The third leg of my trip was Bali. Oh, Bali. I know this tiny Indonesian island has spiked in popularity over the last few years and if you aren’t into visiting very touristy places then you may be put off, however I can completely understand why Bali has become a go-to place for people of all walks of life. It is stunning, and there is something for everyone. Some parts are a lot more touristy than others – you just have to do your research. We moved around the island every few days and there were still a heck of a lot of places that I wanted to visit. 2 weeks is a solid amount of time to be soaking up the sun but 3 weeks or even a month would not go wasted. My route was as follows: Flew into Denpasar Airport and stayed overnight in Kuta Kuta --> Ubud Ubud --> Lake Batur Lake Batur --> Candi Dasa Candi Dasa --> Nusa Penida Nusa Penida --> Uluwatu Uluwatu --> Canggu On a map, this route looks like this:
Overall thoughts: I think this was a good route to take as we got to see quite a few of Bali’s highlights. We planned what we were doing once we got out there and I think this flexibility was nice as sometimes you need a break from rigid routine. Bali is cheap enough that you can do things last minute and small enough for you to alter your destinations. However, if you have a limited time frame then it might be worth making a note of things you definitely want to see and work your trip around them. One thing we probably should have done better was organising our trip to Nusa Penida, which is one of the three islands off the south coast of Bali. We should have given this island justice and planned our trip there more as it was a lot more rural and difficult to navigate compared to Bali. Apart from that, everything went rather smoothly. Wherever you are in Bali it’s going to be beautiful, so you needn’t worry about missing out on amazing scenery! 27th of September 2018 'The sleep deprivation chronicles continue! The first hostel I stayed at, in Kuta, was super nice and I’m actually considering to go back there around the time I leave. It was clean, had really nice vibes and the smoothie bowl for breakfast was peng <3 I’m loving all the exotic fruit here! GIVE ME NUTRIENTS. Anyway, I took a taxi from Ubud to Kuta to meet the girls and let’s just say that that was easier said than done. The traffic was horrendous. Getting the taxi was fine as there’s this really good app called Grab here, which is basically the equivalent of Uber. Getting from Kuta to Ubud, however, was not easy, but hey ho. Oh my goodness, Bali is stunning and I haven’t really seen anything yet! The place we went to for lunch was by a temple and featured a pond with massive lotus flowers. The thing is every single place had its own charm – the standard things are just beautiful here. We also went for a walk through some rice fields in the afternoon and it was just gorgeous. Everything here is so vibrant – the blue sky, the lush green trees, the rainbow coloured flowers…I’m just in awe. I get a fluttery feeling in my stomach whenever I think about the next 2 weeks!'
28th of September 2018 'We moved from Ubud to Lake Batur as we wanted to go camping and we thought it might be easier to do the hike if we were actually in the area. We found this super cool campsite on Booking.com which was right by the lake and had a café, a bar, all the facilities we would need…kind of more like ‘glamping’ than camping. Booked it straightaway and headed there late morning. It was not what we expected, let’s just say that! It was run by this guy who moved from Denpasar to the north to pursue his dream of opening up a really cool site for travellers. He’s been working on it for the past 2 years but hasn’t finished due to money issues so there aren’t showers or proper toilets, there isn’t a café or anything but he does have a bar and he did go out and catch some fish for our dinner, which was amazing! He cooked it with some really nice spices as well. The weirdest thing though was that we were the only people there! Literally had 2 tents to ourselves…and that was it. Essentially we were in his family’s back garden. It was an absolutely stunning location but it was just so strange to be the only guests. We took it as a good thing though, as it was so peaceful and realistically no other part of the trip will be the same. I think the three of us were very much enamoured by the guy (whose name I’ve stupidly forgotten) and his little dream. It was quite inspirational actually.
The trek was good, it was perhaps harder than we thought but overall it could have been so much worse…maybe because I did Morocco and that was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life! The sunrise was AMAZING, oh my goodness. I’m so happy we did it as not everyone can say they’ve hiked Mount Batur! We had an interesting breakfast of banana sandwiches, boiled eggs and hot chocolate at the top and we even saw some monkeys.'
29th of September 2018 'Such a gorgeous day! We went out for dinner last night and I had Indonesian food for the first time, which was extremely tasty! Had some pumpkin soup and then a tofu, vegetable and bean dish with peanut sauce – very filling! We met a nice Dutch lady who is staying in our room so she came along too. Afterwards we went to a very lively bar and it was hilarious because I saw those Australian people once again (they had been at a bar we went to in Ubud. Some of the girls had been ripping up the dancefloor and they were doing the same last night.) What’s even funnier is that I saw them today at the beach as well! Bali ain’t tiny but it’s pretty damn small. Today we went to the ‘white sand’ beach, although it was more a mix of white and black. Beautiful! First beach that I’ve been to that feels somewhat like paradise. Palm trees, wooden huts, marble-like sand, clear blue water…I’m just overwhelmed by the beauty of Bali. And life here is so simple, so chilled. Home really does feel a million miles away, geographically and figuratively.'
3rd of October 2018 'I feel as if so much has happened since Candi Dasa, both good and bad... We left the area for Nusa Penida a couple of days ago (it's so hard to remember what dates have already been and gone) and to get to the island we had to catch a boat from Padang. It was seriously confusing trying to figure out which harbour to go to and what times the boats left, so we had to take a bit of a risk and just turn up hoping for the best. We didn't get the best and we didn't get the worst but...we ended up having to pay 200,000 rupiahs for an express ferry as the boat we were hoping to catch wasn't running until some point in October... The place we went to for lunch seemed nice from the outside but was fly-ridden and I found a friggin' maggot in my salad, so that put me right off any grub. Then we found a dead lizard by our bedroom door being eaten by a load of ants, which was rather vile. Then we attempted to not waste the rest of our day and get to one of the really cool sightseeing spots but all the taxi drivers were just charging way too much and we felt like we were trying to get blood out of a stone. It was so frustrating. One man finally gave us a half-decent price but he stopped at his house (??) and ran in for no apparent reason. His wife came out and tried to increase the price of our taxi, at which point we got really irritated. The rest of the journey was awkward, to say the least...
Yesterday we went to Dreamland Beach, which was so beautiful. We wanted to get surfing lessons but they were too expensive so we didn't bother, just gonna postpone our experience. We just chilled, swam, I ate, we watched all the surfers and tried in vain to find an ATM... The hostel was pretty lit but it was actually really grimy and we were in a room that was definitely way too small for 4 people. There was no communal area and inside was stuffy so I am pretty glad to be out of there and in a really beautiful, calm place. Already halfway through this trip!'
5th of October 2018 'The day before yesterday we ended up going out in the evening to Uluwatu Temple to watch the sunset which was super beautiful but being at the temple was a bit of a stressful experience because there were so many cheeky monkeys! They were literally stealing everything in sight - glasses, hats, phones...one even tried to pull down a lady's skirt!! We had dinner at the nicest veggie / vegan place and then met up with a couple of guys we had met the night before at the reggae party - Ben and Scotty. They were both really funny and we had the most random night out with them...
Yesterday we had a lazy morning and then went to Uluwatu Beach with Scotty although he didn't teach us how to surf, meaning we still need to learn! I'm determined...even though I know I'll be terrible. The beach was cool as it was by all these cliffs and the sunset there was amazing.'
9th of October 2018 'Canggu was really fun but it went so quickly! We went out 3 nights in a row and I was absolutely shattered yesterday even though I hadn't really been getting drunk. Being sober all the time has been a bit of a weird experience. I think I just wanted to avoid alcohol because of my stomach (which is back to normal by the way, thank goodness!) but also I think I'm realising how much I prefer going out for social drinks than partying... The party hostel was cool and we met quite a few people there although we ended up moving to a slightly more luxurious hotel closer to the beach for our last 2 nights. If only we had learnt how to drive a scooter when we first arrived in Bali! It's definitely the best mode of transport. If things are spread out then walking just takes too long - especially in the heat - and using taxis is such a hassle and you always get mugged off with what you pay. We spent our last few days just going to the beach and eating, basically. Yesterday we finally ended up learning how to surf! It was difficult but so much fun and I actually managed to stand up quite a few times. I was very proud of myself, haha. The only thing is, none of us put on any suncream on the backs of our legs so we got absolutely annihilated by the sun. All 3 of us last night were standing in the mirror comparing our burns - it was so bad. Just when you recover from one thing something else happens, eh?!'
What an amazing 2 weeks! I still can't decide whether I loved Japan or Bali more - I definitely would love to go back to Indonesia and see more of their many islands. There was a lot of cultural stuff we failed to see during our time there, such as the thousands - yes, thousands - of temples that Bali boasts, and perhaps more of the rural areas, such as the west. I would have liked to have spent a day or two more in Ubud, too. If you have any questions about places to go, what to eat or what to do in Bali, hit me up! We tried to vary our time there as much as possible and all in all it made for an unforgettable experience. Just going to curl up in a ball and cry now because it's January and miserable outside.