Week 18 Day 118
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
8.5069° S, 115.2624° E
Our day of travel started at 2:45AM (pretty early after playing pool with our Swiss friends late into the night!)
We first caught our shuttle from the hostel to the airport at 3:30 for our 6am flight from Cairns to Brisbane.
From Brisbane we flew to Perth where we had a 6 hour layover before catching our final flight to Bali which landed around 10pm.
While our 6 hour layover was a little obnoxious, it was good that we had time because the Perth airport is laid out very poorly for anyone connecting from a domestic flight to an international flight. You have to leave the domestic terminal and catch a bus which only runs every 20 min to the International Terminal.
Once we arrived in the International Terminal we spent some time shopping at Duty Free where we purchase our Christmas Present from Momma and Father Doughty, our new Canon DLSR Rebel!
Thus far all the pictures for the blog have been taken with either our GoPRO Hero, my samsung S4, or Tom’s Samsung S3. While obviously those mediums have been working pretty well, my disappointment in our pictures of the Penguins in NZ made me realize a higher quality camera was needed to capture all Tom and I will see in our year of travel.
We finally arrived in Bali at 10pm only to wait in the long line of mostly Aussie Holiday travels to get our VOA (Visa on Arrival) and clear customs.
Travelers Tip: Visas for Indonesia are $25 US Dollars (they prefer US dollars no matter where you are from.) and are good for 30 days.
When we finally cleared customs we were happily met by Iluh an employee of our homestay Rumuh Roda and her boyfriend Abut a Balinese taxi driver, making it extremely easy to get all the way to Ubud a 45 min drive away.
Travelers Tip: Make sure you barter with your taxi driver, while we were very happy to have a ride waiting for us at the airport, we were charged 300000rp ($25–the exchange rate right is currently 12000rp to $1USD 12/2013) to get to our homestay from the airport and were later able to negotiate a ride back to the airport for 160000rp (13.30)!
We quickly passed out, exhausted from our travels.
We woke up early the next morning, happy to have gained 2 hours since we once again moved West and incredibly impressed by our accommodations which we hardly noticed the night before since it was so dark!
For 250000rp or roughly $20 dollars a night, we got a private room and bathroom with hot and cold water (apparently that isn’t always the case) and free breakfast overlooking our swimming pool and beautiful property.
Super excited by just the Rumuh Roda property we decided to was time to head out to explore.
Right away we were blown away by the architecture. Every building has such intricate designs, statues, and meanings in the statues. We later found out each home also has their own temple in which an offering is made every time someone at the house cooks. (Which is pretty often if you home happens to be a homestay that has a restaurant!)
After walking for about 10min we decided we needed to cover more territory so we headed back to our homestay, Merrelled up and headed out for a run.
Our first stop along the way were the rice fields close to our homestay. We would later learn these fields are nothing compared to some of the fields, but they were pretty cool to us!
The next location we hit was the Monkey Forest. I had read about the forest online, but nothing could have prepared me for how amazing this place is! Monkeys are my favorite animals, so you can imagine how happy I was so see HUNDREDS of Monkeys freely roaming about coming up to Tom and I and climbing on our backs!
Some people describe the Monkeys as evil because they will stop at nothing to get food from you if you bring in Bananas. We learned this the hard way on our second trip to the forest later that day, as Tom’s pants were nearly pulled down and my wrap dress untied when we were swarmed by Monkeys!
We made it out of the Monkey forest fully clothed and with all our belongings, with a bellyache from laughing so hard.
Hungry from watching the Monkeys devour our bananas, we set out to find food.
After being in NZ and OZ where you’re lucky to get a entree for under $15 we were ecstatic to find a three course meal with 2 large beers a piece for 120000rp ($10)!
Travelers Tip: I’ve been told that you can actually get food for cheaper and that the listed menu prices are there for tourists who don’t know any better, but if I can get:
- A beer for 26000rp ($1.30)
- Veggies for 15000rp ($1.02)
- A meat dish for 25000-30000rp ($1.50-1.55)
Then you’ll get no complaints from me!
We finished off our first day in Bali visiting a local temple.
A special ceremony (the reason for the ceremony got lost in translation between Darta and I but Tom believes it had to do with the full moon??) was happening so even on a Wednesday night the temple was bustling with activity as people watched skits and dance.
Thursday we ventured out further than Ubud and went exploring with our tour guide Abut. For 500000rp ($42) Abut drove us all around Bali!
Picking us up at 8:30, we started the day by going to a traditional Balinese Dance called Barong & Kris.
Following the dance, we headed to a local mini mart to pick up some Bintangs for the rest of the journey
Travelers Tip: You can walk around with open containers in Bali!
The next stop was Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave, a sanctuary with bathing pools. It is part of Balinese culture to bathe in the pools to ward off evil spirits.
Elephant Cave is so incredible, it almost overshadows the beautiful property that it sits on. As you wonder around there are plenty of cool trees like the one to the left, a waterfall, plenty of small ponds, and of course tons of lush Balinese greenery.
The next stop on our journey was Tirta Empul, another temple with bathing pools.
Following our time at Tirta Empul, we set out for Danau Batur to eat lunch at an Indonesian Buffet over looking Gunung Agung, one of the Balinese volcanoes.
Following lunch, it was about time to start heading home, but Abut had a couple more stops for us along the way.
We mentioned at one point during the day that we like coffee so he took us to Manik Abian, an agricultural property that specializes in tea and coffee.
We got to sample all kind of coffee from Strawberry Coffee to Sweet Potato Coffee all for free! Manik Abian does charge for one type of coffee and that’s their Kopi luwak.
Luwak coffee is made through a process where the “animal” as the Balinese refer to it or Civet eats the coffee beans, then digests them improving their flavor. It sounds crazy, but the coffee was actually really good.
Following our coffee stop, we headed to the Tegallalang Rice Terrace, which put the origianal rice field we found in Ubud to shame.
Exhausted from our day of exploring we made it back to Rumuh Roda around 6pm.
Friday we kept things pretty chill. It rained most of the day which is common in Bali this time of year. Their “rainy” season runs from Nov-April.
Yoga Barn, might be one of my favorite studios ever! It is hard to not relax in the 2nd floor open air studio surrounded by rice fields and gardens.
Following yoga we scouted out a restaurant to get some Nasi Campur, Gado Gado, and Chicken Curry our favorite Balinese dishes!
We spent the rest of the afternoon filming a Christmas video for our family and friends back at home.
We hope you enjoy it!:
Part of the filming involved Tom getting a 40000rp shave. It was supposed to only cost 30000, but considering it did take over an hour Tom didn’t argue the price hike. (Although he probably should have demanded she use at least a 2nd razor considering she shaved that entire beard with 1 single blade razor!)
Overall, Bali was a very easy intro to Indonesia. Most people speak pretty good English making it easy to get around, ask questions, and order food.
Balinese paradise does have a couple downfalls.
- AC can be hard to find, but unlike living in our campa in OZ showers are readily available so I don’t mind the heat!
- It’s a gamble anytime you enter a bathroom as to if they’ll have toilet paper, but most toilets come equip with a Bidet.
- The water isn’t sanitary so it’s necessary to drink bottled water.
- The Balinese will take advantage of tourists by charging inflated prices!
Travelers Tip: Never think the Balinese are giving you a good deal! Make sure to research all prices before entering a negotiation or accepting a price.
Since I was referred to Rumuh Roda by a friend of Darta’s family I thought we wouldn’t have to barter to get fair prices. This turned out to be a mistake in judgement considering they charged us almost double for our transportation from the airport and most likely over charged us for our tour of Bali. From what other travelers have told us, we probably could have negotiated a lower price as well for our room.
While even the inflated prices are still very affordable, it was disappointing to learn. I would still recommend Rumuh Roda as I’m sure any homestay would do the same, but just keep in mind all prices are negotiable in Bali if you ever go!