Bali: The Island of the Exotic

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Bali has always been the ideal tropical getaway for years, and when Eat, Pray, Love came out, the seams of tourism for this little country island exploded.

The locals suddenly saw an onslaught of Western tourists and adapted accordingly; they picked up basic conversational English and an exceptional customer service attitude. Embarrassingly, my friend and I didn’t know Indonesian or Malay – except for a few well-known terms like “thank you” and “exit”, so it was a pleasant surprise (and relief) when they could speak to us in English.

We stayed in Bali, Ubud, for about 3 days and flew to Bandung for 6. Looking back, we would have gone with 4 days in Bali and 5 days in Bandung instead. We didn’t visit any beaches (what blasphemy!), but we had a ton of fun doing other activities like volcano trekking, water rafting, cafe hopping, indulging in balinese massages and rice terrace visiting. Our itinerary is pretty cookie cut-out, and I remember wishing we were more divergent on this point :(

Okay, here’s our itinerary for the 3 days we were in Bali.

Day 1:

  • Checked in to Jalan Tirta Tawar, Indigo Villas (they will be closing this year, sadly)
  • Dinner at AA Juicery & Cafe (4.6 star rating) – A vegan cafe with genuine fruit juices! Very delicious and cosy setting!

Day 2:

  • 2am: Mount Batur Volcano Bali Trek (about 2-3 hours to reach the top if you go at a consistent speed)
  • Lunch at a place which had quite bad food. It was part of the package.img_7708
  • Rice terrace visit

Day 3:

  • 8am: Water-rafting
  • Ubud Money Forest
  • Coffee Plantation (Famous for Luwak Coffee aka luwak poop coffee)

    This was amazing. They let us try 16 different kinds of coffee in small cups! So delish! We didn’t try the luwak coffee though.

  • Balinese massage (no photos here! haha)
  • Bamboo Bar for our last night, and Spanish foodfor dinner before that. (it’s nearby the Bamboo Bar, you can’t miss it. I can’t remember the name unfortunately)

A few points to note:

  1. Mozzie infestation: Especially at night. It’s a bloodfest. If you frequently get bites in your own country (less mozzie-ish country, that is), you should plaster yourself all over with mozzie stickers here.
  2. It’s expensive: Bali, it seems, more than the other Indonesian states, charges way too high. A day tour package is at least USD$65 and at most a hundred. So watch out for the lowest prices. Haggle, if you can.
  3. Bring good walking shoes: You’re probably going to do a lot of walking during the day tours so bring along a pair of comfy walking shoes. I brought a high-cut converse pair of shoes and suffered abrasion bites from the shoe’s high flap :(
  4. Mind you, volcanoes aren’t hot. They’re cold at the top. Contrary to popular belief (or maybe it’s just me), volcanoes are just like mountains when you climb to the top. I can’t believe I was so silly to have thought otherwise. So bring proper thick jackets when you go volcano trekking!
  5. Adventure water rafting (don’t try the commercialised ones for the real kick!): At first, we thought that we’d be tumbling over three meters high waterfalls in our dinghy. It was quite smooth-sailing, nothing scary. I’d have to say that USS’s Jurassic World water rapids ride was a lot more hair-raising. We went to the Ayung river. I can’t recommend you others because we didn’t get to try ‘em, but if you’re looking for a real thrill, you might want to seek out another river.
  6. Taxis are a convenience. Watch out for over-friendly taxi drivers, too.
    1. The taxis are affordable, even if the day tours aren’t.
    2. I also can’t help thinking it’s because of tourism that has made these taxi drivers a whole lot more “open” than they would usually be… Some would even go as far as to invite you out for drinks and stuff – see what your limits are and act accordingly. Don’t be pressured into thinking you’ll be a prude / rude if you refuse.
  7. Indonesian and Western food galore. Yup, a lot of the shops sell a variety of Indonesian and Western food. We absolutely enjoyed the rich flavours of the Nasi Goreng, Ayam Penyet, Mee Soto and Balinese Chicken Soup. The average pricing for a local dish would be between RP15,000 to RP25,000.
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