Bali – Love at first sight!
We arrived in Bali on a fairly warm May afternoon after an 8 hour long journey, which involved changing flights in Bangkok. Needless to say, we were exhausted!
The puzzled look on the face of the receptionist on reaching our hotel did not help! ‘Sorry! We are overbooked’! Those words hit us hard at a time when all we could think of was a nice hot water shower and some rest!
‘I am sorry what? We have a confirmed booking!’ and as per Aman, he saw my face turn different shades of red while saying that!
That moment, this guy walked up to us, assured us that we have been booked in the next resort and that he will ensure we are checked in safely. While checking into our new resort, I reconfirmed if they were putting us in the standard room that I had booked and the receptionist said – ‘sorry we are booked so we have to upgrade you to a 4 bedroom villa with a private pool’! At that very point, we knew our trip was going to be legendary! 🙂
Here are the things we fell in love with in our trip to Bali!
Bali has a popular Villa culture. Most tourists like the luxury of having their own private villa, a pool, a kitchen, differently themed bedrooms etc.
Ours was no different with beautiful 4 bedrooms, a humongous living room, sun beds, outdoor Jacuzzi, outdoor shower, a super awesome sound system, a kitchen with all the appliances required for cooking and the option of an in house chef coming and making breakfast for us. I could have spent the entire day just lazing around in here 🙂 We raided the mini bar, splashed around in the pool and just lazed on our sun beds.
At night though, I did feel a little scared as the place was huge with glass doors serving as enclosures to the bedrooms and the living rooms. It made me miss being in a cozy hotel room, though Aman thought I was crazy!
Ubud embodies the culture of Indonesia. With beautifully structured temples, lush green paddy fields and lanes of local paintings and craft items, it mesmerises from the word go!
After lunch, we walked on the terrace of paddy fields balancing pretty well on the edge of terrace. I did have my little moment of embarrassment, when I slipped and tripped on the slightly slushy mud 🙂
We wrapped up the day when the sun started to set, nicely curled up in a local cafe, with a large cup of the famous Luwak coffee. Ubud was surreal and left us craving for more.
“What is the difference between an active and a dormant volcano”? Asked a little boy in a small school in an even smaller town in India. The teacher replied, “Don’t worry! You will never see one”
Those words played in Aman’s head when he was eating eggs that were boiled in the steam coming out of a crater of an active volcano in Mt. Batur, Bali. Needless to say, the boy was Aman 🙂
We, along with 300 other tourists from all corners of the world, climbed a hill that is home to an active volcano. This trek began at about 4 am and we reached the peak just before sunrise at around 6 am. The view from the top of the hill was absolutely breathtaking!
Our wonderful guide Budi ensured that we stayed safe and entertained throughout our trek narrating stories of tourists and village legends.
Bali has 3 famous peaks, Batur, Agung and Abang and there is actually a 3 peak challenge for hiking enthusiasts. The details of which can be found here.
Legian Street, Kuta
Keep calm and party on! Legian Street, Kuta is essentially where all the action happens. The best of clubs and live music haunts are all mostly on this street. So this one night, we decided to paint the town red and got dropped off at one of the live music bars that was playing Australian music. None of the songs were known to us, but we grooved anyways 🙂
The other super hip place we visited was Sky Bar. Aman and I are more of a live music, relax and have your drink kind of a couple, but we had to visit one of these clubs to compensate for the lack of such places back home. At the entrance, they made us deposit all our belongings and this kind of had me a little worried (the stories we hear about robberies, banged up abroad etc. are a little daunting)
Sky Bar is divided into 3 levels, the first 2 levels were a little disappointing with the blaring music, dingy lighting, too much crowd. I was already in the mood to step out after a drink. However, we chanced upon this flight of stairs that took us to the terrace which had our kind of party, our kind of music and our kind of people! It was much later that we read about this place and that it is the no.1 rooftop bar and restaurant in Bali. So after drinking and making merry for a couple of hours, we called it a day. The lack of photographs from that night is testimony to what fun night this was 🙂
I could dedicate an entire post to Gili and I will. In this post, I would like to talk about some of my special highlights of Gili.
Our objective of visiting Gili was to do a scuba diving course and the link to my post to that can be found here, but honestly it did surprise us with what all it offered us.
The first 3 days were mostly spent in the course as it was a day long activity and we would be exhausted by the end of the day.
The end of the 3rd day, we celebrated on the streets of Gili and by that I mean actually café hopped. All the pubs/ cafes in Gili have live music scene, vibrant crowd, sea food and Bintang. Every café has a unique theme to it. One of the most popular one being this live reggae music place – Sama Sama. Then there is pub for all football lovers, one for beer pong, one for Mexican food and music, one for gaming nights and so on.
There was this one pit stop or may I say just an open bar on the street, the idea was to have a shot at this bar while hopping from one place to another and move ahead. The place was Ombak Bar and I was very impressed with the concept and the Rastafarian theme
The other fun thing in Gili was the night food market. Pay a fixed price and you can chose from the variety of food items on the food truck – throw in chicken, fish, rice, gravies etc. take what you want and eat to your heart’s content.
One of the unique things about Gili is that it is a motor free zone, so there is no honking and very little pollution. We hired bicycles and covered the entire island’s periphery peddling away with joy.
Finally, the sunset! We were told by someone that the sunset in Gili is the most beautiful sunset that they have ever seen. So one evening, we took our cycles and went to a café, famous for the sunset view, sprawled on their colorful bean bags (most cafes/ pubs have bean bags on the beach), popped open our Bintang and watched the sun set over the pristine blue waters of the sea.
As the sky changed colors from yellow to orange to purple, we fell in love with Indonesia…enough to visit this country again! 🙂