# 3 | Experiencing Authentic Balinese Culture in Pemuteran Bali
To start off I should explain why we decided to come to Pemuteran. As just mentioned in Ubud daily blog, we wanted to go somewhere north. I was searching for places to stay in Lovina and this beautiful bungalow accommodation popped up. The bungalows only cost 9 USD per night so I just booked.
Next thing, Jacqueline asked, “so where exactly is our accommodation”. I checked the exact location and this is when I realized that our accommodation which was close to Pemuteran is about an hour drive from Lovina.
So basically we only came here by chance but to be honest wouldn’t have it any other way.
Although the area is catered for tourists we wouldn’t say that this is a touristic one. But still we found a few things to do within a short scooter ride away from the bungalow.
On the other hand, Lovina would have been a good option because it would have been much closer to all the famous waterfalls.
Pemuteran Day 1 (Day 20 in Bali)
This day started off from checking out of the guesthouse in Ubud. And next we started our long ride up north. The distance needed to travel was 120 km and time was listed at 3 hours.
First thing I said was that we’ll probably get there in 2 hours. Driving at a constant speed of 60 km/h I would do the ride in exactly 2 hours.
It turned out that the ride wasn’t as I expected. Most of the route was through the jungle and up and down narrow winding roads. To add to this, we came across a few overloaded huge trucks which could barely accomplish the task of going up hill. Having a curve every few hundred metres isn’t the best place to overtake these large trucks which only added to our travel time.
Along the way we came across a stunning view overlooking a lake and a backdrop of lush mountains. We stopped here for a short break. There was also a guy with some animals which one could take pictures with. The animals we saw were bats, civets and a large iguana I think.
As I have always been interested in the large bats but never got a chance to see one, I quickly went to get a picture. Only after I took the pic I realized that this was simply cruel for the bats and civets and felt guilty of supporting this kind of activity. These 2 animals are both night time creatures so keeping them awake during the day must be torturous. What I still can’t understand is why the bats don’t just fly away. Probably something was done to the poor creatures to disable them from flying.
We had about 45 minutes ride left to reach our accommodation, at last we would arrive.
By the time we got to the accommodation we were exhausted, our bums ached, were hungry and felt filthy. We were relieved we had finally accomplished this colossal ride which ended up taking about 3 ½ hours.
We got a welcome drink at check-in, gave our passports and headed straight to our room for a shower. We had a few snacks with us, probably nasi campur and other small bites. So we ate these and rested for some time.
Our accommodation is a 10 minute drive from Pemuteran and there isn’t much eating options especially for night-time. So we drove the 10 minute ride and stopped at the first restaurant that caught our eye. The restaurant is marked on google as Global Dive Lodges Resto.
The restaurant was empty so I wasn’t sure if it was good or not. I decided to forget about checking any reviews and see what the outcome will be.
I had a nasi campur which has become my favourite dish and Jacqueline had chicken gyros. Both our meals were exceptional especially my nasi campur which was also a large portion.
On our back to the accommodation we stopped at an Alfamart store to buy a few things. I picked up the things I needed and went to pay. The bill came to 52k IDR or 54k IDR and although the price seemed too high I just paid. I asked for a receipt and the girl told me that the machine isn’t working so I left. On my way back I was roughly working out the prices, 3 coffees at 3k IDR each, 1 beng-beng about 5k IDR and 1 large water 6k IDR add those up and the price is 20k. I wasn’t sure if I had been cheated, but thinking of the whole situation I was sure to have been scammed.
Pemuteran Day 2
I woke up quite early and as I knew that we would stay in working I went out to buy our breakfast and lunch. Not too much of choice here, I always buy the pre packed meals. Nasi campur, nasi kencang (I think) or nasi something else :D. These are our favourite snacks for anywhere we go and it’s good and cheap. And is the only thing we find to buy when we get out super early.
We stayed in for the rest of the day and worked on our website. As you can see we are putting a lot of time into our website. We knew this would involve time but weren’t sure it would add up to a normal weeks work. Until now we have put around 900 hours each into the site over 5 months. We started working on the site 2 months into our trip. If divided into hours per week this comes to around 40 hours. Hopefully this pays off.
I am also trying to build an audience through Instagram but don’t have the time. I will put some extra into this when I have a month or 2 dedicated primarily to the site. But until then we’ll just continue giving detailed information through our website which we hope you guys find useful.
We were recommended to visit Sumberkima Hill for sunset which we did. The hill is just a 10 minute ride from our accommodation so was quite easily reached. Once we got to the hill we weren’t happy enough and wanted to go further up to get a better view. Unfortunately we passed through dry grass that was full of prickly spikes and we both got covered in these small thorns. Thankfully the thorns didn’t go under the skin and we could easily remove them.
We still wanted to reach the top of the hill but this path wasn’t the best option. Undeterred we headed back down, took a different path and reached the top in no time.
The views from here are incredible and overlook the impressive mountainous land of East Java which we had visited a few weeks ago. As it will only take us 10 or 15 minutes to get back to our scooter, we decided to stay here until just before the sun had completely set.
This gave us a breathtaking view of the sun setting from behind Java’s volcanoes, one of which was the famous Ijen.
Once the sun had nearly set we headed back down and drove to our accommodation to take a shower and go out for dinner. We drove again to Pemuteran tourist area and stumbled on another restaurant with no people.
The restaurant is part of a homestay, Rare Angon Homestay. Again we didn’t check any reviews. I had duck cooked in traditional sauce and Jacqueline had chicken with rice and vegetables. Both meals were amazing and wish we had came here for dinner again.
Must add here that on day 1 in Pemuteran I had taken some clothes for laundry. The price was 6k IDR per kilo and so I didn’t even bother asking the guy to weigh them. But for sure there was no more than 2 kilos which would be 12k IDR. (Although 6k IDR per kilo may seem too cheap for those who have only been to tourist areas in Bali, this is a normal rate throughout many places. We paid this price in Bandung, Yogyakarta and East Java. In Ubud they charge 20/24k IDR which is even more expensive than Thailand)
So today I went to collect my laundry and once I was given the clothes, the bill was 30k IDR. I told the lady that I had specifically asked for the price and the guy on the previous day had said 6k IDR and this price is also written on a big board outside the shop. The lady didn’t know much English but what I understood was that I was paying per piece. Why, I don’t know. The guy the day before just dumped everything in the washing machine, it’s not like he chose them by colour or anything.
This has turned out to be a good thing because we will no longer give our laundry as they don’t really seem to wash them so good. Clothes do have a nice smell but apart from that we always find the clothes being still dirty and never washed thoroughly. By the way, the nice smell is thanks to perfume they use after washing the clothes.
Pemuteran Day 3
Today is one fully packed and exhausting day. We got an early start and went out at 4:45 am to get to Git Git waterfall. The fall is a 1.45 hour away so hopefully we will be there early enough to be alone.
In fact we did get here before anyone else. We parked our bike in front of a small warung and headed into the park. The ticket booth was still closed as many other falls at this time. Once I saw the fall I was a bit shocked. It wasn’t the fall I was expecting not that it wasn’t nice or anything but it was similar to other falls we had seen. Still it was well worth the early wake up, we were in a gorgeous place surrounded by nature and was all to ourselves.
On our way out we passed by the booth, still nobody. Stopped for a coffee in the warung and still nobody came. Once we drank the coffee we paid our coffees and parking fee and were off. Thank you, this was a free activity. 🙂
Next we went to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. The price to enter the temple is 50k IDR per person so I handed out 100k IDR, but was given back 20k IDR and the guy behind the counter told me special discount. I said ok, so can you give me a ticket (the tickets were right in front of him) and the guy took back the 20k IDR and gave me the tickets. Obviously the 80k IDR would have gone into his pocket and he gave me 20k IDR back to shut my mouth. People work here and depend on the visitors contributions, if this scam occurs regularly this activity may not generate enough income and a few people may be fired. All this just because of a selfish guy who has the power to do so. Also, I’m pretty sure that most of those who visit this temple with a guide ever get a ticket. Sometimes a guided tour will include entrance fees but these fees are probably not legit and end up being shared between guides and the people supposedly taking care that people have paid.
The temple Ulun Danu Beratan is set beside a lake and offered us with a really tranquil atmosphere. We stopped on a bench overlooking the lake and all mountains. I opened my backpack, got out our packed nasi campur and had brunch with this amazing view.
On our way down to Denpasar we passed by Jatiluwih rice terraces. To pass from here there was a fee of 40k IDR each which we weren’t willing to pay as we didn’t intend to stop. The ticket guy let us through and advised us not to stop and so we didn’t.
But once we were out of these rice fields grounds we came across other terraces which were just as impressive plus there was no one around. We will point these fields on our map in the Bali post.
These were our activities for the day and then we needed to get to Denpasar to collect our passports. After just 5 minutes at the Immigration we already had our passports back with the visa extension.
Next we went to the scooter rental place in Kuta and extended the rental because we had decided to keep the bike throughout our trip. We decided to keep the scooter after we found that it is quite easy to get to the nearby islands with the scooter. I still don’t know exactly how to get to the islands but once we hopefully get there I will write about the process.
Now comes the hardest part of this day. It’s around 3:00 pm we are in Kuta, already tired and still need to ride for 3 ½ hours back to Pemuteran.
We were expecting to pass by Ubud and take the same route we had taken a couple of days before. But the route wasn’t the same and we passed along some of the most beautiful landscapes including jungle, charming villages, rivers and never ending rice fields. Thankfully these beautiful scenes carried for a good part of the journey thus helped keep our minds off the distance needed to travel.
About ¾ into the ride we really started getting tired, our bums ached and it was also starting to get dark. So from here on I was at full speed wherever I could. This was quite risky as Asian drivers don’t seem so cautious and I wouldn’t have been surprised if I found someone driving in the opposite direction of my lane. But my thinking was that if I drive at 60 kph it would be 1 km per minute and as we had about 35 km left it would be just 35 minutes.
Just 15 minutes before reaching our accommodation we really had to stop for a break. We stopped in an Indomaret parking lot for a few minutes. Feeling filthy I thought of wiping my face with a white clean tissue. My god the tissue was black from just wiping my forehead and until I wiped all my face the whole tissue was covered in black dirt. This made me wonder what the hell is floating in the air. I must say that although we spent all the day out, a lot of the time was in cleaner air thanks to all the nature and few cars or bikes.
We continued the remaining part of the journey and got back at around 7:00pm, went for a shower and back out for dinner.
Once again didn’t have any idea where we were going to stop. This time we stopped in a restaurant which had quite a few customers therefore we were sure food was good. The restaurant was La Casa Kita. Menu consisted of both western and Indonesian dishes and also pizza was on the menu. I had seafood in curry sauce and Jacqueline had chicken in mushroom sauce. The chicken was alright but my seafood curry was a joke.
The seafood curry ingredients should have been, tuna, squid and shrimp. There was no squid, a few shrimps and instead of tuna there was chicken. I called the waiter and told her the problem and the answer was that I had ordered chicken curry but surely if this was chicken curry why on earth was there the shrimp in it. Anyway she took the dish to replace it with my original order and came back with the right dish.
Now there was some squid that was chewy, the shrimp and pieces of fish but certainly wasn’t tuna as it was white, tuna has a darker colour. Above all the sauce was a watery soup which in no way can be called sauce.
Throughout our 7 months travelling we haven’t had so many bad experiences. So when we do stumble upon a restaurant that doesn’t meet our expectations we don’t take it really good. But these things are prone to happen especially when eating out everyday.
Pemuteran Day 4
As all the best waterfalls are a long drive from our accommodation we once again woke up at 4:00am and were on the road at 4:45am. The drive was about 1 ¾ hours which didn’t seem so much after having travelled 4 hours on the previous day.
The fall we are visiting today is GitGit twin waterfall. This is the fall I was previously expecting when we visited the other Git Git fall. In this area there are a number of falls all named Gitgit something or other.
This twin waterfall is really gorgeous. The fall is nestled within rock formations and drops in a pool beneath. The water was a bit cold but I still went in for a dip.
Trying to get a slow motion video I got out our flimsy tripod and took a cool video of me running towards the cam and the waterfall in the backdrop. I only stayed messing around because there wasn’t any people. After spending some time near this beautiful fall we went towards a small warung that overlooks another drop further below the twin fall. We stayed here and enjoyed a coffee with this spectacular view before heading to our bungalow.
The owner of the bungalows offered us to attend a ceremony of a neighbour. The ceremony was to inaugurate a temple. Balinese Hindu’s build a small temple within the grounds of their house and serves as a protection from evil spirits.
We accepted the invitation and came here at about 7:30 pm. When we arrived there were lots of offerings going on and later on we were also offered a meal.
But before I was offered to eat from here I went and got myself a bakso from a bike warung. Bike warung to me means, a shop on a scooter. I had been wanting to taste bakso for a long time and always put it off because I didn’t think I’d like it. It turned out to be really good and very filling for 10k IDR.
The owner of the house that we were at saw me eating this bakso and didn’t seem so happy. He seemed offended, but I surely wasn’t going to just grab some food without anybody offering it to me. So now that the owner told me that there is plenty of food and that I’m free to take a dish, I finished off the bakso and went to grab some more food. Jacqueline wasn’t so hungry so she just had some of the food that I brought.
The meal was pork satay, rice covered in soup and lawar. Lawar is minced pork cooked with coconut and fresh pork blood. I personally didn’t like the lawar but I was happy to have tasted it.
The ceremony continued with a VERY interesting dance. In the background are the musicians playing all kinds of instruments. The beat starts off slowly and at one point really increases. In the meantime the dancer starts off by holding a knife in their hands and slowly dancing around. Once the beat increases dancers grab the knife and press it to their chest.
But this isn’t even close to what comes next and is also the point were I felt a bit overwhelmed. The dancers finish off their dance by falling into a trance state and they really have no idea of what happened just a few minutes before.
Although there was only 1 person that spoke some English, we still ended up being the last person to leave.
As there was just a few people, we were the main focus thus everyone gathered around us. Every few minutes we were offered some arak and each time we told them no more but still the shots kept coming.
We were back at our bungalow by 10:00pm.
Pemuteran Day 5
At last we were going on an activity which was close by and we didn’t need to wake up so early. As we didn’t have a set time in which to leave, we ended up going out at about 10:00am.
We started off the day by visiting a popular temple in Pemuteran, Pura Melanting. But before going in we stopped to have a meal from one of the many warungs outside the temple.
We finished off our meal and headed to the temple which we only needed to give a donation. As the previous night we hadn’t spent anything I decided to give a generous donation. After all, the ceremony was a Hindu tradition so this donation, in a way, will go to the same cause.
The temple was nicely decorated. While locals gathered for their daily prayers. Since it was very hot we didn’t spend much time here.
Pemuteran is quite a sleepy town and the main activity is the beach and bio rock.
Bio rock is a coral regeneration just a few metres out of Pemuteran bay. So we got to the bay, rented two masks and went to check out beneath the surface. The sea bed is scattered with large steel structures which are covered in colourful corals.
I didn’t see any large schools of fish apart from one that had very small fish. Most of the fish were rather big with one fish of 4/5 feet just staying put in one place.
The water was rather warm but for some reason got really cold at times. Also, our masks kept fogging up maybe due to the different temperatures. I saw quite a few interesting things like big starfish and weird corals but each time I would need to rinse my mask to allow a clear view. This did get annoying once I had done it half a dozen times.
Before going out for dinner we went to a close by natural hot spring water bath. We got to the baths and got a load of blank stares. At this place there was only locals, surely this place doesn’t get much foreigners.
At first I felt somewhat uncomfortable with everyone staring at us but after some time nobody really bothered about us.
Here we concluded that most hot springs must contain sulphur. This spring had for sure traces of sulphur, we knew by the smell of rotten eggs which reminded us of a sulphuric lake we had visited in Bandung and Ijen.
Sulphur is said to be good for many health issues, one of these is stress. I can say that from my experience it really does help stress. After I had spent some time in the hot water, I felt so relaxed that I slowly started getting numbness all over my body.
This was our last day in Pemuteran, tomorrow we are off to a new destination.
➳ Next check our guide to Pemuteran with things to do in and around including a day trip itinerary to North Bali. Link below!