We decided to travel to Bali whilst in the west of Australia as, for some reason, flights are considerably cheaper than if you were flying from Melbourne or Sydney. Why not, eh?
After a lot of planning (and wanting to see as much as we could in the two weeks we gave ourselves) we decided to start our trip in Kuta. This was also to do with our flight getting in at 9pm so we wanted somewhere relatively close to the airport (it turned out our flight was over an hour delayed so we didn’t get to Kuta until after 11pm making us extra glad we planned this as our first stop!)
It’s common to get drivers to take you to a bunch of different places (temples etc.) and just wait for you while you’re looking around. When I was reading up on Bali it seemed like, for a lot of places, this was the only way to get around unless you were going to hire a bike or something. I haven’t seen any public buses yet and a lot of the places are quite spread apart so you couldn’t walk to them.
The traffic is very busy. There isn’t really any lanes, just a lot of cars and scooters that all go in the same direction and try not to hit each other. You’ll pull out onto the road and the other cars won’t stop just, they slow down JUST enough to not hit you – they are just not touching your bumper. Horns are also used liberally to let people know you’re coming out of a turning or over taking them. In true Asian style, all of the cars and scooters just weave around one another to get to where they want to go. Our driver (Nyoman) says that the traffic is bad all over the island and that it can take longer to get places than people think when they look online.
The heat is really nice here. It doesn’t get cold and even when it’s not particularly sunny it’s still warm. It does get really humid though, even being here a day we have experienced different levels of humidity which does take a bit of getting used to. Our first stop was a beach called Padang Padang Beach. You had to pay 10,000 Rupiah (this isn’t a lot – everything is in the thousands – it’s roughly 60 pence) and then walk down some stairs on the side of the cliff onto the beach (not as scary as it sounds – you don’t know it’s the side of the cliff until you’re at the bottom). This was the first beach we saw in Bali and it was beautiful!
The waters were a gorgeous light blue and very calm. There was a small bar – a shack really that had coolers filled with drinks – and people sunbathing, swimming and paddle boarding. While we were there a huge storm cloud came over the sea and the waves got bigger. This just encouraged the surfers to go out and, although you could see lightening and hear the thunder in the distance, no one seemed phased by the impending downpour.
When the rain came it was fast and very heavy. We sheltered in a bar and had a drink while it passed. It only lasted around half an hour and then everyone went back out onto the beach to relax and swim again. Our first outing and we already experienced a tropical downpour!
Our next stop was the Ulwatu Temple. This is a group of small temples and shrines that are scattered across the edge of the cliff. The views are breathtaking. We had to wear sarongs over our legs and there were warnings about the monkeys, apparently they are known for stealing your sunglasses and hats. We didn’t see any monkeys at first because it had been raining and apparently monkey’s don’t like rain. Luckily (we seem to have had this luck since our trip began) the monkey’s started coming out just as we neared the end of our walk around the temple so we got to see some (without them stealing any of our stuff!)
The final stop of the day was Jimbaran Bay to try the seafood which Indonesia is known for and watch the sunset. Jimbaran Bay is a big beach and is a favourite for the sunset when you’re in Kuta – we fully understand why! We sat at a table on the beach, drank beer and ate a big seafood feast. I hadn’t tried anything we had eaten before (I don’t really eat fish or seafood) but have now tried clams, squid, crab and prawns. It was nice (although messy to eat) and the sun set was incredible. Every time you looked up the sky was different and more beautiful.
I couldn’t have asked for a better first day in Bali. Our next stop, Ubud.
Sending Love x