Hello from Bali and a very hungover me. But that’s the end of the story, let us start at the beginning…
My last few days in Melbourne were fun, but very chilled out. On Monday morning I was up at 6 to catch my first flight to Singapore. I flew Jetstar and wouldn’t recommend it; I was lucky enough to have a full package (thanks STA!) but if you don’t have that you have to pay for everything, headphones, films, food, a pillow, the lot. On a 7 hour flight! Crooks!!!! Anyway after a 3 hour stopover at the most amazing airport (there was a cinema!) I was on my flight to Bali.
I met some Irish girls on the plane who had been travelling together for a couple of months. Chatting to them made time fly and I was really happy when they invited me on a cruise of the Gili Islands. Customs, visas and a job offer later I waved goodbye to my new friends, negotiated a taxi and was on my way to Sanur and the Big Pineapple Backpackers. It was 2am when I arrived but Mia had left me a note on how to find my room, so I snuck into the dorm and went to bed.
I had only meant to stay one night, then meet the girls for the cruise but for one reason and another had to leave Bali earlier than intended so decided to skip the Gilis. They’re meant to be beautiful, but I’m so glad I stayed here! The hostel is full of people travelling on their own so a group of about 15 people has formed in a way that only happens with strangers in a foreign country, we’re like the best of friends. They all intend to go to the Gilis on Tuesday now, I wish I could go.
After sorting some life admin the first morning a group of us went to the beach. Kristine from Norway has been here so long she knows the locals so we were greeted like friends and had a discount for the sun beds. There had been a big storm in Singapore the night before so the water was pretty murky, but it was still warm and beautiful.
That night I went shopping in Sanur, there had been a huge earthquake in Jakata and the Indian Ocean was on tsunami watch which was fun. Sabina and I asked our taxi driver if Bali had a warning system only to be told that Bali has a lot of temples and good people, so they don’t need a warning system, there will not be a tsunami. Reassuring!! By the next morning though the warning was lifted and everyone relaxed. Well honestly we were pretty relaxed before, must be the Bali lifestyle!
A group of 7 of us decided to spend the night in the mountain town of Ubud, so hopped in a mini van and travelled for an hour or so passed rice fields, temples and a million scooters.
We stayed in Jati, next to Lotus Lane and were given two family rooms (each with two double beds) including breakfast for 800,000 rupiahs…about £7 a night each. Bargain! The hotel was a mini paradise just off the bustling main street, only 5 minutes walk from the monkey forest and 10 minutes from the markets and temples.
Having dropped off our stuff we set out to explore, stopping for some delicious Balinese Food before hitting the markets. If you have ever been to a market in Asia, or even Morocco you’ll know what it was like, an endless maze of stalls and sellers offering bags, clothes, shoes and all types of memorabilia, some more family friendly than others!
We also bought tickets to see a fire show at a temple that evening, after a quick pedicure of course! The story was that of Rama and Sita, acted out through the medium of dance by people in fabulous costumes while men chanted and told the story in a circle around them. The finale consisted of a man walking on burning coconut shells, pretty impressive!
The following morning Sanj and I went to visit Sunarta and his silversmith workshop. We spent around 3 hours working on designs and bringing our ideas to life. It was just something a little different. I’d had this idea for an anklet I have wanted for some time so it was a fantastic way to bring it to life and make it even more special.
While we were there we met a girl called Jenyne who works for Cirque de Soleil. She was making a butterfly pendant, the logo of her company. If you have a minute check out this video she shared with us, very impressive!
Sanj and the gang went for massages after that while I visited the Monkey Forest. Basically a lot of monkeys who’ll take bananas from your hand, go through your pockets and bags and generally monkey around the temple and trees. It was fun!
That evening a larger group of us went to Jimbaren Bay, a place renowned for fresh sea food and spectacular sunsets. Sadly it was cloudy when we were there, but my snapper was delicious and as always the company made the evening!
On the way back we stopped to pick up some supplies. The Big Pineapple is so relaxed that this weekend the owners went away and left Kristine in charge. Imagine that! Leaving the guests in charge of the hostel! In true ‘while the cat’s away’ style we celebrated that evening with a pool party, preceded by many drinking games. It’s been years since I’ve played ring of fire, slaps and hide and seek!! Haha! So much fun! Massages in the pool, lots of tunes, mighty ka kaaaaing and 5 bottles of vodka, bet you wish you were here huh?
You guys still with me? Epic blog I know! Well done if you have made it this far, I’m almost done I promise!
Yesterday was spent, understandably, in a hungover and chilled out state. We hung by the pool, did laundry and went to the beach. In the evening 15 of us headed over to Kuta for free cocktails and dancing at the famous Sky Garden. There are so many nationalities here of all ages and yet everyone gets on like a house on fire!! Outside the club you receive a VIP pass which entitles you to an hour of free cocktails, an hour and a half for girls. They’re so strong that an hour is enough, wow! The glasses were piled in pyramids behind the bar and you could select from a lemon colour, orange or blue. The lemon and blue were my favourite, the orange one tasted like marzipan! Bleugh! At one point we had a tag team going to try and fill up our table before the time ran out, but security were on to us and began pouring away the drinks. Probs for the best!!
By 2am everyone had had enough. In Bali you are constantly beeped at and offered transport and taxis so finding a lift home was no trouble. There were 7 of us at first, then 9, then 11, but by this point we had already found a driver and once they have you they don’t want to let you go! So, 11 people in a 7 seater? 5 in the back, 4 in the middle and 2 on the front seat next to the driver, who was brilliant! He cranked up the tunes and even took us to Macdo en route for some munchies, star!
Today we visited Tanah Lot Temple. At first I thought the guys were winding me up. ‘what are we doing today? ‘going to tan a lot’ ‘I like your thinking!’ jokes. Anyway I was feeling so hungover and honestly wanted a day in the sun so convincing myself to go to a temple was effort, but fomo kicked in and off I went. Should have stayed by the pool! We weren’t allowed up to the temple, and actually the place they tell you to go does not offer the view you expect when going there. Pretty disappointing! Got back and chilled out in the sun, working on my tan on my last day in this amazing place. This evening we had a massive group BBQ, around 20 of us preparing food and sitting to eat together before watching An Idiot Abroad in the pool. There are worse ways to spend an evening!
This is what I was looking forward to when planning my travels, places like this filled with amazing people who just enrich your experience. I’ve had the best week and don’t want to leave tomorrow. But at the same time I am so looking forward to getting to Thailand. Hopefully things will just keep getting better and better!