THINGS I DID IN BALI – PART 1

Let me wind the clock back a bit and share with you the activities I did in Bali last year. Did you read my last travel post? The Asia travel diaries continues. After a week between Hong Kong and China , Monique and I headed to Indonesia Bali. Our journey was pleasant. We got to Denpasar airport quite late, which made it difficult trying to arrange for a taxi to our hotel and also sorting out internet on the go. But after about 30 minutes drive we made it to our hotel Puri Dewa Bharata in Legian.

We chose to stay in Legian because we wanted to be a bit further away from the airport and Kuta area which is known to be loud and never sleeps. Also since we could not decide how long we wanted to stay in the southern part before heading to Ubud we booked the hotel only for one night. Great tip for you – if you are going to stay in bali for a long time, sorting accommodation while on the ground may be the best thing you can do, you know exactly what you are paying for. Bali is packed with hotels, villas so should you find yourself unlucky in a crappy accommodation, you will have the easy choice of leaving after a night or two, which you’ve already booked for to find better one. Remember that pictures don’t always tell the whole story. We extend our stay for another night since the place was decent and we wanted to explore the southern region a bit more before heading to Ubud.

Day 1 : In the water at Nusa Lembongan

Monique and I wanted to pack in as much activities as possible. If you don’t know of Monique, I mentioned her in my last post on Hong Kong and China – she a good friend of mine, met at Uni. She was the perfect travel buddy for this trip. On our first full day in Bali, after breakfast we arranged for a tour through our hotel. The tours the hotel offered involved either scuba diving, snorkelling or paddle boarding.

I had no business even looking at these since I could not swim well. Never really cared for being in the water or swimming. I do okay with floats and not terrified of big body of water – (bare minimal for survival, I think). Water just was not my thing. Didn’t ever envisage I would want to leisurely get in one. But for some crazy reason I really wanted to do these activities which required me to be in water and was also  experiencing FOMO so I decided to go for it. BUT not until I had spoken to several tour providers and the instructors, clearly explaining my abilities and them assuring me that I will be fine in their hands with a life vest. Even with the explantation I still didn’t know what to expect, so I also requested to have an instructor to myself the whole time at extra cost. I was not about to be an idiot with a grandiose sense of abilities. I can see now, even from my readiness to take part in these actives considering my swimming abilities, you could say was idiotic and I would agree.

We headed to Nusa Lembongan, part of the Nusa Penida three islands in the southeast Bali for snorkelling and paddle boarding  which was amazing. It was surprising to me how comfortable I was in the sea and how beautiful the corals were. I had my life jacket on, and trusty rectangular heavy duty float which was keeping up about four other people. HA! It was funny but also comforting to see others also needing that help too, for a while I was able to let go and enjoy being in the water. I loved every minute of it. We moved the boat around to different spots for more snorkelling. There wasn’t any point I felt unsafe however, I wouldn’t recommend you to do what I did, make sure your a water baby – a extremely at home in the water to take the tour, that way you will get the most out of  the it, being more in the water than on the boat. I only snorkeled around the boat. I was not confident enough to move further away, where I imagine had better and beautiful reefs.

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Monique and our paddle boarding instructor on the sea with my board in tow. I had given up at this point lol.

Paddle boarding was tricky for me. You would think that this would be the easy peasy activity for, ‘newbie swimmer’. Oh no! I found that harder! It didn’t help that I was not able to communicate properly with my instructor. Funny looking back why would you even need some to tell you paddle left and then right, I don’t think it was the paddle itself i found hard, it was the fact I did not have my life vest. The instructor mentioned to us beforehand we were only going to paddle on shallow part so no need for the vest. Yes, bad    suggestion, instruction, or whatever it was and bad on me for going through without it. I wasalert for possible danger and what ifs, so distracted, more concerned about things possibly going wrong and in turn could not paddle in the direction I wanted and kept veering away further and further to the deeper areas. All the fun went out of it, so I gave up on it all together, and walked to shore when the water was shallow. The poor instructor has to paddle one board while dragging my one along. He was amazing and so patient.

Nevertheless it was a great day! I had so much fun but was exhausted at the end of it. The true to Nusa Lembongan was a  full day event, didn’t return to our hotel into evening. I think for activities like this it’s best to go with your own crew so you can decide the time you want to leave or spent on each activity. It was little dragged on for me, waiting around on the island for everyone before heading back. Did a little research and found the island tours company Lembongan Island tour, I think booking with the tour company directly, you should be able to tailor it to your liking, in terms of the activities and time spent.

Another great tip, check out Pris and Eve’s blog before your trip. One of  my favourite bloggers, blogs welikebali all things bali, and they are lovely too.

P.S.: thinking I could have done some much in the sea had  I been a really good swimmer, I have decided to get good at it, currently enrolled on a swimming course, plus my own leisure swimming on Saturdays. I have also had to urge recently to try surfing, I need to be a good swimmer for that too. Maybe I will share with you on my progress with you.

Day 2, 1st stop: Puri Taman Ayun Temple (The Royal family’s temple)

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Day 2, 2nd stop:  Luwak Coffee

I heard there are several location in bali where the have these coffees, I don’t remember the name of the specific one we went to but I definitely recommend going to any. Lusaka coffee is made with defecation of the animal Civet, Eww? hehe..We went to this mini plantation where they rear Luwak and grow other plants for tea. They offered variety of teas about 20 of them, all so sweet, to try and also the famous Luwak coffee. Be prepared to walk away with a few bags of teas. The varieties are regular herbal tea from your lemon grass, to green tea, but their are so good, I don’t know what else they had it them apart from the obvious sugar. I know I could load my tea with between 5 -10 teaspoons of sugar and would still not achieve that taste.

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Day 2, 3rd Stop: Tanah Lot 

Almost missed the sun stetting at Tanah lot, we just about made it. Tanah lot is so beautiful i think it would be great to actually stay there, if I get the opportunity to visit again. A very busy touristy area, can be really crowded at sunset for the obvious reason. It was difficult to capture the scene without someone photobombing. Nature is so powerful! In spite of the overcrowdedness and the noise, watching the sun setting was surreal and peaceful – it did not take away the beauty of the place.

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Day 2, 4th stop: Seafood heaven at Jimbaran

Anyone who knows me know how much I love seafood. So it was my food heaven when our driver suggested we go to Jimbaran. Having amazing food by sea, with the wave crushing ever so slightly under the night sky, so romantic. And we got serenaded too, I would say ideal spot for a couple, honeymooners location. I could eat that food every single day, It’s toucher right now as I write this, I am salivating and want another serving of the food. My number one food recommendation for you when you visit bali is to go to the Jimbaran cafe and restaurants. I would about three group of restaurants a long the beach and I bet each it great. We went to the first one.

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What things would you recommend to do or places to visit in Bali? especially in the South, for the beach, water activites. I am curious to know what else is good down south?

Next stop  – UBUD.. for the next post.

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