On Nov. 19th whilst lounging around the pool late morning, we met some other people who would be on the tour with us. In the evening we met everyone at the hotel for a brief chat with the tour leader Alissa before going out for a meal together at a nearby restaurant. It was a nice and easy way to start getting to know the 20 other people, with which we would be sharing our lives over the next 12 days. After dinner everyone went off and did their own thing, we went to bed because we are cool like that and we wanted to be fresh for the big night out the next day at Sky Garden.
We walked along the cliffs and were greeted by monkeys along the way that looked tempted at any minute to either jump on someone’s head or grab something as they walked by.
After visiting the temple we went down to Padang Padang beach to chill out until dinner time. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of garbage on the beach and in the water, which didn’t make swimming in the water very enjoyable. It did, however, gave us the opportunity to talk to our tour mates and guide. For dinner we went to a really nice restaurant on top of the cliffs with amazing views of the ocean and sunset called Single Fin. The food was really good and we managed to find some vegan options. It was super busy so we thought the food would take a while to come, but surprisingly it came really quick! Props to the team there that night that made it a pretty awesome experience.
When we got back to our hotel in Kuta we were given a couple hours to get ready before we went out on the town. Our first stop was a bar nearby the hotel to get some cheap drinks and play some drinking games. The whole group started off playing some numbers game which confused everyone, and then some people split off playing beer pong and the ring of fire game. We joined the latter, and by the time we left everyone was buzzing and pumped for our next stop, which just happened to be a club called Sky Garden. Entrance was 200,000 IDR per person (around $15 USD), which seemed kind of steep. However, we figured it was a once off thing and it was supposed to be the best club in Kuta, so we went for it. Included in the entrance price was a free drink, and the Long Island Iced Tea was super strong it ended up being the only drink I had the entire time. As soon as we were up on the top floor it was straight into dancing the night away.
Today was fun because we went for a surf lesson with a company called Mojo Surf in Seminyak. It was an early start and everyone had been warned the night before not to get too shwasted at Sky Garden. Some heeded that advice…others not so much. There was no worries though as it is well known that swimming in the sea is a good hangover cure. Everyone was pretty excited to get out there for the surf lesson and start riding some waves. Unfortunately though, the beach and water was full of garbage again which made it gross to be in. Our group did our best to collect and dispose all the garbage we could find on our section of beach, which made an amazing difference. Sadly though, there was so much floating in the water that one near the shore couldn’t help making contact with at least several pieces at all times. However, I found that focusing on trying to stay up on a surf board as waves pushed you helped to distract from all the garbage.
After surfing we had lunch and then made our way up to a town called Canggu, which was one of our favourite places in Bali. The vibe was artsy and environmentally conscious, with lots of places offering vegan food options. We got some free time before dinner and went for a walk to check as much out as we could.
We would be spending the night in Canggu at a place called Frii Hotel Echo Beach. It was a pretty cool place with two pools and our room on the second floor had a balcony overlooking one of them. It was also only a 10 minute walk down to the beach, which was awesome.
Dinner was at a very quirky and antiquey restaurant called Monggo Bar and Restaurant that was just filled with all sorts of memorabilia. The food was great and the vibe amongst the group was buzzing.
We were told today was going to be a lot of driving, but to break it up we were going to go to a few temples and some rice paddies. It went by in a blur, but everything we saw was amazing. There is so much history and culture in Bali it would take a long time to ingest and understand all of the info that was thrown at us in the short amounts of time we spent looking around each place. For the temples we had a guide named Wayan, which we found out is the name given to every single first-born Indonesian Hindu. So since I can’t remember his second name, I would never be able to track him down amongst the other millions of Wayans in Indonesia.
By late afternoon I think everyone was over the bus journey, which luckily happened to coincide with our arrival at our next home for the next 2 nights. Intro Travel had purchased a villa for the tours to stop at, which had enough beds for up to 25 people and an infinity pool that was amazing. The caretaker of the Villa was a man named Soo who welcomed us upon arrival and gave us an introduction to the villa. We were all stoked to be staying there, and as soon as was possible everyone jumped into the pool with and without Bintangs in hand.
Dinner that night was one of my favourites, a home-cooked meal by the staff of the villa. They were nice enough to include a lot of tasty vegan options, which was a breath of fresh air.
We had another early start so we could go out on local boats, 5 people per one, to hopefully see wild dolphins. We were told there was no guarantee we would see them since they are wild, but luckily we did! It was about 20 minutes into the trip that a large pod of dolphins could be seen. From then on our troupe of boats followed the pod for about an hour, seeing them do acrobatic jumps and swim really close to the boat.
After we were done following the dolphins the boats took us back close to where we started and we were given the time to snorkel the area. There were some nice coral and structures that had been sunk there on purpose to promote reef production. There was one turtle asleep in about 10 meters of water that everyone was trying to see but the current was pretty strong which made it hard to reach.
After all the water activity in the morning, I was happy to hear we would be going to a homestay where we would learn about local fruits and vegetables and have an authentic indonesian meal prepared by the family. We were shown turmeric, ginger, cassava, snake fruit, papaya, and chili peppers. The last one whoever was brave enough was challenged to eat whole. The chilis were only small but they packed a massive spicy punch which thankfully only lasted for about 15 minutes. Only a handful of us ate them but I think all of us had watery eyes and burning mouths.
When we got back to the villa after lunch, there were balinese massage therapists waiting for anyone wanting a massage. Almost everyone went for it because at 130,000 IDR (approx. $10 USD) it is money well spent.
Stay tuned for more in the next post Bali Intro: Days 6 – 12.