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Location 13,14,15: Kuta, Seminyak & Ubud-Bali, Indonesia

INDONESIA | Thursday, 19 May 2016 | Views [321]

Bali- Indonesia

When people hear the county name Bali they immediately have an idea of what it may be like.  Bali often gets depicted in a way that alludes to beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and a "zen"-like atmosphere.  After spending some time in Bali I can report back that it does exhibit many of those aspects, but not necessarily to the degree one would think.  I arrived in Bali very late because my flight from Kuala Lumpur was delayed due to the nightly thunderstorms I experienced while visiting.  We touched down around 1am and I grabbed a taxi, checked-in to my hostel and called it a night.  The hostel I stayed in was quite social, so much so that it had a pool that all the rooms faced out to, so it was pretty easy to strike up a conversation with someone at any point during the day.  The hostel included unlimited pancakes 24 hours a day, the only catch is you make them yourself.  I am not going to lie, it felt kind of nice to actually cook something again.  

My first morning I walked to grab a SIM card and then strolled to the beach nearby, which happened to be packed with vendors selling surf lessons.  Bali apparently hosts a huge number of locals, who make their living by teaching visitors how to surf.  It was only 10:30am and the entire beach was chaotic, including the water because everyone within a 5 km radius was there learning to surf.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of people and didn't want to leave my belongings unattended, so I headed back to the hostel to see if I could grab some others to join.  I ended up spending the rest of the day by the pool just mingling with all the other travelers.  I met a bunch of cool people and ended up spending the rest of the week with them in various locations on the island.  The hostel was located in Kuta, which is pretty far south and the first major location to visit once you leave the airport.  I started talking to a few girls who were planning on trekking to the top of the volcano Batur, to watch the sunrise, so I asked if I could tag along.  We booked the transport and were told to be ready for pickup at 1:00am that night/morning.  I wasn't super thrilled about the early pickup time, but since I was still exhausted from arriving so late I figured it was a good excuse to go to sleep early.

I woke up at 12:45am, put my contacts in and jumped in our car headed for the base of the volcano.  The ride to the volcano was 2 hours and our driver decided to take a nap 45 minutes in, so for the next hour and change we traded off who got to keep the driver awake.  Once we made it to the base (in one piece) we started up the trail, which ended up being close to a 2 hour hike.  The first hour wasn't terrible,  but it was humid, the second hour was rough because it was almost entirely straight up.  The volcanic soil definitely made it difficult to traverse, but once we reached the top it was all worth it.  The sun started coming up about 30 minutes after reaching the top and the views were honestly really amazing.  It ended up being mildly cloudy, which normally would hinder the views, but in this instance it made the view beautiful.  The volcano faces another large set of mountains, so the pictures we were able to get looked great.  We spent the next hour on the peak of the crater and then took the steep trail back down, we only had one fall between the four of us and it wasn't me….overall success!

The second day I joined a few people and we went to the beach for a few hours and then ended up meeting some others at our pool.  We spent the afternoon there just hanging out and then went out for a couple hours.  I only had three nights in Kuta before we went to our next location, so I didn't stay out too long.  In the morning I shared a cab with a new friend to Seminyak.  Seminyak is kind of the higher end area of Bali, it hosts a number of organic restaurants/cafes, boutique lodging and a ton of shopping.  Once we arrived in our 43 bed hostel, I dropped off my bags and took a couple of strangers up on their offer to go to the beach.  I spent the afternoon there and then walked to get a $6 - 1 hour massage.  In the evening I hung out at the hostel and met a ton of cool people, which ended up being great because I met up with a few of them a day or two later in Ubud.  In the morning before we left I took a recommendation from a friend and grabbed breakfast at this great place called Nook.  It is situated, off the beaten path, on a rice field plantation.  The views are pretty spectacular all the way around and I haven't been to a place like it before.  The food was great and the surroundings even better.

Ubud was my favorite place in Bali for a number of reasons, but mostly it was because of all the things you can do there.  A friend and I took a cab the hour north and went to our guest house.  The one we originally booked ended up overbooking us, so we walked about half a block to the next guest house that had beds available.  We got a shared twin room that ended up being one of the cleanest rooms I have stayed in since my trip started.  The rooms in Ubud don't often come with AC, so it was a bit hot, but besides the temperature the place was great.  We got in touch with some of our friends we met in Kuta and walked 5 minutes to the Monkey Forest.  The Monkey Forest is literally a jungle sanctuary in the center of town that has hundreds of monkeys running throughout it.  The forest also has several temples and various structures that make for prime harassment points.  The monkeys bombard you if they think you have something they can eat, I bought a bunch of bananas and was assaulted by one of the larger monkeys within two feet of where I bought the bananas.  We spent about an 1.5 hr there then went and grabbed some food.  We went to the hostel that our friends stayed in (the one we checked-in to the following day) and then out with some others from there.  Overall it was a great first night in Ubud.

The 2nd day in Ubud I got up early, brought my backpack to my new location and then headed out for my whitewater rafting trip.  The trip ended up being a lot more fun than I thought, but also a bit more strenuous than I thought too.  Even though I didn't necessarily have to paddle that hard, it was difficult to fight your way around some of the large boulders.  A group of Chinese tourists flipped their raft in front of us and all of them went flying down the river.  One of the guides called out for them to stand up and everyone took direction with the exception of one struggling woman, so our boat ended up having to pick her ass up out of the water.  She was thankful and I couldn't stop laughing at her perfect display of how to be dead weight.  Once we got to the end point we had to take 300 stairs to the top of the valley to meet the driver, it was a real ass kick.  They fed us lunch once we got to the loading point and then from there we went back to the hostel.  I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging by the pool and meeting new people.  My favorite take away from Bali was definitely the people I met, which is great because I plan on crossing paths with some of them later on in my trip.  

Information on my first dive trip will be coming next…

Neill

See photos here.

Tags: bali, beaches, trekking

 

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