Day 33 – Uber in Bali

Uber is undoubtedly going to be cheaper than most of the taxi drivers that you will find in Bali. A majority of taxis in Bali will not use their meters, instead they will give you a flat price and it’s up to you to bargain. Most of the time, this means you will be getting ripped off, sometimes twice or three times more expensive than the Uber price. Especially if you arrive at the airport late at night and want to go somewhere father, such as Ubud. Taxi drivers have to obtain a special license to pick up from the airport in Bali, once outside of the airport, they are not allowed to pick-up from the streets, so many drivers will require you to pay double-fare to cover the cost back to Kuta.

Why do I bring this up? Because although Uber is the cheaper and my most-preferred transportation, it is heavily unreliable on the island. One of the Uber drivers told me that the local transport services (taxis) hate Uber because they operate at a cheaper cost for the consumer, therefore, taking away their business. When they see drivers pull up to hotels with their phones out, they shout and sometimes throw rocks and trash at the car. The driver hid his phone in the backseat pocket while picking me up. On more than one occasion, I have had Uber drivers refuse to pick me up or completely drive past my location and later tell me that “there are too many local transport” nearby so they were afraid to pick me up. I had to cancel many drivers for different reasons while in Bali.

So I’m not saying you can’t use Uber while you’re in Bali. It’s still very convenient and cheaper in most cases. Renting a motorbike is actually the cheapest option ($3/day) but since they drive on the left side and the roads are a free-for-all, I have not tried this abroad. I might suggest using Uber to see what a normal fare would cost to get to your location, then you can use that as a reference to bargain with the taxi drivers on the street. If a driver will not give you the price you want, then just walk away. Trust me, you will be asked repeatedly while walking on the street if you need a ride. There’s always somebody waiting for you.

Day 32 – Bali, Indonesia

Ubud. Last day in Ubud and last full day in Bali before I go onto the next country, Australia! I decided to take it very very slowly today and let Bali soak in. After leaving the Yoga Barn yesterday, I remember feeling so relaxed and centered. I never knew what being “centered” felt like before. It was just another yogi term until yesterday. I spent the afternoon wandering the streets and browsing the numerous shops along the road. I found some really neat postcards for $.50 a piece. I gave the “fresh Bali coffee” a try at one of the local restaurants, and it was good. However, I’m 99% certain that it was an instant mix so maybe I will try again tomorrow.

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Pretty sure this “fresh Balinese coffee” was an instant mix. There goes my $.80 cents!

Last night, I was lucky enough to have the entire 6-bed dorm to myself. It was like my reward for putting up with the night before. It actually wasn’t so bad just lots of side conversation that I didn’t care too much for. And to be completely honest, I haven’t been living the hostel life very much during this trip so far. I’ve mainly been staying in budget hotels because they are so cheap in Asia. Tomorrow that will all change as I reach Australia, where the hostel dorm rooms cost around $30 USD per night. But that’s part of the experience, and I’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for the next four weeks.

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6-bed mixed form @ Joker Hostel 2 [$7 USD/nt]

Day 31 – Bali, Indonesia

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Welcome to Bali! Today I feel like I discovered the real Bali. The Bali that I have been dreaming of. I woke up at the crack of 10am and set out to find the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It was about a 1.5 mile walk from the hostel so by the time I had actually reached the entrance, I was already tired. Still, I trekked up the slopes and climbed the steps. Just as I was feeling like I needed to take a break and contemplated turning around, I turned the corner and realized I had reached the top of the ridge. It was beautiful! So many green trees out into the distance and you could hear the rushing water from the river below. The ridge walk is exactly as it sounds, it is literally a ridge that you walk along with two drop-offs on either side. The ridge itself is pretty wide so it’s not scary at all but the views are breath-taking. This is why I love hiking. Because at the end of the strain, there is a rewarding view waiting for you and you have to earn it.

After walking back towards the hostel, I had lunch at Taco Casa. It’s a small little restaurant tucked into the corner of the main street. Yesterday I walked by and it smelled delicious but it was peak lunch hours so there were no tables available. Now I know why. The food was so good. Like Tex-Mex good. And I LOVE Tex-Mex. I decided until I can return back to my beloved Lopez, I’m going to eat at Taco Casa every single day.

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Yoga Barn

I had a little bit of time to wind down before I had to get moving for my 2pm yoga class. I decided to go to the famous Yoga Barn, down the street from my hostel. The yoga studio looks like a giant treehouse in the middle of a farm. You can hear locals hacking away at the leaves nearby while you practice your Oms. It was actually very relaxing. I took the Intro to Yoga class, so it wasn’t very strenuous at all. But I really enjoyed it because our instructor, Estee, took the time to explain the principles of yoga and really dive in depth about the practice. If you’re looking for a good workout, you can skip the intro class and go straight into one of the other 15 classes that they hold each day. I, personally, am really glad I decided to take this class and now I feel like I have yoga roots in Bali.

Day 30 – Bali, Indonesia

Ubud. First impressions. Ubud is the cultural center of Bali. Although I’m not entirely sure if that’s true or if I just made that up, Ubud definitely has a different vibe from Kuta. The main street is still bustling and chaotic with cars and motorbike but at least there’s a sidewalk here. One notable difference is where Kuta has beaches, Ubud has lush greenery and beautiful religious shrines scattered throughout the city.

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My first stop, aside from checking-in at my hostel, was at Sang Spa 3. I opted for the honey and cucumber facial and it was uhh-mazing. She started with a cleanse, then exfoliate, then a steam, each time gently massaging my face. Then she put honey on my face and chest. Okay, it’s exactly how it sounds … pretty much felt like raw honey. Surely they must mix other things in there. After scrubbing away the honey concoction, she layered sliced cucumbers all over my face. Then she started massaging each arm with just the right amount of pressure. At one point I think I even fell asleep.

During the entire time at the spa, I could only think of one thing … work. Seriously, can you believe it? But it’s not what you think. The one thing I kept thinking to myself was how easy it is for us to get so caught up in daily lives that we forget to take care of ourselves sometimes. I know working in the ER, my perception of time was always 4-hour blocks and shift-to-shift and week-by-week. I was always so focused on getting through my week, that often times I wouldn’t do anything else on my days off except catch up on sleep and maybe some errands. I kept telling myself that eventually I would get a massage at the end of the week or the next week and it never happened.

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I know that not everyone has the freedom to splurge on things such as massages every month but self-care is so important. If Bali has taught me anything, it’s the importance of mind-body-spirit and balance. So to all the nurses, doctors, RTs, PALS, CLS and all my friends that work inside and outside of the hospital setting, remember to take care of yourself every now and then, whether it be a massage or yoga or even something as simple as taking yourself out for dinner. It’s hard to justify $100 on yourself when you have other priorities and a family to think about, but just do it. You will be happier and they will benefit from your happiness. If you can’t, I understand but just know I am thinking of you during mine and I appreciate everything that you are doing back home.

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Been traveling for a month straight now and it still feels like I’m going to go home and pick up right where I left off. I’m missing my family, my friends and all the coworkers I left behind. I have been constantly reminding myself to live in the moment each day because this truly is a trip of a lifetime. I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel the world and am still so excited for what is yet to come.

Day 29 – Bali, Indonesia

Story Time. I think the word Mas in Indonesian means “boy.” While walking around in Bali, there are people constantly trying to solicit you into their shops, to buy their goods, and offering rides and massages. So on my way to the beach, numerous men and women repeatedly call out Mas in my direction. Normally, I keep walking or politely shake my head, No. People would literally reach out towards me, one lady even grabbed my arm and tried to pull me into her shop and then I realized, basically I’m Daenerys TargaryenBecause when you repeatedly shout Mas, it starts to sound like Mhysa.

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Fruits of Labor bowl topped with fresh dragon fruit, mango, and papaya @ Beach Bowl

Went back to Beach Bowl for a late breakfast bowl. The staff immediately recognized me and started smiling when I walked in. They were very friendly and gave me some tips about visiting Bali. Once again, I was mistaken for Indonesian. I’m really dark.

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Loving these entry ways that are all over Bali!

Took a long walk on the beach today. I decided not to go to Padang Padang Beach, but instead walked along the water from Legian Beach down to Kuta Beach and actually really enjoyed it. The weather has been cooler today, in the mid-80s and breezy. After giving Bali a second chance, I really started to enjoy my day. Even though it is very touristy and everyone is trying to get you to spend money, Bali is very relaxing and everyone has a big smile on their face.

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Fantastic banh mi @ Fat Chow

The food scene is Bali is killing the Asian fusion cuisine. I went back to Fat Chow for lunch and had their grilled pork Banh Mi. The grilled pork was so tender and flavorful. This restaurant is literally elevating classic Asian dishes and it’s so affordable!

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The BEST way to cool off in Bali is poolside @ Hotel Terrace

Day 28 – Bali, Indonesia

First Impressions. Bali is very commercialized. From the minute you clear customs, you are immediately confronted by a swarm of taxi drivers trying to sell you their “best price.” They even follow you after you refuse and then they ask “Where you from?” The streets are very narrow and commonly shared between pedestrians, motorists, and vehicles. Sometimes a little too closely shared. There is definitely no shortage of restaurants and eateries around. Bali is a true foodie paradise.

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Legian Beach and Kuta are no different. On the short walk to the beach from my hotel, I could barely walk ten steps without someone offering me a ride or trying to get me to browse inside their shops. I get it, it’s how people make a living, but constantly having to refuse people does get tiring very quickly. Especially in the heat and with an empty stomach.

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Fresh fruit bowl is the best breakfast!

I stumbled upon a little shop this morning that served fresh fruit smoothies and bowls, which was perfect for the kind of breakfast I was looking for. I had the acai bowl because I’m fancy and almost walked out without paying. The workers behind the counter just stared at me with puzzled looks on their faces until I realized what I had almost done. We laughed about it very soon after and I told them I would return tomorrow for another delicious bowl.

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I took a walk on Legian Beach after breakfast. Of course, loads of people were trying to get me to rent their chairs and surf boards, but I refused and kept walking. Coming from the Andaman Coast of Thailand, the beach actually wasn’t the most beautiful one I’ve seen but it is the first beach that had actual surfers on it. I wanted to give surfing a try here in Bali but I didn’t realize you needed multiple days to learn to surf at the schools here. Tomorrow I think I will check out Padang Padang Beach, it’s suppose to be beautiful and hoping to travel to Ubud this weekend. For now I am just enjoying the slow tempo, exploring Kuta, and watching 13 Reasons Why in my hotel room.

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Mekong Roll and chicken fried rice @ Fat Chow

Day 27 – Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Bitches! I arrived in Bali late last night or early this morning. My flight landed around 0120, so by the time I cleared immigration and made it to my hotel, it was already 3am. While in line for immigration, I literally ran into a lady from Canada, Camille. We bonded over something funny on the the flight and got through the immigration process together despite it being late and running on zero sleep. It still amazes me how fast you can meet other travelers and instantly it’s as if you have been friends for much longer than five minutes.

I woke up at 9am to check-out of my hotel and set out to find an ATM and a sim card for my phone. Unfortunately, my debit card was not reading in the ATMs but I had some leftover Thai baht on hand that I quickly exchanged for Indonesian rupiah. As if baht to ringgit wasn’t confusing enough, my brain has to switch again. $1 = 30 THB = 4 MYR = 13,000 IDR.

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Traditional-but-not-traditional nasi goreng and satay @ Kitchenette

I started looking for my next hotel, as this is the first time on my trip that I do not have anything pre-booked. The plan was going to be to get a taxi to Ubud and spend three nights there, but when I asked the hotel lobby how much a taxi would cost, their rates were 500,000. That was appalling. I remembered reading a post on TripAdvisor last night that said a taxi to Ubud from the airport should cost no more than 200,000 – 250,000 IDR. The thing about Bali is, the second you step off the plane and clear customs, you are immediately mauled by taxi drivers trying to get you to hire them. These guys are another breed of taxi drivers, as they do not give up easily. After literally fending off a pack of hungry taxi drivers last night at the airport, I was in no mood to get into a bartering bargain before lunch.

One particular driver at the hotel offered me 500,000 to Ubud as a “special price” and even tried to convince me that Uber drivers could not drive to Ubud due to the app’s inability to “read the currency.” I decided to change my plan and stay in Kuta for a few days then reassess Ubud for the weekend. The same driver told me he could take me to Kuta (1 mile up the street) for 150,000 IDR. Luckily, I looked up the price on Uber beforehand and knew the trip would only cost me 35,000 IDR. He laughed at me when I tried to bargain for 20,000 IDR so I politely told him I was calling another ride. He was almost in disbelief when my ride pulled up and I told him how much I would pay. He is obviously not a big fan of Uber. Sorry, buddy. Maybe next time.

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When you can’t decided between desserts, get them both! JK, it was BOGO free.

After lunch, I explored the area a bit and took a dip in the hotel pool to cool off. I’ve spent most of the evening planning and researching my upcoming destinations, because it seems like I’m traveling at double-speed nowadays.