Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9
     Monday morning we woke up fully rested at Three Brother's Bungalow. Compared to our last four nights in Sumatra, this was heaven. For $30 a night we had a soft double bed, fan, outdoor bathroom, pool, beautiful gardens filled with statues, and delicious authentic Balinesian breakfast. We both swooned over the black rice pudding that had to be terrible for you since it was so good. Feeling daring, we rented a motor bike and began driving around the chaotic streets between Kuta, Legian and Saminyak Beaches. Roads were one way, then abruptly ended or merged into a direction we didn't want to go. Once again it's a good thing we were just out to explore because a exploration is what we got! We had been warned of the touristy atmosphere, had we not just come from our desperate situation in Kuta Cane we may have despised the crazy state-fair feel, but we embraced it. The beach beautiful, but not peaceful as someone was constantly approaching offering massages, surfboards or snacks. We took turns attempting to surf with no instruction. Sandy, burned, bruised and exhausted we retreated to our air conditioned room to shower. We set out to Samnyak for lunch and shopping. We settled for a restaurant that had the slogan "Rabbits, Steaks, and Sauerkraut", since we were sure we would never have the opportunity for that again. After lunch we stopped in a spa for a much needed pedicure. I can't say their tools were clean, but after a week of hiking in the jungle and for $5.50 I didn't care. Ben got an hour long massage which I think really could have been an hour long whatever you wanted. Judging by the amount of men that came it (I'm not judging) and the way the woman were always primping we both left with the feeling it was a spa/brothel. In the evening we watched the sunset on the beach with the rest of Bali. We went to Layali for dinner, which we would happily do every night. It was a Lebanese style restaurant that had pillows to sit on, four foot tall hookahs and an amazing menue. 

May 10
    Tuesday late morning we took a shuttle to Ubud in the middle of the island. It dropped us off at Artini Cottages 2, which also proved to be nice, affordable accommodations. After dropping off our luggage we went out to explore the town. It was much cooler than the coast since we were up in elevation. (when I say "cooler" I mean perfect by comparison to the hot winds on the coast that felt like fire breathing dragons.) We again rented a motorbike and drove around until dusk, stopping in at various shops and trails. We had heard a lot about the art and dancing in Ubud. We figured when in Rome and went to a show. The performance seemed to be acting out a traditional story and involved dancing, chanting and a lot of fire. It lasted an hour, which was enough for us.

May 11
    Wednesday we went white water rafting. For $55 each we were transported an hour to the start of our 2hr/12km rafting trip and fed a lunch buffet before being brought back to our hotel. The river was filled with rapids and much more intense than we had expected. Rarely the river was calm, but when it was we enjoyed the gorgeous views of steep, heavily wooded ravines. When we got back to our hotel we enjoyed some time relaxing by the pool in the heat of the day. Venturing out in the evening we half-heartily stopped at the Enchanted Monkey Forest since we figured we had seen enough monkeys in Africa. We quickly realized we were wrong, and we should have brought our camera. These monkeys were incredibly entertaining. We watched them chase each other up trees, jump into ponds, and even try to undress me! The fountains, sculptures and temple in the park looked like they were straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. Noticing our tickets did not have a date on them we decided we would come back with our camera tomorrow. Once the sun set we went to a gym that cost < $2 to use. It was crowded, sweltering and had the same equipment most American gyms had in 1976, but it still felt great to work out. The rest of the evening we listened to an amazing cover band at the Budah Bar.

 May 12
    Thursday morning we went for a run on this beautiful ridge overlooking rice paddies before the sun rose. We drove 16km north on our bike to the Elephant Park. After driving 20km we compared our two maps that didn't coordinate and decided there would be no Elephant Park but we would continue to Mount Baratu, a holy mountain. On the way three woman blocked the road so we had to stop. One lady sprinkled us in oil, smeared rice on our foreheads, tucked a flower behind my ear and asked for 50,000 Rupiah for the cleansing ceremony. We paid her 5,000 and continued on our way. The view from the top of the mountain was just as beautiful as the view from the lake at the bottom. We wished we had set up a tour to have climbed it while we were here. Unfortunately, we were harassed by people trying to sell us things the entire time and headed back to Ubud. We had a great lunch at Casa Luna with amazing coffee. Then we subjected ourselves to the crowded market for a few last minute souvenirs. We ended our time in Ubud back at the Enchanted Monkey Forest. This time we took lots of pictures. By 7:00 we were on a taxi to the airport in Denpasar. Our flight to Darwin didn't leave til 11:00 so we splurged on the VIP lounge. The lounge was not nearly as impressive as the one in Medan, but it was still worth it because we had a buffet, internet, newspapers and open bar.
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