2020 was going to be the year. We were going to see some cool things and expand our travels internationally again. I had big aspirations with our travel plans for the year and it was all going to start with our first trip to Asia by visiting Bali, Indonesia. Well we started that journey and then it was cut short #covid19. But it was not all lost. Here is what we were able to see and do in Bali for three and a half days.
After 24 plus hours of travel time from leaving our house to arriving to our first hotel we finally arrived in Bali! We checked into Bombora Medewi Wave Lodge around 7:30pm, ate some dinner, and slept for 10 hours!
Our first morning in Bali we woke up and had an ocean view breakfast. We shared a dragonfruit granola bowl and a breakfast burrito. Aaron then went surfing for a few hours while I sat at the hotel and took pictures. I was already dying from the heat and humidity by 9am. My body was acclimated to 65F NorCal weather and now I was in 85F with insane humidity. Even the pool was not refreshing enough.
After the morning surf session we rented a scooter, $7 for the day! First we went to visit the Rambut Siwi Temple. This temple is located right on the ocean with beautiful views. We were greeted by a man who wrapped us up in a sarong and temple scarf (also known as kain kamben and selendang) and were left to explore. Once we were dehydrated and saw what we wanted to we set off to have lunch. We stopped at a place I discovered online called Nal’s Kitchen. It was a very hip and Instagram picture perfect stop. I had a coconut to drink while Aaron had his Bintang beer and we shared the coconut curry and Mie Goreng which were delicious!
Once our bellies were full and our bodies rehydrated we decided we had enough energy to explore one more place. We drove 30 minutes up the mountain to a small village called Manggisari village. It was neat driving through the local villages. Every time we passed some children they would say hi and get excited when we said hi back and waved. We stopped at a place called Bunut Bolong. Basically it is a tree with a hole going through it where the road is. Apparently if it is your wedding day or a funeral they do not drive thorough it because it is bad luck, so they had a road that goes around it as well. The man who ran the temple there asked for a donation and then showed us around and gave us some history.
When we returned to the hotel we went for a dip in the pool, as I said before, it was not refreshing but still nice. For dinner we decided to try the hotel next door. Of course I got a coconut to drink, and we had Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng which were both delicious.
Aaron surfed the next morning while I enjoyed a fresh coconut and took photos. Then we had breakfast and hired a driver to take us 3 hours north east to Ubud.
The Bali I saw coming from the airport to Medewi reminded me of a mixture of Haiti and Hawaii, dirty streets and crowded but also with beautiful nature surrounding. Once we arrived to Ubud I was in awe, this was what I envisioned Bali to be. There were temples everywhere and it was so green with rice patties around every corner. We arrived to our airbnb the Kabinawa Private Villas. They greeted us with a refreshing cool drink as we waiting for our room.
There were a few villas at this location that shared a pool with views into the rice patties. The villa was nice and simple with an open air bathroom which became a slight issue with large ants hanging out around our toilet. There was a soaking tub which was a little dated but did look pretty. The open air shower was the best part with plants on either side.
After we got settled in we took the shuttle down to the main centre of Ubud. We roamed the streets and did some shopping down the street market. Aaron proved to be quite the haggler and got us some good deals on souvenirs. For dinner we ate at Melting Wok Warung. We had some tasty coconut curry and Mei Goreng. Wanting some dessert we tried a brown sugar chocolate crepe which was surprisingly good.
For our second day in Ubud we started the day by renting a scooter so we could drive ourselves around town. The main thing I wanted to do when visiting Ubud was to have a flower bath and massage. I found a hotel spa called Kavari Spa that does a celebration of flowers bath so we stopped here first to see if we could get an appointment. They had one at 12:30 so we booked it and continued downtown. We ate at Clear Cafe for breakfast. We had a smoothie bowl and breakfast sandwich with an iced latte and pineapple smoothie. In addition we got a Moringa booster drink for health and energy. Clear cafe was exactly how I envisioned Bali. We removed our shoes to enter through the circular wooden carved door, sat on the ground next to a koi pond and ate good food. The restaurant also had an upstairs and a fire pole to come back down on. Aaron took that way while I walked back down the stairs. Afterwards we hit the shops real fast before heading back to our massage.
Now for the part I had been waiting for! Spa time! We were greeted with a refreshing cold towel and some cold tea drink before our treatment. We were escorted to a room where the providers took off our shoes and washed our feet. This was a neat experience. We then got to our massage room which had two massage tables and a deep free standing soaking tub. Once our massage was over we got a mini facial and were able to partake in the celebration of flowers, aka soak in a tub covered in flower petals. We were given 30 minutes to soak, aka 30 minutes to take pictures of one another.
After we were nice and relaxed we dropped off our souvenirs from the morning at the villa and headed to the Monkey Forest. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Monkey Forest, but it felt like paying for a day at the zoo except with only one type of animal to see. We entered and followed the path into the forest area. There were monkeys everywhere. Some were chilling and eating food, others were chasing each other or humping each other. It was an interesting sight to see. There was a lady in front of us on the path who had a baby monkey latched onto her leg and the mother trying to get into her purse and then lifting up her dress and proceeding to bite her! That was when we decided we were over it and kept going.
We then headed to walk the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It was a nice walk with pretty views on either side of the valley. While it was not the best sunset it still had some beautiful views. First part of the hike was uphill and then it leveled out. After the walk we built up our appetite and headed to Naughty Nuri’s BBQ. This was a small open air restaurant. As we scootered by we could smell the meat smoking. We were ready. We ordered the ribs (suggested to us by another customer who clearly enjoyed a few Bin Tangs) and an order of Mie Goreng. Best ribs ever! The sauce it was grilled with was amazing. Fall off the bone delish!
The next morning we woke up before sunrise in order to visit the Tegalalang rice terraces and see the sunrise. We parked our scooter on the street and found a path down to the valley. There were only a handful of people there when we arrived so we were able to find spots without people being in our pictures. As we explored the different paths surrounding on the hillsides were various photo opportunities and swings. While the sunrise wasn’t very remarkable, the sun rays that shone through the palm trees made it magical. We went to the back side of the terraces and found a spot where most people get “the shot” unfortunately it is owned by an older man who charges people $10 to take a picture. We did not feel it was worth that price so we went and took photos elsewhere. The whole place was so beautiful, I am glad we got there early to see if with no people. As we were leaving there were more groups arriving making it harder to get those beautiful scenic shots without people in your photos. While this place was so beautiful our next time to Bali I do want to check out other rice terraces that may be more secluded.
As we were leaving we passed by one of the swings and the owner convincing us to come swing. Aaron haggled his way again and got us to both ride at the same time for $15 total when he originally wanted $20/person. They strapped us into the swing, took our camera to take photos for us and pushed us into the valley. What an experience, they did a way better job than I thought it would be. They had us swing for way longer, took awesome pictures and then allowed us to take pics in their “nest” props. The guy who took the pictures really knew how to work the camera and took some amazing photos of us.
We were now starving so we headed back down to the centre of Ubud for breakfast. We stopped at Zest, another hip restaurant. This was located up on the hill so for the first time ever we had views of Ubud from above. All we really saw were the tops of trees though. Here we ordered a green smoothie bowl, chocolate fruit pancakes, a iced hot chocolate and an iced latte. In addition Aaron saw they had a Leechee Beer so he ordered that as well. All of it was amazing, like all the other food we have had here so far. Now for the surprising part, I liked the beer! Yep you heard that right I actually liked the beer. I was able to get past the slight fizzy and it tasted amazing.
Now for the sad part. When we originally left for Bali this was the start of this Covid19 getting more serious, but most of the world, including Indonesia, was level 1. We chose to continue our trip in the hopes things would die down and we would be fine. As the days continued on our trip we saw more and more people having trouble getting back to the United States, getting stuck in other countries and more places enforcing “social distancing”. We decided we should be smart and safe and head home early. This was a tough decision, we had just gotten used to the Bali life and having so much fun, but we knew it was time to come home while we safely could. One more dip in the pool and then we packed up and cancelled the rest of our trip to head home.
Looking back I am grateful for the time we had here. I had been wanting to visit Bali for awhile now and see if it was really what I imagined or if Instagram pictures were lying to me. It was a little of both but I fell in love with Ubud and I hope one day we can go back and continue the rest of our trip to see the rest of this beautiful island. Until next time Bali!