One Week in Bali

We made it! We arrived in Seminyak, a beach town in Bali, Indonesia on 3/1/17 around 3:30pm local time and went straight to the beach. The weather was perfect – sunny, hot, and somewhat humid. We jumped in the ocean to wash off the feeling of cramped, stuffy airplanes and went for a stroll. We caught a fantastic sunset and let the feeling of our arrival sink in while we enjoyed a tasty Bintang (the local beer). It’s really happening! Totally surreal.

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A colorful culture

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Seminyak sunsets do not disappoint

After cleaning up in our hotel (Primera Hotel Seminyak -good location but mediocre overall – http://primerahotelseminyak.com), we strolled the town and took in the sights. Busy, hot streets full of scooters and vendors. Lots of international tourists. We slept REALLY well that night after almost 24 hours of travel.

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Typical Seminyak street at night 

 

On 3/2/17, we woke up and hit the beach. We surfed, we napped, we walked, we read.

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We surfed! Some of us better than others…

That night, we drank in another amazing sunset while enjoying some live music on the beach. The highlight of Seminyak seems to be the beach party scene. To us, it felt similar to the beach party towns of Mexico, but with an Asian twist. Incredibly fun, and a perfect, mellow start to the trip, but we didn’t feel a need to spend more than two nights here.

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On 3/3/17, it was off to Ubud! How incredibly easy it is to fall in love with this place. Charming streets full of curious shops and unique restaurants, all surrounded by lush jungle terrain and beautiful rice terraces.

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Beautiful ornate Hindu doorways line the streets in Bali

Ubud caters to those seeking to cleanse the mind and body – a place of healing, health, and spirituality. Think yoga, spa, meditation, and organic restaurants (although there are still plenty of bars full of Bintang and cigarettes for those not looking to cleanse). Overall, the atmosphere is slower and cleaner than Seminyak. Less aggressive vendors. Picturesque surroundings everywhere. Very friendly locals.

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Beautiful coy ponds were everywhere in Ubud

Our lodging in Ubud, Jati Homestay (http://www.jatihs.com/), was a fabulous treat, especially for the price. Perfect location, beautiful rooms and grounds, and warm, welcoming staff.

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We stayed in Ubud for three nights, although we both wished we had decided to stay for an extra night or two. On our first day, we hiked through the rice terraces just outside of town and enjoyed a dip in the local river to freshen up before heading to dinner. Swoon.

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Local rice terraces

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Okay fine, if you say so

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It was hot and humid, so this refreshing river spring was a total delight

We ate as much of the local Balinese and Indonesian food as possible (delicious) without blowing our budget. Our favorites were Rendang and Gado Gado. Healthy fresh fruit smoothies are big in Ubud as well and are fantastic!

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View of local rice terraces at sunset from our favorite restaurant in Ubud, Sweet Orange Warung

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Adorable cows used to plow the rice fields

Our second day in Ubud, we hiked a bit more and explored the rest of the town, including a stop by the entrance of the Sacred Monkey Forest. There were many monkeys scurrying about the several blocks outside the entrance. We stopped to watch for a while and were certainly amused, but neither of us felt a need to pay to go inside the actual forest itself.

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Who can resist a baby monkey?

That night, we were picked up at 2am to go on the local sunrise trekking tour of Mount Batur, a 1717 meter (5,633 ft) active volcano on the Northeast part of Bali. It was most recently active in 2000, and a large lava field from an eruption in 1968 is still visible.

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Alpine starts pay off big time!

All of the locals we spoke with told us that it is illegal to hike the volcanos without a guide. Although many online accounts state that it is not actually illegal, there are many stories of people trying to climb without a guide and getting harassed by the local “mafias”. So, although not our preference, we decided to go with one of the local guiding services.

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The sun rises behind Mount Agung, as seen from summit of Mount Batur

Regardless, our guides were friendly and the hike was certainly worth it for the views alone. Although beware, it is definitely a popular tourist attraction! You are likely to be in the company of many others on Mount Batur.

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There were wild monkeys on the summit of Mount Batur – you can see a lower part of the crater rim behind this little guy

If we would have had more time, we would have preferred to hike Mount Agung, the tallest volcano on Bali (3031 m, 9944 ft); however, we weren’t able to book this trip due to our time constraint. This trek would have been far less crowded as it is a seriously rigorous climb, so it’s on the list for next time!

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Summit monkey atop Mount Batur, lava and rice terraces below… Look out – these guys are aggressive!

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Day time shot of Mount Batur from the ride back to Ubud. The dark area in front is lava flow from the most recent eruption.

Overall, couldn’t have been more pleased with Bali as our first stop. Somehow, we managed to have perfect weather each day in spite of forecasted daily thunderstorms. Okay, it was a little hot for us, but we’ll take it! Fun fact, we’re 2 for 2 for finding cockroaches in our hotel rooms so far…

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Beautiful Hindu offerings called canang sari are everywhere in Bali – in doorways, on sidewalks, on stairs and sculptures, inside of cars, you name it. They are typically made from palm leaf and adorned with flowers, incense, and a variety of other offerings. 

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We are filled with overwhelming gratitude and excitement. Is this real life?!? On to Singapore!

5 thoughts on “One Week in Bali

  1. What lovely pictures. Soak up that warmth for us. And enjoy every day and every moment. so much fun to keep track of you guys. Gma

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