Like part I of this whole Solo Backpacking trip through SE Asia wasn’t ballin’ enough, Bali is up next you guys. Bali is a new top 10 for me. I put it on a pedestal and it lived up to every single ounce of awesome that I knew it would! There is a huge expat community in Bali. You hear of the mellow vibes and the yoga, surfer goodness everywhere you turn. I was expecting beautiful views and welcoming locals that had the warmest, biggest smiles. Rice terraces as far as the eyes can see. Active volcanoes that decorate the horizon line. Centuries old temples and shrines. All of its true. So, so true. As well as the traffic. The city traffic is pretty daunting but if you stay out of the city, then you are good!
I entered Bali having no real set plans other than the villa I was staying in. A few days before I arrived in Bali, my friend Jodi of Infinite Explorations, had recommended I reach out to her friend, Suparta of Bali Spartan Tours, and speak with him in regards to a private driver for my travels there. I am so glad that I reached out to him because he made my first time in Bali worth while! I knew I wanted to see something beautiful and have good experiences. Thats pretty much what I told him. The rest I left up to him to surprise me. My first day was a fun day to kick start things! Suparta picked me up from my airbnb early and we were off to venture to the beach…and what a beach it was! I wasn’t expecting the water in Bali to be so clear and beautiful. I honestly didn’t do too much research on Bali. I just knew I wanted to relax and go with the flow while I was there. Anyhoo, I didn’t have the entire day to explore with Suparta, as I had a hot date with Adventure Scuba Diving to get the run down on the scuba life for my Discover Scuba dive the following day. I was really nervous and excited at the same time. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to scuba with my leg injury last year but thankfully, we were able to make it work out in my favor!
Flash forward to the next day and I was getting picked up at 7 in the morning to head to the north east end of the island to dive at Tulamben. I had two shore dives in my future and I was SO excited and nervous and excited…. and nervous. ha. Diving in the pool was nothing but I wasn’t sure what I was in for in the ocean. Only downfall to these shore dives are the big ole rocks you have to carry your 50lbs of gear onto. That was fun… the first dive was the easy dive and though the current was fairly strong, it was AWESOME! Breathing under water and seeing the ocean life come alive in front of you is life changing! Im so used to snorkeling bleached reefs that I was in awe at the amount of color and life I was seeing before me! Nemos, Dory’s, anemones, puffer getting eaten by a grouper! It was awesome! There were sunken statues that the coral and ocean life was clinging on to. I was so sad to come back up. The first dive was awesome so I was extra excited, yet intimidated for the sunken USAT Liberty wreck from WWII! There were far more divers at this site and the water was rather murky due to the rains from the day before but the moment you get to the ship. WOW. It really comes into focus and the magnitude of the ship in front of you will stop you in your tracks. Or at least it did for this first time diver. The life on the ship. There really are no words to describe the feeling I had. My steering was WAY off. For some reason I could not kick the habit of using my hands to swim. So I opted to not dive within the ship for the safety of myself and the surrounding coral – cause ya girl was not risking touching it. I cannot wait to get my open water certification! Its now extremely high on my must do list because diving is going to be a new addiction of mine.
Carrying on… After an insanely awesome day spent diving, Suparta scooped me up again and we were off for more explorations! This time it was nothing but the steamy heat of Bali along with monkey business, rice terraces and staring my fears in the face! We made our way to Ubud! This magical piece of heaven is where I should have based my self…. lesson learned. While it may have been the hottest day ever recorded on the face of the earth ( I might be exaggerating…maybe) it is the good vibe capital of Bali. We first made a pit stop through the monkey forest, which is essentially a Hindu temple complex turned nature reserve that monkeys just so happen to inhabit. There are a lot of them and if you aren’t aware, they will jump right on you and steal your belongings. Some people were fools, I was not! haha! After the quick stop seeing the majestic macaques, I saw the prettiest rice terraces and even got my butt on a giant swing and swung out over them. I said no maybe 10 times and was still trying to figure out why I was going through with it when they were strapping me into my harness. But I did it! And it was awesome! My hands were numb from holding on so tightly at first but then I swung backwards and even let go… it was exhilarating! Im still scared of heights though and you’ll never get me to jump out of an air plane! Never, ever. We finished the day off at the holy spring temple Tirta Empul. This temple was one of my favorites. The amount of people that gather hear to bathe in the holy springs with their offerings. The hindu culture fascinates me.
The next two days were a bit slower paced. I went to a traditional barong dance. That was interesting but Im going to be honest, I should have opted for the traditional kecak fire dance instead. I think I was just extra tired from lack of sleep. Anyhoo, after that, Suparta stopped at the beautiful Kanto Lampo waterfall. There are so many waterfalls in Bali but with my foot still giving me slight issues, and with me being a big baby with my foot as well, he took me to a waterfall that would be easy to reach and one that I would be able to enjoy and swim at. It was a bit chilly but this waterfall was beautiful! There were other people but there is plenty of room to climb the falls and to swim. This is a lesser known waterfall from my understanding that is slowing starting to gain popularity so Im glad I got to see it while it was pretty dang empty. After a quick, refreshing dip at the waterfall – it was lunch time! But instead of going just anywhere, Suparta has a friend that offers an in-home cooking experience. We had a traditional balinese meal that was so, so, so delicious! I was even treated to fresh from-the-tree-out-back fruit and other home made goodies! This was one of my favorite parts of my stay in Bali. Dira and his wife welcomed me into their beautiful home and cooked me the best meal. I was even greeted by their daughters and a few girls from the village after their dance performance during one of the village ceremonies. Getting to see the detail of their attire was beautiful!
My final day in Bali was sad but one of the best days! It was all about the temples! We hit tanah lot in the morning, then drove north toward Bratan lake for the infamous Bratan temple. Before we made our way to Bratan, we stopped at the impressive Jatiluwih rice fields. These were my favorite fields. The sheer size of these rice fields and the views they give you are stunning! You can do a walking tour throughout the fields or hire electric bikes to take you through them. Something I will definitely have to do when I make my way back out! After our ventures through the rice fields, we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the stunningly impressive twin lakes. I think I’ve said the word stunning or beautiful 100 times already but you guys, everything is mind blowing in Bali. Every where you turn you are in awe of something! So I promise Im not over exaggerating. Leaving Bali was the hardest part of the entire trip. I 100 and 10% understand why so many people move to Bali. Its life changing and I cannot wait to go back. But enough of my ramblings, enjoy Bali through my eyes! ps- sad to scroll through and see my bff kitty cat from my villa. I hope he’s doing well! <3