Of all the places we visited on our travels the one place that we completely fell in love with is Bali; the people, the waterfalls, the countryside, the mountains and the surf.
We visited Bali in November 2014. We had a flight in and a flight out and 5 weeks to do what ever we wanted with no plans. We still think that was a huge factor in why we had so much fun; when you have no plans you are more flexible, you get to change your plans and travel to places with people you meet. We also met some of our life long friends in Bali too- WIN WIN!
Before we go into what we loved we want to warn you about the worst part of Bali, which is Kuta. DO NOT GET TRAPPED IN THE KUTA VORTEX! Let me set the scene for you: bogans with terrible tattoos, pissed off their tits shouting at street hawkers to try and get cheap Ray Bans and Bintang vests. Starbucks, McDonalds, and clubs bumping shit music until 3am. There will be hundreds of people, drunk in the streets in the middle of the day chanting shit songs and just being general bell ends. We'd suggest experiencing it for one day and then get the hell out of there and see the real Bali.
The Balinese people are amongst the friendliest people we met and they have a great sense of humor. As soon as you leave the 'Kuta Vortex' every Balinese person you meet will be humble, extremely helpful and very friendly. They would probably lend you their best saucepan for a week if you lost yours. Aimee met this smiley chap just before we walked around the rice paddies in Ubud. He was the happiest guy in the world until his wife told him to get back to work and stop taking photos with everyone, he then took a piss on her back gate and carried on with his day.
On my birthday I had an idea to take a portrait (which is a birthday tradition now) and we found a little rice paddy to take the picture. I spoke to the farmer who owned the land to check it was all good to take the photo. He said crack on but he wanted his photo taken in exchange:
We couldn't understand a word we were saying but we managed to communicate through hand signals and a laughing. I told him he was a handsome fella, I'm pretty sure he knew what I was saying and he felt like he was on the cover of GQ. It was a pretty cool moment and he invited us to dinner that evening.
The main meals served in Bali are Nasi Gorang (Fried Rice) and Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles). In certain places we were paying 20p for one of these tasty dishes! Now if you go to Bali, do yourself a lifelong favour and go and eat everything in Betelnut Café, Canggu.
IT. WILL. CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
We loved the dishes so much we even ate there on Christmas day.
The first meals we had here were the roasted red chicken curry (Craig's) and some sort of chicken, avacado wrap (Aimee's). It was all just a party in our mouths, so many mind blowing flavours, so many good feelings from the food - how is that possible?! Look at that bowl of fruit though, have you even seem those colours in your life? Me either. Check out their Instagram from more mouth watering dishes- @betelnutcafe
They do some wild cheese cakes and smoothies too. I want to live in their kitchen.
There are copious amounts of waterfalls in Bali, some are average and some are illusory; this one was one of our favs. We drove on a scooter from Canggu and the sights and smells on route were naughty. As soon as we got there we met some locals who told us to be careful if we were going to jump off the waterfall, Aimee quickly scorned me and said I wasn't allowed -lame! They told us that the day before a tourist from Singapore had jumped off into the wrong place and broke his back. The walk down to the waterfall was about 200 steps worth and he had to be stretchered all the way back up, bad times.
If you're going to waterfalls or places where you're gonna do a stunningly majestic swan dive to stun the youth of today for years, make sure you're with someone who knows what they're doing or at least check for rocks before you start bombing in it, init. Don't be a whopper.
We're suckers for a sunset. Everywhere we go we're always trying to find the best spot to watch our orange mate grinding on the horizon, pleasing the masses and putting on a pure banging golden light show. We found a decent spot in Seminyak at a place called Potato Head Beach Club. Granted it is full of a lot of gimps sitting about in wedges and giant shades BUT the sun sets right in front of you and the beach is right there too. To escape the chaos of the posers go for a walk on the sand and watch the ocean munching away at the shoreline - pure joy!
We took advantage of the cheapish booze and this is what we looked like from the front after a few hours:
Another naughty spot to get some superb pictures ay sunset is in Tanah Lot. We didn't get there for a sunset but a friend of ours Amanda from New York (who we met in Ubud) took this bad ass photo as the sun set over this beauty of a temple:
Check Amanda's Instagram account for lots of photographic wizardry - @visualpassport
If you're like me and you shred the shit out of slabs of H20 on the reg, then Bali is the place for you. Judging by the stance above I'm clearly no shredder BUT I did got petty good in Bali just by being there and being in the water everyday. This was actually in Kuta when we were trapped in the vortex. If you're more advanced there are class spots like Padang Padang and Uluwatu which go off the richter at certain time of year. If you've never been surfing there are heaps of surf schools dotted about and it's so cheap you might as well have a go!
Let's keep this simple:
- Surfboard rental - £2 a day
- 45 minute massage (on the beach) - £2
- Freshly peeled fruit (on the beach) 50p
- Beer (on the beach) - £1
You've just spent £5.50 and the only moving you've done is in the water whilst you surf. I'm not taking the piss, this is actually legit.
If you're getting a taxi on the meter it'll cost you roughly 20p per mile. ALWAYS get a bluebird taxi and ask for it on the meter.
- Scooter rental - £2 a day
- Petrol - £5 A WEEK
- Average double room - £8 a night
The Scooter Rides
When asked about our favourite times on our travels one thing always comes back up - riding scooters. Unless you've done it it's hard to relate but let me try and explain it to you. You're exposed, slightly vulnerable so you're not completely relaxed. All of your senses are heightened. You can smell 1000 different smells, you can feel the sun on your neck and the wind on your face, and you can see everything with no windscreen/bus window tinting it. Open roads, fields for miles, beach after beach, town after village, paddy after paddy; it's all just one allurement of fascination. Don't let Aimee drive one if she's with you or your have a mate/girlfriend like her. Their will be plenty of donuts limping around in bandages who got too carried away on their scooter escapades, the last thing you want on your travels is a bandage - you're not making any mates with one of them on.
95% of Balinese people are Hindu and they are all about being at one with man and with the Gods. Everywhere you go in Bali you will see offerings which look like this:
Try not to step on them if you can help it, otherwise you will get a stink eye from whoever put it there, especially if they put their last Rollo in it too. They will be outside every shop and usually have incense sticks burning in them. Reciprocity (not R.E.S.P.E.C.T), the art of giving and receiving is an essential part of Hinduism. It's pretty amazing to see some of the ceremonies in Bali, they have so much respect and the culture is so rich it makes you feel privileged just to witness it. Don't be eating any of the God's apples either, they're not for you!
They also love a bit of yoga in Bali. We didn't do any classes but we found this shrine and pretended we were stretchy:
The Cat Poo Coffee
Now don't be scared, Cat Poo coffee or as it's more commonly known in Indonesia Kopi Luwak is a once in a lifetime experience. If yo've never heard of it or are thinking what is this guy talking about let me explain. Civet Cats select and eat the best cherries. Their digestive system improves the flavour through some magical process. Then they are pooped out, collected washed (hopefully) and then cooked etc. in the normal coffee bean producing manner. It may sound vulgar but it's actually delicious; if you've ever kissed your cats bum, it doesn't taste like that I swear. We visited a remote Luwak Coffee farm north of Ubud to taste it. To our thankful surprise, there wasn't an ounce of poo taste and we had an unreal view looking out over a huge forrest whilst we tried the different versions of tea and coffee on offer. Be careful when buying or tasting Luwak coffee, as westerners frequent Bali and these fads catch on the civet cats become more in danger of being extorted for their poo.
That my friends, is why we LOVE Bali and you should 100% go!
Big massive loves, don't fuck with the mafia,
Craig & Aimee x
If you wanna see what we got up to on our trip there check out parts 1 & 2 below: