Don’t blink – It’s Bali!

Sep 18, 2012 View Comments by

To many, I’m sure it seems that we have no time limit or any restrictions on our travels, but visas and weather often determine how long we can stay in any one country.

In this instance, however, our time is dependent upon being able to get to all of the scheduled ferries, which will take us through the multiple islands in order to reach the cargo ship headed for Australia in time. The ship is due to leave Dili in East Timor on May 11th. We need to get to Flores so we can catch the ferry that only runs once a week and leaves from the city of Ende for West Timor. For us to make it to the cargo ship on time, we must catch the ferry over to West Timor on April 30th. If we don’t make that one we will not have enough time to work on the bikes and clean them thoroughly enough for Australian quarantine!

We now had 10 days to get from Bromo on the island of Java, across Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and half way across Flores in order to reach Ende. Now it’s not that far in miles – only a thousand, but sometimes the ferries between the islands can be cancelled due to bad seas. Although that is less likely at this time of year, take into account that the miles are not always easy – it’s not like riding down the highway in Europe or the U.S.!

The road leaving the small village of Cemara Lawang, which sits on the escarpment over-looking Bromo volcano, was a great one. It slowly and gently took us away from Bromo, brought us to the small town of Suk Pura and onto the main road at Leces, where we headed past a few more volcanoes (dime a dozen out here but all so spectacular!) onto the northern coastal road and to the ferry for Bali.

I had initially been concerned as to how much all these ferries would cost, and had read countless horror stories about how difficult it had been for travelers to first locate these ferries and then board them. So far–fingers crossed–all have been incredibly easy and cheap! The cost of the ferry over to Bali, which runs every day 24/7, was 23,700.00 rp each ($23.70) for one motorcycle plus rider. It’s a popular route, and even though the distance is only two miles between islands, we have heard it’s one of the most expensive ones.

It seemed we had only just got on board and taken our helmets off when it was time to disembark! Yay! We are in Bali, our third Indonesian island. What a surprise – the roads are in good condition, but as it turned dusk, the traffic began to increase and our day was turning sour. We were tired, and there now seemed to be countless trucks, and their exhaust fumes started to stick in our throats and sting our eyes.

The road went on and on and we had a hard time finding anywhere to stop. It’s always much more difficult in the dark, as you miss the small signs on the not so obvious guesthouses. We eventually found a place called ‘Shakira’ and it was idyllic! This time, instead of the terrible rooms, which have tended to become the norm during our time in Indonesia, we have a beautiful room with AC and a huge separate shower room. Ahh! A long hot shower with no additional shower buddies (cockroaches–not Simon! ) Bliss.

We only have another 45 miles or so ahead of us before we reach the ferry port and head over to Lombok. Gosh – this island is small! From east to west it’s approximately 95 miles wide and only 69 miles north to south. Blink and you’d miss it!

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About the author

In May 2003, we left our jobs, sold everything, and on 2 BMW motorcycles, set off to see the world. Nothing but a motorcycle can get you to the places and in touch with the people we have had the pleasure of spending time with. We’ve turned what was once a weekend hobby into a way of life that we wouldn’t trade for anything, and have no intention of ending anytime soon.