Exploring Bali by car

Yesterday my friend and I decided to rent a car so we can explore the island a bit more efficiently. We’ve found a few rental agencies on one of the forums and I contacted about 5 of them via whatsApp. Many have been sold out with such a short notice, but eventually, I’ve found a car for 200K per day ($15), which was delivered to my guesthouse at 9am, as requested. Surprisingly, I wasn’t asked for a deposit of any kind, or even my driving licence – the guy just drove away on his scooter after handing over the keys and the documents!

The car had a manual transmission, which something I haven’t used for a while. I actually have never switched gears with my left hand, so this was a challenge. The next challenge was the roads, or rather, road participants, which included not only fellow drivers but scooters, bicycles, pedestrians, street sellers, people with heavy loads on their heads, dogs, cows, chicken, geese and everything else that can move. The roads are quite good, but the double separating line, as well as other rules such as traffic lights, were often mere formalities. Another challenge was presented by the switches in the car – the screen wipers were on the left, and the lights were on the right of the steering wheel. I signalled a turn with my screen wipers so many times. Not that anyone cared.

Our first stop was Cepung Waterfall. My friend helped navigation, and we arrived at the spot with no issues. After an enjoyable walk in the jungle we… didn’t find the waterfall. So we tried again, and examined the cave that we entered previously in more detail, finding a small passage to the waterfall! During the photoshoot, a light rain started. When we tried to get back through the jungle in our swimsuits and flipflops, a proper tropical rain with a thunder was in full power. Completely soaked, we went back to the car and decided it’s time to eat.

We realised that we’re located relatively close to Mahagiri Restaurant that presents amazing views over Agung. Having been there before, we thought that although the weather isn’t great, we can at least enjoy their crispy BBQ chicken. After a short ride, we grabbed a table and the sky started to clear up!

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After looking at google maps for a bit, we’ve decided to go to Pura Besakih Temple. Once we parked the car, we got surrounded by the ladies selling sarongs and offering us umbrellas. A man promptly showed up offering his services as a tour guide saying that ‘under new regulations’ it’s only allowed to visit the temple with a guide, for 100K per person (7.5$). We asked to go to the official ticket office. There was no price list, but the guy telling us the same thing – that we need a tour guide. That looked like a proper scam (and after reading TripAdvisor my suspicion was confirmed!), and the attitude of the ‘guide’ was such that we decided not to visit the temple. We tried to take a picture from outside, but this wasn’t allowed because we had to pay the guide first… Non-sense! On the other side, the temple looked really nice. It is very unpleasant indeed that a holy place is infested by scammers. When we turned around, they started cursing us and wishing us bad luck.

On the way back the curse seemed to have worked – after a sudden stop of a car in front, I caught it with my left mirror. Apart from the mirror, no damage has been made, and we continued the road back with no unnecessary attributes.

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