For the second part of my Bali trip I took advantage of my freedom and did a bit of exploring the island. I have travelled before but this was my first time on my own so was very different than any other trips. Also being a mummy, I was so nervous about how I would cope without my wee man for so long but I also knew I really needed to do this for myself. One thing I discovered when lone-travelling you are very rarely on your own, I met so many more people than maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I started with a trip up the East Coast of Bali to a beautiful quiet fishing village just outside Candi dasia. I had got a recommendation from someone I had met to stay in Lumbug Damuh, which is a cute little commune for travellers on the beach. My room was a little wooden hut on legs and we shared a really cosy communal area, where there was food and music in the evening. It was my first chance to really meet the natives, as they would join us in the evening and usually one of them had a suspicious looking bottle of home brew spirits which were passed around. The Balinese are the warmest, happiest people and they would become an immediate friend. It was here that I saw the real Bali and also the real poverty. Despite the brochures showing the top class hotels and paradise settings, Bali is a third world county and it’s very evident in the rural areas. They are hard working and enjoy life and find joy in the little things.
I then travelled to Ubud (where Eat Pray Love is based). This was a totally different experience as the area is big with tourists and I was a bit taken back by the pace and how much the locals would hassle me to get a taxi/buy a kite/ rent a scooter/ buy a hand fan or just give them money. Thankfully my room was away from the centre and was down a little path and situated in the middle of a rice field. From here I did trips out and around the island, seeing temples, the volcano, palaces and the gorgeous terraced rice fields.
I finished the trip with a stay in a hostel in Legian, just beside the famous Kuta. I hadn’t stayed in a hostel since my around the world trip six years ago (before I had Joseph) so I wasn’t sure how I would cope in a hostel but I was very pleasantly surprised. The Island was so much better than the hostels we used in Australia during our backpacking. It was very stylish with a really nice pool and lounging area. And it’s so easy to meet people, I met people from London, Berlin and Switzerland (loads of Europeans in Bali!) and we would share a beer in the evening and tips about what to do and what to see.
My last two days were spent lying on Seminyak beach on a lounger, with my little Balinese buddy bringing me Bintang beer, relaxing and people watching. And being interrupted every five minutes by the Balinese beach ladies wearing five layers of coats, two hats covered in scarfs offering their wide variety of skills to me, ‘you want massage ‘(while groping me on my lounger)/ ‘oh your feet are hard you need scrub’/ ‘you like bracelet?’/ ‘you like a bow and arrow? I make it myself ‘/ ‘you like pedicure, manicure?’. So yes I did leave the beach having a foot scrub, manicure and with a bunch of not so pretty bracelets to take home.
The sunsets on Seminyak beach are totally amazing, and it feels like everyone comes out on the beach to watch it, it really is spectacular.
For me, the biggest attraction in Bali is the people and their culture. Their culture is so strong and they are so dedicated to keeping their traditions. Most Balinese will start their day with their offerings and you will bump into ceremonies throughout the day in all the villages.
I have definitely left this magical land with a hope that I will be back again soon.x