9 Reasons why Bali surprised me
Would you agree with me when I say that Bali is one of those dream destinations? You see pictures, you hear stories and you dream about visiting. So did I. So I went. I flew 7 hours from London to Doha, 9 hours from Doha to Denpasar with Qatar Airways and landed in Bali, ready for my Indonesian adventure.
1. I didn’t need any make up! Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with Bali, but let me explain. I thought I had packed like a full fledged minimalist when I decided ‘only’ to take my foundation. Little did I know that the humidity and heat was so strong that I genuinely laughed at myself for even considering putting anything on my face other than sun-cream!
2. It is even cheaper than you think. For 10 days I lived in a private villa with 3 other people, we ate out at least twice a day, we rented a scooter the entire time and I paid for extras like dresses, ferries to Nusa Penida and snacks. Believe it or not when I tell you I spent just under £300 including everything above, excluding the flights. On average a dress will cost you £3 and a meal out for one person will cost you £2. The life! :)
3. Plastic pollution is a real problem. This was surprising because you simply don’t see any of this on all the pictures and just imagine it to be paradise. Bali really is paradise, don’t get me wrong, but tourists as well as locals throw plastic bottles on the street once they are done with it. The government is aware and you can see efforts to stop pollution here or there but it is still a long way to go.
4. The wildlife is wilder than you think. Our taxi driver told us: ‘I have never seen a snake or a huge spider in Bali!’ - Honestly, either he lives a sheltered life OR he just has been very very lucky! :D We were frequently visited by frogs, mini crocodiles, bats, geckos, snails, ants, spiders AND snakes! A little green tree snake lived next to our pool where I liked to sit and drink my cocktails - oh heyyy! Let’s not talk about that time I grabbed a toilet roll and a huge, black hairy spider crawled out, let’s not!
5. The locals are the friendliest people I have ever met. Normally, when you travel you always say ‘Oh, everyone was so friendly!’ - Right? This surprised me nonetheless because this was a new level of friendliness. Incredibly caring, respectful and polite is probably the best way to describe it. You really feel more than welcome everywhere. Karma plays a big part in this, too.
6. Nusa Penida surprised me as a whole. You know, that beautiful island with the turquoise water and the island arm that looks like a T-rex? Yes, that one. The beauty of this place really took my breath away. I thought I had seen it all, but it was a sight I will cherish forever, and a feeling of freedom I will never forget. Pretty much untouched nature in it’s absolute beauty. A must visit. Take the ferry from Sanur in the morning and off you go. Please be prepared for bumpy roads and a sore bum! It’s not that well developed you just.
7. People know about Bali and it’s incredibly popular! What I mean by that is that there were more tourists than I would have expected. Locals have caught on and charge you for everything btw. :D You want to take a picture from the viewing platform? Please pay 10K Rupiah! Overall I had expected many places in Bali to be kept more of a ‘secret’ than they actually were. Pura Lempuyang for instance already feels like a mini Eiffel Tower when you look at it’s popularity. Maybe it was my naivety but let me tell you, Bali is no longer a secret.
8. Vegan food is all you will need! I hadn’t planned to eat much meat our there anyway, but what actually happened was that I didn’t eat a single bite of meat or dairy. I didn’t need to. The vegan food on Bali is one of the most sophisticated vegan cuisines I have ever seen. It almost feels like magic and it was oh so scrumptious! Zest, Ubud for me was a personal highlight!
9. Hygiene isn’t great. I know what you’re gonna say. You think that this really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, right? Ok, fair. I thought I was ready for average to low levels of hygiene, which is probably true for most regions. However, the further away from civilisation you go, the more you are likely to have to pay money to use a little hole in the floor whilst standing in, what you only hope is, ankle high water. Hand sanitiser will be your very best friend :)