As I write this I am currently in Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. (I left Bali early this morning). I'm super excited to conclude my Indonesian trip by hoping aboard a yacht and spending 6 days scuba diving around the islands here. However, first the experience that was Bali!
I arrived on the 17th of December to meet up with a friend back home. (Good catching up with you Kumara!). I spent almost two weeks in Kuta, Bali sightseeing, relaxing, surfing, partying, and enjoying my first Christmas away from my family.
The Day Tours
The day tours Bali offers are incredible. I went on three of them. Exotic temples, rice paddy fields, art exhibitions, and ancient forests dominated by monkeys are just a few of the sights we visited during our tours. The tours are cheap (around $25 per person) and last the entire day. I recommend going with a group to further discount the pricing.
Favorite sights include:
Tannah Lot was my favorite temple we visited. The temple sits directly on the sea and was built as a holy place to worship the sea gods. The locals believed poisonous sea snakes guard the temple to protect from evil sprits. However, the problem with the popular temples around Indonesia is they are almost always full of tourists and locals peddling everything under the sun to them. The view alone is worth visit, but do avoid the large crowds and heat by arriving early. I did, on the other hand, pay a local "guru" to wash away my sins for the modest price of 5,000 rupiah (50 U.S cents)
I have not see many big waterfalls from the ground in my lifetime. Munduk waterfalls qualifies as an awesome waterfall. The water comes directly from the cliff above and drops vertically 200 meters. I was surprised how little the ensuing pool of water became after the drop. (I thought most big waterfalls have a lake or big pond around them).
The city of Ubud
Ubud offered so many wonderful attractions I had to take a day trip back after visiting the first time. The city is filled with art, dance, and vibrancy. Catch a traditional Balinese dance, shop in the city center, view the incredible rice patty terraces, and flex the mind and body with massages and yoga. The city is truly a must visit. Oh yeah, and my favorite attraction on the trip is here....
Visit a beautiful temple shrine in an equally mesmerizing ancient forest guarded by Macaque Monkeys...ummm YES! Ubud's finest attraction, in my opinion, is the Monkey Forest. The forest is both relaxing and exciting. A quiet stroll in the park quickly turns into a monkey feeding frenzy at the sight of a delicious banana. You can feed them from your hand or choose to let them battle it out for the prize. Don't be surprised if a few overzealous monkeys climb on you. These monkeys are friendly and may just be looking for a place to rest!
It's Bali Relax...
Despite all the fun outdoor-action-adventure activities Bali offers, my most common activity was relaxing on Kuta Beach. I spent the hottest hours on many days underneath an umbrella lounge chair, sleeping the afternoon away. The beach is a center for activities, but sometimes the best one is the one that burns the least amount of calories.
When I wasn't at the beach, you could find me at Potato Head Beach Club
catching the incredible sunset from the swimming pool overlooking the sea. The drinks and food are expensive here but the view and atmosphere is something else! I highly recommend you catch a sunset at one of Bali's many beach resorts on the ocean.
Lastly, Bali is home to numerous massage parlors. After all the sleeping and non-movement I experienced the thing my body enjoyed the most is a massage! (However there were times when my body REALLY did need one. Like after the 1st time I went surfing). The massages here are super-cheap, maybe $10 - $20 max for an hr+ massage. I felt heavenly after each of my 3 deep tissue massages. My only regret is not getting one everyday!
Doing Things I've Never Done Before
Bali is one of the surf capitals of the world. I have never surfed before. Big waves + cheap board rentals = A New Experience and Hobby!
My friend Sebastian and I decided to try surfing for the first time. The anticipation of riding that wave for a few seconds was overwhelming. I accomplished my goal of standing up on the board, but nearly drowned a few times in the process. The waves here can be quite huge. I learned the hard way to start small before trying to go too big.
We both enjoyed surfing so much that we decided to make it the first thing we did on Christmas Day. The 2nd time around was a bit easier, but I got too cocky. I almost drowned myself seeking out the big waves.
That Christmas was the first I've experienced without my family. I felt a little sad because I missed out on all the things I enjoy about christmas, seeing relatives, opening presents, and eating. However, if I am going to miss a Christmas, Bali isn't a bad place to be. I was able to talk to my parents and wish them a merry Christmas that night.
Until Next Time
Bali was an incredible experience that may have opened up a new passion for me. (Let's go surfing!). Its always nice to have friends come along to join in on the adventure. Thanks Kumara, Sebastian, and Evgenia! Until next time.