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Travel time vs. Distance in Bali

Over the years we have had a few delays on the way to/from work, many of which we have captured on camera. For 2 years without a camera we missed some amazing scenes but they are firmly planted in our memory, such as the completely upside down chicken truck on the new toll road with the driver standing next to it scratching his head.

 

Many people love to get out of the built up areas when they travel and explore the Island, and for newcomers to Bali it can be quite surprising when they ask the question if they can see numerous sites in one day. The answer many Bali tourist veterans give is you no, you won’t be able to do that all in one day, as they know ‘Bali time’.

Now, there once was a time when circumnavigating the whole Island was actually possible, yes, it was a very long day, but the scenery was worth it. I mean the Island is only approximately 150km across by 110km so it looks very doable on a map.

Even the Map Giant Google seems to think so, I’ve many a time laughed at the travel times Google proposes for some adventurous journeys. Google has not yet taken into consideration ceremonies, duck crossing and upside down chicken trucks. Nor, has it imagined that 400 sand trucks could use one small broken road, twice in 24 hours such as the road leading down to the Lake. These trucks do sometimes (ok, who am I kidding, quite often) simply not make the journey up or down the hill and offer me a new photo opportunity while they are causing a 1 hour traffic jam. Then all the trucks bank up while trying to work out the best way to get their friends truck, which is hanging vivaciously off the cliff out of that position. They probably end up using the same method in pulling the truck out as their other friend did last week - Now that’s a new business idea for the area, truck towing.

So, how long does it take to get anywhere, on a boring day, that does not offer a ceremony, duck crossing, chicken truck or sadly another accident? Did I mention road works? or simply holes in the road that are signaled by a tree branch sticking out of them to ensure you don’t drive in the hole.

We once came across a giant hole in the highway to which we slammed on the brakes, skidded to a stop with the front of the car just hanging over the edge, then only to notice at the far end of the hole (so, after the hole itself) a sign saying “Be careful Big Hole in Road”, well thanks for the warning.

We also once had a similar experience with an even closer near death experience as the volcano Mt Batur had just erupted as we were leaving the Lake area and the road under us chose that time to collapse. It took 6 months to rebuild it and reopen that road, being that the drop to the ravine underneath was at least 50 metres I still hold my breath when crossing that strip of road.

Or the time a bus took a corner in Kuta and just sank, its front tires just disappeared into the road, the same thing happened in Ubud and that famous hole became the known as the “Ubud Hole”. It’s may seem amazing to Town Planners from Western countries that there are no town plans showing the underground river systems that would have maybe prevented these situations and two major traffic jams.

Well, here’s a few distances and times just to give an example, if you leave at sunrise as we do you can save 30 minutes off these times:

• Seminyak to Mount Batur – 2.5 hours. 
• Nusa Dua to Mount Batur – 2.5 hours
• Lovina to Mount Batur – 3.5 hours
• Amed to Mount Batur – 4 hours
• Candidasa to Mount Batur 3.2 hours
• Ubud to Mount Batur – 1.2 hours. 
• Munduk to Mount Batur -3.2 hours
• Bedugal to Mount Batur – 2.8 hours

So, take it slow, don’t plan too many sites to visit in one day, enjoy the ceremony that’s blocking your way, how lucky that you are in the right place at the right time! This is a time to enjoy ‘jam karet’ (rubber time) or as we call like to call it ‘Bali time’.

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