It took longer than expected but finally, I had time to write how was our third month of our journey. After we got our visa extended nothing hold us back from staying in Indonesia a month longer. We decided to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Canggu, Bali as we called this place home for quite a long time. However, we thought that there is no better way how to start New Year than to start moving and visiting other places in South-east Asia. But that will be summarized more in detail in another post.
So what have we done in Bali in December?
December in Bali was rainier than November. It wasn’t raining the whole time, but all in all, we didn’t enjoy that much of a sunny weather. What a beautiful surprise it was when last ten days of December were just perfect – sunny, salty and islandish. Lucky those people who decided to celebrate Christmas time and New Years in Bali as they really got the perfect weather they could ask for. However as the beginning of December was unpredictable with the weather, we spend a lot of time in a raincoat on a motorbike or in cafes, working and watching the rain. The best decision we had was to leave Bali for few days and try the luck elsewhere, more precisely on different islands.
Nusa Penida getaway
In the beginning of December, we visited Nusa Penida, a remote island east of Bali that just got us. Nusa Penida is around the hour and a half by ferry from Bali. It is less touristy, more adventurous and with beautiful nature sceneries. As a bonus, we found an accommodation in a tree house, which has always been my dream to try out. We spend there 3 days, driving about the island on bumpy roads, swimming on remote beaches and admiring what the mother nature can do. To compare it with other islands, we already visited, we concluded that Nusa Penida is the most remote and the least touristy island than Lombok, Gili, Nusa Lembongan or Bali. If we compare the overall experience we had with the island, we rank this island second, right after Lombok. You can read more about Nusa Penida in my previous post.
Hiking Kawah Ijen
The second trip we took was to Java island with an objective to hike active volcano Kawah Ijen and to see the blue fire. We went on a motorbike to the Gilimanuk port in Bali and from there we took a ferry. It was the first time we were driving more than 100 km one way. It took us 3 hours to get to the port and for the first time, we got super dirty from the gasses of trucks and buses.
It’s funny that Java is so close to Bali, but the island can still be so different. Everything is cheaper, less touristy and less developed. Plus there is one hour difference, which we didn’t know and found out at midnight when we were waiting for the volcano entrance to get open. We had been there one hour earlier!!
To my surprise, hiking as such wasn’t difficult, however, the smell of sulfur was quite uncomfortable. Even though we were using a protective mask, we could still smell it. On the way down to caldera to see the blue fire, we met miners that are working in inhuman conditions. They don’t use a mask and some of them wear only flip flops while carrying baskets of 80 kg sulfur. To add to it, they have to walk among tourists, that are going down to see the blue fire, which makes their job even more difficult as there is a long line of tourists coming down and the road is so narrow. Plus everyone is taking picture of them as they would be the biggest attraction.
We hiked the volcano without a local guide, as we thought it is not necessary and we were right. There is no need for a guide as the road to the top is visible. Also to go to the caldera, you don’t need the guide as there are so many people going down, that you can’t get lost. The only thing you need to get from locals is gas masks for 50k IDR and a full tank of petrol when going up to the starting point by motorbike. Read more about how to easily hike Kawah Igen in my previous post.
Bali in December: Christmas
Since Bali is a Hindu island, locals do not celebrate Christmas, however, due to many tourists arriving at the island for this holidays, many bars and restaurants organizes Christmas parties. In some hotels, restaurants, and shops you can even find Christmas trees (fake ones of course).
We spent Christmas in a Bali style, which means that we went to the beach. In the afternoon we stopped at our favorite fish market to get a fresh fish. Watch a video from Jimbaran market on Youtube.
And for dinner, we got typical Czech Christmas food – potato salad and chicken schnitzel. If you asking yourself, whether it was me who cooked it, the answer is NO :). In Bali, there is one lady, expat from Czech republic who occasionally cooks Czech food for other Czech expats. So we decided to order potato salad with chicken schnitzel from her. And it almost felt like at home. As for the Christmas present, Santa Claus was wise this time and got us both some summer necessities – swimming suits, shorts and some shirts.
Bali in December: New Years
Believe it or not, we didn’t get drunk on New Years. Martin has an exam the next day, so we decided to celebrate it one day before. For New years, though we went to the beach in the evening to see all the fireworks and it was quite a nice show as from our beach we could see fireworks all around the whole bay. What a great end of a year, being on a beach in Bali.
Want to celebrate Christmas in Bali? Let me know if you have any questions. Follow me, not to miss any news and sign up to get more tips on traveling. Stay tuned for next month edition. Happy Travels and do not forget to share this post. Sharing is caring :).