First of all I apologise. This title is misleading. Whilst I did drink one singular Bintang in Bali, I am unlikely to mention them again in this post. If this deeply upsets you, and you were hoping to find an adoring devotion to Bintang’s, then I suggest you click away now.
Working as a travel agent in Australia has truly struck gold again, providing me with another once in a life time trip. This time to Bali. I went with an amazing company called Tru Travels and together we embarked on a ten day tour through Canggu, Ubud, and the Gili T Islands. I admit that the majority of my time was spent drinking cocktails and eating ice cream while laying on the beach and turning a particularly attractive shade of red, but I did manage to fit some pretty awesome adventures in there too! I am so thankful for all these truly unforgettable experiences that have come from working for Peter Pans Adventure Travel/ Backpackers World Travel, and I walked away from my last ever shift today with a very heavy heart.
Our first day in Bali was spent relaxing in the rooftop pool in Canggu, getting to know one another, and soaking up the Indonesian sun. Everyone was lovely and we instantly formed our little Bali family. The accomodation throughout this tour was particularly luxurious – not at all what I was expecting, and we were put up in twin suites in fancy hotels! We rose early the following morning and I took full advantage of the buffet breakfast, eating about three different breakfast meals… (Hello Bali Belly!) We had a day full of culture and temples and got to experience the Royal Temple of Tamun Ayun, as well as Bali’s famous temple in the sea, Tanh Lot. It was great start to the trip, and the day was topped off with a breath taking sunset on the beach. On our final day in Canggu, after ‘winning’ again at the buffet (Taylor 1 Buffet 0…) we all transformed into pro surfers and spent the day surfing on the beach in Kuta, with the help of some local instructors. I already knew I was a terrible surfer, and I can confirm that nothing has changed.
Our next destination was Ubud, and the place I was most excited about! Having heard it described as the Byron Bay of Bali I was super keen to chill out in the hippie paradise and immerse myself into the Ubud way of life. I was not disappointed and after checking into our equally beautiful hotel we instantly got used to their chilled behaviours. A group of us decided to treat ourselves with a Balinese massage, which relaxed us even more. We rose the next day, as early as the locals, and tagged along while they did their weekly food shop at a local market. We tried different spices and fruits and then went back to their house for our Balinese cooking class. This was unarguably one of the best experiences of the whole trip as we got to meet a beautiful family and learn all about their life, their values, and get a little more insight into their culture. We all played our part cooking and learning together and by the end we had created a true feast,
I would love to now go into a detailed description of how fun and adorable our visit to the monkey forest was, but I am unable to do so, as in true Taylor style I got very nervous and abruptly left. But from everyone else’s photos, it was great! Ha! The actual town of Ubud radiated wonderful, positive vibes and every second we spent there was thoroughly enjoyable. We listened to live local bands and ate smoothie bowls and my time here was everything that I had hoped it would be. I started to make some real connections with a few people on the trip, and we all felt that we could have stayed in Ubud a lot longer. We spent our last rainy afternoon trekking through some of the amazing rice terraces and learning all about how the formations still play a very active part in the local’s way of life. Rain + mud is never a good combination, let alone whilst wearing flip flops. Let’s just say I am sure it would have been absolutely hilarious to watch us all trying to walk through the sinking mud without falling over. We all made it minus one… And I know what you are thinking, but for once that one was not me. (Sorry Nina.)
The next morning we bid goodbye to the mainland and hello to the Gili Trawangan Island. We took a sunset bike ride to dinner and all got to act like silly tourists trying to get a photo on one of the iconic beach swings!
For our penultimate day, we island hopped around the Gili Islands, snorkelling amongst stunning coral and beautiful fish and even getting to swim next to a turtle. We made a pit stop for lunch on Gili Air where we I enjoyed oreo smoothies (yes plural…) and ice-cream! The food porn continued through the night at an authentic Italian restaurant, with pizzas bigger than us! The final day was spent taking a bike tour of the whole of Gili T in the sun. Seeing the island by bike was a really beautiful experience and really reminded me how much I love cycling. (Note to parents – Please have a cute vintage baby blue bike waiting for me when I get home. Thanks.) We had a final Bali family dinner together before calling it a night, bringing a truly beautiful ten days to an end! (but beginning a new three days of hell…)
Oh how I wish that was the end of the blog post. But unfortunately that is where it all started to go wrong. It was early morning as three of us set off to catch a fast boat back to the mainland, with plenty of leisure time to make our night time flights. (Mine wasn’t until 1am!) We got to the check in to discover that all fast boats in and out of Gili T were cancelled due to weather conditions – From where we were sitting it was a calm beautiful day. Anyway, I won’t go into the details but what should have been a 4 hour journey back to the airport actually turned out to be a 17 hour one. Our journey featured tears, faeces covered toilets and endless packets of plan biscuits. It was pretty horrific and we didn’t arrive at the airport until 2am that night, hungry, dehydrated and tired. Needless to say I missed my flight. After booking a new 3 x more expensive flight back for the following day (thanks dad…), I finally set foot back on Aussie land. What more could possibly go wrong? Well quite a lot actually; my connecting flight back from Perth got CANCELLED, meaning I had to spend the night in a terrifying motel alone. Finally the next day, after many more delays, our flight took off and landed us safely in Melbourne, and god did it feel good to be home after three days of trying to get back.
Tomorrow morning I move out of my Northcote crib, and begin my next two months of travels! I am sure you will hear all about it soon, but for now, next stop Fiji!