Travel

Bali, Indonesia: A country so foreign yet reminds me so much of home

Exactly a week ago, my housemates and I flew to Bali, Indonesia for some rest and relaxation we thought we totally deserve. And given that we have significantly reduced flying hours for the month which also means more days off and free time, we were able to push through with the plan after several changes of minds (and hearts). You see, we originally planned an escapade in Indonesia which was quickly changed to Thailand and then to Cambodia and predictably finalized to Indonesia. I could go on and on about the reasons of this irresolution but the details aren’t really all that interesting so let’s skip that. Shall we?

Just landed in Bali, Indonesia! @Ngurah Rai International Airport
Just landed in Bali, Indonesia! @Ngurah Rai International Airport

We took the morning flight from Kuala Lumpur and landed at Ngurah Rai International Airport after three hours in the air. It was already lunchtime when we got to the hotel. We stayed at Kuta Playa which is a quiet and modest accommodation just across Kuta Beach. We immediately settled in and took a little while to rest.

My dainty hotel bed.
My dainty hotel bed.

Once we were ready, we went out to grab some lunch at Sandbar Caffe. More than the food, what amazed me was the pool. I caught a sight of the pool from our hotel and it wasn’t shabby either but the pool at the cafe just sort of had that Bali feel for me.

Sandbar Caffe.
Sandbar Caffe.

Later in the afternoon, we had some chilling at the pool and more picture-taking. Hahaha!

It was just the first day and we were having so much fun already!
It was just the first day and we were having so much fun already!

For dinner, we went to this Italian restaurant that was so relaxing and the first of its kind I’ve been to. The name is Rosso Vivo Dine & Lounge. There were huge couches, trees, lamps, and yet another pool. The vibe was so relaxing added to the fact that I had been sitting Indian style the whole time I was dining. I wanna have a place like this of my own! Someday, maybe.

(L-R) April, Monica and I dining at Rosso Vivo.
(L-R) April, Monica and I dining at Rosso Vivo.

For our second day in Bali, we had breakfast at the hotel where I tasted the Mie Goreng which was so much like our pancit canton/bihon in the Philippines. It was good. And I loved the chocolate cereals, above all things in the buffet table.

Kuta Playa breakfast.
Kuta Playa breakfast.

We went swimming at the hotel pool a few minutes later and this was how I learned to float more consistently. I have always attempted floating everytime I go swimming but most of the time, I could only muster a maximum of five seconds. But here, I was able to sustain it until I got bored. Yay!

Kuta Playa poolside.
Kuta Playa poolside.

Just beside our hotel is The Bali Beach Lounge and this is where we had our lunch. The service was great and of course, the ambiance. I couldn’t stop myself from taking photos of the colorful umbrellas that went even more colorful under the scorching heat of the high noon sun.

(L-R) April, Monica, Jaja and I at The Bali Beach Lounge.
(L-R) April, Monica, Jaja and I at The Bali Beach Lounge.

We were told to shop some place else because the items will surely be pricey around the area which is why we walked for a good twenty minutes to reach the market even if it was madly hot. We got some great bargains for clothes. The sellers would let you haggle for half the price, most of the time. You just have to be firm with your price, I guess. There were a lot of lovely sundresses, shorts and souvenirs that otherwise would have been more expensive had we purchased them near the hotel.

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For our last evening in Bali, we planned to see the sun set in Kuta Beach. We waited for it in one of the nearby restaurants by having an early dinner. The place is called Papa’s Cafe and forgive me for once again saying that I just love the ambiance. I reckon I just LOVED every restaurant I went to in Bali.

Waiting for the sun to set with my girls.
Waiting for the sun to set with my girls.

Kuta Beach was teeming with tourists. The locals offer beers, massages and tattoos to the newcomers. It was flourishing with business. The beach isn’t exactly how I expected it to be. I imagined it to be clean and relaxing but I didn’t really observe the former. But boy, the sunset was gorgeous! It was short-lived though as the clouds immediately concealed it leaving the beach darker in a few minutes.

Bali sunset.
Bali sunset.

What better way to end the night and our Bali escapade than have a girls’ night out? The four of us initially went to a resto-bar that seemed perfect at day but to our disappointment, the place was so noisy when we arrived with a band that was playing God-knows-what genre of songs. We decided to leave the place and tried looking for another ‘perfect venue’ for the night but we didn’t find any nearby. We could have walked the far end side of the road for more options but we didn’t wanna stress our fresh from some Balinese massage legs and backs so we settled for the hotel bar. We had dinner (Kuta Playa’s Oreo milkshake is heaven!) and some cocktail after. I don’t really drink as I don’t enjoy it even when my boyfriend prods me in social events but for the night, I did. This is just to cap off my first overseas trip with my girl friends which was all play and no work. And yes, of course, I had to give in to their goading or I would be called that two-letter name for the rest of the flight back to KL (or longer even, given how crazy they are).

I had the blue margarita and yes, it was a first!
I had the blue margarita and yes, it was a first!

On March 5th, we flew back to Kuala Lumpur. That ended the two-day escape we had in wonderful Bali!

No goodbyes, Bali!
No goodbyes, Bali!

Let me just say that the people in Bali are so much like the Filipinos when it comes to hospitality and warmth especially to foreigners. I was really excited to set foot in this country mainly because of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love which is one of the few books that made me realize I wanna see more of the world and I had to do something about it. I would have wanted to spend more days in Bali as being a tourist there wasn’t really anything to stress about. People will help you. The locals are generally nice, easy to talk to and I believe are naturally helpful. I say this with the total experience I had from the taxi driver who took us to the hotel from the airport who chatted with us like we were old friends and gave us tips on how to go about the kuta to the hotel staff who were always approachable and had an unwavering smile on their faces to the locals you see on the streets asking if you wish to avail of their massage and would happily discuss with you the price rates and still genuinely thank you even if you’re not gonna have their services. This is the first but definitely not the last time I’m gonna step in beautiful Bali. #

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