Bali, Bali, Bali Baby!
I feel like this is really just a diary entry, but hope it helps someone! Any questions just ask 🙂
That was my first impression. Stepping off the plane and into the non-air cond airport terminal. Wow was it warm. But then it would be after coming from a balmy 9 degrees in New Zealand (ha!)
We had no trouble at all entering, there was a line but we rolled on through rather fast. Walking through the arrival archway we were greeted by loads of Balinese people yelling and shouting, “taxi, miss you want taxi”, “taxi taxi”.
We were looking around for our guy from the hotel who we were meeting there to collect us and our 3 bags of luggage. In the commotion of it all we couldn’t see him so we started walking toward what we thought was the exit. Then to get bombarded by a group of guys dressed in blue, “where are you going?” “Where are you staying” “We take you, we take you”, “taxi taxi taxi”. WOW. We eventually had a lovely lovely guy who worked for the airport call our driver over the intercom and he appeared through the throngs of taxi drivers gathered around us!
So then we got on our way to the hotel. Now my hubby was sitting in the front and I could see him flinching every few minutes as scooters and cars sped straight at us, almost a head on! I just laughed – I thought this is great!
Legian Beach, Bali
We got to the hotel, greeted everyone, checked in and chucked the stuff in the hotel room. I ran straight down to the beach, it was midnight but that didn’t bother me – I had to go and check it out!
It was pitch black and I didn’t really see anything, the breaks in the waves but I could certainly hear it! First note to self – Bali’s beaches are LOUD! We were staying directly opposite Legian Beach so a quick hop and a skip and we were there in and amongst it!
Day one: The second my eyes opened at 4:45am I was out of bed dressed – no hair brush, no makeup. Time to go. Hubby wasn’t overly pleased. But I made us a cup of coffee and dragged him down to the beach to watch the sunrise (something I am yet to do at home). Loaded up with my phone and canon digital camera off we went.
As we are walking through the hotel this teeny tiny black bat came flying over our heads. I’m not a scared person and I knew there were bats around I just didn’t expect to see one so soon!
Next animal we saw was this super cute squirrel scampering along a powerline. I didn’t even know they had them! Bucket list tick- saw a squirrel (and infact we went and fed them peanuts after our sunrise morning mish).
The beach was not what I expected. It was dirty (I’m okay with that), it was super busy for 5.30 in the morning and the amount of roaming dogs was amazing. Loads of them all shapes and sizes running around in the sand playing, trailing along behind morning joggers. I wasn’t sure what they’d do – if they were aggressive or not but they don’t even give you a second look. Even if you whistle…
We got back to the hotel at 7am and had a buffet breakfast that was included with the hotel. It was pretty yum! My body hadn’t quite adjusted to the time difference so I wasn’t overly hungry.
Ubud and surrounds
Within the hour we had organised and booked a driver for the day with four others staying in the hotel. We were heading up into Ubud in the middle of the island. I was surprised at how long it took us to get there! The driver was a little bit uneasy because he kept telling us he was number 2 and his boss was number 1, so he needed to take us back to the hotel and his boss would take us.A little bit scam city ish.
Ubud was everything tropical you expect it to be. It wasn’t as quiet and cruisey as I thought, but it was still pretty cool! We did the coffee plantations (being an animal lover I didn’t do the luwak coffee, I sniffed it though – pungent). Then a temple, had lunch in some rice fields with sweeping views to the volcanoes – that was just gorgeous! Saw some out of it birds, went to the world heritage rice terraces, did the monkey forest and then headed home to the hotel at 7pm!
It was nuts for a first day! We spent all our money on bottled water!
Second day we went and stocked up at the local supermarket and strolled the shops! That would be my number one tip – get good walking shoes! Although my $2 kmart pair of jandals held up pretty well with all the walking we did in 7 days!
The bartering side of things took we a little while to get used to. I was stubborn. Enough to get myself sworn at a few times. I just figured if I could get it cheaper at home I wouldn’t pay more there. No not going to pay $60 NZD for 3 kids tops!
We did rack up a few bargains but also found ourselves frequenting the fixed price shop over the road from the hotel too. I lost my voice by the third day because of the amount of talking we did, “Halo, how are you? Good and you? No thank you. No we are just walking. No we have sunglasses. No I dont wear a watch. No transport thank you. No Im not giving you my passport. No thank you, no thank you, no thank you!”
It was quite amazing! I’ve never talked that much in my life!
It was a really cool experience, I didn’t hate it and it didn’t completely knock my socks off either. The best thing was the cheapish food and drinks.
My only regret is not getting to Tanah Lot (the temple) earlier. We left at 3:50pm. It should have only taken us an hour but it took 2 and a half so we arrived at 6.30pm. I ran along the cliff top to try and catch the last snatches of sunlight but as I was running down the stairs to the beach access way, the lights in the temple went off. I was actually quite devastated. That had been one of my top two things to do in Bali.That was our second to last night in Bali, so I didn’t have another chance to go. From what I saw though it was BEAUTIFUL. And walking back to the taxi driver we passed through a little village that was quickly emptying as it got darker. We looked quickly in one shop and it was the cheapest stuff I’d seen anywhere around Seminyak, Kuta and Legian! There were sandals for $2.50 and $3.50! Wish I’d gone during the day and spent the entire day there – oh well always next time!
I got Henna done on the last day down at the beach – cheeky fella tried to charge me $45 and I ended up only paying $5 which was all it was worth anyway and I probably overpaid then. I also noticed after it dried it was pretty black… black henna. Hmmm well I’ll let you know when I dye my hair next what happens! LOL.
One thing that was quite sad is how OVER touristy it is. There are Westerners and Europeans everywhere! So much so that when you barter they do it in our currency (or assume you are Australian) so – $10 for this or $20 for that.
The bar names were a hoot – crystal meth, get pissed etc etc. Kind of says something about the people who frequent them though.
The people were beautiful and so friendly. Except for the few who started swearing and packing a tanti because I wouldn’t pay what they wanted. I have never been addressed as “Madam”, “Darling”, “Miss” before!
Massages – are a must do! $3.50 for a foot and shoulder massage! Just be careful if you are a male – they seem to get offered “other” kinds of massages. The first massage place I walked into, I’d actually walked into the wrong one with my sister-in-law. I saw all these cats around and got all excited because they were the first I’d seen in Bali. Gave one a pat and then got ushered to a chair. We sat down and inhaled. Oh my god wrong thing to do – it HUMMED like cat pee. So bad I didn’t inhale deeply again until we go outside. We felt too rude to get up and leave after we’d sat down, and we were the only people in there.
The next massage shop over was amazing though I had this lovely lady Martini do my massage. It was nice to actually sit down and talk to some of the people, she had come over from the Philippines and brought her husband and 3 children with her.
I got the impression from some of the Balinese that they have quite short patience with some of the tourists. I could understand that completely too, I know in Perth parents send their 17-18 year olds over there for “Schoolies” an end of year party to celebrate your last year at high school. I can imagine the state they’d be in rolling around the streets.
Anyway Bali was nice and I remember thinking that I probably wouldn’t go back but try somewhere else in Asia like Jakarta or Thailand. But I know we only just scratched the surface and you need more than 7 days to really get to know a place. There was so much more I wanted to do!
Although I have a good list stacked up; got my makeup done in Balinese style (OMG), had a few close calls with trucks, cars and scooters (and a few dodgy shopkeepers), had my first ever massage, had my first ever Mojito (now my new fav drink), got to know my hubbys side of the family a whole lot more, first international holiday without the kids (and I am so glad we didn’t bring them), watched monkeys attack other tourists, pet an iguana, fell in love with a bat, jumped into the swimming pool fully clothed, wore frangipanis in my hair most days, did my first Hindu temple, drank cocktails all afternoon by the pool, got waited on, ate Nasi Goreng, dined under the volcanos, saw a squirrel and fed it peanuts, saw Balinese fire dancing, watched the sunset and almost sunrise. I accomplished a fair bit in my short amount of time and it really set the travel bug off again – big time! Where to next?!
And on a final note – I do NOT recommend jetstar. Of our four flights with them every single one was delayed or the flight time was changed. Zero stars from me.