After our sad goodbyes to the country that we called home for 6 months we hopped on a plane to our first South East Asian destination, Bali. We flew into the Denpasar International Airport and made our way to Pop! Hotel in Kuta Beach where we would spend a few days easing into Asia. Once we arrived at our hotel we quickly discovered that in my hasty planning I had managed to book our reservation for May instead of April (whoops!) but that was luckily sorted out and we got our room for that night. Tired from our trip, we hit the hay as soon as we got through the door.
The hotel we stayed at offered free breakfast which was served in a banana leaf and contained some spicy noodles and unidentifiable stuff as well as green rice, it was definitely an interesting introduction to food in Bali. To get our bearings we decided to start with a long walk through downtown Kuta and over to the beach. Downtown was hot and crammed full of vendors selling your usual SEA wares, knock-off watches, beer logo tank tops, hippy pants, and all sorts of other bric-a-bracs. By the time we hit the beach we were both a sweaty mess so we opted to rent some beach chairs with an umbrella and hide in the shade instead of sweltering it out on the hot sand. We took our first dip in the ocean since leaving Australia and spent the rest of our beach time drinking Bintang (Braden) and getting a massage (myself). We left the beach in search of lunch and new sunglasses for me as I had managed to lose my pair while swimming in the oceans (damn waves). The rest of that afternoon was spent napping and swimming in the hotel’s beautiful pool. For dinner that night we tried to locate the night market but when we failed to do so we instead opted to just grab dinner at a random place on the main strip. After dinner we hit up Sky Garden to check out their all you can drink hour (which in fact served very strong and not very tasty drinks but hey, they were free!). We ended up chilling at the rooftop patio smoking some shisha and talking to random travelers from across the globe.
For our second day in Bali we decided to take a day trip up to Ubud since we had heard a lot of good things about it. We ended up with a private driver for the day which was pretty sweet especially for the price of 40$. We spent the morning checking out various local craft markets that included Batik painting, stone carving, painting and the making of silver jewelry. Our guide for the day suggested we make an additional stop to try Luwak coffee and we decided why not. Luwak coffee is the most expensive coffee pound for pound in the world and it is made by having a animal (the Luwak) eat and digest a certain type of coffee bean which is then fermented in its stomach and pooped out. The poop is then collected, cleaned, ground and roasted to create a very strong but not very bitter coffee. While at the Luwak place we got to see some monkeys, Luwaks, bats, coffee trees and the process of how they make the coffee. After our tour we got to sample the various beverages the place produces including a super yummy lemon tea and a ginseng coffee (which was our favourite). Braden even opted to pay a bit extra to try a cup of the famous Luwak coffee, which made the regular Balinese coffee taste like water. Also included in our tour was a stop at the Ubud monkey temple where we got to hang out with a bunch of monkeys. Many funny pictures ensued. Our last stop for the day was in the town centre where we grabbed lunch and checked out some of the local market stalls. Once back in Kuta we were both craving pizza so we ventured to a nearby Italian restaurant that felt very authentic and served yummy italian food. All in all it was a very successful day.
The next morning we had to get up super early to meet our bus transfer that would take us to Padang Bai Pier where we would meet our speedboat bound for Gili Trawangan.