A new wonder, Bali

My Dears,

I hope to catch you well? I am. Let me tell you about one of the most amazing places I’ve been! Bali, Indonesia. Two weeks I’ve visited this wonderful piece of island. Mind you it was a hardship to get there. Almost 20h of travel! Let me assure you, that is a really, really long time. As I am not one to sleep on planes, it was especially difficult for me. Add the time difference to the mix and you can definitely call it jetlag. Not to worry, after the right amount of sleep and food, I began feeling human again.

Our journey started in Uluwatu. My plan was to start south and from there going up. Uluwatu was magnificent. The perfect mix of western and traditional. There you have the beautiful Uluwatu temple where you can enjoy beautiful sunsets. It is also perfect to go to the beach. If you are the surfer type, make sure to go to Padang Padang beach. Its location is hidden behind a rock and you have to climb down, but it is worth the trouble. On days where everyone doesn’t have the same idea of course. Otherwise it can be a bit crowded. We visited Dreamland beach. Quiet and with beautiful white sand it was the perfect place to get some sun. You should be aware of locals wanting to give massages and that want to sell you stuff. That can get a bit annoying after a while but it is part of the deal. While in Uluwatu we also visited a cool seafood restaurant at the beach and we also went to see the sunset at Single Finn, the place to be for hipsters. With a cocktail in your hand, it is the perfect place to end the day.

After three days it was time to say goodbye to Uluwatu and say a welcome to Kuta. I personally didn’t find Kuta very impressive. Full of bars, restaurants and western shops, it kind of reminded me of vacations in Europe. I lost a bit of the Bali-vibe. There we went to see the Ground Zero Monument that was built after the 2002 terroristic bombings. After that we went to the Discovery Shopping mall. From Zara to HM, Burger King to Starbucks, you wouldn’t think you were in Indonesia standing there. It’s not bad to see but for a Bali experience I wouldn’t spend that much time there. Soon enough our stay in Kuta was over and we went to Semyniak. Didn’t stay long, but from there we went to see the Tanah Lot temple. Very touristic is this temple in the rocks, but impressive to see.

Our journey then led us to Ubud. The cultural capital of Bali. There my wanderer side really could thrive. We stayed in this cute little homestay with the nicest people, a cute restaurant 100m down the street and nothing but nature around us. First day I immediately went exploring. Ubud market was overwhelming. So many vendors trying to sell you things, it’s insane. Close to the market you have also the Royal Palace and the monkey forest. I didn’t do the monkey forest after all the stories I heard about those stealing monkeys. The next day we booked ourselves a tour with a guide. He brought us to different temples like the elephant temple or another one called Gunung Kawi. Also to a coffee plantation where they make Luwak coffee. There you have the opportunity to see arabica and robusta coffee being grown, eaten by the civit cat, harvested, hand roasted and hand ground. Mind you Luwak coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. From there we went to see the Tegalalang rice terrace. It has such a cool view. I would recommend it to everyone.

Needless to say, I would have stayed in Ubud forever. There were other places to visit though so we said goodbye to Ubud and took a boat to the Gili-Islands. Our stop was Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three Gili’s (Trawangan, Air and Meno). The Gili’s are part of Lombok and not Bali so the population is more muslim here intead of hindu like in Bali. The Gili’s are a world apart. A Mekka for parties and watersports like snorkeling, diving, etc. We went snorkeling and I made my dream come true and swam with sea turtles. Such a beautiful experience, I will never forget it. Soon enough our time at Gili was also over and we went relaxing for the last days in Canggu. We had a nice little hotel with a beautiful room and rooftop pool. What do you want more? That was a perfect way to end an incredible journey into Indonesia.

I am writing this while freezing back here in Belgium and reminiscing of a warmer time in Bali. Since being back the Agung volcano erupted in Bali forcing many to evacuate their homes. As of this lots of tourists decided not to go to Bali for the time being, but the Balinese people live mostly of tourism. The volcano is just a small part of the island. If your main reason to go to Bali is not the Agung volcano, I would say just book your ticket and go. It is a great holiday and very very cheap. Don’t let that little volcano erupting change your plans. The people, the food, the country and the nature is beautiful so just go already.

Forever yours,

Brangel Jalby

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