Kuta and Padang Padang, Bali

Bali is AMAZING! After about 28 hours of traveling Rachel and I made it to Denpasar, Bali. Unfortunately I had the stomach flu the whole time we were on the planes and it wasn’t very comfortable. We left LAX at 1am and took a 12 hour flight to Taiwan. Luckily I slept most of the way and we arrived in Taiwan around 430am and watched the sunrise. After a 4 hour layover we flew 5 hours to Bali and arrived at 2pm. I was surprised how lovely the weather is. Costa Rica was really hot and really humid but Bali is much more temperate. The weather is perfect actually. Our hotel had a driver pick us up from the airport and we went straight to Kuta beach.

Almost everyone I talked to about Bali recommended we go to Kuta first, I was actually a little disappointed in Kuta. The city is insane… it reminds me of what would happen if Mexico and Las Vegas had a love child. The streets are PACKED with people, cars, animals, vendors and motorbikes. I kept feeling like I was going to get run over if I stepped out onto the road. The beach was lovely but very dirty. It made me sad to see so much trash. You can’t walk 5 feet without someone trying to sell you something. The local women walk around and try to sell you fruit, sarongs, jewelry, beer, you name it. They come up to you and start trying to give you a massage or braid your hair and you have to tell them to stop because otherwise they will keep asking you for money. The nightlife is Kuta is INSANE, people here really know how to party. There are no drinking laws so you can walk down the street with alcohol and go from nightclub to nightclub. We had one great night out dancing until 3am to great djs playing music from all over the world. After 3 nights in Kuta we were definitely ready to find some place more mellow with clean beaches.

I asked our cab driver to take us to Padang Padang, my guidebook had very little information about the place but it said there was great surf here with sleepy little beach villages. I had no idea what kind of hotels we would find here but we ended up at a really cute little family run hotel about 4 min walk from the beach. It was a 45 minute cab ride and it barely cost us $10 to get here. There are no buses or trains that come to this part of the island so your only option is a taxi or a motorbike. After seeing the motorbikes in Kuta I was really afraid to get on one because the traffic is so crazy here. There are no laws regarding driving so people just do whatever they want and it can be kinda scary. As soon as we got to the hotel we put on our bikinis and went straight to the beach. We were both sooo happy when we saw how clean and un-crowded Padang Padang beach was. We met some other travelers on the beach from Argentina and Brazil and we all drank some Bintang (Bali’s beer) and watched the sunset. Afterwards they took us out on there motorbikes to Uluwatu beach and we had a really nice dinner. Motorbikes are the only way to get around here and I’m actually surprised that I really like riding around on them! Yesterday morning we got up early and went to Bingang beach to meet up with the South Americans and go swimming in the ocean. I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful the beach is… my pictures cannot do it justice. The smell in Bali is incredible too, so many flowers and incense burning in the offerings the locals leave all over the place. We had lunch on the beach and drank Bintang with an American traveler to celebrate the 4th of July. He was the only American we have met on this whole trip, almost everyone is Australian or South American. I have seen a handful of Europeans but this place is pretty much only Australians… the Australians are loud and a bit crazy… I think they are drunk all day long. When it got close to sunset we got on the motorbikes and rode to Uluwatu where there is a 1000 year old hindu temple filled with monkeys. We watched the sunset over the temple and enjoyed seeing the monkeys mess with the visitors. We were told to put our hair up and hide your sunglasses because the monkeys will jump right on you and steal your things or pull your hair. One of the travelers we met was leaving the next day to go hiking through the jungle in Sumatra for a few weeks so we all had dinner and drinks on the beach to celebrate. Dinner was fresh caught red snapper that they barbeque right on the beach and serve with chili sauces, rice and a seaweed salad. Padang Padang is absolute paradise but we have spent 2 days here and I think we are ready to check out some other places. Every traveler has good recommendations for us and I think we are going to check out Nusa Dua up the coast for a couple days, then go to Lombok and the Gilles islands for some snorkeling or scuba.

I am so happy with how friendly the locals and travelers are here in Bali. Everyone smiles and says hi wherever you go. We have done a lot of walking so we have gotten to see many locals here in Padang Padang, the children all smile and wave when you walk by. There is also a lot of farms here with cows and chickens running around freely. I’m shocked at how cheap things are here. A typical meal including drinks costs only a couple dollars and a large beer here is about .80 cents. Our hotel is 150,000 rupiahs a night so split between me & Rachel we are only paying about $4 a night. The only difficulty for me has been getting a good internet connection and having the time to sit and write about my travels. I would prefer to do this more frequently but I have been having so much fun I haven’t wanted to sit at a computer for more than 10 minutes! Rachel and I are having breakfast right now and meals here usually last an hour or more so I’m using this opportunity to do some writing. A lovely meal of fresh fruit and banana pancakes is calling my name so I will hopefully have another chance to write again soon.

All my love,

Marina

 

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jasmine
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 08:59:19

    Very nice!! Love being able to keep up with you but know the feeling of I am having to much fun to want to write about it. Love you

    Reply

  2. Dad
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:17:07

    Like Jasmine I love seeing and reading about your trip, you do both very beautifully, it makes your experiences much more real when I share them immediately rather than having to wait till Christmas. Keep living the dream, Dad

    Reply

  3. Sara Mikkelsen
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 04:11:16

    You write so nicely and I look forward to reading more about your adventures! Especially, of course, because I’ve been there and I’m sorry to read that the beach at Kuta is so dirty and busy. Someone needs to clean it – maybe you can start a recycle campaign! Or is there one already? Love you, Mom

    Reply

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