After a short hiatus from blogging, details (and exciting news) of which will follow this post, I thought I’d collate notes from my travel journal to share my first experience to Bali.
To set the scene, March was #hisfestivalof30 and the trip to Bali followed the week we spent in Samoa. Time in Bali was shared with a few mates and in among the surfing, there was a bit of exploring, seafood and, I can’t remember the number of Bintangs by the villa pool.
Bali was also our first experience using AirBnB. Instead of a resort, we booked a private villa in Seminyak that was serviced daily. Divide up the cost among five of us and my share for a week was under $300. The booking was made without a hitch and communication with the owner/host was sufficient to make our arrival seamless and our stay enjoyable. The villa was enormous with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, about the same number of sitting areas, a pool and a fridge to fill with our own food and drink. The space was more than enough to cater for privacy needed by two and a half couples. On our first day, the host introduced us to a driver who turned up each day thereafter for the whole week. Our very own Ketut (see ‘Rhonda and Ketut’) became one of the group, celebrating the boy’s 30th birthday. Now I’m not expecting a similar level of service every time we book with AirBnB, but certainly the experience provided enough confidence to consider the service in the future.
So, the highlights!
Poolside reading, relaxing and hilarity
There are times when you need to just be. You need to take a moment, or an afternoon, to really soak up the experience of being somewhere else. A time when the company of friends or a good book means more than rushing around and seeing things in a new place. The week in Bali was not only about having my first look at the place, but it was also about celebrating a significant milestone birthday. So the trip meant as much about being with mates as it was taking the first look at Bali.
Day trip: Uluwatu, Padang Padang and seafood dinner on the beach
The day started with the boys battling it out for a wave at Uluwatu while a girlfriend and I watched on with our cameras (and getting too distracted by our conversation we didn’t capture many hard earned waves), Bintangs and a spectacular view.
Late lunch at Ye ye’s restaurant we found by the road, on the way to Padang Padang beach. A dip there was then followed by finding a spot at a seafood restaurant on the beach in Jimbaran. A walk away from where our driver Ketut dropped us off, locals were on the beach – some playing soccer, some counting their catch for the day, others packing up their fishing gear or casting nets out into the water. Fishing boats lined the shore. Bintang brought to me, I took the tripod out to experiment with capturing the sunset. Dinner was accompanied by a small band singing Crowded House and Elvis Presley. (I know, eclectic right?)
Komune Beach Club
We arrived in time for breakfast with a view. While the boys were out chasing waves, us girls lazed by the pool, read our books, indulged in girl talk and a pedicure. One of those perfect, ‘nothing’ mornings. Feeling spoilt, I could have sworn it was my birthday. Lunch with Pimms wrapped up our time at Komune before the business end of the birthday took place.
Komune Beach Club was about a 45 minute drive from our villa in Seminyak and is attached to a resort. Day guests are welcome. Food and drinks can be ordered from the restaurant or the waiters by the pool.
Rice terraces of Ubud
Once again our driver, Ketut, took us out for a day trip, this time up to Ubud. The drive was longer than expected, a couple of hours at least with the ever present traffic, but eventually made it up to a restaurant for lunch with a view of rice terraces. Beautiful yes, but I felt a little underwhelmed. I felt like a tourist being brought to where everyone is shown “the rice terraces”. I felt surely there was more to them. The serenity, the feeling of being completely removed from the hustle and bustle just wasn’t there. I was expecting middle of nowhere. This was a time when I knew I hadn’t done enough (read: any) thorough research to scout the best places to enjoy this (could-be) beautiful place.
Those feelings aside, the spectacle for the afternoon was provided by myself, who managed to fall into one of the rice paddies. Narrow walkways between the paddies while capturing the sights with my camera proved not a good mix. Not as deep as I thought the paddies were, but the suction on that mud meant I needed rescuing. Absolutely mortifying at the time. Pretty funny now. I couldn’t move. I feared I’d lose my thongs (flip flops, whatever you might call them). Butt in the air, camera around my neck, I knew I just made it as a typical looking tourist. The boyfriend fished for my thongs with his bare hand. Oh, the stench!
There are parts of Bali that are stunning, if you take a moment. Something that is difficult to do in a place that is always rushing, chaotic and crowded in parts. I found you need to be off the streets of Bali to appreciate the place. Bali wasn’t top of my travel ‘to do’ list and I’m in no rush to visit any time soon. Sale flights and cheap accommodation makes Bali a destination to enjoy with others.