Bali is actually very close to Australia, and by "close", I mean that the flight is between 5 and 6 hours depending on which way you are traveling. We chose to fly with Garuda Indonesia, a full service airline, because I found a great deal that was cheaper than the budget airline (Jetstar) that flies from Melbourne to Denpasar, Bali. Arrival at the airport is quite chaotic, as there are scores of taxi drivers trying to charge an exuberant amount of money for a cab ride. Luckily I had done a bit of research in advance and learned that there is a taxi company that runs out of the airport with fixed prices to most tourist destinations. Once we checked the price for our destination, we headed to the ATM for some local currency to pay the taxi driver. On the way to the ATM, we ran into another driver who was offering us a ride to our accommodation. He initially gave some outrageous price and then when I explained we could get there for cheaper with the airport taxi company, we did some negotiating back and forth and ultimately got a good deal from our new friend, Raja. Raja boasted about all of the famous people he had driven in Bali as we made our way to Seminyak, where Erik and I would spend the next 4 days.
|There are motorbikes EVERYWHERE in Bali and this is how they fill up their tanks!|
|The first views of the villa are quite impressive!|
|That door leads into the bathroom, with double sinks, a toilet, shower, and massage table.|
|The hallway of villas!|
|The villa is huge! The living area and kitchen are open to the pool area. The door to the bedroom is on the far left, next to the living room. The bedroom/bathroom could be completely shut off from the outside.|
|Such a nice way to have breakfast served! The juice (mango) tasted AMAZING!|
|Nasi goreng. Delicious. We had the same breakfast each morning even though there were 20 choices!|
|The kitchen could have been used for cooking, but we chose to eat out for dinner.|
|Love the ceiling!|
|We had a few visitors in our villa, but nothing dangerous or scary.|
|Coconut water and shade. It was HOT during the day!|
For dinner we called Raja and had him take us to famed Jimbaran Bay for a seafood dinner. I had read great things about Jimbaran for the seafood and the sunset, but it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The prices are high - actually quite similar to what food costs in Australia, and the seafood was good but not great. The atmosphere is really nice, though a band walking around singing and playing music would not leave us alone until we tipped them. All in all maybe it was a bit touristy for our tastes and we ended up having much better fish at a random roadside stand in Lombok for a fraction of the cost!
|You get to pick your own fish for the seafood dinner.|
|I love this guy!|
|The prawns were actually very good -- better than the fish!|
|Lots of people enjoying dinner on the beach.|
|Placing offerings around the village.|
|Most villages have walls like this just beyond the entrance door, as the wall is thought to keep out evil.|
|One of the temples we saw on our walk.|
|That's a lot of rice!|
|I am so impressed with the stonework!|
We were pretty tired after our walk, as I think we racked up somewhere between 8-10 kilometers in total. Raja had told us before our trip that we needed to try "babi guling" (suckling pig) at the famous Warung Ibu Oka, so we headed there for lunch. The meal resembled pulled pork and it was definitely flavorful.
After lunch we visited the monkey forest. There were an insane amount of monkeys running around everywhere! These monkeys have clearly learned that they can be fed by visitors, and if visitors tease them and do not give up the food, the monkeys can get aggressive.
|"Mums" and their "bubs"|
|A temple inside the monkey forest|
|Erik made a friend!|
We spent a few hours wandering around with the monkeys before finding Udek and telling him we wanted to go to the market for some shopping. Unfortunately, Udek misunderstood and took us to a shop with fixed prices rather than a market with lots of different stalls for bargaining, however, he made up for it with a stop for shopping at the Kuta market on the way back to Seminyak. We ate Mexican for dinner (random, I know) and it was delicious.
On our last day in Seminyak we were lucky enough to get a late check out. Erik went for a run on the beach in the morning while I went for a massage, as it is hard to beat $15 for an hour massage! We spent the rest of the day hanging out by our private pool until it was time to head to the airport. As usual, we had arranged for Raja to come pick us up to take us to Denpasar, and on the way we stopped by a grocery store to pick up some snacks, as we were about to embark on a 3 day hike once arriving on Lombok.
Upon check in at the airport we were told that our bags were too heavy, as we were on a budget airline and apparently they only allow 10kg each of checked luggage. We were 8kg over between the two of us, which set us back about $3.50 (by the look on the airline employee's face when he told us we were over and we were going to be charged, I thought it was going to be $100!). Our flight was on time and we got to see some pretty cool views of Bali out of the plane window. About 30 minutes after taking off we landed on Lombok, ready to start the second part of our Indonesian adventure!
|That stretch of sand on the left is Jimbaran Bay, where we ate the seafood dinner. If you look closely in the center of the picture you can see Mount Agung , a volcano and the highest point on Bali.|