The first thing we did today was rent this motorbike with the intent on driving to various points on the island:
Although the weather looked promising, we soon discovered how quickly that can change. When we walked into this local store to look for something to eat for breakfast (we found small soy milk cartons and hazelnut cookies) it was sunny outside and by the time we were paying for our purchase it was pouring rain outside. So we waited in front of the store and ate our breakfast. What good timing!
Mindy drove leaving Ligeia free to enjoy the scenery. She often asked Mindy to stop so she could snap a picture. The inner part of the island was full of beautiful kodak moments such as this:
Our first destination was the Gunung Raya mountain with reportedly spectacular views. On the ride up, we saw a number of monkeys and cows along the side of the winding road. Every few kilometers, it was obvious that there were viewpoints, marked by small parking lots. However, since we visited in the thick of the rainy season, the greenery was lush and blocked most of what we could see. So, we enjoyed what was right in front of us:
As we ascended, the air got cooler, and the fog thicker. It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.
The “top” of the mountain was a little confusing as the road just ended with a barbed fence with a sign of one person pointing a gun at another, stood in our way. The message was clear so we simply turned around.
On our way back down to warmer temperatures, we were able to enjoy one lookout, and see straight out to the Adaman Sea. In the dry season, with clear blue skies, I’m sure this view is even more stunning!
Our next stop was the Durian Perangrin Waterfalls. When we just around the corner from being at the entrance, it began pouring rain again. We were lucky enough to take cover under an unoccupied food stall until the downpour subsided. The waterfalls and the surrounding areas were lovely and the walkway to the right of the falls, allowed us to enjoy a bit of a hike.
During this walk, however, our luck with the timing of the rainfall changed. It began and the tree we sought refuge under only helped us for so long. Eventually we resigned to the fact that we would be soaked no matter what we did. Looking around at the gorgeous shades of green we were indeed reminded of the importance of the rainy season.
We decided to keep our helmets on so that at least our heads would remain dry. We wondered what others might think when they saw two people wearing protective helmets walking around in the woods, but the issue never came up as we didn’t see a soul.
We headed to the very top of the island for our next stop: Pisar Hitam, or the black sand beach. When we first got to sand, which was mainly brown with streaks of black mixed in, we saw quite an industrial factory. Strangely, the contrasting scene was quite beautiful:
Our next stop on our tour was supposed to be a tropical fruit orchard, where they offer visitors a free tour and then the opportunity to taste the freshly picked exotic fruit. Unfortunately, though, with it being Friday and the holiest day of the week for Muslims, the orchard was closed for the day. Disappointed, we got back on our bike and continued our island adventure.
Just up the road, there was another waterfall marked on our map: Lubuk Sembilang. Overall, we found this series of falls unattractive, due to the addition of concrete barriers to create better swimming pools. Had it been left in its original, nature state, these falls would have been slow-moving over rocks and pebbles. It’s clear that we will always appreciate nature more than concrete!
On the way back to our guesthouse, we took a scenic drive along the southern coast of the island, which boasted beautiful views full of color:
We enjoyed a late lunch at the Red Tomato. We tried cheeseless pizza for the first time, despite the waitresses strange look when we ordered it, and it was actually pretty good. We’d get it again for sure.
Our evening included watching the sunset on the beach in front of our guesthouse. We loved hearing the waves slide onto the beach replete with colors reflected from the sky.
Tomorrow we leave for Hat Yai, Thailand again to ready ourselves for our flight back to Chiang Mai on Sunday.
Mindy and Ligeia :):)