Twenty-eight travel hours later, we’ve officially touched down in Bali. Many shows were watched, many walks up and down the aisles of the plane were taken, but we’re here, and, even though it’s 3 am, right now I’m going to quote Bridesmaids and say, “we didn’t just survive, we thrived.” Turns out, flights are a whole lot better when you’re cruising in something the size of a spaceship (like the Airbus A380s) and when you’ve downloaded about five seasons of shows you’ve been meaning to get to (Thank you Peaky Blinders for occupying hours 16-22).
At the minute, I’m sitting outside in the dark, drinking a cup of tea, listening to the buzz of some unidentifiable insects and, even though it sounds made up, roosters crowing in the distance (but far away that it’s not annoying). These first few days have been a blur of humidity and heat (that’s next-level, even compared to Sri Lanka), bike rides all around Canggu, clean organic meals from any number of the million restaurants that seem to all be Balinese spinoffs of JuicePress (not complaining), and discussions about Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (which Port and I both read cover to cover on the way here). You would think after all of this travel, Porter and I would know that the way you imagine a place before visiting and what it actually turns out to be like when you arrive are almost constantly at odds, but so far Bali has really surprised us, like, a lot.
We’ve obviously just dipped our toes in (it’s only morning 3), and have been in some of the most popular towns (Canggu and Seminyak), but here are a three quick things to leave you guys with that we weren’t expecting from Bali, but are definitely pumped about:
It’s even cheaper than you think it’s going to be. – Porter and I are used to hearing that certain places are cheap. We’ve been to Central and South America, we’ve been to Sri Lanka, we’ve experienced inexpensive countries. But usually, in any number of the cheap countries we’ve formerly been to, they get your money somewhere (like in upscale restaurants that are priced akin to European restaurants or through cab fares). Bali is cheap everywhere. it costs about 6 dollars for us to rent a vespa for a day, 12 dollars to take a cab somewhere for over an hour, and most meals for two (at organic, vegan restaurants, I’ll note) have come out to about 15 USD…and you can buy meals from vendors for about a quarter of that. It’s actually difficult to spend a lot of money here, even if you wanted to. Let’s take a moment of silence for this incredible reality.
It’s densely populated – When you see villas in Bali online, you get the sense that no matter where in the country they are, they’re surrounded by rice paddies on all sides and just generally in the midst of a lot of space. This couldn’t be further from the truth in areas like Canggu, Kuta, and Seminyak. Australia is just a couple hours flight away, and this island gets more tourism than any other area in Southeast Asia. Villas are blocked out next to each other one after the other on just about ever side street. Main streets are home to surf shops, boutiques with the kind of curb appeal that makes them look like they’ve been plucked out of Malibu and, as previously noted, a whole lot of amazing organic restaurants.
It’s tiny – Bali is not that big. Most of the areas you want to see are within a 2 hours drive at absolute most. It’s pretty likely any place you want to get to is around an hour away. Also, a lot of people told us the traffic is absolutely awful, if you live in a city I can assure you, you will happily disagree. For us, this is a Godsend. We have about twenty spots we’re wanting to visit and knowing I’m not going to have to subject Porter to a bunch of bouts of carsickness (which he usually gets) just makes me feel like a better wife.
We’re SO happy to finally be here, happy to be in the heat, happy to have a camera in our hands again, and happy to be in a place that seems to simultaneously have all the pros of a tropical vacation but all the comforts of home.
Keeping this post short because I know they’ll be many more Bali blogs to come. Now for another cup of tea…
Anna Lisa & Porter