Bali, or Second Europe
After a five month stretch in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam it was time for some rest and relaxation. The month of August was spent in Indonesia. The first week of which we planted ourselves firmly in Bali, or as we like to call it “Second Europe” because literally everyone there is from Europe.
Ubud was our first stop and also one of our favorites of the entire month. So much to do in close proximity (which is nice because most everywhere else in Indonesia requires a very long car/bus/boat ride and in most cases a combination of the three). The Balinese people truly are some of the most friendly people in the world. Their island is crawling with tourists (August is their busiest month of the year) yet we always felt very warmly welcomed.
Without all the traffic and crowds (easily avoided by going during a less busy season) Ubud is near perfect. Definitely a must see in Indonesia.
The first morning we took a walk along what is known as the ‘Campuhan Ridge Walk’. A beautiful walk through a hilly forest that ends in rice fields, a few restaurants and many independent artist shops. Highly recommended and free.
The Monkey Forest is probably the biggest ‘tourist’ attraction in town and even though we read many mixed reviews (and were warned by the locals) we checked it out anyway. Its walking distance from most places in Ubud. The monkeys are certainly as cheeky and mischievous as advertised. They won’t hesitate to climb up your leg and pick through your hair for fleas or search your bag for food. Its easy enough to marvel from afar though by simply staying far,far away from those purposely trying to feed the monkeys.
One of the days we hired a private car to take us around for the afternoon ($45 for car and driver). We visited the Elephant Cave (beautiful grounds but the cave itself is so-so), a few Hindu temples (unlike most of Indonesia which is Muslim, Bali is largely Hindu), Mt Batur and the Elephant Safari Park.
Christina and I were both super hesitant about the Elephant Safari Park, we have both heard horror stories of mistreated and abused elephants taken advantage of (not at Elephant Safari Park in specific, just in general). Thankfully we were pleasantly surprised. The elephants were all happy and very well taken care of and you can up close and personal with them. Definitely a highlight of Bali for us both.
Our next stop was Sanur, Bali. Often referred to as “Snore”, this place pretty much lives up to its name. Plenty of western (and local) restaurants, a mediocre beach but most importantly the primary harbor for all boats headed to Nusa Lembongan! I spent our three days finishing up my final contract so there is little pictorial evidence of our stay (not that there is much worth shooting). Here is one final shot from the beach in Sanur.