Diving Tulamben

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To dive Tulamben, first you must get to Tulamben, a small community on the northeastern coast of Bali. Instead of chartering a taxi, or shuttle for the 50km stretch from Padangbai we opted to rent a motorbike. As has become the norm since Vietnam. The drive is pretty, though not particularly scenic until the end. Also along the route are pesky checkpoints. We had heard of these, and knew it was difficult not to have to stop at one, but we had forgotten. The ever friendly police here will insist westerners on motorbikes, not bearing international licenses pay a small ($5-15) fine. What they mean by fine of course, is bribe. Ironically, to rent a motorbike you don’t even need to have a drivers license. The fact that this was the first time encountering such a thing is pretty lucky. Corrupt police are ubiquitous throughout Asia. At least these guys were nice about it. Continue reading

Lombok, the Better Bali

The deserted road wound its way north along the western coast of Lombok. It crested and fell through long lines of palm trees whose roots etched themselves under the cracked dark pavement. Occasionally, the road would twist upwards, skirting the imposing cliffs as the deep blue of the Bali sea opened up before us. Suddenly there would be a magnificent panoramic view, the sea reaching endlessly towards the horizon flanked by empty white sand beach and crumbling cliffs. The sight could be considered a hazard as its captivating and enticing nature could very easily distract those fortunate enough to see it first hand.

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Ubud: Not what we expected.

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Bali. Unlike much of southeast Asia, Bali has been on my travel radar for as long as I can remember. In my mind it was a romantic place, a shangri la, where people got married and honeymooned. A place of incredible beauty, full of culture, paradise. Though I wasn’t expecting all of the above, it is difficult to uproot preconceptions once planted. I had heard enough times that Ubud was over touristed and seriously lacking any resemblance of true Balinese culture. But people still flock there, there must be a reason, right? Continue reading