On the 26th June I took my flight out of Australia and departed on my trip (and first time) to South East Asia.
During a delayed wait for my flight in Perth, and whilst slightly freaking out on how to navigate myself from the airport to my hostel at 2am – as I had heard some stories and did not know what to expect – I overheard some guys near by discussing a taxi out of the airport. Of course I wanted some advice so went over to ask what they knew but they were as clueless as me, but luckily after the flight I bumped into them again and they were heading in the same direction so offered to share a taxi. Grateful is not the word, I was relieved that my first experience wouldn’t be a crazy one trying to haggle my way through taxi drivers by myself. We finally found a taxi driver who agreed to a more reasonable price, and headed to Kuta the first stop.
The guys, gentlemen, kindly walked me to my hostel before they headed to their own and I was happy to find someone to check me in at 3am, finally getting to sleep at 3.30am – waaaaay past my bedtime.
In the morning we met up and found a good place for brunch, a buffet style restaurant that was really cheap and so filling! Then we headed out to explore and get harassed by the millions of street market vendors selling the same stuff from store to store – clothes, accessories, sarongs, random tourist souvenirs but all pretty much the same except trying to offer you different prices! The guys were all over it, buying some vests and watches, me on the other hand knew I couldn’t manage to fit anything else in my bag so only treated myself to some classic traveller gap yaaar trousers ready for some temples!
I only planned on staying in Kuta for one day, and wanted to head straight to Ubud, and the guys agreed and decided to join me! So we grabbed a Grab.
(yes, the asian version of uber, but it gives you a fixed price before you set off so the slow traffic or long way round does not affect you one bit! Definitely recommend downloading this app before you leave as you need a text code to register!)
Heading to Ubud mid afternoon, we checked into the cutest little hostel Sri Hostel that was tucked away and served the BEST banana pancakes in the morning (no exaggeration). We went for dinner and watched a traditional fire dancing show – where a group of local men were sat chanting and singing and they had characters all dressed up acting out different spirits and stories, and then a guy started kicking the burning coconut shells and walking all over it!
We rented a scooter the following morning for two days and headed to the Monkey Sanctuary. After me and Paurush finally found Matt and Mark (we had no internet and lost each other in the traffic and then were waiting at opposite entrances to the park for quite a while hahah) and we drove down this super hectic footpath that was so narrow but had two ways of scooters heading down, terrifying but hilarious at the same time! We checked out the cheeky monkeys running around doing their thing, playing, fighting, trying to steal people’s wallets from their bags, you know the usual.
Next we headed to Tegallalang Rice Terraces – the famous instagrammable spot of Bali. It was stunning, you could see a large area of rice terraces cut into the sides of the valley, and it is very impressive, seeing the locals working by hand to maintain and harvest the crops. We spotted a swing – one I had recognised from Instagram where everyyyoneee gets a picture on – and it was an expensive tourist trap, dammit insta! I thought it was better to leave to the people who are actually getting paid to post these kinds of photos, ya know.
After soaking in the views on the scooters, feeling the freedom in our hair we checked out Pura Tirta Empul – a famous Hindu Temple. It was stunning, and so beautiful to see the worshipping taking place. People were getting into the baths fully clothes, and walking along a series of fountains to submerge their head and pray and receive blessings.
We headed back to the hostel and went for food and drinks. Maybe one too many cocktails but, warning – Arak vodka is deadly, cheap but deadly. Whoops!
Next morning, after a scramble around, we headed out again on the scooters. Me feeling a little worse for wear but I am glad I was up early ate breakfast and then headed out before my body could complain haha! We checked out an amazing waterfall. A majorly slippery walk down, and too cold to actually swim but Nungnung Waterfall was beautiful. I am a major waterfall lover and this one was up there with the impressiveness and intensity!
Later we headed to check out Mount Batur, where you could do a sunrise hike setting off at 2am but instead we headed to a viewpoint and was told by a local artist to go down to the bottom and head to the floating restaurants. Of course we did and had some fresh juice at the bottom of the lake and had a perfect view of the mountain and was pretty much all by ourselves!
The guys left from Ubud that evening and I decided to check out the local Ubud area the following day, so I set off and headed to the Ridge Walk, a 15 minute walk from my hostel and crazy stunning views with so many trees. Mainly passing locals, or joggers I walked along and decided to take a pit stop in a cute tree top overlooking cafe for a smoothie. Yum. In the evening I found a hidden restaurant down a back street as I was enticed in by a big neon sign – Alit Warung – super cheap and in a garden atmosphere and had some live music. Perfect way to end the day.
I got a transfer bus and fast ferry to Gili T through my hostel – for reference, I paid 550k return Ubud – Gili T – Gili T – Seminyak. On the tourist boards and most places advertise as around 1 million IDR for a return, however you do need to haggle this down, ask around, and definitely ask the place you are staying! A friend of mine thought he got a cheap deal with 650k for a one way to Gili!
I checked into La Boheme Mini – the cheaper one of a set of three hostels but around the corner from the Sister hostel. The local staff were amazing, pretty young but full of energy, super friendly and always joking around and making sure you are comfortable! This hostel was cheap, but more than did the trick, only problem was it was very small capacity so I had a room of three, so I would go and hang out in the Sister hostel as it had a much more social vibe and met people there!
I went for a walk along the beach to watch the sunset and grab a bite to eat. A local guy started chatting to me after he had noticed me walk past him earlier in the day and was helping his mates at the restaurant. He was telling me about his boxing career and trying to crack a load of jokes and apparently because of my spacebuns hairstyle, I reminded him of his cat… I mean I am not going to lie but I haven’t worn my hair like that since…
The following morning I set off early and caught the local boat to Lombok, hired a scooter off a very persistent man and bezzed off around the coast heading to the south of the island. It was a long drive but very worth it! I checked out the views, stopped at an abandoned hotel that didn’t get finished building. I then went through some very rural towns and had a lot of people asking me if I was lost, did a bit of offroading before finding the real road again, and stopped at a little beach with a cute ‘I love you’ sign. Where some kids all appeared from nowhere to talk to me and take photos with me. I then headed for some lunch and a few last stops before driving straight back to the harbour.
It was an amazing day, I felt so free driving around on my scooter, soaking in the views of the empty countryside, and weaving around the island. On the way back I drove down a winding road in the trees where a lot of monkeys were playing on the sides of the roads. It was a lot of driving in one day and was very rushed so I would recommend to go to Lombok for more than one day, but I am so glad I did go as I was very pleasantly surprised by this island. I was told it wasn’t very touristy and was low key, but the road infrastructure was a lot better than mainland Bali and is the same size as the island, I found the locals seemed to know more english too and it was just a very friendly, stunning and lovely place!
I got back and went to watch the sunset with the hostel, and with some new friends we headed to the night market for some yummy street food! We also headed out to check out the bar scene and went for a few drinks and a good boogie! This island is supposedly a very party destination but it definitely is how you make it, some people were hella drunk and roaming the streets but others like us were lowkey just enjoying the music and having fun!
The following day me and Joelle went for a yoga class – Vinyasa. It was wonderful, I am not a massive yoga person as I am way too restless and need more active work outs but this was a good balance and tested my strength! Was very rewarding to have a little workout too! We went for a little snorkelling session and swam with a large group of turtles which was very cool!
I then headed back in order to find my friend Mel, who I hung out with in Noosa, Australia, and we had a reunion and checked out the sunset and had a much needed catch up! We went snorkelling again in the morning to meet some more cute turtles in their natural habitat! Then we walked up the hill on the island to watch the sunset and went for a drink on the beach front with Joelle!
I spent the morning doing a refreshment Scuba Diving lesson, and then went to dive in Shark Point area! There were some sharks around small ones hiding in the rocks however only some other people on the boat saw them! But I saw a few turtles, some cool fish, the cast of Finding Nemo and just some amazing coral! After a classic morning getting some cool photos on some of the many swings on the beach I said goodbye to Mel and heading to the next island Gili Air! After walking from the harbour in the intense humidity with my ever so heavy backpack I couldn’t check into the hostel I wanted to instead went next door to a quiet hotel style hostel and went for a dip in the pool.
I went in search of food and didn’t go too far I stopped at a small place around the corner Warung Ada – much recommended! The Jamaican owner is lovely as are the rest of the staff! Amazing food and he takes care of his customers, creating the majority a small seashell bracelet and he also made me a necklace! Every time I went past I would stop and have some food and hang out with the guys, was so lovely to know they cared about their customers and not just throwing food in front of them! Was a lovely way to be introduced to the island, and went to chill on the beach and read my way into the sunset.
Next day I changed hostels to a ‘sociable’ hostel, which was full and was cute with little bamboo huts and a mushroom shaped swimming pool. I went for a walk around the island and then in the evening headed to watch the England World Cup game on the beach being played on a large projector!
There were a lot of groups in the hostel, mainly english people, though I did not want to just stay at the hostel like everyone so I went for a massage and had some breakfast and relaxed. Then surprise surprise Mel arrived on the island again!! We went and got some pizza and beers for the sunset and I got harassed by a little cat who wanted to always be sat next to me haha!
This was my last day on the Gili Islands, so in the morning I headed back to Gili T to get my return ferry to Seminyak! Here I only stayed one night, did my laundry, ate some good food near by hostel Cozy Bobo hostel – which I would recommend for a short stay, few people good wifi good chilling area and free breakfast! Then I headed the next day to the airport for my flight to Singapore.
Indonesia was an amazing introduction to South East Asia and despite only being there for two weeks (as I had to book an onward flight before I went in case I got asked at the airport however I didn’t but better to be safe than sorry!) I met some amazing people, experienced some amazing sunsets and was a fantastic set up for the rest of my journey!
Have you been to Indonesia recently?! What were your favourite moments? Or need any more recommendations if you are heading there soon! Comment below!