Bali: The island of the Gods
So i’m finally back to reality, facing the sharks of the office and steadying my breath as my work email populates to the hundreds.
Bali has been both terrible and awesome for me, though more awesome than terrible. I’ve gained so much more experiences than i would ever expect. From seeing my first shark while diving to capsizing and being stuck under a boat during white water rafting. Its mind-blowing how much more i would have experienced if I stayed just a little longer.
When pops first told me that we will be going to Bali at the end of the year, my alter ego, the researcher, went on full blast mode. Researching down to the tiniest detail of how much beer would cost. I can remember how i almost got a coronary just from seeing the prices of activities, not exactly a ‘eat,pray,love’ experience.
So here it is, as I pen down my thoughts, for both memories and information, a blow by blow of how Bali has treated me and my pocket.
After an extremely tiring midnight flight, we arrived at our villa, aptly named Atmadeva Villa, which means liberated in Hindu.
How can one not feel liberated, waking to this every morning?
Despite the many creatures that we’ve found, mostly spiders, rats, frogs and geckos, which I read somewhere, means Bali welcomes you, our stay was somewhat good.
After we settled in, we went out for a walk around to sight see (which is mainly consisting of shopping malls) before settling in for the night.
The next day, we woke up bright and early to go diving at Tulamben. Drive there took about 2 hours, which I have to admit, would have been a sight if we were not all falling asleep. Bernie was going on about a Christianity rant that pops was putting him through.
Was amazed at how the ladies here can carry 15kg scuba tanks on their heads and one more on their shoulders with no problems at all. Salutes to them.
Anyway, we went with Bali Scuba Masters. our dive instructor and Made, the owner of the dive centre was super friendly and professional. They made our safety their number 1 priority, which is what I was looking out for.
So off we go, for our first dive, and personally, my first wreck dive, at the USAT Liberty wreck. This wreck is also one of the most famous sunken ship wrecks in the world. I’ll let the pictures tell you why
This place is just filled with camwhoring fishes!
The BF started praise and worship underwater.
If anyone has any idea what this fish/worms are, please do tell me. I am dying to know!
On the same day, we went for our very first night dive! I can see so many scuba nazis already shaking their heads, going tsk tsk tsk, since majority of our dive group are only open water certified. However, our guide split us into 2 groups, which is 2 diver to one DM, so we felt really safe, even though my dive torch died halfway through the dive.
It is also here, i saw my first Napolean fish aka Humphead wrasse! The DMs were fast to point out to us, so we all manage to see it before it swam into the darkness of the wreck.
Although there was nothing much to see in the darkness, we managed to catch a glimpse of the night life under the sea. Made, our DM, made us all kneel on the sea bed, (which brought back memories of the open water course at Tioman), then stuck his torch into the ground, and lo behold, a million stars swirling in the light of his torch! It kinda looks like the lava lamps with gold speckles in them, except waaaaaay prettier. We also started waving our hand around, and sparks just seem to fly out of our fingertips! Bernie later went to google and found out that it was the planktons trying to get attention of predators to eat whatever is startling them. On hindsight, it was not such a good idea.
2nd day dive was at Padang Bai aka Blue lagoon. It mainly consists of coral gardens, which itself, is a sight to behold!
My very first shark!! This, if i’m not wrong, is the white tip shark which was way too majestic. It is miraculous we saw it, since i read that they are mostly nocturnal.
Again, thanks to our wonderful DM, we managed to catch a shot at the beautiful scorpion fish.
Bernie wanted to take a pic of him upside down, which resulted in him almost hitting the corals in the next pic.
Underwater selfie with the buddy.
After our underwater escapade, the next day, was yet another exciting day, and also another first! White water rafting in Bali with my favourite people turned out to be full of hilarious drama, I feel we could write a book with the experience gained! The whole journey, merrily down a class 3+ river was about 2hours long, with a distance of 16km traveled.
To be completely honest, I fell off the raft twice, with the last the most epic, and the waterfall, oh don’t get me started on the water. We would have asked for an encore if that was even possible. So here it is, a blow-by-blow of how we unglamourously capsized, with my dear buddy Bernie thinking he got a concussion. To be completely honest, everything seems to be moving in slow motion, but yet, my mind was blank, just leaving everything up to God. Bernie claims to have seen his life flash before his eye. Talk about melodramatic . My camera, sadly, has no enough memory left to do a video of it first hand. After the bf tumbled out of the raft, everything seems to go downhill from there.
Bernie and me were trapped under the raft for a couple of minutes, not knowing if anyone knew we were trapped underneath. I can vividly remember how it was dark, with the cool river water just splashing everywhere. I tried to keep my feet up, hoping that someone would somehow catch a sight of my leg and knew we were trapped under, just bidding our time.
The look on his face after we got saved, the struggle is real!
The Bf somehow drifted and was saved by another group, filled with English people. Forever grateful to these nice people, maybe i should have offered them tea =p
All in all, we did good and felt good. A few scratches on the knees and lost slippers is not going to stop me from doing it all over again.
Back at our villa, we decided to do a mini impromptu photoshoot with the gorgeous padi fields as our backdrop
How can i ever go on a vacation without the compulsory stretch. Bernie here tries to mimic me with great difficulty. Time to work on your flexibility dude.
And finally ending the night with tantalising and mouth-watering BBQ dinner cooked by the staff of the villa themselves.
Some last minute advise for those who wish to visit; thanks to much research and experience:
- Although Bali makes use of both currencies Rupiah and USD, it is advisable to bring more Rupiah, since most can be paid in Rupiah, and most things are cheaper in Rupiah
- Although there are many cabs around, most of them don’t like to switch on their meters. From what i heard, only choose Blue bird cabs. It’ll be best to just hire a driver with a car as it is much more economical since travel between attractions can be a few hours apart
- ALWAYS bargain at night markets, and only do so if you really have the intention to buy.
- Bring a Sarong along if you intend to go visiting temples.
- There is a payment of USD 35 for Visa on arrival. People who have bought or from ASEAN countries, can skip this. Spend as much as you like, but i suggest to put aside Rupiah 200,000 for the airport tax upon departure.
- Too many zeros to count? For Singaporeans, just divide by 10,000, or just mentally cancel 4 zeros off the back and you get it in estimated SGD.
Costing of the trip (click on headers for links):
Air tickets: SGD280/pax on Jetstar
Villa: SGD68/pax for 5 nights
White water rafting: SGD27.50/pax
Near-death experiences: Priceless
Bali; you have been great for and to me.