Not many places can take my breath away quite like Bali. I’m from California. and I live in Thailand. – I’ve seen many a beautiful beach – but I was just in paralyzed jaw-dropping awe of the vivid color-rich tropical landscapes on the Bali coast. I don’t think I have ever seen such pristine clear blue waters and at the perfect cooling temperature for those scorching hot days. The pebbly sand melting into the white wash, bubbling over the turquoise shallows, flowing into the deeper and deeper shades of blue, layering over itself as the waves rolled in-and-out, exposing the blackness of the coral or sharp white of a stray surf board – this is my paradise! At least for 4 days anyway.
You’d think Bali, being the ubiquitous destination it is, would just be an overcrowded, dirty, over-priced tourist trap. Well, there’s a reason it is still top-ranked in dozens of travel guides; surprisingly enough, there are serene beaches scattered all around the island, if you only explored a little further down the quiet tree-lined paths.
My first stop was a day in Kuta (crowded, dirty…awesome) to learn to surf on small waves and dance the night away! I met up with my homie, Alex, –> his blog with stunning photos HERE! –> we booked a room at Fat Yogi and headed straight for the “gnarly” waves. 40,000 IDR ($4) to rent a board from any one of the vendors in a row along the beach. Being the pro, Alex became my awesomely patient Ajarn of surfing! Took me about an hour of getting continually body slammed by never ending waves and a full belly of salt water before I could finally find some balance on the board, but By Golly, I did it! In an hour and a half, I think I managed to stand up twice and ride the waves, which was such a thrilling adrenaline rush. The first time, I got so excited that I lost my balance after a few seconds and plunged head first into the rushing water, but that still counts, right?
The nightlife scene is epic in Kuta with endless bars and clubs lining the most popular streets and a cacophony of beats and car honks blaring throughout the town. Energy Up. Since Alex had already been in Bali for 2 weeks, I let him be my night scene guide. We started off at Alleycats for the cheap beers, but I found it filled with one too many obnoxious smelly backpackers for my taste. Next up was Eikon, which had tunes I could groove to – my hip hop, reggae and oldies. As the room got too packed, we bolted to Skygarden. I don’t know how many floors I walked up, but we found ourselves on a gorgeous rooftop terrace and in the middle of a great DJ set. I was booty-grabbed a couple times and force-pulled another few, but in redeeming fashion, there were plenty of gentlemen ready to lend a helping hand.
Next morning, we met up with other friends at Sea Circus in Seminyak for Sunday brunch. The place is a total beach cafe! Breezy, chill, sunny and colorful! I scarfed down my fish tacos and spicy shrimp tacos in 1.5 minutes, then had a refreshing smoothie to top it all off. Sooo good.
The rest of Day 2-4, we rented a motorbike for 50,000IDR, ditched Kuta and spent the rest of our time in the completely opposite environments of Bingin and Padang-Padang. Towns with no bars, no nightlife, no noise past 7pm. I loved it! Exactly what I needed to chill out, read a book on the beach, watch the world-renowned waves, stare at the stars and nap on notions of unabashed living. One day, we went to Padang beach, another day to Dreamland beach, another day drinking smoothies. Gluttony at it’s best.
In Bingin, I stayed in an absolutely wonderful bungalow overlooking a coast filled with surfers on barreling lefts (I think this is a surfer’s term for waves moving left?) and beach-goers tanning at Dreamland. The two Indonesian ladies running the place were the sweetest and I adored their flirtatious nature! I would give you the name of the place, but I’m going to be a bad blogger and keep it to myself. Honestly, I don’t want this place known 😉 A spot you should know about however, is the green open field of cliffs at the Bali Monkey Temple. Walk past the temples down the narrow branchy dirt path all the way to the end. Then take off your shoes and run carefree through the soft grassy green and you’ll feel like you’re in the Sound of Music. Try it!
Day 4 arrived and I had to part ways with Bali and Alex, as we both flew off to different lands. I did get to meet this cool Taxi Driver, Made, who drove me to the airport. He was honest and fun to talk to and I think he’s available for tours, pub crawls, airport/hotel transfer, etc. This is his number: +62 81.999.206.387.
My holiday ended too soon and money ran out too quickly. Mai Pen Rai though! I’ll be back soon enough!