This place is bloody full of Aussies it’s like the Australian version of Malaga! Our first impressions of Bali, except the Malaga comparison, was that it is extremely touristy. It was a very strange thing to get used to again – the last three months we have been in a relatively rurual Indonesian setting so it took some acclimatising to.
We stayed on the South East side of the island in a place called Sanur. Sanur has some of the calmer seas so it tends to attract more families and couples of all ages.
We had a small room in a villa complex, and it was pure luxury! Comfortable bed, air con, HOT SHOWER, and a shared pool. Oh, and I forgot to mention the resident cat ‘Misha’ – she was adorable and very cheeky!
We are still also enjoying the delights of non-tofu food, and Bali has many types of food available at cheap prices.
Of course you cannot go to Bali and not attempt to surf! We rented a scooter and headed to Kuta beach twice during our stay (a popular surfing beach). The waves were huge, I mean absolutely massive! Pretty daunting at first to be honest, especially watching all the pros cruising along them like they were just ripples in the ocean.
We found a stretch of beach where beginners where abundant and rented our boards out. Now we have only surfed in Cornwall before, so this was an entirely different kettle of fish! I got battered around so much I think I took in my own body weight of sea water within half an hour. I really struggled with the weight of the board – I just felt like I spent more time and effort lugging the bloody thing through the water, only to be taken up by a wave and spun about like I was in a washing machine. I eventually swapped the surfboard for a body board which I felt more comfortable using and had a better time after doing so.
Paul on the other hand took to it like a fish in water (I’m really not jealous at all…..!!!) and was standing up within half an hour of entering the sea.
It was completely knackering, however lots of fun hence why we went back again for another battering!
Paul expertly drove the scooter to Ubhad for another day trip. This group of villages is the ‘cultural centre’ of Bali – we knew it was going to be busy as it’s a popular destination for tourists, however we weren’t expecting just how busy. It was packed! So many scooters, tour buses and people – one day was more than enough for us.
Ubhad itself was pleasant enough – lots of quaint shops (if you have the money and space in your luggage to shop), many restaurants and cafes, and art galleries seemed to be popular. There was also a local craft market, however it was just aimed at tourists so nothing really authentic to be found.
One thing which stood out for us which was quite nice were the many small shrines which were dotted around – many unfortunately closed to the public so you could only glimpse at the beautiful architecture over the walls or through the gate. We did find one which was open which we really enjoyed walking around. You see a lot of stone statues of the monkey demon decorating the shrines.
We saw a lady delivering some offerings whilst we were there – the offerings are all quite similar – a weaved basket containing a small amount of food (I’ve seen rice or biscuits for example), some lotus flowers, and incense. I beleive there was a festival on at the time we visited Bali as there were many offerings such as these outside every house and business. Also many along the beach.
Weaved decorations line many of the roads, adding a cultural vibe. The Balinese people have kept many cultural customs even though their country has become a huge tourist hotspot, which is really nice to witness.
We spent 5 nights in Bali, quite a quick visit but due to the restrictions of our 60 days visa we could not explore more of the island. Thats one difficult thing about Indonesia – it’s very difficult to obtain a visa for more than 60 days unless you have an Indonesian sponsor, so you have to be picky about where you want to go! And you most definitely would not want to over your visa here!
Our next stop us Nusa Lembongan which is a 40 minute boat journey away.