I thought I’d put in here an old entry that I wrote on my past blog about my trip to Bali in 2014 🙂 I apologize I’ve very lazy with my writing on this blog as I think I rushed it and probably wrote the word ‘like’ too many times! EDIT: I write about riding elephants in Bali. PLEASE DO NOT do this. This was 8 years ago when I was young and un-educated about animal welfare. All of the elephant venues in Bali offer elephant rides, which involve cruel training and expose the animals to stressful situations. It doesn’t matter how ‘nice and green’ the ‘Sanctuary’ they’re living in looks. Interacting with the animals is one of the country’s major tourism draws but over the years less and less tourists are doing this as they’ve come to realize it’s not all as nice as it seems. In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. It involves extreme physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, it may look at peace, but this is because its spirit has been broken. The bullhook, used permanently, reminds the animal of human dominance.
Our first day in Bali!
After getting off the plane after a 6 hour flight we were very keen to just get through customs and straight to our hotel.
However once we got off the plane and the bus took us to the airport terminal we saw the line for quarantine and man was it long! There must have been at least 600 people lining up! At least there was wi-fi at the airport so me and Nathan just stood in line after paying for our visa’s and looked on Facebook etc.
There was this lady behind me with her husband and 2 kids who tried to push in front of us so I stepped in front of her (who does she think she is, everyone’s lining up for the same thing) and she gave me the meanest look! She honestly looked like she wanted to slap me. She said something to her husband in their language and the whole time we were lining up they were glaring at me. I could feel their eyes piercing into the back of my head
I was waiting for her to yell at me or something so I could yell at her back but she ended up joining a different queue.
Once we got through, our shuttle was waiting for us to take us to our hotel. We got flowers at the airport and our shuttle driver gave us water to drink on the way.
Our hotel was wonderful from the very beginning! I did a bit of research about Bliss surfer Hotel before we booked and i’d heard great things about it so I was very happy with our choice. We stayed there for 6 nights in Legian for around $400 for the both of us so it was well worth the money.
When we arrived they carried our bags for us, gave us a welcome drink, and took us to our room. I was very impressed with how neat and clean our room was. The service from all the staff was excellent as well (always saying hello when we walked by etc) and they were very accommodating.
When we’d finished unpacking a few things we thought we’d go out and explore the main strip of Legian for a bit. It was only about a 8 minute walk around the corner from our hotel which was good but man the roads in Bali are way worse than Thailand I think. Awful awful awful! So many cracks and parts that don’t have any footpath or just massive holes in the sidewalk that you’d fall into if you weren’t looking. After a few days me and Nathan begun taking taxi’s back to our hotel just so we wouldn’t have to walk back down the dimly lit roads to our hotel.
Markets in Bali are all very much the same. Selling lots of Bintang singlets (the local beer) lots of fake watches and Nike shoes along with every store selling converse shoes and ray bans sunglasses along with little nick knacks like bottle openers and mini surfboards etc.
We didn’t buy anything on the first day though. If you ever go to Bali you’ll be.ripped off on the first day because they’ll double the price of something to sell you and you won’t know any different so just straight out buy it.
I think t-shirts are around $50,000 RPH ($5 NZD) and bags are like $150,000 – $20,000 if you can get it down to that price!
So after being harassed walking down JL Legian we came across a little restaurant that we decided to eat from (there’s heaps of them it’s just finding one that’s good!) I ordered some Chicken Enchilada type thing and Nathan ordered a steak. It was pretty average but edible and I can’t really complain because we only paid probably NZD $15 for our whole meal including drinks. We were really knackered from our flight by this stage so we went straight back to Bliss Surfer Hotel and got ready for bed. We hadn’t slept in 24 hours so I was asleep so quick!!
I woke up with the itchiest leg!! I must have been bitten the night before or something because I had two massive lumps on my left leg that I just couldn’t stop scratching. Usually whenever I go on a trip I pack everything from sunscreen to anti-histamines but after many time of not using the stuff I bring in the first place I decided not to on this trip to Bali. Once we’d gotten up and showered we headed downstairs for our buffet breakfast at the hotel. At first we loaded up our plates because there was so much to choose from but by the end of our trip we were having cereal and very plain breakfasts because our tummies didn’t quite like the change in breakfast choice.
There was everything from fruit salad to pancakes to omelettes and fried rice with sausages and noodles. It was quite a selection we had every day! Once we’d finished up our breakfast we took a taxi to Kuta Square. (About a 5 minute drive away without traffic for NZD $1.50) we explored the shops, i bought a couple of watches, some massage oils and little souvenirs, Nathan got some sunglasses from a Kuta market stall which he nearly ended up paying $190 for!! He got confused with the money but thank god he quickly realized he was handing over too much money and only paid NZD$20 for 4 pairs. Phew! They were really cheeky there though. I bought a pair of sunglasses but he wouldn’t give them to me until i looked at his ‘mates’ dresses and tops from the stall next door to his. Id paid for them and everything and the guy kept telling me that this or that dress would suit me and to try this dress on and I was so beautiful blah blah. I was so not in the mood! Me and Nathan were sweating getting used to the heat and I just wanted to leave! The previous guy I bought the sunglasses off though had a go at his mate I think and he ended up handing over my purchase when He could see i’d defiantly had enough. We took a taxi to Legian Beach and lay in the sun for the rest of the afternoon.
I basically just sweated my face off trying not to get burnt and Nathan battled the waves in the massive surf Legian beach had. Honestly I was too scared to go in very far because the swell was huge! When we’d had enough of the beach we walked a little bit back to Legian and looked at some more markets on the way then ended up just getting a taxi back to Discovery Mall because it was so hot. The heat in Bali I think I can handle a lot more than my trip to Thailand. I was either expecting it to be hot and got used to it a lot quicker or Thailand is just way more humid.
When we got to Discovery mall we had an ice-cream from Cold stone Ice-cream (which I loveee) and Nathan had a thick shake. They honestly make the yummiest ice-creams.
We had a look around all the shops as well but I didn’t really buy anything. There was heaps of cheap stuff but not as cheap as what you can get on the streets. we thought we’d go back the next day and have a proper look before we went to the Water park across the road from Discovery Mall the next day. I wasn’t super hungry so I kinda skipped on the dinner and Nathan had Burger King. Haha really branching out on the local cuisine on our second day weren’t we!
Today we thought we were gonna make our way to Waterbom Park.
We had just finished breakfast and were lazying around on the couches by the pool when Nathan asked me to look on the calendar on my phone and see when we had a night free to go out to this really nice dinner place called Potato Head.
It wasn’t until I looked in my phone that I realized we’d booked a Private Day Tour of Ubud that morning and we were already half an hour late!
We ran to reception where we were greeted by our tour guide.
Ahh, such a rush!
We quickly explained to him that we completely forgot and to wait a few minutes while we ran upstairs to our room to get a small bag ready for our day.
I was a bit gutted because for the Ubud tour I was expecting to take lots of pictures and that morning I purposely didn’t wash my hair because I thought we were going swimming. Hence why the Ubud photo’s on my Facebook I have my hair up in a ponytail looking like I just rolled out of bed.
I can’t remember our tour guide’s name. It was with Dewa Tours, and it was all very professional and he was really nice.
No one speaks the best English really over there but he was easy to understand and took us wherever we wanted to go.
We stopped off first to this Weaving place where we saw lots of Traditional Weaving techniques being made my Balinese women.
Quite interesting if you’re into that sort of thing…
Next stop was the Bali Bird & Reptile Park.
We saw lots of birds (Obviously)
We took some pictures with them on us and got to hold them. There was even a bird show we attended and I ended up going up as a volunteer and had heaps of birds fly around me and grab stuff off my head.
After we had a good look around the bird park we went next door to the reptile park. Man were there a lot of snakes. Me and Nathan aren’t a big fan of snakes so we didn’t stick around to look at them for very long. There were also alligators and tortoises and those big lizard iguana things I’m holding in the picture I’ve attached.
Once we’d finished at the bird park we headed off with our driver to the Monkey Forest. I was expecting some monkeys in a forest behind some cages or something. But nope, there was literally hundreds of monkeys in a forest roaming around stealing everyone’s bananas they purchased. (Note to anyone who goes here, don’t even bother purchasing bananas. The guides give you food to feed them anyways and you get to see them be fed before you leave)The monkeys are so cute!
Until they turn on you and each other and go nuts trying to fight. They’re actually like humans!
I can understand how there’s a relation between humans and monkeys.
So we fed some monkeys, did a walk up to a temple and took some pictures. I really wanted this one monkey to come near me and sit on me so I pretended I had some food and he came over and when he realized I was full of shit he started attacking me. He pulled at my bracelets and actually like hit me and tried to pull my dress until Nathan told him off haha.
After playing with the monkeys (And my hands feeling like they needed a wash)
We were driven to a restaurant out in the hills of Ubud.
I probably put bad karma on us as soon as we walked in because I stepped on one of the Balinese offering they had placed at the doorway
Offerings in Bali are literally everywhere. From the front of shops, in taxi’s, on the top counter of a store at the mall. They line the streets and are placed in and around temples EVERYWHERE. Basically I was bound to step on one at some point.
‘Offerings’ as they’re called, are basically a ritual of giving back what has been given to you by the Gods. They appeases the spirits and bring good health to a family. The little baskets are made out of natural materials (Like a banana leaf) and they may hold a small amount of rice, meat, fish or part of a flower. It’s quite interesting because every morning the streets are swept and everything is cleaned to make way for the offerings to be placed.
Anyways, So i stepped on one of them and pretty much dragged it into the restaurant with me while a Balinese lady ran after me.
We were seated at a table upstairs overlooking a pool (There must have been a hotel next door) and a beautiful green view of trees and rice fields.Thinking we’d really experience the Balinese culture on this day trip, Nathan and myself opted for a more authentic dish (Compared to burgers, fries and Pizza’s we’d been demolishing already)
I ordered a Curry and Nathan ordered a Grilled Chicken.
And my god, that’s exactly what he got. A chicken which was probably caught out the back, grilled and put on a plate for him while my green curry was pretty much water, some veges and a horrible flavor with Chicken in it.
I’m sorry but I couldn’t even eat my meal. I must be too used to additives and flavors in every meal I have back home so I attempted to eat my Curry but ended up just eating some Rice and mixing it around my plate to look like I’d eaten something!
Meanwhile Nathan had to break the bones off this chicken and tear it apart to eat it and ended up giving up because it just wasn’t appealing at all for him to eat!
We left pretty quickly after that.
We drove past alot of cool stuff, ended up stopping and shopping for ages as well while our poor driver just sat outside the car and waited for us.
We felt bad but it’s what they get paid to do! I’d feel less bad if he had a book or something to read.
Whenever we’d walk past with our shopping he’d run up to us and take it for us to put in the car so we never had to carry anything around.
We also did a walk through Ubud, up in the village where all of the locals live. By this stage I was so knackered and our driver said it was gonna be a 2 hour walk. He ended up dropping us off half way so we wouldn’t have to walk uphill and he met us at the end. I’m so thankful he did that because my feet were killing me and I was living on very little sleep I felt!
While I was looking at this abandoned house, I heard my name be called out and I realized my old flat mate from Auckland, Ashley was doing the walk as well! Small world isn’t it.
Once we’d gotten to the car, I was pretty keen to go home, and that’s what I thought we were doing! But suddenly our driver said he would take us to a traditional dancing show which was like an hours drive away and didn’t start until 7.30pm.
Me and Nathan secretly really didn’t want to go. We just wanted to head back to our hotel, have some dinner and go to bed haha.
We were just going to go along with it but I thought, No I’m so tired I can’t do any more activities. I asked Kindly if it was okay if we missed it and our tour guide was really good about it.
He was all like “Of course, its your tour! You can do whatever you like”
On the way back, we hadn’t paid him yet so Nathan and I started counting out some money and for some reason I thought we had to pay him $60 USD EACH.
Even Nathan asked me, are you sure it’s $60 each? (He thought it was a bit expensive because everything over there is soo cheap)
I was adamant I was right so we counted up some money and even put an extra NZD $10 in there (Doesn’t sound like much but it would have been in Bali)
When he dropped us off at Bliss Surfer Hotel, We thanked him very kindly (Because we did have a really good day) We told him that we’d left him a little tip in the payment and gave him his money. He was all like “Oh wow, thank you so much! Have a wonderful rest of your holiday”
As we were walking off, Nathan was like “Now you’re sure it was $60 each?” So I re-checked the e-mails I’d sent to confirm the tour and it turns out it was $60 for the whole day altogether.*Sigh*
I know $60 isn’t much to loose but in Bali it’s heaps!! I could go out for dinner for three nights on that 😦
Bet he was a very happy tour guide that day!
The next day we went off to Waterbom park and had lots of fun on all the rides and lots of swimming!
There were a few scary rides that I wasn’t sure whether to go on but I kept thinking, I’m only here once so I gotta do it!
Very proud of myself, I went on everything and it was lots of fun 🙂
If you have kids and go to Bali, this is a really good place to go!
You don’t carry cash around either, you basically have a loaded wrist band to pay for everything from massages to food there. (Just like at R’n’v)
We got our picture drawn as well and got some reflexology done and a half hour back massage.
We were there right until closing time.
The scariest ride was probably ‘The Climax’
You enter a small chamber 16M above the ground and then a trap door closes you in while you step on this platform and it fully gives way underneath you. You basically freefall on a near vertical dip before going back up and looping around.
I don’t have my own pictures of it, but here’s some I found on google…
After Waterbom, we headed over to the mall across the road and went to the Games Arcade we saw there the other day.
We were expecting it to be heaps of fun but half the games we broken and we put $10 on a card which we just couldn’t run out of money on!
I swear every game was like 10c!
We ended up just playing the same game over and over to win tickets from and exchanged over 500 tickets at the end and got a stuffed owl toy.
We named him Olly.
Went to Crystal Bay today!
Our transport van came and got us from our hotel and drove us to where all the boats were.
We met a lovely lady on the trip as well who lives in Australia and travels all the time. She was telling us everywhere to go and what countries to visit. I felt like she mothered us on the trip, but in a good way.
When we got on the yacht, we were given drinks and fresh fruit as well as a sea sickness tablet.
There were like little bed lounges at the front of the boat where Nathan & myself set ourselves up on.
I had a nice little shut eye on the 2 hour boat cruise until I felt really sick and ended up having to lie down inside the cabin. Urgh!
It wasn’t just me though. Everyone else felt really sick as well.
When we finally got to Crystal Bay though, It was really nice!
The bay isn’t easily visited and is therefore often empty. There’s just palm tree’s and a small village with some animals on the island which belong to the locals.
Just outside the bay there is a big rock (Which you can see in the picture) and the diving here is considered some of the best on the island with eels, Napoleon Fish, Parrot fish and turtles. Only people who have good Dive experience can dive here so Nathan & myself just stuck to snorkeling.
I loved it though!
The water was clear and blue and there were lots of fish to see. I wish we did more snorkeling on our trip. We tried to on Gili Island but we were told to go in the wrong place where you couldn’t see much under water 😦
On the Island we also had a lunch, a tour of the village (Where we met some local children and saw how they all lived) learnt how to break open coconuts, received massages and did more snorkeling. It was a really nice day actually!
We left in the afternoon, and the boat ride back was a lot better I felt
We finished off our night with a trip to Beach-walk mall. Where I happily found the Victoria Secrets store! (I basically spent all my money there while on holiday) It was a smaller store (Didn’t sell bra’s etc…) But I bought pretty much every pair of underwear and body butter they had. Along with like 8 perfumes and spritz and little goodie bags. When Nathan saw Victoria Secrets he kinda just left me to it and went to get something to eat.
Today we were picked up by Bali Adventure Tours.
They do activities such as Rafting adventures, River Kayaking, White Water Rafting, Jungle Trekking and Mountain Cycling as well as owning the Bali Elephant Safari Park where you can touch, feed and ride elephants through the tropical jungle. (It’s not really a jungle, just a part of the park you go through)
We booked the day of white water rafting, watching a Night Time Elephant show and riding the elephants at night then finishing off with a dinner.
Once our driver picked us up, he also picked up another couple from Australia pretty much the same age as us. It ended up working out really well because we all got along and were doing the exact same thing. They were in our white water rafting boat and joined us for dinner at the end too.
White Water Rafting was heaps of fun!
It was defiantly not super thrilling like you see on some adventure things in New Zealand but it was really nice to float down the Ayung River and see the rain-forest. It was the perfect thing to do if you’ve never been white water rafting before so you can learn what to do and how it all works without getting too freaked out.
Half way through the 2 hour journey it ended up pouring down with rain!
Like literally just drenched us. It got so bad that I couldn’t even open my eyes. Everyone else had to paddle while I had my oar over my head because my contact lenses were beginning to come out. What a nightmare! Haha.
At the end, we had a shower and then headed off to this Elephant Show. If I could change anything, I wouldn’t do the elephants at night time. Unless you have a brilliant night time camera you don’t get really any good pictures. Plus when you’re riding the elephants it’s hard to see where you’re going so you can’t experience your surroundings very well.
I’d rode Elephants in Thailand before but it’s still an exciting thing to do when you’re overseas.
After feeding and riding the elephants we went and had a buffet dinner at The Elephant Park. The dinner was alright (nothing to rave about unfortunately) .
It was another ‘Bali buffet’ which tends to always be on the menu when you’re doing a tour. They did have a lovely vegetarian Lasagna which I think I took two helpings of.
Before we left we had a look at the gift shop and Nathan bought me this little tiny stuffed toy elephant.
I have this thing where anything that’s soft and fluffy (Even if it’s not alive) it just melts my heart.
I think my Mum secretly had to throw out some stuffed animals of mine when I was younger because I just wouldn’t let them go. Nathan knows this as well so he picked up this tiny, cute little grey Elephant and said he’d get it for me. Knowing I was running out of room in my suitcase I said no but he insisted and kept making little baby elephant noises saying I was abandoning her and all she wanted was love blah blah so I caved and now she sits next to me on my bedside drawer. *Sigh*
Just another thing I’ll never be able to let go of.
She does look pretty cute though.
[Gili Islands, Gili Trawangen]
The three Gili Islands, From left, Gili Trawangen, Gili Meno & Gili Air.
The big Island is Lombok (Where planes fly into and heaps of people live)
We sadly left Bliss Surfer Hotel and headed on to our next destination. Gili Trawangen!
It was a 2 hour speed boat ride over (Heaps of people got sick on the boat but not me!)
Gili T (As it’s known) is the largest of the three Gili Islands with a population of around 800. To get around the island you basically either walk, hire a bicycle or hop onto a Cidomo (Horse cart)
There’s no motorized transport so you have to either walk or go on a Horse Cart and you do end up feeling really sorry for the horses having to cart round people and luggage all day in the heat. 😦
We stayed at a place called Vila Ombak. It was all good, the staff were very slow, which we realized was very common on the island. The Vila we stayed in was probably a 5/10 for me.
3 light-bulbs didn’t work. We had to ask 4 times for them to bring us towels to our room as we had none and it’s all salt water showers with very limited fresh water.
The whole island itself has limited tap water that’s fresh so it is really Island life!
We didn’t mind the salt water after awhile though. Its really good for your skin anyways! It helps to moisturize it as well as drying out blemishes and it doesn’t disturb your skin’s natural barrier so it’s great when you’ve got a cut or a sore because it’ll heal it up really well.
We stayed right across from the beach where they had this area with a big projector screen and bean bags and showed movies every night.
You’d basically lie on the beach and watch a movie (Which we actually never ended up doing) but we walked past it many times with lots of people laid out on the sand.
Gili T is a big ‘Learn-to-dive’ Island.
I never did it but If I ever went back I’d probably give it a go.
Lots of resorts have ‘learn to dive’ type pools and there’s heaps of boats that can take you out and teach you as well.
There’s a Gili Yoga Centre (Which I only just found out about), you can horse ride along the beach and surf in certain parts.
There’s actually lots to do on the Island that’s known for it’s partying.
We went there and never partied though. Most of our nights were spent going out for dinners, taking walks along the beach, browsing around the few shops that they had.
Basically if you wanna relax you can, if you want to party you also can.
Nathan’s sister went to Gili T last week for 4 nights and she said that was defiantly enough time to stay there.
We went for 3 nights and it was perfect I think.
There are boats that can take you around all 3 Islands and we were going to spend a day doing that but after a week of just doing so many activities this was our chance to do absolutely nothing and I loved it.
We attempted some more snorkeling, did a lot of swimming in our hotel pool, had drinks at the swim up bar, ate out lots, got my nails done and massages and basically just lay on the beach all day!
Also, if anyone ever goes to Gili T, there’s a place called Sunset Bar which is really nice to go to just before sunset and it’s really beautiful!
It’s a bit of a walk but it’s worth it 🙂
After Gili Island, we headed back to the mainland and stayed for a few more nights in Seminyak.
It was a lovely stay!
We stayed atCentra Taum and I defiantly recommend it as somewhere to stay if you’re not quite sure.
The staff are really friendly and helpful and the rooms are really nice as well! 🙂