Bali, Indonesia lives up to all the hype!
Eat, pray, love definitely had it right! About 20 of my fellow RYers navigated to Bali for MLK weekend and to celebrate the birthday of one of the guys in the group. It was one of the best side trips I had to date.
By some miracle, we all stayed within 3 blocks of each other in some swanky Airbnbs in the Uluwatu area. We still don’t know how we accomplished this but it worked out well as we all were only a 5 minute walk to Bingin Beach (down some treacherous cliff steps).
- Healthy food
- Cheap scooters (<$6 a day)
- More dogs
- Swanky bungalows
- Tropical weather
- Nice locals
- Corrupt cops (can’t all be good!)
- Watermelon juice 🍉
- Rain dances
The thrill of riding scooters around a hilly island with slick roads was one of the many highlights of the trip. Unlike my horror scooter story in Portugal, getting a scooter in Bali was as easy as letting our Airbnb host know. I was given a scooter for $6 a day and barely signed my name to give me access (no passport number or anything else required!). It was almost too easy!
Now obviously things wouldn’t go that smoothly because that’s how life goes on these travel trips. I ventured out to go find a swimsuit (forgot to pack mine: FAIL!) and proceeded to get lost on the island. People drive on the left side of the road and frequently pass each other on small curvy 2 lane roads so it definitely was an adjustment. Not to mention that leaving our bungalow you have to avoid the cutest dogs just casually sleeping in the streets and baby chickens/roosters trailing their moms. This actually becomes quite dangerous as the dogs literally just stare at you while you honk the horn with no care in the world.
After about an hour of perusing the backroads, I was ‘lucky’ enough to get pulled over by some lovely corrupt cops who demanded my license. I obviously did not have my international one (not having needed it up until this point) so they demanded I pay 500,000 Rupiah ($35) for a permit or they would confiscate my bike and I would pay 1,000,000 Rupiah at the city center an hour way. Obviously I knew they wouldn’t actually do that so I started bargaining stating I was an American and have been traveling for last 8 months and never had his issue. They had relocated me to a private room alone and had 3 different cops come talk to me as I just rambled about licenses and how my US license was fine. The 3rd cop played the “good cop” role as we chatted about Obama (we love him!) and how Trump was crazy. He compromised that I should just give him 300,000 and they would let me go. I countered with 200,000 ($14) and he gave me a fake receipt and said no one else will pull you over. Whether that was true or not is unknown but I’m still glad I got the fee down, though apparently it should have been below 100,000. Lesson learned but still something I was bound to experience sooner or later.
The country is truly one of a kind!! I fell in love the minute I landed and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new adventure. I barely got to see more than 10% if the island so I definitely will be visiting again in the future.
Enjoy some more pics!