Monday, June 21, 2010

south bali

We would like to thank Yang Shiyong, Roland for his donation in our trip. Roland was my senior in Tanglin Secondary School. Both of us knew each other's existance but we have not talked before. We just got to know each other more thro this blog.
Thank you Roland. we used it as for our 1 week accomadation fees in Bali.
these 2 statues are huge. the one behind is as tall as a 12 storey building.

When we reached Bali Island, it was about 430pm. The sun sets around 6pm. We head to Ubud where it had less touts and located in the centre of touristic attraction. It was a bad evening. When we reached Ubud, everywhere was dark and we couldn’t find a proper place to stay. Most cheap hostels were filled with backpackers and many of them could not accommodate Hope Too as their entrance was always built like a door of a Chinese temple with a few flights of steps. Else some were located in a tight and narrow ally for the scooters to wheel on.

While we were looking for a place to stay, we saw an Africa Twin passed by in the opposite direction. It was a surprise and I made a round turn and rode as fast a I could to squeeze in between traffic to chase after the Africa Twin in the dark. It was very dangerous. That bike could be my stolen Hope.

Bali style surfing God.

motorbike with surfboard attachment.

No. It was not Hope.

We stayed in Biang’s Homestay where the lovely family took care of us. It was quiet and peaceful. We rented a scooter from Biang to travel southwards on the next day, to the touristic beach.

Indeed, it was filled with tourists. I just wanted to get a good foot massage. We parked the bike and walked around the beach. There were too many hawkers around selling souvenirs and drinks. I ended up having a foot scratching session for a double price of a standard shop serving proper foot massage.

It was a very good choice to rent a scooter to travel in Bali. Hope Too would be angry if he came here. Our mission of the day was to go around Bali touristic places and look for big bike rental where there would be a possibility of Hope being sold to.

After a few hours around, we gave up. We decided to go to Nusa Dua and Ulu Watu.

Kuta beach... did we spot any tourist?

We could see daily prayers in Bali.

Aji explained to us that the name Bali comes from:
Ba: means many
Li: means holiday
Biang doing her daily prayer in the house.

Nusa Dua had many expensive resorts. We made our way to Ulu Watu.

It was a temple which could overlook the cliff and the beautiful sea. The view was nice but the monkeys there wasn’t.

While Sam was taking a picture of a dog, a monkey climbed onto her head and snatched her glasses. I ran after the monkey and threw my helmet towards the monkey but I missed. It was a school holiday and there were many people around. 2 kids around 10 years old tried to help me to chase after the monkey. They do not seem to be tourist or visitors. The monkey climbed on to the roof of a building. Then an elderly came and fed the monkey that got hold of Sam’s glasses. He had a bag filled with eggs and bananas. He threw an egg to the monkey and immediately, the monkey threw the glasses back to the elderly.

The 2 kids and the elderly seemed to be a gang. We thanked the elderly and Sam wanted to pay him some money for the eggs he fed to the monkey for getting her glasses back. I said that was not necessary to pay him as it could be a trap. After some discussion with the man, Sam gave her 20000rp, which was about us$2. It may not be a lot but with local standard, that amount of money could buy 4 bowls of noodles. The entrance to the temple was only 5000rp (us$0.50).

I wasn’t happy with the decision of giving him the money although he had helped us. The devil in my mind told me that the monkey was trained by the man and by doing so, helping tourist to get back stolen items would make him some money. My angel in my mind told me it could be a genuine man that just wanted to help. Why would anyone hanging around the temple with a bag of monkey food?

What disturbed me more was my helmet. It landed on the hard ground. Ouch!
I had a few scratches on my knees and arms when I tried to climb the wall to grab the monkey.
Sam’s glasses broke the next day, into 2 pieces.
And we have to pay for all these.
Out of so many people in the temple why the monkey had chosen Sam? I noticed that we were the odd tourist in the temple. Most people visiting the temple were in groups with a guide. We had no guide.

That was Ulu Watu. One of the ‘must see’ temple in Bali.

we were not allowed to take a picture of this building when i asked for permission from the guard. But when i took a step back, out of the property line, i could take the picture.

So, when we visit touristic places, we would see the ugly side of people. It made me sick.

Yes, I was sick the next day, waking up with a 38°C fever. I couldn’t remember when was the last time I had fever in my life.

We just hang around the Ubud town for the next 4 nights.
Had a famous Babi Guling that we could witness many Singapore visitor came for it. Walk around looking for cheap massage.
Trying to upload my pictures onto the blog.
Visit the monkey forest.

Out of all these, we enjoyed the most was the company of Biang and her husband, Aji. Aji told me about his love story when he was young where Biang was his cousin and they fell in love.

Jl Sukma 28
Ubud, Bali
tel: 976520
S8 30.748 E115 16.088

Aji, Biang and er.... the young girl that served us breakfast everyday.

How to push Hope Too into the door?!

After some day’s rest, we packed up, took Hope Too to wander into the mountain roads of Bali (to escape from the tourist). We ended up in Lovina, north beach of Bali.

Lovina was also touristy but acceptably touristy. We had a very nice and cheap place to stay from the recommendation of Margus from Estonia. Sam and I were too lazy to move around because it was really a good place to rest. Thinking of the roads ahead, which was Java, made me headache. Just like riding the scooter in South Bali for half a day, I ended up having a fever on the next day.

Java is the densest and most crowded island. Many bike travelers that had been Java would remind me of the crowd there.

We would have another 3 nights just in this place. How wonderful… and the most important thing was it was very affordable.

Hotel Manik Sari.

Lovina, Bali.
Big room with veranda, nice shower, spacious garden and safe parking.
S8 09.687 E115 01.562

the view from our room.

Published on 11 July 2010, 3 days away from Dumai.

sumbawa n lombok

We reached Labuanbajo, the western end of Flores Island. The town seemed to be a laid back tourist. Everyone that could speak English in this place would start a topic by asking us what we are going to do tomorrow. The reason behind it was that they could organize a trip to Komodo Island.

Komodo Island is situated west of Flores Island and east of Sumbawa Island. The trip would start at 6am, taking a 2 hours boat to the island, take a walk for 2 hours and come back on the 2 hours boat again. No thanks, taking picture of big lizards for us$50 per person?!

We took the ferry at 7am on the next day to Sumbawa Island. There wasn’t much interesting sites in Sumbawa except for looking at my GPS traveling along the weird shaped Island, trying to figure out how to go west. So we only stayed for 2 nights.

As we went further west, the traffic got built up. Lombok Island wasn’t that huge. By looking at the map, it seems complicated but in fact, it was very easy to travel. We went to a base of a mountain to escape the crowd and stayed in a bungalow. Strangely, we were surrounded by rice paddy fields but there wasn’t any sight of mosquito. The only thing we would hear is the continuous flowing of water from the mountain and the sound of frogs trying to look for soul mates. The name of the place is called Tetebatu.
bakso again.

Many tourist come to Lombok Island for surfing and to go to the Gili Island. Gili Island is those type where there are beach lodging, sun tanning beach, surfing and full moon party. Not for us too but we would loved to see. So the nearest would be going to Kuta.

We just spend a bakso afternoon in Kuta and left. Not a place for us.

We spend a night in Senggigi. Yes, it was a tourist town but we felt very comfortable because of the owner at Hotel Elen. The owner (he seemed to be the owner) was very humble and polite. When we got onto the bike and went out of the gate, he had sincerely invited us back to Lombok by speaking to Sam in Bahasa:

Thank you very much for the stay, I hope you will come back here again because this place is Lombok, not Indonesia.

The north route of Senggigi was pretty. We went exploring the mountain road before catching the ferry across to Bali.

some adventure riders?

We stopped in the middle of the road as we saw another 2 adventurous bike traveling on the opposite direction. They were from Holland and UK. We exchanged emails and promised to send the GPS tracks of the route that we had taken. Till today, I had sent the tracks of Timor Leste and Australia to him but he couldn’t send any of his tracks to me


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Trans Flores highway was about 700km. it took us about 4-5 days to cross this island. It lives peaceful people and natural scenery. The roads were windy and acceptably steep. Many came to Flores to see Kelimutu Lake. Our presence in the road made the people happy. They were waving at us, smiling and they used their horn as greetings when they passed us.

The locals used their horn differently from the rest of the world. They used it when to greet others or for overtaking by a short beep. The rest of the world uses it to show anger or to express F.O. to the vehicle in front.

People in Flores were just amazing. I would say they are cool.

We are at west Java at this point of writing. There wasn’t enough rest time for us for the past 1 week because we had been meeting local bikers along the way. We look at our blog posting, which was very back dated. When I think back about the times in Flores I just could remember it was an easy place to travel and the bakso in Bajawa was the best bakso we ever tasted so far.

We stayed in a motel called Edelweis. Parking was in compound but there wasn’t any gate. That was the best we could get. The bakso man pushed his blue cart around the town and knocked at a bowl to ring the bell. He was in his early 40’s. We could have bakso 3 times a day. Sadly, we did not get a picture of him.

Staying in Edelweis was a nightmare. Not because of the room condition. In fact, the room was very generous. It was about Hope Too. We knew that the locals loved to touch Hope Too so we pulled our bungee cord across from the hand grip to the side box on both side. So when anyone wants to climb onto Hope Too they would need to take out the bungee cord in order to climb onto the bike. Then we had our alarm always activated during the night. If we switch it on during the day, it would sound out when the local bikes with noisy exhaust passes by that created vibration to Hope Too.

The first thing that annoyed us was the hotel staff. She had her friend hanging out with her when she was on duty. So they sat in front of Hope Too. Obviously, their topic when hang out at that time would be Hope Too. They were a little bit noisy but it was fine with us. When we were in the room, we heard the alarm sounded off. I went out and have a look at Hope Too and they were laughing over it. I went back to the room again. Although I do not understand their language but I know they were trying to ask one of their friend to touch Hope Too so that the alarm would sound off and they could have fun.

The next morning I turned off the alarm and we went for a walk. In the night, we went into a restaurant. There were 3 group of western tourist came in and have their meal. They had hired a vehicle with a driver. (Very common in this area) We had our meal and 4 locals joined our tables. All of us were watching MotorGP and we started to have a conversation. I got to know that they were driving the tourist around and they just come in and have their meal. Then they got to know that I am the owner of that big bike in Edelweis and started to ask questions. Then one of them showed me a picture in their mobile phone.

I looked at it…

He climbed onto Hope Too and took a picture.

The next day I noticed that they had moved the bungee cord and played with the gears.

You may find that it is a small matter but for me I felt insulted.

So what it is a special bike in Indonesia that they had not seen it before? There must be a certain point of respect for other people’s belonging. I felt like jumping onto the roof of their car to take a picture and see how they felt.

I felt like a clown but the bakso fed my anger down.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

boat ride from kupang

a local helmet?

Not enough to top up Hope Too.

Sleeping above the hot pan.


We rode 3 hours to the Indonesia border. When we wanted to leave Timor Leste, the immigration officer was out for lunch. They were late for half hour for work. There were almost 40 people still have not had their lunch, sitting under the hot sun waiting for the immigration officer to come back.

The ‘out process’ for Timor Leste was made easy for us with a little patience.

When we reached the Indonesia side, it became so different.

There were many ‘kind helpers’ around the immigration building. Upon seeing me, some came out, pointed their hands out to direct me to stop at their desired destination trying to ‘help’ me. I ignored them because I wanted to go to the immigration counter which luckily, there was a signage. After stopping my bike, Sam came down, I took off my helmet and there were about 2-3 guys out of their gang trying to tell me:

Hello, motorcycle, go there, custom, chop.

The bad bad me ignored them.

I walked to the officer, he said the same, telling me to go to the custom office to get paperwork done for my bike. I said:

ok, later, but immigration first.

He suddenly felt more important. He stood up and went back into the office counter.

I went to his office counter to fill in the arrival form. As usual, a helper would follow me and tell me were to stand.

I took the arrival form, the ‘helper’ took out his pen and place it along my eye sight but the bad bad me ignored them and I took my own pen out.

Then I wanted to walk to a table to fill in the form and the ‘helper’ asked me to come to a nearer platform to fill in the form. The bad bad me totally ignored his call. While filling up the form, suddenly all of them, yes, all of them about 10-20 of the kind helpers that were hanging around the office, ran to a bus approaching from Timor Leste.

Yes, I had mastered the level 10 of the Kungfu on how to deal with the ‘helpers’ in every border crossing.

Having the stamps on our passport was easy, what was even easier was the custom clearance. I just took my carnet (CPD) to the custom officer and he filled in my papers and stamped on it without checking my bike.

When it was almost finished, another ‘helper’ tried to instruct me to go to another counter to report. This time I was shaken because he might be true. Anyway, I had my passport and carnet being stamped and I do not owe them anything. If any official want to check on me they should come to me. The ‘helper’ seems persistent that we must go to the other counter to report. Sam told him off that we had already done it, then, the ‘helper’ became satisfied.

We had our first lunch at about 3pm at an Indonesian local restaurant. It was a small village and it was quite dark inside. I parked Hope Too near the door and I would sit at a chair facing Hope Too directly in sight. A curious man, about in his 40s, stopped his bike near Hope Too, observed him, then looked at me while I was eating. He tried to knock every plastic part on Hope Too to test if it was unbreakable and up to his standard. The owner of the restaurant was with him discussing about Hope Too with him. He looked at me again and smiled when I smiled back. He stood nearer to Hope Too, trying to get the bird’s eye view of riding Hope Too with his side of his hips touching the seat and his hand on Hope Too’s handlebar. He looked at me and smiled and I smiled back. Then he climbed over the Hope Too and sit on it.

I stood up and shouted at him.

He came down.

Still observing at a different way, he would try to touch everything he could to help us by making sure everything on the bike is still there, also, to remind himself that what he saw was real and not dreaming.

We quickly finished up our rice, paid up and rode off.

Riding in the same type of terrain of Timor Leste, this island had mountains and hills being formed million years ago by the aggressive movement of land plates. The ring of fire in planet earth passes thro many places in Indonesia. Thus, making this country a ‘smoking country’.

The volcanoes are smoking.
The vehicles are smoking.
The rubbishes are smoking.
The people are smoking.
Even the recent youtube clip about a 2 years old Indonesian baby smoking 20 sticks a day!

Everytime we enter a new country, we would not want to travel for a long distance. Staying an early day in a new country would help to ‘orientate’ us to the culture and the system. This place was different. On the map it would be 200km straight line to where we wanted to go but on actual ground, it would be 50% more. Most of the time we were riding along the contour and ridge of the mountain. Going down to the bottom of the mountain, cross a bridge, ascend again, rounding up the mountain, made our journey even longer. With the ageing of Hope Too, he could hardly climb up the mountain as the chain and sprockets were very worn. Pray for us that it would last till home, which is about 7000km away on the road.

Round and round, we were again racing with time for sunset. We had reached a country where the time was +8GMT (same as Singapore) but the sun sets at 1700hrs.

Town road were disorganized. We looked at the map in our guide book and the actual terrain. Maybe my navigation skills had to brush up more but many times the map made no sense. We arrived in the nearest ‘stayable’ town, So’e, near sunset hours. Stopping and reading the map, going round and round the busy and noisy street, someone just walked across the road just to look at Hope Too. He was part of a group of Ojek that was hanging around the corner of the street. (Ojek is a motorcycle taxi). This young gentleman walked across with big steps and his both arms swinging 45degrees out, with his neck trying to lean forward so that his eye sight would be faster than his body movement.

We were lost in this mess. I was reading the map with Hope Too Idling. Both of us were on the bike. Hope Too was angry and started to turn on his fan to cool himself down.

I felt very weird when this gentleman was going around us to spot for something for 20 seconds. I started to ask him about the road that we wanted to go.

‘hello, selamat malam. Di mana Jalan Merpati?’

he answered:

‘Jalan Merpati?!’

He wasn’t sure of where it was and he shouted at his gang about where is Jalan Merpati. The whole group came, about 10-20 of them. Some rode thier bike just to cross the street, some ran over, and some pedestrians stopped too to see what’s going on. Within 5 seconds, we were totally surrounded by people. Some just want to see what’s happening, some lean themselves on Hope Too, some touching Hope Too by knocking, trying to test the material made on Hope Too, some touching our front saddlebags like trying to move them.

Everyone started to talk something which we couldn’t really understand. They discuss among themselves about where we wanted to go. Then I tried to ask them about a bank named BNI, which was a more strategic place in the town to help me navigate.

I asked

Di mana BNI? (I pronounced bee-and-eye)

One answered:


I said no, bee-and-eye.

he replied

bee-and-yee?wang? money?

when I was about to say something, Hope Too suddenly gas up. The RMP when up. I saw somebody’s hand on my throttle, trying to give Hope Too a rev. I pushed his hands away and I saw his face, he was laughing.

I find that the situation was not right. Without speaking furthur, I press my horn (the horn was broken as my fart would be louder) and try to squeeze away from the crowd.

At last we found a lovely place to stay and Hope Too could rest his back.

Before we went to sleep, the 2 incidents that happened today about people molesting Hope Too made me insomniac.

The homestay we were at was really homely. Breakfast was served at the owner’s living room by his granny. There were photos of granny when she married. She was a beautiful young lady. Granny had wrinkles and walked slowly in her sarong. They were Catholics. Anyone that stayed here would really feel homely with Granny around. The picture gave me a thought:

Everyone would age. We could not go back in time.

The ride from So’e to Kupang was only 2 hours.

Hotel was affordable and inside compound type of parking. Our aim was to catch the ferry ride tomorrow to the next island. As usual, I would switch on the alarm on Hope Too when he was parked out of our sight. When we were in the room, I had to walked out 2-3 times to see why Hope Too was shouting for help. Then every time I would witness some guys standing around Hope Too.

Kupang was the major town of west Timor of Indoneisa. We went into a university to get our first cheap internet connection (in Timor Leste, slow internet was us$4.00/hr), about us$0.45 per hour. yes, we paid for what we get, able to log into our mail and facebook would be good enough. Uploading one picture into our blog was not possible.

In the night, we went to the pasar malam (night market). it had been a really long time that we had not visit a real pasar malam. The road was closed to allow hawkers on their pushcart to set up tables and chairs. There were all kinds of local treats. We had some grilled seafood, which we missed a lot. The fish were ordered was melting in our mouth. Great food and very affordable price.

There was no certainty about the boat ride. some people said it would leave at 5pm, some said 6pm, some said 4pm. Ticket office would not be opened until the boat was ready for in-process. We do not want to miss this twice a week ferry.

We went to the harbour at 1130am. There were some mess in buying tickets. For the bike, we paid extra than the locals because it was a much bigger bike. Then for the bike ticket, it would include a rider, that was me. After buying that, the officer told Sam to go to another building to buy her passenger ticket. Sam went to queue up in one of the 2 booth. When it was her turn, the officer told her to come after 1pm because it was lunch time.
Sam came back and update me about the lunch wait until 1pm. Then another officer manning at the gate into the ferry waved us to go in. Sam told him that she had not bought the ticket but the officer hinted us something like, it’s ok, no problem type of gesture. We went in, parked our bike, laid our ground sheet and sat down.

the ferry leaves the harbour at 4pm. Luckily we came in early to reserve an area for Hope Too and ourselves. So what we did in this 4-5 hours? Sit down, rejected hawkers that came to sell wallet and drinks, eat our lunch pack, hiding ourselves away from the sun, looking at people that were looking at us, looking at people knocking at Hope Too, trying to avoid people stepping on us when we were laying down and many more! So much activities to do.

Timor Leste exit to Indonesia.

a better way to travel by bike in Timor Leste.

i don't like this!