May 18, 2016
Early morning. I wake up with the airconditioning blasting in my face and think about today’s adventures. Outside I hear a bunch of sounds I haven’t heard before. The birds sing a different song, the busy traffic noise is now filled with honking motorcycles. I am slowly adapting from one culture to another and I believe Bali is a perfect transition hub for this. I must admit, arriving in Bali wearing jeans was a bold move.
It is day 3 in Ungasan, a little village in the south of Bali. Sebastian and I have found ourselves a nice guesthouse (Orchid Paradise Bukit Villa) for the kick-off of our trip through Asia. Together with our German friend, Julian, we are spending the first couple of days at the guest house. This guest house rents out motorbikes which allows us to discover the island at its best, especially the touristy Bukit area. Bukit means ‘hill’ and you soon realize why. The area is blessed with a great selection of beautiful beaches (Balangan Beach, Bingin Beach, Padang Padang,…) and every night there is a different party going on somewhere in the area.
After the first initial days, we decide to venture out a little further and drive up north. We take our chances with the motorbikes and navigate from the heavily trafficked city center of Denpasar to the desolated village roads where suddenly prayers are broadcasted through loudspeakers. A handful of kids playing soccer are waving at us while we look for the next fork in the road. That day we end up in Jatiluwih, known for its spectacular rice terraces. Definitely worth the side trip!
Day 8 – The waves are rolling in at Double Six Beach, a popular beach destination north of Denpasar. We are overdue on a refreshing dip in the ocean. My buddy Julian goes in first and I am only a few steps behind him. Sebastian decides to stay behind. Julian is like a fish in the water glides over the waves that are greeting us on our way while we are sliding deeper into the ocean. Before I realize it I am quite into the deep… and a new wave is ready to pass us. I see Julian gently swimming over the next wave however I soon realize I might not make it over this wave. Three seconds later Poseidon turns the playful wave into a vicious one that is ready to crash on me with all force. Instantly I get spun perhaps five, six seven times into the water and lose track of which way to swim. Luckily my dangly limbs are touching the sand and I get myself to the shore. I drag myself out of the water. Enough of swimming for today…
Day 9 – We make our journey further north towards Ubud, where every traveler is trying to find themselves and the local monkeys find everything else to take from you. It is the Mecca where writers, yoga instructors and food lovers meet and talk about their own Eat, Love, Pray adventures. The monkeys rule the town but are extra sneaky in the Ubud Monkey Forest.
Day 11 – We embarked on a day adventure from Ubud to Mount Batur however we did not sign up for the Sunrise Mount Batur Adventure. This is a day trip that is organized by every tourism office in town. We decided to explore the area on our own and drive around Mount Batur instead, great if you are looking for a drive off the beaten path.
After two full weeks in Bali we are ready for our next destination, the Gili Islands, just off the coast of Lombok. We take a shuttle service from Ubud to Pandang Bai and from there we take the ferry to Lombok and the Gili Islands, where I almost got stuck due to insufficient cash on a solo adventure to Gili Air…