Hello! Today is my first day back after a lovely 4 days and 5 nights in Indonesia! I still am technically on study break until Sunday night, but I have to be at the airport at 3:30am on Monday to fly to Exmouth so that I can do research on the giant clam at Ningaloo Reef. Although I am sad that my time in Bali was very short, I was able to see and do so much and enjoy myself after turning in my 7,000 word, 32-page research paper on the woylie.
Last Friday we flew to Denpasar airport and made our way to the hotel. We traveled with only cary-ons which made life so much easier once we landed at the airport. It was Rp. 95,000 to get from the airport to our hotel, The 101 Bali Legian. This is the equivalent of about $8 and split between four people it was great. When going to the taxi, a bag-boy grabbed my friend’s duffelbag from her; she had never been traveling before and didn’t realize that he would expect her to pay him for his help. This turned into an argument once we loaded into the taxi and he left without any tip. It was quite an awkward first exchange in Bali, but although Bali is cheap…nothing is free!
The 101 Bali Legian was extremely nice. We had to have our bags scanned before we entered the hotel and had to pass through a metal detector machine. Our hotel had a STARBUCKS inside of it. I was shocked! There are no Starbucks in Western Australia and only a few on the East Coast, so I was not expecting to see Starbucks in Indonesia. I didn’t get coffee or order anything there for the first few days because I was really skeptical about the water. We found our rooms, settled in, and got to bed around 2am. We needed sleep because the next morning we were being picked up at 8am for Bali Adventure Tours.
Despite how tired we were on Saturday, we had a full day ahead of us. The tour we booked took us white water rafting on the Ayung River in Ubud, transfered us to a large buffet, and then brought us to the Elephant Safari Park where we rode elephants and go to take endless pictures with them! White water rafting was extremely fun. The water was warm and after seeing some Aussies on another raft jump in and swim I debated doing it myself. I was already soaking wet, but I ended up not having the chance. It was exciting and great exercise. Being constantly splashed with water, getting stuck on large rocks, and seeing numerous waterfalls along the way was excellent. Afterwards we went to our lockers back at the tour’s headquarters and got changed for lunch and the elephant tour.
The buffet was excellent and we helped ourselves to many Balinese dishes.The Elephant Safari Park was a lot of fun. We had to wait an extra hour because it was an extremely busy day for them with over 400 people coming through. We got to ride the elephant and take endless pictures with them. I love elephants and, from this picture to the right, it looks like they love me, too!
Day number two we ended up finding a private driver that took us around for 8 hours. The cost of this was only Rp. 600,000, about $50 U.S. dollars. We went to see handmade silver and gold jewelry and went to a town full of painters. We saw a local temple and explored around Ubud. At the end of the day we got to go to the Sacred Monkey Forest. I got some monkeys to hop onto my shoulder by holding their snack, sweet potato, near me. They were pretty friendly, but also very tricky. Nina left her hand sanitizer in the outside pocket of her backpack. She accidentally put her backpack on the ground and a monkey ran away with it. I tried to get it back but the monkey sort of hissed at me and showed me its sharp, scary teeth. It unscrewed the top of the hand sanitizer and began to drink it. I kept trying to get the hand sanitizer back, but it was too late. Needless to say, there is now one dead monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest because of this experience. I was really sad that I couldn’t prevent it. We also went to a spice and coffee plantation and sampled many different types of tea. This is also where I tried Luwak coffee; this is when they collect the coffee beans from the poop of mongoose and then sanitize and brew them. It was quite an interesting experience. I was really hesitant to try it at first, but Meredith and Chloe ordered some and I figured that I might as well…”when in Rome”, right?
The third day we had a LONG tour of the Northern part of the island. We went to Bedugul & Singaraja. We spent many hours in a very sketchy bus that I didn’t think would make it up some of the hills. My favorite part of the day was the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, the temple on the lake. Bedugul was beautiful and it was much cooler and less humid than Legian. We took many photos, saw the wedding outfits of a Hindu couple that was being wed, and explored the gardens. I am really lucky to have had such a great group of CIEE girls to travel with.
The last day of my trip, Tuesday, we hired our private driver again. His name was Ketut. He took us to an area where we could do watersports. We ended up going to turtle island and parasailing. I almost didn’t have the courage to do parasailing, but it was approximately $20 U.S. dollars so I figured it was a deal and I had to do it. We then had a nice and relaxing beach day. Meredith and I were little fish and went swimming in the clean and clear waters of Dreamland Beach and Padang Padang Beach while the other girls sunbathed. I cannot believe that some people will travel all the way to Bali and then not go in the water at the nice beaches! It really blows my mind. Dreamland beach was beautiful, but the waves were huge and one took Meredith and I under the water for a long period of time. I lost my fake Ray Ban sunglasses that I had bargained really hard for the previous night. Padang Padang Beach was my favorite. I drank coconut water and then stayed in the water until I absolutely had to get out. Padang Padang Beach was apparently used in the movie Eat Pray Love; now I feel like I must go watch the movie!
Our last stop was at Uluwatu temple where, again, there were tricky monkeys. We saw the sun set and then left to grab some dinner in Legian before Nina and I left the next morning. Uluwatu was really beautiful. It is situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It was an excellent last night in Bali and this is a trip I will never forget.