Welcome To My Paradise!

Bali Travel Blog

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Jamn' on the beach!
Blue skies, beaches, and fun was all I wanted after the dreary rain in Taiwan. I arrived on January 8th in the evening. I felt the humidity the instant I stepped off the plane, but I loved it. Bali is located in central Indonesia just south of the equator, which means it is winter now! Although winter is a roasting oven with daily showers here and there because of rainy season, it is actually quite refreshing since it is so warm. I grabbed a taxi to Kuta beach, not far from Despensar (where the airport is located). It was about a 15 minute ride for $80,000RPH or about $9US. Not bad until I realized it should've been about $40-50,000.
Sunset in Kuta
Oh well, he probably needed it more than I did. I walked around searching for a cheap place to stay in the sprinkles that wiped the sweat off my face. I heard about the popular streets, Poppies Gang I & II, so I headed straight there. Luckily, I wrote down a few places as I am probably one of the only travelers without a travel book. My thinking was that I didn't want to lug around a huge book for four months. I stopped by Losman Arthawan, which is well-known for their cheap rooms (about $5-6US a night), but they were full, of course. So, I went to the next place called Dua Dara for about $100,000RPH or $11US a night with a fantastic swimming pool, which I didn't even get to enjoy being the wanderer that I am. I spent three nights there and checked back at Arthawan with luck, so I switched.
Me and my surfing teacher - Mona


Bali is amazing with nice beaches and plenty of things to do - so much it's a little overwhelming at times. After finding a good shop, making friends, as opposed to being stingy and rude, goes a long way. It`s so cheap here the way it is; it really isn`t necessary to haggle endlessly like I saw many people do.  With that being said, people can get away with it because there is so much competition, which is sad really because what is a couple of bucks to us is nothing, but for some of them it means they can feed their family. That doesn`t mean I did`t try to bargain to get a good deal; I just didn`t get them to a point of despairity and irritation.
After diving
I spent the first day walking around checking things out and trying to decide what I should do with my time. While I was walking around I met so many extremely friendly and genuinely nice people. I can't tell you how many times I was stopped walking along the beach my first day. People just wanted to talk and they were also quite curious about me. They, not surprisingly, thought I was from Indonesia (Jakarta to be exact, the capital of Indonesia on Java island just west of Bali). I was quite surprised with their English because it was really good and most of them didn`t really study it much in school. Honestly, I think they are more fluent than most other places I`ve been. The one thing that made me feel so welcome was everytime I finished a conversation every single person said, "Welcome to Bali.
Our diving group
I hope you have a great time!" I loved it.

I finally decided an intinerary for my vacation. I knew I wanted to surf for sure and possibly dive. I talked to the guys on the road, which I became friends with and went back to them for most of the things I planned on doing. They were super nice and gave me really good deals. I went white water rafting my second day there because these two middle-aged Australian guys were trying to book a trip as well and so we negotiated a lower price since we had a group per say. We paid about $25US each including transportation to and from the river, which was about a two hour drive. The weather was great and the rapids were challenging at least for a tiny Indonesian guy, an older Aussie guy, his 11 year old granddaughter, and myself. The older Australian was really nice, but I could've gone with out his spoiled brat granddaughter screaming the entire way! All in all, it was fun, especially at the end when we dropped down a small waterfall.
Dancing at the Apache Reggae Bar


Besides rafting, I also learned how to surf from an excellent teacher, Mona, whom I met as I was just sitting on the beach. We started talking and I said I wanted to learn how to surf and he said he would give me a good deal and teach me. Subsequently, I met all the other people near his surf stand and enjoyed their company throughout the rest of my vacation. They gave me good advice and told me about the hidden places in Kuta. I learned a little of Bahasa (Indonesian) and tried a lot of Indonesian food, which I really liked probably because it's nice and spicy!

Since diving was a definite plan, I started checking prices and compared them with other places I planned on going to and it turned out to be pretty cheap. Initially, I was just going to do the Scuba Diver Course, but later realized that you would still have to dive with a licensed diver, so I went for the Open Water Diver Course, which allows you to dive in different places all over the world without being accompanied by a licensed professional.
All the cool ladies I met
For $260US I finished my training along with four open water dives. The training was PADI certified (PADI is a world renowned diving organization that monitors training and all kinds of things throughout dive centers across the world). There was a Korean couple who went diving as well, just the three of us, so it wasn't crowded and they could focus on just us. I got to practice some of my Korean too.

I wanted to make it up to Ubud, an hour and a half north of Kuta, which is less touristy and more relaxed than Kuta. It's also where Julia Roberts just finished filming the movie Eat, Pray, Love taken from Elizabeth Gilbert's book. I read it and I loved it. Originally, I had planned on staying for a week, but I got to doing so many things I ended up staying for only a few days.
Me, Amanda, and Jean
I met some friends on the bus ride up - Josh from England and Bart from Belgium. They were really cool and after talking for the whole bus ride up, we grabbed lunch and tried to find a place to stay. We ended up sharing a really nice place for $3US each a night because we were all watching our expenses and it was a huge place with a great view. We walked around Monkey Forest and rented motorbikes and drove around the city choeffeured around by a fellow American we met who has been living in Ubud for five years now. He showed us around his village and kindly offered to have a drink at his immaculate, temple-like, yet modern house. The drive was hands down one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. Peace and serenity flow just as the water flows from one rice paddy to the next. Ubud is so relaxing and a perfect place for artists who want to indulge in their surroundings and see the most inspiring works of nature right before their very own eyes.
Rice paddies
I wish I could've stayed a month in just that.

Before going to Bali, I thought 2 weeks would be enough, but now I know it definitely was not enough! I wanted to go to some of the neighboring islands and go on a trip around the island itself, but time didn't allow for those things. Also, I think I was having too much fun in Kuta - mostly because of all the amazing people I met there. Traveling alone is a great experience. It is actually easier to meet people as opposed to being in a group. Something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!
loves-vegas says:
Congrats ! :) I like the picture Sunset in Kuta it looks amasing :)
Posted on: Apr 07, 2010
rheagirl says:
Congrats! Congrats! :D
Posted on: Apr 07, 2010
Koralifix says:
Congrats on today's feature! Well done!
Posted on: Apr 07, 2010
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Jamn on the beach!
Jamn' on the beach!
Sunset in Kuta
Sunset in Kuta
Me and my surfing teacher - Mona
Me and my surfing teacher - Mona
After diving
After diving
Our diving group
Our diving group
Dancing at the Apache Reggae Bar
Dancing at the Apache Reggae Bar
All the cool ladies I met
All the cool ladies I met
Me, Amanda, and Jean
Me, Amanda, and Jean
Rice paddies
Rice paddies
Rice paddies
Rice paddies
Filling up the petrol
Filling up the petrol
Josh filling up
Josh filling up
More paddies
More paddies
Josh, me, and Bart
Josh, me, and Bart
The nice place I stayed at for $10…
The nice place I stayed at for $1…
Fancy a ride?
Fancy a ride?
Kuta beach entrance
Kuta beach entrance
Buying drinks on the beach
Buying drinks on the beach
Hindu ceremony on the beach
Hindu ceremony on the beach
Hindu ceremony on the beach
Hindu ceremony on the beach
Kuta beach
Kuta beach
Sunset on Kuta
Sunset on Kuta
The surf spot
The surf spot
Bobby
Bobby
Me and one of the surfer boys
Me and one of the surfer boys
Chillaxn
Chillaxn'
Arno and Mona
Arno and Mona
Cultural Park
Cultural Park
Me and Jean at the Cultural Park
Me and Jean at the Cultural Park
Dreamland beach
Dreamland beach
Going down to Padang Padang beach
Going down to Padang Padang beach
Padang Padang beach
Padang Padang beach
MONKEYS!!!
MONKEYS!!!
Monkey on McDs diet!
Monkey on McD's diet!
Josh and Bart
Josh and Bart
Going into the temple
Going into the temple
More rice paddies
More rice paddies
Shakars house!
Shakar's house!
Bali
photo by: mr_shanet