(Indonesia) Legian >>> Ubud
5/28 – Last Day of Luxury at The Stones!
5/29 – Checked out of Paradise and Back into Reality
5/30 – Evading Monkeys and Watching a Balinese Dance at Uluwatu Temple!
5/31 – Massages and Touring around Legian
6/1 – Scuba Diving off the coast of Nusa Penida!
6/2 – Touring Ubud, Sacred Monkey Forest and Balinese Dance Performance!
6/3 – Temples, Volcano Views and Cat Poop Coffee!
Last Day of Luxury at The Stones!
+ We enjoyed another amazing breakfast and fantastic day lounging around at The Stones! We set around the pool while Corey played games on his phone and watched the movies “That’s My Boy!” and “Sandy Wexler” while Liz read some magazines and texted with friends. We also enjoyed our last happy hour!
+ Then we headed upstairs to relax on our porch and then in our nice cool room with the A/C.
+ Ended up falling asleep for a little bit and when we awoke we didn’t feel like venturing out for dinner so we ordered room service for the first time ever! We got a pizza which was surprisingly big and tasty and shared a ramen we’d made with our rooms kettle as an appetizer. Mixing it up!
+ Relaxed and enjoyed our last night in this luxury resort! Watched a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 before falling asleep.
Checked out of Paradise and Back into Reality
+ After our last wonderful breakfast, we lugged ourselves back upstairs and packed up our bags. We had a nice late checkout at 2 pm so we chose to spend our last afternoon finally using the bathtub on our balcony! Oh the luxury!
+ We had the front desk store our bags and we headed to the pool to lounge around for one last time.
+ We were serenaded by a saxophone guy that dramatically played his way down the stairs as everyone from the pool sat around watching and not knowing whether to clap or laugh! (Liz definitely laughed. It was soooo cheesy)
+ Then, we sadly had to leave our wonderful slice of paradise. So we strapped on our backpacks and finally revealed to the hotel staff who we truly were: Cheap Backpackers! We weren’t super rich like the rest of the people staying here! We’d surely fooled them!
When we checked in we had disguised our backpacks in our travel duffels. Now as we were leaving, the hotel staff were so confused why we didn’t them to call us a taxi! Lol!
+ Our next hotel, Cinthya Guest House was about 15 minutes southwest so we chose to just walk there instead of dealing with an Uber. Although when we were arrived we were very sweaty and wished we had gotten an Uber.
+ Met another American girl at check in named Ashley who was friendly and after we each checked into our rooms, we headed out together to go get some dinner.
+ Ate at a really cheap Warung down the road which was quite tasty! And it only cost us $2! Ashley seemed a little sketched out and certainly less enthusiastic to play the “will this or won’t this give me food poisoning?” game. Lol.
+ Walked around the city with her before returning back to the hotel. Even though it was only her first night, she was stressed out and over the extreme buzz and craziness of Bali. She decided she would cancel her remaining 6 nights here and move somewhere else tomorrow! It made us feel proud we could deal with this stuff without getting too stressed out.
+ Stayed awake until really late working on our devices. It was back to constant trip researching and travel planning! At least we had a nice break for a few days!
Evading Monkeys and Watching a Balinese Dance at Uluwatu Temple!
+ For no real reason, our friend Ashley woke us up at freaking 7:30 am to ask how to use Uber and tell us she was moving to a new spot. To try and calm her anxiety, we talked with her until she left. We were kind of upset she would wake us up so early for really no reason!
+ Went back to bed and slept in a long time and really enjoyed it!
+ Did some work on our devices for a few hours and booked scuba trip to Nusa Lembongan
+ Ate cheap lunch of Indonesian food at warung near hostel.
+ Ordered an Uber and after waiting around for 20 minutes as he seemingly circled us in surrounding streets, he finally picked us up.
+ Rode an entire hour south to Uluwatu Temple. Walked around exploring the ruins and watching the mischievous monkeys running around trying to steal people’s stuff!
+ Around 5:30 we bought tickets to the traditional Balinese Kecak dance performance that would be performed right there at the temple cliff facing the ocean.
+ After sitting around for half an hour waiting for sunset, we were disappointed to find the clouds blocking it out completely. This place was supposed to be amazing to watch it from, oh well.
+ Finally around 6 the show started and for the next hour we were treated to an interesting Kecak dance with people dressed up as Balinese warriors and monkeys doing interpretive dances reenacting Ramayana, the ancient Hindu epic poem. Luckily we had a program guide with us that explained exactly what was going on in each act.
+ Instead of the usual Balinese instruments that accompany the performers, in Kecak dance all the music is made from chanting and swaying of male performers.
+ After the show we rejoined our Uber driver who we’d paid extra to wait for us and then he drove us back to town.
+ Went to a Beer & Co Bar expecting everything to be way too expensive but were happily surprised with a great deal for a buy 1/get 1 on a Bali beer we’d never tried! Nice!
+ Walked a very roundabout way to a burger place we’d spotted called Blackhouse Burgers where we got some excellent cheeseburger! Really good but kind of small. Expensive for Bali but cheap compared to Australia and the U.S.!
+ Back to the hotel where we showered and packed up a dive bag to go to Nusa Lembongan the next day! We’d been emailing with a dive shop over there who had arranged a pick up and boat transfer for us the next day to get there in time to go diving!
Massages and Touring around Legian
+ We woke up at 6:45 am and got the last few things together that we would need for the day. Then we proceeded to wait at the front of our hotel for a pick up from the shuttle to take us to the boat. And we waited, and waited, and waited. Over an hour later we finally gave up hope that any shuttle would be coming and by now it was too late to try and get an Uber or taxi to the port. Plus if this might not have been booked correctly, they may not even have us on the boat.
+ Frustrated that we’d have to cancel our plans to scuba dive (on what already looked like a gorgeous day) and even more so that we woke up so early for nothing, we retreated back into our room and cranked on the A/C again. Then we watched an episode of 30 Rock to get us sleepy again and went back to sleep!
+ Wayyy too many hours later we finally awoke again, frustrated that half the daylight was now gone. All due to another morning of waking up early for no reason!
+ After some quick internet research on booking the ferry and shuttle bus ourselves, we tried to call a company but they couldn’t understand English. Then we tried to get the hotel staff to help us and they were practically useless. So we finally walked down the street until we found one of the many (hundreds) of info desks that will book tours for you and had them call, only to find out it was all booked now! Arghhhhhh!
+ After some more discussion and phone calls, we finally found another boat company that would leave Bali early enough for us to make the scuba diving start time on Nusa Lemnongan (and come back late enough). Hooray! We dealt with stuff like this occasionally in Central/South America but it had been over a year since we’d had such disorganized craziness in another language. Except now we couldn’t speak/understand any of it, unlike our elementary Spanish.
+ With that big hassle over, we made our way over to a restaurant that looked appetizing and each got a big yummy cheeseburger. Then to help turn around our frustrating day, we decided to get foot massages! Combined they were only $6 and we really enjoyed them!
+ From there we were walking towards the beach to catch sunset but decided we still had plenty of time to squeeze in another half hour massage. So we found another Spa that we liked and Liz got another foot massage while Corey got a back/shoulder massage. Both were probably the best massages we’d had yet!
+ After forking over a whole $7 we finally made it to the beach and said yes to the first chair/beer hawking lady that approached us. They lined the beach and tried to lure each passing tourist into taking a seat in one of the chairs facing the sunset. These were free if you ordered a beer, so we each got one and hung out waiting for the famed sunset. Unfortunately just like yesterday there was a huge cloud bank blocking it so it wasn’t good at all. Oh well, we were still enjoying the relaxing spot on the beach!
+ While sitting there, we decided to forget watching the sunset and instead focus on all the bats flying around on the beach! Seriously, those little suckers were out in droves and would occasionally fly so close we could make out their little feet and ears! This was definitely a first!
+ There were also guys playing soccer shirts vs skins. For realz! Shirts tied up over one shoulder and running around wherever they wanted since there definitely wasn’t an outlined playing field.
+ When it was starting to get dark, we left our prime spots and headed down the street to the big fancy mall. There were so many schmancy shops and high-priced tourist stores. It was like being at home! We popped into a couple to look for a bathing suit for Liz but didn’t have any luck so we gave up and instead ate some cheap Burger King.
+ Now it was getting late so we walked the 25 minutes back to our hotel and proceeded to do work and research on our devices until after 2 am! We did manage to decide what Gili island we were going to stay on (Gili Air) and book accommodation for the first 4 nights, so at least we were productive.
+ Then we tried to force ourselves to go to sleep as quick as possible since we’d again have to wake up in only 3.5 hours!
Scuba Diving off the coast of Nusa Penida!
+ Waking up this morning was harder than yesterday but we managed it and then left our room and walked 5 minutes down the street to a much bigger, well-known hotel for the shuttle pick up. We’d scheduled it here so there were no mix ups like yesterday and we knew the driver could get here. This time, we only had to wait 25 minutes until the driver arrived!
+ Once he’d picked up another 10 people, we were finally off to the port. There, we checked in for the boat, had a quick breakfast of ramen, and rode the “speedboat” for 40 minutes across the water to Nusa Lembongan.
+ We felt like movie stars getting off the boat since someone was holding a sign with our names on it! We then each got on the backs of separate motorbikes and our drivers took us through the small town to the dive office. This was the first time we’d done this since Brazil!
+ After getting geared up, we set off with our dive master and boat captain on what was to be a private dive tour! Apparently all the other people went out a couple of hours earlier so this trip was just for us!
+ Our first dive site was supposed to be at Manta Point (where you can see tons of Manta Rays!) but unfortunately it was too windy to make it all the way there. So we got in at Manta Bay which had a much smaller chance of seeing the giant creatures, but we had high hopes!
+ Right before we got in the water, Liz discovered her Scuba mask was cracked along the side! Oh no! Must have happened at some point in our backpacks. Not sure if it would leak, she decided to use the one the dive shop had lent to us. This would be her first dive ever without using her own mask, and she’d dove over 100 times! She had been using this mask since she was in high school! Crazy!
+ The diving was amazing with great coral and fish life, but we didn’t see any Mantas. Once we surfaced (about a whole kilometer from where we’d gone under, thanks to the crazy current!) and the boat came to get us, he told us there were some mantas back where we’d started. So they drove back over and spotted one near the surface. We quickly hopped in with our snorkels (without our fins) only to get a brief glimpse of it before it out swam us. Back on the boat again until we spotted another one and this time we were in with our fins too. We followed it for a bit but never got a glimpse of it’s mouth (the coolest part!) because it was too fast for us to get in front of it. So overall we did see them, but not like we’d hoped. Still neat.
+ The boat drove over to our next dive site where we enjoyed a brief lunch eaten with our hands directly out of a banana leaf! Then it was back in the water with high hopes of seeing the elusive Mola Mola fish! Those things were awesome but hard to spot and this was one of the only places they frequented! We submerged to almost 100 feet in the freezing cold water but didn’t spot any, so we continued our dive along the reef wall which was still really cool!
+ Overall, while scuba diving off of Nusa Penida we saw a whole bunch of stuff! 2 huge manta rays, a big octopus, new types of fish, 5 nudibranch, a stingray, 2 sea snakes!, 3 moray eels (new type), and a scorpion fish! Probably the best dive site since The Great Blue Hole in Belize, but we found ourselves disappointed because the 2 creatures we’d wanted to encounter the most eluded us (mostly).
+ From there, the boat raced back to the shop and we peeled off our incredibly tight wet suits and then walked around exploring the island for 2 hours until it was time for our ferry to leave. We ended up finding a nice spot overlooking the water and had some red curry and a beer to hold us over until dinner.
+ Once we’d survived the boat trip back to Bali and the shuttle bus back to the hotel near ours, we made our way over to a laundry place. There, we used good ‘ol trusty Google Translate on our phones to come to the conclusion we could indeed turn in our laundry and have it ready by tomorrow morning. We hoped this was accurate otherwise we’d have to either postpone our departure the next day or leave with a bag of dirty or wet clothes!
+ We also bought an Indonesian SIM card so we could have internet and phone access for our remaining time here in case we ran into any more problems like yesterday.
+ Finally, we got some dinner at the same cheap Warung we visited 3 days earlier with Ashley. This time we really loaded up our plates with all the yummy looking food they had an had a huge delicious meal for a combined $2.50! Awesome!
+ Back in the room we showered, uploaded pictures/videos, worked on the blog, packed up, and made final preparations to leave Bali tomorrow! Then we discovered that Liz’s phone was no longer charging for some unknown reason. Oh, great! What were we going to do!?
+ Liz ended up falling asleep while Corey was writing in the blog. When he finished with that, he watched a couple of episodes of Dragon Ball Super before falling asleep himself.
Touring Ubud, Sacred Monkey Forest and Balinese Dance Performance!
+ After sleeping in, we got our laundry (everything was dry and ready, hooray!), packed up and checked out.
+ Then we ordered an Uber and had to renegotiate the price with the driver who refused to take us to Ubud without additional money. We didn’t want to pay more but we really didn’t want to have to go through the trouble of trying to book a shuttle bus last minute just to save a couple of dollars. Plus it would have meant lugging our heavy bags to the other side of town in the heat, so we reluctantly agreed on a price and set off.
+ Along the way we talked with the driver and ate the peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches that Liz had packed for lunch! Yum! When we arrived in Ubud, the driver didn’t feel like going up and through town to our hotel so he made up some B.S. about how he couldn’t drive down that road so we’d have to walk the rest of the way. Since we’d never been here before, we couldn’t call him out on it so we had no choice. Turns out our hunch was right though and he was just being lazy and lying. We should’ve paid him less!
+ Once we’d finished our 10/15 minute uphill walk to “Putri Ayu Cottages”, we checked into our nice big room. All paid for with Chase points! Then we set out to explore Ubud on foot.
+ We walked up into the main part of town and discovered it was just as touristic as Kuta just it was missing the beach. We got Liz some coffee from the hip coffee spot and then stopped at the official info center to book some upcoming tours and travel.
+ Then we headed back south to the Sacred Monkey Forest. We were worried it would be as small and unimpressive as Uluwatu but it definitely exceeded our expectations! The monkeys were plentiful (probably around 1000 in total) and even naughtier than the Uluwatu ones! The setting was what really blew us away with all of it’s majestic trees and temple structures. There was one strangler fern tree in particular that was absolutely humongous and you could walk on a bridge directly through it!
+ They offered the chance to buy a banana and feed the monkeys but we knew better after seeing some other tourists practically mauled for theirs. At one point, Corey was sitting in a swing and a monkey climbed on him and tried to tear away his water bottle. When Corey resisted the monkey bit Corey’s arm and ran away, but luckily not hard enough to break the skin. So it’s official, Corey’s skin is tougher than monkey fangs.
+ When we’d finished touring around the Temple, we grabbed some dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was the first time Corey got pizza since coming to Indonesia! He should be rewarded for his patience. Liz had already eaten a hamburger like 5 times!
+ From there, we rushed back north to the Ubud Palace to attend the Balinese Dance show we’d purchased tickets for. It had the Sadha Budaya Troupe performing a Legong and Barong dance. The 90 minute show turned out to be Liz’s favorite thing in Indonesia so far! Especially the parts with the women who wore headdresses made from fresh flowers and were extremely expressive with their eyes.
+ After the show we grabbed some very disappointing gelato and then walked all the way back to the hostel. It felt much farther away now!
+ We eagerly took showers to cool down after sweating all day and then did the usual necessary computer stuff and packing for our excursion tomorrow.
+ Today would be known as the “Surprise extra few dollars day” because every single thing cost a few extra dollars than we thought it was going to. In the end, it probably all added up to only $20 US but it felt like a lot more. And for $20 you could spend a whole extra day in Bali!
+ To end the night on a happy note, we watched an episode of 30 Rock and cuddled in bed until we fell asleep.
Kintamani Volcano Tour and Cat Poop Coffee!
+ Found out breakfast wasn’t actually included in our stay. And instead of being an extra $1 total like it said it was online, they wanted $4/person! No way! This wasn’t The Stones! So we ate granola bars instead.
+ Our driver picked us up after waiting for about 40 minutes and we discovered there were only 2 other people on the whole tour! They were a nice older couple from India.
+ Visited Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave Temple). It was small and not very impressive. Walked around for 20 minutes and we’d seen it all already.
+ Went to Gunung Kawi aka the Rocky Temple. The trek down to the temples involved lots and lots of stairs. It was also very hot which did not help. The temples themselves were big and interesting. The surrounding jungle setting was really neat and the place even had a couple small waterfalls. The hike back up the stairs was killer in the heat.
+ Pura Tirta Empul (The Holy Spring Temple). Nice but we didn’t get in the water.
Great to see all the locals (and some tourists) doing the spiritual cleansing and praying. Really interesting and offerings everywhere!!!
+ Santi Coffee plantation visit. Much better than expected! Tried a bunch of different teas and coffees. Liz tried Lewak coffee! This is made from coffee beans that are eaten by the Civet (cat like animal) and then pooped out! It makes a better after taste with less bitterness. The popular phrase from the workers is that it’s “Really good sh*t!”.
+ Even the teas here are different because instead of being made from tea leaves, they are made with combination of spices and plants. The guide who showed us around the plantation and talked to us about each sample was really friendly and informative!
+ Bought a package of Pandanus tea to take home. Tastes like caramel and lowers blood pressure and other benefits.
+ From there we drove to a very impressive overlook spot of Mount Batur and it’s bordering lake. It was actually a volcano that has erupted multiple times, with the last being almost 50 years ago. We sat around admiring the view before continuing onward.
+ Our last stop was the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. It was really cool to see all the layered fields of rice, some already harvested while others were not yet. We walked down to the bottom and then back up across the other side.
+ Once we’d snapped a few more pictures from this other side, we returned to the starting point via a much more adventurous route that involved super steep stairs, a rickety bridge and muddy pathways.
+ When we finished we sat around talking with our driver while waiting for the other couple. He told us all about a bunch of traditions and cultural practices in Bali and answered all the questions that had been building up in our heads since we’d arrived!
+ We talked about the daily offerings, so many people keeping birds in cages, and the statues outside homes & temples.
+ It was about an hour long ride back to Ubud and after saying goodbye to our new friends, we got back to our hotel a little after 5:30. Long day but it was very nice to be on a tour and not having to worry about driving ourselves.
+ The first thing we did was relax in the hotel pool with some beers and cool down from sweating all day. Then we came back to our room to find the workers fixing our bathroom sink. We were surprised and annoyed they didn’t take care of this while we were gone and now we had to wait to change and leave.
+ When they finally left we headed out in hopes of Liz getting a pedicure in anticipation of her birthday and island time. Unfortunately the delay in the room caused us to just miss everything by 10 minutes! Ugh!
+ Frustrated, we went to a pizza place for dinner and shared a pizza and traditional Indonesian dish. Then we hiked all the way back to the room.
+ The rest of the evening was spent getting the bags ready for our departure tomorrow and working online. Then Liz watched her first ever episode of Dragon Ball Super before falling asleep.