Bali – with all our senses

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It’s been more than 2 weeks since we came back from Bali and the whole trip feels like a dream now. I keep asking myself: was it true? And if so is it really MY life that I’ve been living lately? But as I definitely recognize myself in the pictures – and I am very bad at photoshopping 🙂 – all these wonderful things must have happened in real life. What a lucky girl I am 🙂

If you want to see all the Bali pictures we have published please check out the Hungarian and the German entries too!

Bali is not a huge island but the 4 days we spent there was only a teaser. It is like meeting someone nice at a summer camp and parting from him before you even had the chance to get to know the person. As the 2 of you live thousands of kms from each other, nothing has left for you but looking at his photo hours long day-dreaming of his nice features and of all the experiences you could have had together if the time together hadn’t been so f*ckin short 🙂 (Ok, it was like that in my childhood, today you can be skyping, chatting all day and then buying a cheap plane ticket to meet up again. I wish I were 15 again! 🙂

Anyways, our 4 days summer crush on Bali was very intense full of “firsts” and “mosts”.

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Here is an incomplete list of our most daring adventures and our greatest discoveries; things we’ve seen experienced or tasted on Bali (randomly, no ranking):

The biggest shell: its size was unbelievable. I am still not sure if someone did not make it artificially out of a huge stone and hid it there in the sand so that we get puzzled and shocked… (see picture)

The craziest traffic ever: there are literally no rules; people drive their cars and scooters like crazy, the only sign that has some respect may be the red light. We had been so excited about renting a scooter and driving around the island as we did on Mykonos 2 years ago, but if you call the Greeks crazy drivers you have definitely never been to Bali. Insane, for people used to the nice European (German 🙂 ) traffic, it is intimidating. Maybe the next time we will be more courageous after experiencing the same kind of driving morals in the rest of Asia. After a certain point it must become natural 🙂 , right?

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The most people (5-6)/ stuff carried on a scooter: you would not even consider squeezing so much stuff into your car, not to mention on a scooter. Seeing these fully packed scooters you would bet that they will crash at the next corner, and they will not. (Just another proof that everything is different on the roads of Bali.)

The most drivers per km²: if I say that every second man on Bali is a driver at least as his second job, I do not exaggerate. We could not take more than a 100 m in the village without getting asked if we needed a lift to a beach or to any other sights. It was not high season, so maybe if there are more tourists on the island “drivers” have less free time :). This huge amount of offers can be overwhelming and slightly disturbing but at least if you really need a driver, there is just no chance that you cannot find one. And without the courage to rent a scooter you will definitely need a driver sooner or later as public transport does not exist on Bali (there are supposed to be some buses but we did not see them at all). For our second day we found a very good driver, Kadek, who was not only friendly and flexible as practically every driver on Bali, but spoke very good English and could tell us a lot about the culture and the sights on the island. If you are looking for someone in the Candidasa area, check out his contact details here.

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The deepest ocean: snorkeling on the open seas was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but as we know this is exactly the place where the best things are happening 🙂. I cannot find the right words (and not only because English is not my mother tongue 🙂 ) to describe the feelings I had putting my head under the water and not seeing the bottom – although the water is clean  just the deep black-blueish water… And the beautiful underwater world at the shallower parts, swimming with turtles, clown fish, etc. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Snorkeling has become one of my favourite activities recently and the next time we go to Bali we will definitely try scuba diving too. Step out of your comfort zone every once in a while, because that is where the magic happens!

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The richest flora & fauna: Honestly, I have never felt closer to the nature. It was wonderful getting up in the morning listening to the sound of the ocean and the chirping of birds, reading or doing some exercise in the garden, having breakfast in our gazebo, etc. that’s what I call life. Our village, Candidasa was practically one long street; on one side the ocean and rainforest with coconut palms, banana and other types of fruit trees on the other side. How much more connected these people are to the nature than we city people who don’t even bother to take a longer walk than the 300 meters to the closest bus stop, not to mention taking a stroll in a park or hiking in the countryside.

After a couple of days, we started to enjoy watching the geckos chasing each other on the ceiling of an open air restaurant, it was a bit surprising though when a gecko sprang out of my biscuits… 🙂 Another memorable moment was walking along the road outside of the village, on one side the rushing cars, on the other side – within our reach – loads of monkeys, sitting seemingly calm on the barriers. I am not gonna lie, I was terrified.

We have seen the first pineapple, banana, papaya, cocoa, coffee etc. in nature for the first time in our lives. You just feel so alive in this unspoiled natural environment.

The most majestic view from Mt Batur: as you might know Bali has several active volcanos and they do erupt every now and then, but when they are dormant you can climb on them – make sure you have an experienced guide – to enjoy the wonderful view on the island. We did an exciting sunrise volcano tour to Mt Batur on our third day and it was magical. It all started at 2 am and at 5:45 we were on the top to have breakfast at the sunrise; without any doubt, the most beautiful breakfast of my life. The eggs that we had were boiled on the hot steam of the volcano – another magical moment (or in this case hours) when I felt to be at one with nature – with all its wonders and dangers.

Tour guides on Bali are almost like taxi drivers, you can find one at every corner, but I would definitely suggest that you should hire professional guides and not some random local who allegedly knows the area well, because these tours are not easy hiking tours. We booked Mudi goes to the mountain and we did not regret it. We had two professional guides for a group of 6, they were very attentive and knew the area very well, not to mention the beautiful breakfast they provided for us out of their backpacks on the top of the volcano. After climbing the volcano we could have a bath in hot springs and had lunch in a nice restaurant above the rice terraces. Wonderful!  I would recommend that you call Mudi yourself and you do not book the tour through your hotel, because you might get a better price that way. We found the tour pretty pricy first, but looking back on that day it was worth every penny.

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The most flexible prices:  it does not matter what you want to buy or what service you want to book, never accept the first offer. Bargain! You can always get a better price. It is especially true on the market in Ubud where you can easily pay triple or even higher price than the actual value, if you do not bargain. Balinese people are very friendly but smart too 🙂 . We also managed to buy some pretty pricy sarongs…we were not cheeky enough. Losers 🙂

We tried the most expensive coffee in the world: kopi luwak

Our friendly driver, Kadek  took us to a coffee plantation situated  about half an hour north of Ubud. Here you can taste a great variety of tea and coffee including ginseng, coconut, ginger, lemongrass, bali coffee, etc. and the famous copi luwak. In case you do not know what makes this coffee so special and expensive , check it out here.

Except for the luwak coffee (costs 50.000 rupia, about 5 bucks) you can try the whole sortiment of tea and coffe complimentarily (about 12 different sorts of coffee, tea & chocolate! Yes please!) Afterwards, you can buy your favourites in the gift shop, which is really expensive, but as everything (tour & tasting) else was completely free of charge, I happily bought a bag of coconut coffee. Sooo yummy! 🙂

This place is for all your senses! You can see and smell vanilla, cacao, tea, turmeric, ginseng, ginger plants, fruit trees, you can watch the natural methods of processing coffee;  they roast it for hours on fire, and ground the roasted beans manually. Fantastic. For all coffee lovers: a visit to a coffee plantation is a MUST in Bali.

For the very first time we had fresh coconut water  directly out of the coconut, of course 🙂

It may not be something special for many of you, but putting a straw into a coconut and drinking its content on a beautiful sandy beach at sunset together with the man I love meant: I am living exactly the lifestyle I have always wanted to. That is why it was one of the most beautiful moments of our Bali trip.

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We had the most amazing dinner for about 5 :

As our hotel didn´t have a restaurant, we went out for dinner every night. As a western tourist you could easily afford to have dinner at any restaurants, as even the most elegant ones are way cheaper than at home, but we were not interested in places for tourists. Looking for authentic Balinese food, we found this cute little restaurant called Warung Srijati. The food was amazing, the lady – I guess the owner and waitress in one person – could speak surprisingly good English, and it had an overall friendly atmosphere. I can only recommend it to every budget traveler out there!

We stayed in the best hotel with ocean view for a ridiculously cheap price (practically for the price of a hostel in Europe):

Bungalow Geringsing is a small family run hotel with only 8-10 bungalows, so it is not crowded at all.  In the middle of the garden there is a gazebo; that is where we had our breakfast every day. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Our room was nice and clean with a huge canopy bed in the middle, from where – if the door was open – we could see the ocean. Another dream come true 🙂 .

I got bitten by a monkey:

We went to the Monkey forest in Ubud, where you really feel like in a tropical rainforest, especially if you are – like us – first-timer in a tropical country. Magical. Monkeys literally everywhere. They are generally cute but you should be careful with them as they are very curious; no food in your backpack is safe, not to mention your pockets. I was bitten by one as I stupidly stretched out my arm towards a monkey without having any food in my hand; but luckily it was a harmless bite: no blood, no scar. We went to the first aid room anyway as allegedly the monkeys carry different viruses, but according to the staff all the monkeys are injected, so they are safe. I didn’t want to risk my life anyway.

I’ll just wrap up here as I do not want to bore you to death with all our little impressions on this magical island.  If you need any more information or tips, just drop me a line and I will answer your questions asap.

Enjoy the pics and plan your Bali trip 😉

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all pics here