BALI – ISLAND OF THE GODS

BALI  –  ISLAND OF THE GODS

In 1984 we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for a year.  We never got to Bali and that has always been a regret of mine.  Last year I had planned to visit there after Myanmar.  My flight from Myanmar went via Bangkok, and when I landed in Bangkok, I had a message from my daughter to say she needed me to come home.  Third time is the charm! This year I finally got to do my trip to Bali.

I arrived Dec. 11th via Shanghai.  I had read the best procedure for getting a SIM card and having them put the number in my Grab application.  A $15 card gave me more than enough data etc for a month. Grab is the Indonesian version of Uber.  They also have Gojek and both have the option of a motorbike ride. 

A young man was waiting for me as I arrived at a little local guesthouse I had chosen in Jimbaran.  

Jimbaran is a very local area, not many tourists, but a great beach, that has tables and chairs set up right up almost to the water line – my kind of place.  

This trip was going to be different for me as I usually travel solo, and this time various people from our travel meet up group in Vancouver would be joining me for parts of the trip.  My friend from Switzerland arrived and we spent a few days exploring some of the sights.  When we went to Uluwatu Temple as we were buying our tickets I was told to take my glasses off as the monkeys would steal them.  I need them to see!!!  The monkeys  were so aggressive.  We saw them steal endless cell phone, sunglasses, hats, and we saw one girl wearing big gold hoop earrings have one ripped out of her ear.  Not fun.

We decided to go to Nusa Penida.  I wanted to see it, and I was so happy I went with Jaime.  The only way to see the island is on a scooter.  Roads are terrible so it was nice to just have to sit on the back and hold on.  We stayed in a very cute thatch hut resort with only 3 units.  The island is all very rutted winding roads going straight up and straight down.  Beautiful beaches are all at the bottom of steep cliffs – not easy to get to, and even more difficult to get back from. 

Back to Jimbaran for a few days with my first guest from Vancouver.  We then met my Swiss friend at the airport as we picked up another person from Vancouver as we shared a vehicle to Ubud.   Transport in Bali was a challenge.  I had read about the Hop On Hop Off bus service called Kura Kura.  I was expecting to use that – but it was almost impossible to find a bus, and everyone said they were totally unreliable.  There is little public transport so tourists must rely on Uber, taxis or shared rides.  This is fine unless you are a solo travel – then travel would be difficult and expensive.  Uber can drop people in Ubud, but not pick up there.  Ubud has a local taxi mafia that is a total rip off.  

Accommodation is reasonably priced and places we stayed were clean and affordable, usually including breakfast.  I found meals quite expensive.  Any meal with water or juice would cost at least $10.  There was not a great variety in the menus. Beer was affordable, but I do not drink beer.  Wine was terrible and far beyond my budget. 

In Ubud you could rent a car and driver for a day for $40 and plan your own tour.  Joining an organized tour for a day was usually $20 plus entrance fees for 10 hours. 

We did go to some dance performances that were inexpensive and very well done. 

Back to Kuta for people to leave and arrive.  I had booked a place on booking.com but their entire description as to location etc was not correct.  I was fortunate booking.com gave me a credit after the owner refused a refund.  It worked out well as we found a great budget hotel called Grandmas.  Outstanding in every way – and $22 a night – who could ask for anything more. 

Once again we went back to Ubud as the new arrivals wanted to see it.  New Years Eve was fun, but there was no countdown.  Fireworks stared at 11 and went non stop until 2 am.  

There were not a lot of “attractions” in Ubud, but walking was always interesting.  We did do a one day snorkelling tour.  

My return ticket was cancelled due to the Corvid 19 outbreak.  It was a bit of a challenge to buy another one, but for lots of money I was able to get one via Taipei. 

I enjoyed Bali.  I had expected it to be more like Thailand than it was. I always felt very safe.  I finally got to my dream destination, but, like most places, for me, it would be a once in a lifetime visit. 

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