Asia Days 17,18,19
Of all the places I’ve visited, Bali is perhaps the first place I’d return. As a destination New Zealand has been the highlight of the trip so far, but we covered and saw pretty much everything we wanted- the same can be said for Borneo. Bali however, feels like the perfect holiday destination- a perfect balance between adventure, culture and just kicking back. It was also made all the more enjoyable as we were spending our time here with the crew we assembled together on the Kiwi Experience.
Arriving into Bali airport from Borneo, we made the initial mistake of trusting the first guy who ran up to us showing his credentials as a taxi driver. He had absolutely no idea where our hotel was and a few heated discussions later, charged us the monopoly money equivalent of $20 for what should have been a 20 minute drive. Lets put this into perspective…first of all the Indonesian Rupiah is ridiculous, we had over 2 million in out wallets which equated to little over $100! Obviously, fresh of the plane we were also expecting a standard tourist charge- probably double at most, but upon our eventual arrival at the hotel we learned that the ride should have infact cost only $2! The cheek to charge 10 times the normal price and not even drive us to the door! This was after bartering him down from $40!! (There is in fact an official taxi office with fixed rates at the airport drop-off).
300,000 IDR lighter and we were at our hostel/hotel- The Island Hotel-was just what was needed after trekking through Borneo and for just $12 for a large dorm- which was shared exclusively by our gang- a private swimming pool, air-conditioning, free breakfast and a bar you couldn’t go far wrong! For value and the fun we had it ranks as one of the best hotels/ hostels we stayed in.
Seminyak is the primary beach/ booze/ holiday tourist destination in Bali. Something I quickly became very fond of – and something that I also found really bizarre- is that beer in a restaurant costs the same as buying in a supermarket- there is no extra mark up! At just over $1 a beer we spent most of our time either in bars- many of which were Ozzie themed to cater for the masses of Australians- or more often down at the beach- less chance of bumping into the Ozzie onslaught! Here, we were offered beer service at will through the day and into the late evening. We spent two days doing nothing but drinking on the beaches, watching the sunset and letting the locals play music to us before eventually failing at trying to play our own.
True, we were pestered at the start- particularly the girls- to buy beads, bracelets or have foot massages, but as we settled throughout the day and became familiar with the sellers, they left us alone.
There’s not much that can be said in writing, other than these are the moments that will be cherished- great people, great chat, great beach, great beer- ridiculously cheap! What more could you ask for?!
As well as great beaches, Bali is also one crazy night out- most of which follows a similar order; Leaving the beach at sunset groups of kids-who look no older than 12- wait with their mopeds; ‘you need a lift, sky garden?’ ‘I have mushroom you want mushroom?’ ‘Weed you like weed?’ For a country that imposes the death penalty for drug-handling, its pretty damn open and nonsensical with the way it flaunts and offers them out. Almost every street you walk down has a little mushroom sign.
Anyhow, the main strip is mayhem, much like any trashy Eastern European Island holiday, with bars trying to undercut one another- which in Bali, is basically like just throwing drink away. A load of happy hours and illegal red bull later and people usually culminate at Sky Garden- where you are guaranteed to lose just about everyone in this Goliath club! A sturdy hangover is quickly washed away by a morning dip in the pool, before the beach becomes the favourable option and the routine repeats. This is us set for the next few days- a good catch-up and some downtime before we kick into adventure mode again.
Island Hostel/ Hotel, Bali: 160,000 IDR/ $12 p/n: *****