Bali ~ Day 1 on the Island

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Bali Is…

A fascinating religious practice visible in crumbling statues and towering stone edifices that have been carved with intricate details of pattern, and sit as shelves for figures with bulging eyes of maleficent intent or adoration. It is uneven steps crowded with tourists and locals patiently waiting for the safe (and thereby slow) passage of one another through narrow tunnels; these the entranceways to beaches of restless waves, coves with hungry seekers of paradise, and waterfalls of churning plunge pools and rainbow cluttered mists. The island is home to a rare beauty, a woman whose elegance and grace shines from the insides, and to men who have no weakness in their extremes of kindness. There are people, therefore, who you will marvel over existing in a world where their type becomes ever more as rare a find as untouched soil. And then there are those who out of poverty or fear, push you to the limits of your patience as you try to gently emerge from their clutches and relentless words. Between each is traffic so clustered, close, and abrupt it fills the spaces of everything and makes sudden sense of why homes are built within walls like fortresses, and serenity made for finding in personal courtyards, not public parks.

Bali is, therefore, an experience like no other.

Basic Details

  • We spent five days touring the island as a group of four adults. We stayed in an Airbnb property, these being very popular due to the secular nature of homes which naturally provide ease for Villa accommodation. These villas are staffed close enough to hotels. You can get breakfast, transports, tour setup, amenities all similar to that as at a hotel, but with more privacy (while simultaneously, closeness, for groups).
  • I booked a driver in advance by looking up popular service offerers on Trip Advisor. He was amazing. He emailed me in advance to get an idea of our party and desires for the vacation (to see as much of the island as possible), and created an itinerary with some flexibilities to account for weather or traffic. It is of note, drivers are not the same as guides. He was clear with us on this. Many temples have their own guides and drivers can cross acceptable boundaries of tourist management by operating as both. So, drivers take you one location to another, point out a few basic elements (as our driver did), and then leave you to decide if you would like a guide or not (or as the venue allows) then wait for you to be done your activity for pickup.
  • If you are interested in going to Bali, you will likely read some tourist destinations have become quite ‘trap’ feeling. We had experiences of verbal aggressiveness, in so far as people demanding we buy this, pay for that etc. etc. Basically, anything you touch or agree to (or don’t adamantly disagree to) at local sites will cost you. You have to know in advance what you are prepared to do (the cost is not great depending on conversion to your local country), though of course, it can be tricky with children who are suddenly wearing a necklace you are being asked to pay for. There was also being given things for free to secure when you would come out you would be more easily ‘guilted’ into making a purchase because of the kindness of the free gift… Again, decide what you must do for you. If you’re curious about costs hit the shops to know the retail value. Most of what was available in the shops were also at temple market stalls and the price would at least have something to relate to (should you care about that sort of thing. Otherwise, love it, buy it. It’s up to you).
  • The food was amazing. Restaurants or Warungs could be quite busy, but service was always amicable and quick enough, and we had really good food (though places during the day were driver recommended and at night trip advisor recommended).

Overall 

There are pockets of really amazing places yet to be found in Bali. And the experience was overall very good. Manage the chaos. Enjoy the moments to be enjoyed. Now, as usual, I’ll let the pictures do the talking here and over the posts illustrating five days of travel to come.

Pictures:

Villa Interior – 

Batuan Temple, Pura Puseh Desa Batuan –

Kemenuh Butterfly Park – 

Tegenungan Waterfall – 

Warung Dewa Malen – 

Elephant Cave | Goa Gajah –

Ubud Monkey Forest – 

Ubud Traditional Market – 

Negari Luwak Coffee – 

It was a busy day, but we were back to our villa in time for dinner. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures.

Take care, dear readers and writers,

J.M.

*See more pictures at https://www.instagram.com/jmm_travels/

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