Penestanan & Tagallalang

So we had to leave our lovely villa in Penestanan yesterday. I have completely fallen in love with the village, the people and the food we had there.

As expected, the day before last was a chill out day. We had already decided it was best to look after ourselves and get ready for the rest of our adventure; mostly so we could enjoy our time without feeling rubbish… especially as I had woken up feeling awful that morning too, and I do not cope well with being poorly.

After Eddie, (Eddie was our lovely room boy) cooked us a breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast followed by fresh fruit, we got ready to spend some time relaxing by and in the pool. I was having the best time playing in the fresh water whilst Bryan was having a great time laughing at me.

We eventually decided that we both felt well enough to venture out, locate a post office and get some yummy eats. We ended up in this cute coffee & juices place called Dharma. We bought a probiotic drink along with the most scrumptious smoothie bowl EVER. It was banana smoothie with granola, chai, dragon fruit other superfoods. I ended up eating most of it but Bryan did have a few mouthfuls too.

After demolishing the smoothie bowl and knocking back a probiotic I was ready to be by a toilet (sorry, I said no poo talk). We posted what we needed to post then headed back to the Villa. Needless to say I felt so much better after I, uh… had done what needed to be done.

We spent the rest of the day beside the pool until it was time to think about food. We wandered a little but quickly gave up and went back to Gratitude, the warung that Bryan had ‘hunter gathered’ from the night before. I had crispy duck and a lime and rum thing that was supposed to be a cocktail, Bryan had fried noodles and a Bintang (He asked for a small and got a regular… the large Bintang was massive) which we followed with a mango and banana lassie and an espresso.

We headed back, spent ages sorting out a plan for the rest of the week and got to the pool for a late night swim. Bryan was yet again an absolute wuss getting in which was highly amusing. But we had a cute, giggly, romantic hug when we were both in… it makes my heart smile thinking about it.


We had prepacked so the morning was easy, I didn’t get a morning swim but we did have Eddie make us breakfast again. Then he helped us with our bags to the car and we said goodbye to Penestanan.

Our first stop was Goa Gajah, which translates to Elephant Cave. The cave itself is guarded by what some claim is the mouth belonging to the child-eating witch Rangda from Balinese Mythology, others say this represents the Hindu Earth God Bhoma. We entered the cave to find three ‘shrines’, each home to relics dating back to the 11th century. The air was thick with incense and there were offerings along every gap in the cave walls.

There is a lot to see in Goa Gajah. We walked around a functioning temple compound where everyone was busy making baskets, preparing food and playing music. There are a couple of tranquil ponds, one with a covered meditation platform in the centre, the other full of lilies. The steps down to the beautiful waterfalls allow you to see a variety of wildlife, there are colourful butterflies, dragonflies and finches all around… but with that come the Orb spiders. They’re bigger than the finches and give me the willies, but the locals assure me they are no danger. I’ve walked past them and under them to see the beautiful things I’ve seen and as much as my blood runs cold, each time is worth it.

Our next stop was The Monkey Forest and it does what it says on the tin. There is a forest and there are monkeys in it. However its the most beautiful forest I’ve ever seen, sprawling jungle as far as the eye can see. There are temples to explore and rocky riverside walks to embark on. The baby monkeys quickly stole our hearts whilst the mamas were scary and very protective. They are not aggressive by nature but will defend themselves and their young from stupid humans getting too close and interfering. The only downside to the place was that there were A LOT of people.

We left the forest and made our way to the new accommodation in Tagallalang. It’s beautiful and has a stunning natural backdrop, much like in the treehouse but with a bit more protection from the wilderness. The hosts are fabulous, they are a family living in a sort of compound together, each with their individual homes but occupying the same space. Our little home for two nights is nestled behind their compound, it’s lovely.

After we dumped our bags and were shown around our building, we headed right out to find a local warung; we were ravenous. We chose to go to Happy Warung for a late lunch on the recommendation of our host’s brother. Hands down the best spring rolls we’ve ever eaten, potentially the best beef curry I’ve ever tasted. Unreal flavour accompanied by the kindest service. Oh, and the view of the rice fields was a dream, not to mention the dogs we saw trotting past frequently.

We returned to our room and had a quick shower (both pretty sweaty as it’d been the hottest day so far), dressed and went out to our next stop.

There is a town called Petulu that a colony of around 1000 birds flock to every night from about 5-6pm. Naturally, we had to see this so made our way just before 5. You pay to enter the village and they provide some information for you and tell you were the best spots to view the birds are. We went in to the first place recommended, this was someone’s home. They had set up a bar area on their roof with stools, a giant pelican and a straw cover. There were refreshments and snacks available for a small fee. We did have some free Balinese Cornballs provided, made by the mother of the family… they were INCREDIBLE and have gone of my list of things to make when we are home.

Whilst we were waiting we were treated to a traditional Balinese dance by two lovely girls of 10 and 8 years old, it was magic. The whole evening was such a great experience and I feel so privileged to be able to say I’ve seen the birds come in to rest for the night, to say we’ve been hosted by a family to see such a phenomenal thing. The heavens opened as we sat there watching the birds with another lovely couple from Austria. When the birds seemed to have settled we made our way home.

I am tired and don’t want to write anymore today. Luckily we didn’t do anything else after we got back from Petulu 😊

We slept like babies and have just been prepared (another) delicious breakfast by our new host.

I’ll be posting some more photos later on today, I can’t wait to share them with you all.

Lots of love,

Courtney xo

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