How to describe Bali?? Three words: Religious, scooters, and GREEN! Religion and offerings touch everyone's lives multiple times a day. While walking the streets (no matter where you are) you will see little offerings all over the place, filled with flowers, food, and coins, thanking their gods for their daily blessings - which I think is pretty neat. To remember how thankful you are for what you have multiple times a day is a good reality check, and most of the Balinese people have way less, and live off way less than we do in America (or Japan!).
The streets are narrow, and most of where you drive is surrounded by lush, tropical greenery, or green, beautiful rice fields as far as the eye can see. Along the way, the streets are littered with little shops selling tourist souvenirs, massages, or food. Constant honking can be heard as motorists honk to let other cars or scooters know they are there and passing. A much more civilized honking ensues than what we experienced in China #respectfulhonking
Our trip began with 3 nights in Seminyak (a beach town) and ended with 4 nights in Ubud (a hipster town located in the middle of the island surrounded by lush greenery and rice fields).
We arrived around 3pm and were picked up by our hotel's driver. After settling into our boutique hotel, Bali Ginger Suites, located in the heart of Seminyak, only a few blocks from the beach, we set out exploring. See pics of our beautiful hotel below. Our room had a nice table outside, overlooking the pool as well as a kitchenette, bedroom, and bathroom (which was located "outside" (no ceiling for part of it - kind of cool showering 'outdoors')
Our first dinner was at Warung Mimpi, a local Indonesian spot I read about in our Lonely Planet book, and it consisted of several dishes of Indonesian food. We tried
All of these foods were piled next to one another on one plate and were quite delicious. We got to enjoy this wonderful meal all for only 17,000 indonesian rupees or $5.30 US. #nottooshabby
Trying to live up to our goal of a massage a day while in Bali, we set off to find a massage spot to relax after dinner. I enjoyed a nice hour foot massage, while Nate enjoyed an hour Balinese massage all for around $15 total.
After our massages, I had read about a drag queen bar right near our hotel, Bali Joe. Bali Joe had 2 other drag queen bars on either side of it so Nate and I went to go check out the festivities. Besides the guys being a bit flirtatious with Nate, we weren't too impressed with the talent or lipsynch performances, especially after seeing the ladyboy cabaret in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Either way, it was at least an experience on our first night in Bali :)
After breakfast being brought to our room at the start of our next day, we went and enjoyed a nice 2 hour spa treatment. Nate had an hour and a half massage with some foot reflexology, while I enjoyed the hour and a half massage with a rejuvenating facial. #bestwaytostarteveryday
After that, we packed up some sunscreen and headed over to Potato Head Beach Club in . This club is pretty popular and the atmosphere did not disappoint. Drinks were a bit pricey but #wheninRome #yolobitches We made some friends located from around the world (Hong Kong, Ireland, Australia). Then we had to head back to our hotel around 3pm to catch a traditional Balinese show.
So who knew you could order Uber in Bali?! Neither did I but I was excited to use it since it's been over a year since we've been able to use this app (they don't have it in Okinawa). So we ordered our Uber and headed over to Ulu Watu temple located on the western most spot in Bali on a cliff. Walking down to the performance area, you're able to spot a lot of little monkey friends (not sure if I'd call them 'friends' since I spotted them taking off with someone's prescription glasses #naughtymonkey #maybehewasnearsighted)
Here, while watching the sunset, we got to enjoy a traditional Balinese fire dance show which included Kecak. Kecak is a unique form of Balinese dance and music which was developed in the 1930s. It isn't accompanied by any orchestra/gamelan but by a choir of men (usually at least around 50), with it's origin in an old ritual dance, "sanghyang" (trance dance). In the sanghyang dance, a person in a state of trance communicates with the deities or ancestors.
In this performance, the story performed was loosely based on a a wise prince of Ayodya Rama, the legal heir to the throne of Ayodya, was exiled form the realm of his father Darata. Accompanied by his wife, Sita, and his younger brother, Laksamana, they went into the forest called Dandaka. While they were in the forest, the demon king, Rahwana, found them and lusted after the beautiful Sita. Accompanied by his prime minister, Marica, they made a trick to steal Sita. Using his magic power, Marica transformed himself into a golden deer. Disguised as a golden deer, they succeeded in luring Rama and Laksamana away from Sita. Rahwana, making use of this opportunity, kidnapped Sita and took her to his palace Alengka. Discovering the deception, Rama and Laksamana, set out to rescue Sita from the clutches of the demon king assisted by a huge army of monkeys under the command of their king, Hanoman. Rama succeeded in getting his wife back safely. #whew #interestingstory
This performance was very interesting to watch, especially with the eerie, continuous chanting going on the whole time, which gave it a bit of a mystical feel. On top of that, there was a gorgeous backdrop since this was performed on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and the performers had beautiful costumes. (see videos and pics below)
After the show, we headed down to Jimbaran beach area, which is known for it's seafood. Nate and I splurged a bit since we were celebrating this trip (3 years being married, 30th birthday, and MBA graduation) and enjoyed a lavish spread of seafood accompanied by candlelight on the beach. Our yummy beachside meal had lobster, crab, clams, squid, fish, rice, salad, and soup, and 2 Balinese beers to wash it down. There also was a little band walking around playing songs for each table. Once they found out we lived in Japan, they sang us a song in Japanese, followed by Hotel California #suiteduswell We also heard them sing songs in Spanish. We were impressed with their range! To finish off dinner, we got to enjoy a nice little firework show (Nate says he planned it.... what do you think? ;) ) and watch some lightening in the distance. Great end to a great first full day in Bali.
Btw, Uber in Bali, for our total 5.5 hr trip (including about 3.5 hours of waiting for us) only cost us about $35 total. #score
The next morning, we got up early to start our day with scuba diving! #scubadivingaroundtheworld #onecountryatatime Aqua Marine picked us up around 8am, and we started our 2 and a half hour journey up to the north western part of the island where we would be doing our diving, Tulamben Bay. Along the way, we got to see some beautiful rice fields and land around Bali
On the beach, they had local porters that would carry the tanks back and forth on their heads from the parking to the shore.
For our first dive, we dove at Tulamben Bay. We did a shore dive and headed over to . Along the dive we saw a few fish on the sandy floor (including a sting ray and scorpion fish). Then we headed over to the coral wall. Here our dive spotted the elusive frog fish. It's very hard to spot and we saw a pink colored one (our camera wasn't working at this point so there's a pic below from google).
After our first dive, we headed back to the dive resort to eat some lunch and relax in between our dives.
For our second dive, we got to dive the USAT Liberty which is one of the most popular wreck dives in Indonesia. The USAT Liberty was a US Army cargo ship built in NJ in 1918. It served in WWI but in WWII it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in January 1942 #gettneducated This was my first wreck dive and it was beautiful. The ship itself is 394 ft (120 m) and covered in marine life and corals - turning it into a fantastic dive spot.
The day we went, the water was a bit choppy and the visibility wasn't great. Ketut found a local boat to take us out (the usually dive off the beach but it was too difficult). Going down the first 15 ft you could barely see a foot in front of you, so we all held onto each other as we descended. One we cleared the first 15 ft, the visibility opened up and we could see her in all her beauty :)
Unfortunately, our camera started to die (we thought it was fully charged...whoops!), so we only got a few pics. We did get a few of the turtle we saw tho! I found a good video on youtube that shows how beautiful the wreck dive was (see below).
On the way back to Seminyak, we got to ask Ketut, our scuba guide, questions about Bali and its culture. One of the first things we learned was about the naming system. Bali has a unique naming system, where pretty much everyone seems to have the same name. Balinese people give their children names depending on their order of being born (same for both males and females) The firstborn child is named Wayan, Putu or Gede, the second is named Made or Kadek, the third child goes by Nyoman or Komang, and the fourth is named Ketut. If a family has more than four children, the cycle repeats itself, and the next ‘Wayan’ may be called Wayan Balik, which loosely translates to ‘another Wayan’. Learning about this made it fun to meet new people because as soon as we would learn their name, we knew what number child they were in the family. Names can also have another part added indicating their social status, or have a nickname describing them (to help keep them apart from others) such as Made Gemuk (fat Wayan), or Ketut Santi (peaceful Ketut). #interesting! #alsoalittleconfusing #easytoremembernames
Once we got back to our hotel, we showered quickly and then walked a few blocks down to Seminyak Beach. Here we tried to enjoy the sunset, while taking in the beautiful views while sitting on a colorful beanbag chair. Here we enjoyed a few cocktails, bought a painting, I got a henna tattoo, and people watched :)
After enjoying the 'sunset' at the beach (too cloudy :/) We headed over to La Sals restaurant, near our hotel, to get a nice, romantic, tasty Spanish tapas dinner. It was a little pricey but the food was good and we got to try lots of little dishes :)
Keeping up with our goal, we went and got an hour and a half massage after dinner before turning in for the night :) #ilovebali #dailymassages
Tune in for Part 2 Bali Adventures when we head into Ubud.
Follow in our Footsteps
Bali Ginger Suites (def recommend staying here! friendly great staff, nice rooms, good location, good value)
Jl. Drupadi II | Gg Ginger, Seminyak 80361, Indonesia
+62 361 734996
Jl. Caplak Tanduk, Seminyak, Indonesia
+62 361 732738
8am - 10pm
Jl. Camplung Tanduk no. 8,
+62 361 730931
4pm - 3am
Potato Head Beach Club
Jalan Petitenget No. 51 B, Seminyak,
Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 83061, Indonesia
+62 361 4737979
10am - 2am
(Jimbaran Bay seafood)
Kedonganan Beach, Jimbaran Bay, Jimbaran, Indonesia
+62 361 8537400
Aquamarine Scuba Diving
Jl. Petitenget No.2A, Kerobokan Kelod,
Badung, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 4738020
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!