GETTING TO BALI OFF THE BEATEN PATH (2)
As continued from the part one. If you haven’t read yet. You could find it here…..
I booked my train ticket at the convenience store and headed to the train station bidding goodbye to my new-found friends at the hostel. My plan was to head straight to Bawuwangi Baru where the Ijen carter volcano was but two local friends I made in Jakarta invited me over to Surabaya so they could take me on a local food tour.
The train ride was the longest ever and the most uncomfortable one. The lady at the convenience store booked an economy class seat for me instead of the executive seats. It was the lowest seat class and I remember wondering why it was so cheap when I bought it but due to language barrier I didn’t bother asking. Well I wish I had.
The seats were in a way that, I had to sit face to face with other commuters with our knees rubbing. For the 24 hours ride and the stops in between my knees were in massive pain which made it a really uncomfortable ride.
You could imagine how happy I was when I heard over the speaker we had arrived at Surabaya train station. I went to my pre booked hostel and called my local friends to let them know I had arrived and ready to go on a tasting tour.
I must admit it was a memorable day. I realized touring with locals was way much fun then with equal tourists. They happen to know the cheapest places to eat and must see off the tourist trail. Surabaya didn’t have much to see as compared to the other Javanese area so the day was pretty much trying local cuisines and visiting their rice fields. Before my train ride in the evening we headed to the Surabaya carnival park.
It was a carnival style theme park with rides for adults and kids with food vendors and souvenir stands. It was pretty much picture perfect and something to experience.
Two friends made and another train ride to Bayuwangi to see the ijen carter volcano. The ijen is a volcano with blue fire at night. It involves almost a three-hour hike one way to see it and always advised to go in groups.
My friends in Surabaya told me normally there is a group of backpackers at the train station and I could join. I was pretty much looking forward to it as it will be the first time I see a volcano. This time, I made sure the store attendant got my tickets right by making my friends do the talking . Last thing I want is to have another painful ride.
On arrival at Bawuwangi I realized there were no hiking groups at the station as I envisioned. I had arrived a bit later and most of them have left. I wanted to wander off alone but I was advised against as the road wasn’t favorable for one person hike . I must have stood there for close to three hours with my heavy backpack hoping a group will show up but none did. Well really I was disappointed.
I went ahead to book my ferry to cross over to Bali which took only 15 minutes to dock at Gilimanuk in Bali but I slept off on the ferry that I had to take the trip again which is twice a ticket. Looking back now, I find it really hilarious when I awoke in Bawuwangi and thought it was Bali.
I arrived at the port in Gilimanuk at Bali around 3am and to my surprise no transportation was available. I only had two options which was either to hire a motorbike or wait till 8 am in the morning for the bus to Denpasar. Well I ignored my fear of the motor bike and sat on it for three hours … a ride i call highway to hell.
I couldn’t feel my ass when we arrived in Kuta in the morning but I had conquered my fear and had my first motorbike ride and I enjoyed it, weeks after i prefer it than taxis I collapsed into my bed when i was showed my room tired of my travels through java and ready to explore the tropical island the coming days. It was quite an adventure i will always remember and will most likely like to do it again.
Have you traveled this way? Will you like to travel off the beaten path? Let me now in comments down below.