Asia, Indonesia, Living in Western Australia, Travel diaries

Travel Diary: Exploring Bali

20151128_123036 As you will already have seen, we recently took a trip to Bali; a very unplanned and last minute adventure! You may recall that around this time last year we also did the exact same thing (that also being an unplanned, last minute decision).  A year ago, on leaving Bali we parted ways with our fellow nomads, Grimo and Pamela, as we flew to Australia to start our working holiday and they similarly flew to New Zealand to start theirs.

Bali 2014

We had jested how epic it would be if we got the chance to do it all again in a years’ time … what we didn’t expect was for it to actually happen!

Bali 2015

Grimo and Pamela were on their last tour of New Zealand when they decided to book in a cheeky month to Bali before heading home for the winter.  They instantly invited us to join them.  At that very time our working holiday visa expired and we were on a bridging visa whilst the sponsorship visa was being processed.  This bridging visa allowed us to stay in the country whilst a decision was being made but if we left the country we wouldn’t be allowed back in!  We couldn’t risk it. A crazy set of circumstances later, we were thrilled to find Grimo and Pamela on our doorstep in Perth! 20151113_161329 After an epic few days catching up and reminiscing we were sad to see them depart for Bali whilst we were stuck doing our 9-5 missing out on the fun.  We were itching to go with them. Then the stars finally aligned as a week later we got the call that the visa had been approved.  Woo hoo!  You can read all about it here. With a tonne of work on, and Shaun not working at all we were hesitant … for all of about 2 seconds!  We made the decision and were on Balinese soil within 24 hours!

Bali … we meet again

Day 1 After a manic morning at work and even busier afternoon organising a few last minutes details we were off to Perth International Airport, for the first time ever.  The 4 hour flight with Jet Star was easy, it just felt good to be back in the air after over a year. Having more wisdom this time we were prepared for the vulture like taxi drivers at Denpasar airport … but there was no chaos.  We breezed through and stayed the night in Kuta in the very nice Kana Kuta Hotel. Day 2 The wonderful staff at the hotel organised a scooter for us and we hit the road to Ubud to meet Grimo and Pamela.  Yes a little bit crazy but Shaun is an experienced rider and we ensured we had the correct licence and insurance (you need an IDP and ensure your travel insurance covers motorcycles and pillion passengers). An eye opening, adrenaline pumping, non stop hour and a quarter later we arrived into the ever-expanding hills of Ubud.  In just a year, the once tranquil Ubud has developed vastly with more streets brimming with shops and restaurants.  Probably all thanks to Eat Pray Love. Day 3 After seriously under-estimating the size of Bali we ditched the scooters for the day in exchange for a private, air-conditioned car to take us on a tour of central Bali.  We spent the day exploring multiple temples, a coffee plantation (we even sampled the Luwak-pooped coffee) and an amazing viewpoint of Mt Batur (the volcano we hiked last year), the lake and Mt Agung. Day 4 To continue our tour we jumped back on the scooters and hit the road west to the coast.  We managed to get half an hour or so of limited traffic and beautiful rice paddies.  Other than that Bali is pretty built up with houses lining the winding roads.  As most of the Balinese people are Hindi they each build a temple in the front of their homes so each house is pretty unique. After a couple of hours we pulled into Tanah Lot on the coast, home to a temple carved completely out of rock in the middle of the sea.  Pretty impressive but the views from the cliffs beyond were fantastic. Continuing down the coast we stopped off in Seminyak, at Potato Head.  An Ibiza resembling hotel, pool, bar and restaurant.  Good music and good vibes but overpriced food and drinks, pretentious people and an unclean pool meant we left pretty soon after! 20151127_154042 With sore butts from the bumpy roads, we hit the road for the final leg of the day down the coast to the South West corner of Bali, Uluwatu. After checking in to our hotel, we dropped off our bag and rode to the cliffs to watch the sunset. In all of the spectacular photos I had seen of Uluwatu it was not how I envisaged in real life.  The entire side of the cliff is layered with level upon level of rickety bars and restaurants.  Not exactly tranquil and peaceful but the sunset was pretty remarkable. And being a tourist lure, it was of course overpriced so we headed back for some proper Indonesian food and a Bintang along the road from our hotel. Day 5 Early morning we zipped off to find the infamous Pedang-Pedang beach.  We came across an idyllic stretch of sand lined by the cliffs and jungle with not another soul around.  We reveled in the tranquility and had quick dip in the warm gnarly waves before I got battered by some rocks. It turns out the ‘tourist’ Pedang Pedang beach was down the road (although it is actually called Labuhan beach) and we had been to the real Pedang Pedang beach.  So off we went again and found the tourist Pedang Pedang.  A staircase carved through the rock face opened out onto a similarly looking beach to Maya Bay in Thailand (The Beach).  Full of people, even a ramshackle beach bar and monkeys! Next up, the Uluwatu water temples built high up on the cliff edge. And the final leg back to the craziness that is Kuta.  The traffic volume increases, the air gets thicker and the roads get a little scarier! Day 6-10 The remaining few days we took the time to relax and recuperate with nothing more than chilling out by the pool, surfing, reminiscing and massages.  Oh and of course a lot of Bintang! We had an incredible 9 days of pure adventure.  It felt good to have no plans and the freedom to do as we pleased.  And best of all, catching up with old friends.  There really is no better feeling than making life long memories with friends. À la perchoine, Jodie & Shaun x  

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1 Comment

  • Reply Pamela 29/12/2015 at 5:58 pm

    Ahhh this was great to read, that lull between Christmas and New Year has been filled with recent memories. Love the blog and miss you guys.. till next time I guess xx

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