Bali, Indonesia Part #1

For what was supposed to be a relatively short day of travel it was longer and more exhausting than anticipated. Going through customs when we arrived in Bali took much longer than expected and then hunting down a Grab driver was a whole different fiasco. When we walked out of the arrivals gate there was the largest swarm of drivers, hotels, taxis, Grabs I’ve ever seen all waiting to snatch up every passenger they could get. We hopped on the Grab app and with a bit of confusion finally met up with our driver on the thrid floor of a parking garage. The journey to get to our friends Melody and Michael in Canggu would take about an hour. We had heard that the traffic in Bali was bad, but it was worse then I expected. There were basically no rules of the road and it was jam packed all the way through the big tourist towns.

Our first Air BnB in Canggu
Air BnB Canggu

The Air BnB that we were staying at all together had some interesting instructions and we basically gave up trying to help our driver get to the front door and hopped out into a field of cows and walked 2 minutes to the house. When we walked in we were shocked, in the middle of a construction area, minutes from the beach, we had our own compound oasis. The place was decorated perfectly, a hammock, hanging chairs, simplistic design, and the best part, a pool. We ended up talking with Melody and Michael late into the evening, grabbing a bite to eat, drinking, playing Farkle, and just enjoying our peaceful slice of paradise.

Breakfast with Melody and Michael
After surfing at Batu Bolong Beach

Michael’s number one thing he wanted to do in Bali was surf, so after some smoothie bowls and a light breakfast we headed to Batu Bolong Beach to rent some surf boards. Scott had gone surfing in Hawaii with both Melody and Michael last year, and he naturally athletic so it wasn’t hard for him to get up on the waves. Me on the other hand was a different story. I had surfed once, in Hawaii, when I was a kid. My coordination is not stellar so I was pretty nervous about going out there and making a fool of myself. After some coaxing we all headed out into the water. Scott and Michael caught a few waves, Melody and I did a lot of floating around and just enjoying ourselves on the water. Overall, it was nice just to be out in the ocean and I was thankful we went even if I did only catch one wave on my knees.

Pizza from ‘Pizza and Beer” in Canggu

After surfing we were starving so we grabbed some pizza and brought it back to our pool for the afternoon. We continued to chat and snack all day until it was about time for sunset and dinner. Scott took the drone out to take some pictures and videos of the newlyweds while we watched the sunset and then enjoyed dinner at a beach-side restaurant. We tried to wrap up the evening earlier than later because Melody had planned for us to all hike to the top of Mount Batur for sunrise through an Air BnB experience. We woke up at 1:30am were driven to the base of the mountain, hiked to the top and enjoyed hot chocolate as the sun rose in the clear sky. It was pretty perfect! On our way down we even encountered some wild monkeys scavenging for leftover food and water. The guide we had was incredible, fit and knowledgeable, we definitely recommend this experience.

Mount Batur at Sunrise
Mount Batur at Sunrise
Descending Mount Batur
Coffee Plantation Tour
Coffee Plantation Tasting

Our tour also included a soak in some hot pools and a coffee/tea tasting before being dropped off at our next destination Ubud. The pools were nice and we were so tired from an early morning that we all kind of dozed off. The tasting was unique and informative, we tried around 15 different types of coffee and tea. Melody and Michael even tried the famous Luwak coffee, made from collecting luwak poo. It was actually shockingly smooth and rich, apparently because the Luwak picks the best coffee beans to ingest. Not necessarily something I need to have again in my life, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Rice Paddy Fields in Ubud

Finally we made our way to Ubud, passing through rice terraces and tourist traps all the same, the famous Bali swing, and constant scams as we got closer to our destination. We dropped Melody and Michael’s stuff at their Air BnB for the night, which was a bit outside of town and then we headed to ours in the heart of downtown. We ate some interesting mexican food for lunch, wandered around the local market, sampled some good coconut ice cream and then headed back to our place for a much needed nap before dinner.

Nusantara Cocktails

Michael had heard of an amazing restaurant called Locavore in Ubud, unfortunately it was one of those places that books up months in advance so instead we went to a place a block away, by the same owners, serving similar dishes called Nusantara. They specialized in Indonesian fusion food and served everything family style. We ordered a mixture of different plates and really enjoyed the experience as well as the amazing cocktails. It was one of those food experiences that just makes you smile the whole time. After that we said our goodbyes to Melody and Michael and wished them a happy rest of their honeymoon, they still still has Australia and New Zealand before heading home! We promised we would stay in touch, crossed our fingers for Melody to see turtles in Nusa Penida, and to make plans to see each other next summer.

Nusantara Starters
Nusantara family dinner style

We stayed that night in Ubud at our tucked away suite and enjoyed a fresh breakfast the following morning. Then we continued on to Ahmed Beach, to spend our last few days in Bali.

Full bellies after dinner

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