Last Nights in Asia

So 1 last night in Bali ended up being 5 nights! On arrival at my hostel, Rumah Kayla in Kuta I met a girl called Kati from Germany and we set off to explore the streets of Kuta. It was exactly what people had warned me about. The busy streets were lined with McDonalds, KFC, bars, nightclubs and high street designer shops. And I must add, I once again resisted the familiar signs. In fact I am now at a point where I would certainly not choose a burger over a Nasi Goreng (a fried rice, chicken, satay and crackers dish).

We paid our respects at the memorial where the 2002 Bali bombing occurred at a nightclub which killed 202 people of all nationalities and a further 240 people were injured.

Next to this spot is a club called Sky Garden which is a huge nightclub and where we spent what was supposed to be my only night in Kuta.

Kuta also has an amazing beach, with golden sand as far as you can see. It is extremely busy with tourists and surfers. I was very keen to try surfing and Kati offered to teach me the following day. I was so excited at the offer that I booked another night in Kuta. The following day we arrived at the beach and I began to watch the many surfers in action; bad idea! Seeing them being tossed about by the powerful waves instantly put me off the idea of learning to surf. I love the thrill of being scared of something and then the proudness and sense of achievement once I have completed the challenge, and so I was really disappointed with myself for not giving it a try, but there is one thing that I am not confident with and that is the sea. I love to swim in a nice calm sea, kayak and snorkel far out at sea but add strong waves into that and I am way out of my comfort zone. Instead I spent the day relaxing on the beach whilst Kati did some surfing. Whilst we were both sunbathing the strangest thing happened – about 15 people were standing behind us and when we sat up to see what was happening they all flocked around us and started posing for photographs! We didn’t even have time to object. They were so excited about having their photo taken with us but I felt like an animal in a zoo and also a bit exposed considering I was in my bikini. I am not sure what nationaility they were but being photographed by them became an ongoing thing throughout the day.

That night I was going to book a flight to New Zealand for the following day. New Zealand was another country that was not in my original plan but speaking with other travellers I really wanted to climb the glaciers. Unfortunately the sensible Charmaine reared it’s ugly head and I decided that going over budget by another (most probably) £1,000 was not wise, especially for the sake of just 10 days! I decided to leave New Zealand this time but I will certainly be saving hard so that I can travel New Zealand from north to south in the near future.

As I was not flying to New Zealand I wanted to see more of Indonesia so I booked a bus to take me to Sanur. When I arrived I had that instant feeling that I wasn’t going to like it but I was there so decided to do my usual getting lost whilst exploring. I didn’t see much, just a standard beach a few run down shops and some western bars. There was no culture and it was very quiet. Luckily, back at The Big Pineapple Hostel I met a guy called Sam from Australia and we decided to head back to Kuta together the next day. I had paid for 2 nights at a price £9 per night but I was so keen to leave I didn’t worry about losing 1 nights payment.

I spent 2 more nights in Kuta. Relaxing by the hostel pool, reading, watching movies and partying at Sky Garden and Bounty. I wanted to make the most of the cheap prices of Asia before heading to expensive Australia so I had a massage/body scrub, and bought some new clothes.

I booked my flight to Cairns at a price of £250 which was quite reasonable considering I had booked it for the next day.

So for now, it’s goodbye Asia, hello Australia!

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Beautiful Bali

50 minutes on a fast boat is pretty hard going, but it got me to land where I was able to get my bus to take me to Ubud, Bali. What was supposed to be just over an hours journey turned into a 2 hour journey when the wheel axle on our bus broke. We had to wait for roughly half an hour for another bus to come and get us. The second bus got me safely to Ubud and luckily it stopped only 15 minutes walk from my hostel, The Happy Mango at a price of £4 per night.

As soon as I arrived at the hostel I went out to book a morning trek up
Mount Batur which is an active volcano, last eruption was in 2000.

The trek cost me 350,000 IDR which included transport, breakfast, a guide and lunch. I was picked up in Ubud at 2:30am so that we could see the sunrise over neighbouring volcanos. Walking 1,700m up a volcano is not easy at all, but I did it and was extremely proud of myself, even overtaking many other groups.

We made the trek in good time for sunrise, but, unfortunately it is rainy season in Indonesia and the beautiful view was ruined by cloud and rain.
But the trek was still an
amazing experience and a great achievement for me.

Our guide then took us on a walk around the top of the volcano to view the steam vents, where we could warm ourselves up, just a shame it couldn’t dry us too, the old lava flows and the spot where there was once a village which was wiped out by an eruption and an ancient cave used as a temple which is very sacred so we were unable to go inside.

The trek was amazing and I would certainly recommend it.

Wanting to stay active after an alcohol fuelled and lazy week on Gili, I booked a cycling tour for the following day. The tour cost 300,000IDR and was worth every penny. We had a massive traditional breakfast of black rice and coconut milk, chicken, rice, crackers, salad and pancake, overlooking Mount Batur which I had climbed the day before. The sun was out and I was able to see the volcano in all its beauty. We then hopped on our bikes and cycled through Ubud to the local villages, where the children were extremely excited to see us, running along and shouting hello. We saw people at work in the rice fields and got to marvel at the beauty of Bali away from the tourist hot spots. We were then treated to another traditional feast of roasted duck, chicken, rice, noodles, satay, vegetables and an array of sauces also followed by a fruit and honey dessert. Delicious!

I have really enjoyed my time in Ubud, next stop is Kuta which I have been warned is a noisy, touristy area, but 1 night before I leave wonderful Bali wont harm.

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