The drops of fresh hot water on my skin, felt like silk. It felt grand to be able to have hot water showers. After more than 2 weeks of just cold showers combined with salt water, this just felt dreamy.
We took the slow ferry (anywhere between 4-5 hours) to Bali (port of call: Padang Bai) from Lombok. The journey was long, almost a whole day in fact. Up at 8am, our transport picked us up from Kuta (Lombok) and dropped us off at the ferry terminal for the 12pm boat. Delays are nothing new and being delayed an hour didn’t hurt.
We got to Padang Bai in Bali at 5:30pm, just before sunset. It was a sardine can in the 'shuttle bus' to Kuta-Bali, which took almost 2 hours with the mad traffic. We got into Kuta just as the rain was dying down. The first place we saw was Tune Hotel, run by the AirAsia group. A room for two at Rp.245,000 with fan and hot water shower. It's located close to Jalan Legian and pretty much in the main part of Kuta town. For one night it was great and it was really comfortable too. If you would require Internet or anything additional, there is a fee.
It was a little sad checking out of Tune hotel after last night’s antics but we moved on to a cheaper accommodation, and it had a pool! Warung Coco is located on Jalan Majapahit, just close to Jalan Legian. For Rp.330,000 for 3 of us. This place came with breakfast and air-conditioned rooms with hot showers. The location is a bit of a walk to get to the busy part of Kuta, but for the price it was a comfortable and decent stay.
As we meet up with another friend in Kuta, we headed down to Legian Street for drinks. People watching is fun around here. What we noticed was that Kuta is filled by youngsters in their tweens bar and club hopping. It’s rather loud and busy on in Legian but for a more toned down scene, Seminyak is perfect. Seminyak has lots of shops, perfect for shopaholics. Jalan Legian takes you straight into Seminyak and the street is packed with stores of all sorts.
Along the way in and out of the monkey forest temple, the streets are filled with cafés, and shops. The little old shop, at the corner of the street as you turn to the temple was still there. I remember this shop well as it was the only one that sold postcards back then (going back 3 years). As we drove down further on we arrived at the Arts Market, situated at the main junction. It’s big, filled with lots of stalls selling paintings, carvings, clothes and so on. Bargaining is an art, and if you’re good at it, you’re sure to get things at a good price over here.
This beach is rocky and its not meant for swimming, rather an opening for surfers to get to the break. The waves crash in hard and it’s a rather tough swim out from the beach. But according to my surfer friend, it’s one of the best waves he’s gotten so far throughout our journey. There are lots of surfers out here, but I have to admit, it is much beautiful compared to Kuta beach and not many pedlars around too.
A few local guys in traditional outfit carrying huge shoulder bags caught my attention. They go around taking pictures of tourist, and believe it or not, the pictures are printed out there and then and sold to them. Basically that huge bag has a printer in it! Talk about capitalism.
Apart form visiting temples and checking out the main town, one can always catch the Kecak dance or a traditional Balinese dance. Its both beautiful in nature but capitalism has a way of ruining it every so slightly.
Balinese culture is beautiful, take time to understand it. People here are ever so devoted; I’ve seen a family praying in the middle of the ‘round-about’ where a little shrine, in the mid of morning traffic. Almost every place you walk into, you will notice little offerings of fresh flowers placed at the front door or by the side.
For those looking for comforts of home, a bit of luxury and fun, Bali is the place to be. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation and the island caters to ever class of holidaymakers. Tourism has taken over and much of the true untouched beauty of this island is slowing fading. But for a week of fun, culture and sun Bali has it all! If you haven’t been, for once in your life you have to make the trip.
Next up: Land of Smiles