After a year and a half of teaching English in Korea I decided to travel for a while, first destination… back to Bali. I love that place, the last time I was there was my 8 day break in February so I decided to back after my contract was up and I booked my trip for a month this time (in my opinion, it still wasnt enough).
Some of the things I did…
Seminyak (fabulous beaches, beach clubs and all the “fancy” you can handle)
The second time around I took it a lot easier, I didnt cram that much sight seeing, it was more about meeting people and hanging out. I do have to say that besides Puerto Rico, Bali has become one of my favorite places in the world. It is ah-mazing. I love it because it has everything, good night life, beautiful beaches, yoga retreats, good food and great people. But this blog was built with the intent so share my vacation so that when you go on vacation, you have an idea of some cool stuff to do so lets get into it!
For general information like how to get in and out of the airport, taxis (including how to spot taxis that scam people) in Bali etc, you can go back to my February post HERE
One thing I didnt incorporate in my last blog post about Bali was SAFETY, since I was in Bali a little longer this time, I have more to contribute, so this post will mention that.
Guess House Hostel
I spent about 3 weeks total in Seminyak, 2 before meditation and 1 after. I particularly liked Seminyak because there is a lot of shopping, restaurants, interesting beaches and fabulous beach clubs.
When I arrived in Seminyak I stayed at a hostel called Guess House Hostel (not guest…) the staff was amazing, the place looked like an old cafe, and I found out it was. I stayed in an all female dorm (which is a tad bit more pricer) and all the rooms have a/c. The girls in my dorm were super cool. The stay in Bali in general can be quite cheap, I paid about $8 a night.
If hostels are not for you, there are plenty of homestays (homestays are like single hotel rooms, and are usually clean, comfortable and private) for about the same price, but I chose to stay at a hostel so that I could meet people.
In Indonesia, Warangs’ are places that serve food, they may be a stand or an actual restaurant. Warang style is serving already pre-made food. You typically look through the glass and tell the person what you want to eat. There was a place right across the street from the hostel that we would go eat at and because it was an actual restaurant, it was a bit “pricer” than the regular stands on the street. But a full meal at this particular restaurant was about $1.80. Some westerners were a bit squeamish about the food sitting out all day, but I didnt get sick and neither did my friends so I think its fine, and it tasted good.
Here is a video I put together of my time on the beach (forgive the video & editing, its my first time, and apparently not good at editing or taking video)
The Beaches & Beach Clubs
The beaches in Seminyak are called Dhyana Pura and Double 6 (they are right next to each other). At the time of my visit ( May-June 2014) the water was perfect for surfers, not so much for swimming in some parts. But every night I would grab someone from the hostel and we would go watch the sunset and hang out. This was an every day thing pretty much.
During the day, the beach is filled with beach beds, but a couple hours before the sun sets, they convert the beach with bean bags and umbrellas with lights. Depending on where you chose to sit at the beach to hear someone strumming on the guitar and singing live music, or they played music over the speakers. Each space is run by a restaurant so you can sit on your bean bag and have dinner and drinks, listen to live music and the oceans waves in the background. It was an amazing end to the evening or start, depending if you planned to head over to Kuta (10-15 mins away) to party!
In Seminyak, there are some phenomenal beach clubs. Cocoon is near the beach but not on the beach like Ku De Ta, which is more upscale and romanic at night, and since I had no one to romance me, I went to my favorite (and a favorite of most people) called Potato Head. The name threw me off, but that place is pretty fabulous. You walk in and hear the music, see people eating and lounging with cocktails, they also have a pool over looking the ocean. Potato Head is fairly pricey for Indonesian standards (by the way, I found this place walking around looking for the beach, and for some reason they told me to go to Potato Head). The drinks and the food are pricey, but it is free to use the pool. Potato Head and the other beach clubs open about 11am and close around 2am.
After 10-day meditation, myself and about 6 others from the Vipassana meditation (there were more but the 7 of us stayed together) We all went to meditation alone, but ended up spending a week in Ubud together. Ubud is not very big, but there is something very spiritual about it, I cant explain why I like it, but it is a very nice place, so if you visit Bali, Indonesia you have to go, just trust me on this one. Most of us roomed together and stayed at Gayatri guest house/ bungalows; the deciding factor was that it had a pool. Granted, we had just come from staying silent for 10 days and meditating for 12 hours a day, we just wanted to relax and socialize. Gayatri was a great place to stay because of the pool that was already mentioned, the rooms are decent and have a/c, the staff is lovely and they had a really good free breakfast. This was my second trip to Ubud so honestly I didnt do much. I would meet my friends out on the porch for our free breakfast, then we’d break out and do our own thing, then meet again for lunch, break out and meet for dinner. Break outs entailed of massages, nail salons, facials, (spa services in Indonesia are super cheap, like a good 1 hour massage under $9.00) swimming, gift shopping, world cup games and one of my friends would lead yoga classes at the pool, of which I would sleep in extra time. Some of them also would get together and meditate in someones’ room, of which I did not participate either lol! Although cant share a lot, because I didnt do much, but Yoga Barn was a popular yoga place, it was also used for performances.
After Ubud, all of us girls ended up going to Seminyak together. There was an awesome place near the beach that we would eat at just about every day for breakfast called Blue Ocean, that was amazing. American style breakfast with coffee, juice, fruit all for under something like $5 or $6 dollars.
I also introduced the girls to the club scene in Kuta, when we went back to Seminyak; mentioned back in the earlier Bali post. They also gave those places the stamp of approval. Here is the link again.
Being Safe in Bali
Before I arrived to Bali, I was warned about purse/ bag snatchers. You must avoid wearing a purse and walking on the street/ side walk along the traffic, because what happens is people on their scooters will snatch you bag from you. Many people have died from falling hard onto the ground from the velocity of the scooter and the jerking of the bag. Bali residence does have an on going campaign called “Keep Bali Safe” when the deaths became too much and tourism retracted. I personally did not see this happening but what I did indirectly experience was 3 people (maybe more) that were robbed after leaving the club or being in the area at night in Kuta.
I would say that they target people who look drunk after the club, I cant confirm that, but from the stories I did hear, alcohol consumption made them a target. (please note that I am not saying it was their fault, but what I am saying is they seem to target inebriated people) Clubbing in Bali is really fun, and the alcohol can be cheap as well. So of the three stories I heard,
1. A roommate from the hostel was robbed while out, she was with a couple other friends, a group of Indonesian people surrounded them and started pushing them around. They went into her cross-body bag and stole her brand new camera. And she noticed immediately that they did it, but they split.
2. Another roommate went out to the ATM at night with her date, a crowd of Indonesian people surrounded her and tried to put bracelets on her wrists. As she lifted her arms so that they didnt force the bracelets on her, they reached into her pockets and took her money out of the wallet. Another Indonesian guy sitting on some steps saw the whole thing and pointed to where they threw her wallet, she found her credit card inside, but they stole about $1,000.
3. As I was out clubbing in Kuta, I had met a Swedish guy who said that about 10 Indonesian guys surrounded them and beat up his friend, who in the end had more than $4,500 in hospital bills, because they beat him that bad.
By now you get how this happens, a bunch of people surround you and try to rob you. I would always go out with other people, but I was often asked if I was ever scared, I never was… but I’m sure it could have easily happened to me. There are a bunch of local people sitting outside and when you come out of the clubs, I see them looking me dead in the eyes, perhaps trying to see if I was drunk, I personally dont drink too much when I go out, especially in a foreign country, its just my personality, I’m a bit over protective of myself. And as a woman traveling alone, I always carry a switchblade knife in my bra, and kept my money in my bra. I walk down the street looking like a girl who has nothing to take.
Taxi driver and shop owners are basically trying to rob you as well by giving you a price that may be 3-5 times more than its worth ( when shopping, divided their price by half and negotiate from there, street vendors are always over pricing, but they will negotiate! So dont ever take the first price they offer you.) If you are not using Blue Bird taxi service, you are probably being robbed.
Dont let this deter you from going to Bali, just be aware and you will have a great time.