. I was even working from the airports on my layovers at Chennai and Kuala Lumpur.
Day1: Landing in Bali
The spectacular bird’s eye view of the Indonesian landscape from my flight built up my excitement. It was my first experience with immigration and foreign currency. I stepped out of the airport and there were bunch of taxi operators and sim card operators. With some efforts, I managed to fix up a taxi to take me to Lovina beach and show me Tanah Lot on the way. I tried to reach Lovina before the sunset so that I could choose a good and cheap place to sleep close to the beach.
Day 2-3: Backpacking in Bali
Next 2 days were the craziest days I spent in Bali. After dolphin-spotting and snorkelling in Lovina, I hired a 2-wheeler with a chauffeur, yes, you heard it right, a chauffeur-driven scooter (I had so much fun telling these stories to my friends back home). I wanted to ride and explore the northern and central part of Bali in 2 days and had to leave for Gili Islands. I didn’t have enough time to go back to Lovina to handover the rented vehicle. I backpacked through the country without knowing where I would spend my night. The chauffeur even took care of my bags when I went exploring the destinations on foot. He also took me to some local food joints called Warungs and to a village fair where I tasted some local Indonesian food.
I visited local spice gardens and coffee plantations, tasted the costliest coffee of the world - Kopi Luwak, drove through the beautiful twin lakes - Danau Tamblingan and Danau Buyan, visited the traditional temples - Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and Pura Besakih, rode through the heritage villages of north Bali, dipped into the Tabanan hot springs, walked through the rice terraces of Tegalalang and Jatiluwih, spent the evening in the chic town of Ubud, sighted the first ever active volcano of my life - Mt. Batur and the highest point on Bali - Mt. Agung. We then rode through the beautiful coastline of Padang beach and he dropped me at the Padang Bay to take a speed boat to Gili Islands.
Day 4-7: SCUBA Diving in Gili Trawangan
I spent my next 4 days in Gili Trawangan and fell in love with these tiny triplet islands. The days were spent studying the physics of diving. I successfully completed my Open Water Diver Certification in Gili Islands, Indonesia and got AQUADDICTED for the rest of my life. I lavishly spent my evenings at the beach-side spas and the nights at the bars. Gili Trawangan has fantastic nightlife.
Day 8-10: Trekking to Mount Rinjani
Early morning I bid adieu to Gili Trawangan and took a local boat to Lombok where I met my co-trekkers for Mount Rinjani - the second highest active volcano in Indonesia. We took a 3 day trek from Sembalun to Sembalun Crater Rim, the summit of Mt. Rinjani, the Crater Lake, Senaru Crater Rim and ended at Senaru at noon on the 3rd day. I was supposed to head back to Bali and spend my last evening in the touristy south Bali.
Day 11: Departing from Gili Air
But I had fallen in love with the Gili Islands so much that I didn’t return to spend the last day at Bali, I instead took a boat to Gili Air and enjoyed my last night at this island. I met some interesting people there in the evening, spent morning at a secluded beach with the backdrop of mountains of Lombok, and then book a speed boat to Bali. I shared a taxi to head to the airport directly from PadangBai. I had enough time to buy wines from the DFS (Duty Free Shopping) Bali.
This trip is very special to my heart as I’ve never been as content with any other trip of mine as this one. It was a completely immersive travel experience for me.
Best Time to travel to Indonesia: May to October
I planned and executed the entire trip on the go, by constantly collecting information from the locals. It is a great way to connect with the locals and discover new places.
I will write separate blogs on each of the 3 islands I visited in Indonesia.
Namaste! I'm Medhavi Davda.
I travel to Evolve..
In Nature, I confide..
I find my calling in the Himalayas..
In the Oceans, I meditate..
A High-Altitude Trekker & PADI certified SCUBA Diver, I love exploring the heights and depths of the planet with my regular doses of mountains and oceans.
Discovering myself & life through nature, adventures, travels, sports and dance has been an addiction since my existence!
Quite fond of the natural & cultural diversity of India, I've travelled extensively in my own country before exploring international destinations.
I had left my 9+ yrs of career in Software Industry in a quest to make a living out of my passions. I packed my basics in my car (gave away the rest) and lived in different parts of Himachal Pradesh for 16 months. This invaluable time taught me to experience life from a broader perspective.
I'm currently living in Mumbai to work with an Adventure Travel company as a product manager for Scuba Diving. I continue living a minimalistic life.
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Indian Cultural Heritage in Madhya Pradesh - my outdoor history classroom