We set off for our flight a little bit too early because I think we were so eager, we had about 5 hours to kill in the airport but the excitement was too much and we certainly wasn’t bored. We watched the sunset over Heathrow which was amazing, warm and cozy ready for our night flight. Landing in Denpasar airport over 24 hours later we grabbed our bags and headed for the taxi’s. The money exchange rate was our first challenge, making sure we didnt get ripped off because when you go to Bali with £1400, you’ll become a multi millionaire. I think ours exchanged to about 22 million Indonesian Rupiah. So theres multiple taxi companies trying to get your attention, but a very polite woman approached us and offered a lift to the hotel for around 300,000 Rupiah. At this point myself and Jack looked at each other, more confused than anything, but she kindly told us what this amount was in the GBPound and it came to just under £20. For an hours journey we weren’t going to argue with that so we got into the taxi and headed to our hotel. The first thing that turned our heads was the amount of mopeds on the roads, but during the holiday it became very clear that this was more than normal, and in fact there were probably more mopeds than cars because they are so easy to travel around on.
The first hotel we stayed in was called Ivory Resort in Seminyak, it was a lovely hotel with beautiful greenery and pleasant and friendly staff (as always in Bali!). It was super late, probably around 2am and we decided to go straight to sleep as to not let the jet-lag beat us. The next day I set my alarm for around 7am, I woke up wired and wide eyed but Jack carried on sleeping and I let him until about 9am. We wasn’t really sure what were going to do that day, initially we just wanted to get our bearings and see what Seminyak had to offer. We decided, instead of getting a taxi, we’d just walk and see how far it took us. There are taxi’s EVERYWHERE in Bali so there’s literally no need to worry about getting lost. We first came across the W Hotel, with the longest driveway in the world, literally about a mile long. My friend Kascper had mentioned that we should go for cocktails at some point there, but to bear in mind it’s expensive. When I say expensive though, what I really mean is London prices, so not much more than what we are used to really. For Bali though, my god, you’d probably have to be a billionaire to stay there. Anyway we walked down the long ass driveway to be greated by security. They checked our bags and told us which way to head towards the restaurant. We wanted breakfast because we were so hungry, so we decided to stop here and treat ourselves. We walked in to be greeted with a giant mug selection. I chose the drumstick mug and Jack got a Pantone Blue one.
The breakfast cost us around 500,000 IDR, which in GBP is around £32.00, not a great start to keeping things cheap but we didn’t really care because we were so hungry and so fed up of plane food by this point. I twas just nice to be eating something a lot more fresh! After breakfast we headed down to the beach in front of the Hotel. We pretty much just walked and walked and walked until we were dying from dehydration. The beaches are beautiful, more brown sand than anything but the sea is rough for the surfing (which we never actually got to do in the end!) which makes it calming to listen to. Walking inland we had to find our way through a maze of a random hotel along the beach, not sure what it was called but it had Wifi and we needed to know where we were after walking for so long. Here we just had a drink and recuperated our energy and figured out our next move.
After stalling for a little while with the decent Wifi, we gathered our things and took ourselves on a walk down a random street in Seminyak. It was always so refreshing just walking with no sense of direction, it took away the urgency of everything. It took me way out of my comfort zone but I was so strangely calm about that, I could tell it was the right thing to do. As we were walking down the street a man at the side of the road started saying things at us. Words that we were unable to understand until he shouted ‘Uluwatu’ at us. This was a famous temple on the cliffs of the south-western tip of Bali. We’d already heard about this from some friends so we looked at each other and turned around to ask him how much it would be to get there. (I know I keep going on about money here, but it’s fascinating having to figure it all out on the spot, especially as we weren’t experts at currency exchange from the top of our heads. It was the first day too and we’d had an ‘expensive’ breakfast so we didn’t want to get ripped off anytime soon.) Anyway he offered to take us around for the day for around 400,000 IDR (about £25.00), we agreed and off we went in this random mans car.
On the journey he introduced himself as Nyoman (meaning third born, they have a naming system, read about it here) he was a really friendly, happy guy. We quickly came to realise throughout the trip that everyone was so happy and it was so bloody refreshing to be in a country where the majority of people were happy to see you! (I say majority because there were a select few A-holes.) We travelled for around an hour and arrived at the temple on the cliffs. Making our donations and putting on our sarongs, we then headed in. Nyoman then decided to take us around and show us the temple. You can’t actually enter the temple because it is only for the island people and for those who are praying, but the views were incredible!
After visiting Uluwatu we were kinda ready to head back because the jet lag was setting in, hard and fast. Nyoman insisted he take us to some other places on the way back, which we couldn’t say no to because we didn’t fly almost the full way around the world to sleep. He took us to Padang Padang Beach where you walk down through the cliff rocks to get to the beach, it was pretty insane! I didn’t get that many pictures here though because I was so fricking tired (as you can probably tell by our faces in the pictures below).
We got back into the car, and headed straight back to the hotel for a lay down and some food. We were meeting one of Jacks friends who works in Bali later that evening so we kinda wanted to be more rested for that. We went out for dinner at a place called Tubes in Kuta, we had a great catch up and then went for Shisha after too. Kuta sort of reminds me of Magaluf on steroids. It’s much much bigger and louder. I personally wouldn’t recommend going there because there are so many more beautiful places to see on the island of Bali, but if you are wanting a party place, then 100% visit Kuta.
The next day we woke up ready to travel to Ubud to meet our friends in the next villa that we were staying in. We called our man Nyoman up, and he picked us up on our check out time at 12pm (he was there half an hour early too, what a legend.) Jack and I fell asleep in the car, and Nyoman left us to sleep the whole way. Before he dropped us off though he took us to a place just outside Ubud called UC Silver where we were able to see all the silver and gold jewellery being made. The building was ridiculous. The detail was incredible. Here’s a touristy picture of me and Jack below that the tour guide insisted on taking. The lady lead us downstairs into the factory where all the silver and gold was being crafted, polished and finished. It was amazing to see people making the jewellery by hand. She then lead us up the stairs where we entered a huge white, clinical room with all the jewellery laid out in rows. Almost like a grocery store for jewellery. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in there but I got some clips which I’ll post on my youtube in a vlog soon. I loved the ladies earrings that she had in, they were gold dragonflies and I really wanted them but she couldn’t find the fold version, only the silver ones. They were in a pendant style though and the ones I took a fancy too were studs. The lady then said that she could take them downstairs to be made into studs, if we were able to wait for 15 minutes. I decide to do it because the studs were so beautiful. I paid 420,000 IDR for them (around £25-28) which I though was worth it too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our first couple of days in Bali. To carry on reading the rest of the Bali posts, follow these links…
Sunrise trek up Mount Batur, Volcano! -Bali 2/4 (COMING SOON)
Riding the crazy streets of Ubud – Bali 3/4 (COMING SOON)
Swimming with Turtles on Gili Air! – Bali 4/4 (COMING SOON)