Well, 9. But 10 sounds better, and it was the original plan so we’ll just keep it in the title.
This was one of the greatest adventures of my life. And here are some of the highlights for how the days went:
Or what was supposed to be day one! We woke up to heavy rain so we decided to postpone the start of this adventure for one more day and just chill fueling on vegan buffets for both lunch and dinner.
Setting off early in the morning to ride out of Ubud. The road was goood. I was enjoying it so much I yelled at my partner that I AM HAPPY! Then the weather changed, rain caught up with us. The road got tough. Going up with no coming down. We were climbing up 3050m of mountain roads gaining 900m of altitude on the first day. It got dark and we were still pushing the bikes up. A whole day of riding! We found a nice guesthouse after sunset; but it was closed-gated. By mere coincidence, one of the people working there was driving by and saw us knocking so he stopped, apologized for the inconvenience then went and got the keys and opened for us. We were settled for the night.
One of the best things about this trip was the conversation we had with our host the next morning as he made us breakfast and sat to eat with us. A real dive into a local’s life; telling us stories about his kids, his travels with a Vespa around Indonesian islands, and his dreams for the future..
Saying goodbye to our host and riding up again with our not-so-dry clothes from the day before. Did it really matter? NO! We had more rain anyway!
I honestly thought we were done with the climbing. We weren’t! It got so hard before it got easy. 10 kilometres in 5 hours is how hard it was. Then we enjoyed very beautiful downhills in the late afternoon golden light. Then, it got hard again.
When you go up, up, up! expect to come back down! And it was a harsh deadly ride down; 14km of sharp twists and turns. Imagine gaining altitude over 62km and then having to bring it all down to sea level in 14km. Our bikes were making “careful!!! you’re dying now!” noises. It freaked me out to find myself driving straight into a car. My heart was pounding! Luckily, a truck pulled off and offered to pick us up. We did not even ask about the destination and said yes straight away. Just making it to sea level alive was pure perfection! We put our bikes up in the back and sat next to them feeling relieved. As a bonus, we enjoyed a very beautiful pink sunset. And to make it better, the truck was actually going to Lovina beach; our destination! The day felt like a win!
Days three & four
Chilling at Lovina! We stayed at the Lovina Central Hostel and it was worth it! Straight from the welcome drink and the little fruit platter at the end of the very tiring cycling day I thought thank God I picked this place!
Lying in bed on the second morning, Grab unexpectedly pulled through. And so I jumped out of bed and got ready in light speed, going for a waterfalls adventure day but skipping putting on my swimsuit, which had to be improvised later!
Grab is sort of the local Uber in Southeast Asia and the availibility of drivers depends on where you are.. Say you’re in Denpasar or KL, you’ll have no problem getting a ride. In places like Northern Bali though, Grab drivers are a rare find! The first day we tried to go to the waterfalls but no driver was available. We kept checking throughout the day but in vain.
We went to Aling-Aling waterfall. Our driver was friendly and we spent the duration of the drive talking about various things, from Indonesian and Moroccan food to this biking Bali adventure.. When he heard of that, he had a really intense reaction “oh wait! you mean bicycle? not bike-motorbike-scooter?! like really man? that’s so hard! its a mountain!” and even letting go of the wheel to “oh wow!” and give us 2 thumbs up.
Everytime a local reacts like this I’m like “oh shit, what did I get myself into?”
Being the very unimpressed person that I am makes me very unimpressed specially with myself! It’s getting these kind of reactions that makes me realize I’m doing something bigger than I am scaling it to be…
About Aling-Aling Waterfall
I was a bit discouraged when I did some online research prior to going and found that you have to pay about 12$ to be able to swim at the waterfalls. And there was no clear explanation for it on the Internet; just blog posts from people not happy having to pay. I wasn’t happy about it either but decided I would still go and just pay the entry fee for my eyes’ pleasure. The Grab driver adivised us to pay for the swim and get all the activities. In his opinion, it was a bad idea to come all the way just to look and take pictures. He wanted us to do all activities and enjoy ourselves. So, we did. We paid it all, and honestly, it was worth it. Here is why:
- It is well-maintained and spotlessly clean. The cleanest waterfalls I have ever been to! Literally NO piece of trash anywhere! I am sure if they just left it open for tourists the place would be trashed out. It is definitely worth it to pay the money for the conservation of the place,
- You actually get a guided tour of a minimum of four waterfalls not just one, depending on the trek you choose,
- It creates many job opportunities for the locals, as there are many people working there including 35 young guides.
- You get safety equipment and bottled mineral water for the trek.
We had so much fun there. I jumped off a cliff into the water. I was thinking I will do the three jumps: 5, 10 and then 15meters. Unfortunately, I could only do the first as my head really hurt after the jump and I got water in my ear. I still did the natural slide down the waterfall and it felt great; complete loss of control! The not so fun part though is when you dive into the water and have to swim against current to the other side to get to shore.
We did the short trek and here is the info which isn’t available online and which totally shoud. I hope this helps someone!