Our first stop of our South East Asia trip landed us in Bali, Indonesia! We arrived at our BEAUTIFUL villa in Seminyak and immediately jumped in the pool - coming from the freezing New Zealand weather to hot, humid tropics was quite the drastic change. We spent the day walking around Seminyak where there were tons of shopping and restaurants. Food is ridiculously cheap in Bali so we treated ourselves to fine dining restaurants almost every night (ex: a salmon dish that would probably cost at least $35 in Melbourne cost $7 here). Salons are also ridiculously cheap so we spent that night getting 1 hour full body massages at $8 each + a mani pedi (which would be my nightly routine if I lived here!)
We went white water rafting on the Telaga Waja River the next morning and rafted through luscious, green rice terraces and jungles down a class 4 river. The river was super shallow so we actually just spent most of the time crashing into the walls of the river and trying to get unstuck between boulders, which was still super fun. We went off one waterfall that was about 10 feet tall which was relatively exciting but it was def the best $25 ever spent! (This tour included transportation to and from the river 2 hours away, lunch, and all the gear. Love how cheap this place is).
The next day was spent surfing and relaxing at Kuta Beach. I tried to catch some of the bigger waves with Nate and suffered a few minor injuries in result. But I'm perfectly happy with surfing the baby waves:). The surf here was pretty good and the water was crazy warm. Definitely no need for a wet suit or even a towel since the sun immediately dries you off.
One of the DOZENS of Balinese women trying to sell us everything from bracelets to massages.
We hired a driver the next morning to drive us around to villages and the rice terraces. You can haggle almost anything so we got the price down to $40 total for a private driver all day to bring us wherever we wanted.
We stopped at Batubalan Temple and he guided us around and told us about their traditions. Then we went to Mas Village to see their famous wood carving shops. Everything is hand carved and it was amazing to see how much detail goes into everything.
After buying some souvenirs, we went to the Tegalalong Rice Terraces which were beautiful. We stopped at the Monkey Forest on the way back home and after paying the 50 cent entry fee, were greeted by dozens and dozens of monkeys just hanging out everywhere. We bought bananas and those smart little buggers were instantly after us. We had to hide them in Nate's pockets and they still would climb on his leg and try to grab them out. If we sat down and held the banana up, they would climb on our heads and grab the banana out of our hands. We did that a few times until the monkeys started fighting over the bananas pretty much on top of us, which was pretty terrifying.
Our last stop was at a coffee plantation which was surprisingly pretty fascinating. Mainly because of their special Luwak coffee. They showed us these little luwak animals that were sleeping in a cage and explained how they discovered this delicious coffee. It originally happened by accident when people ages ago were making coffee. The luwaks were eating the coffee beans and the people didn't want to waste the beans so after the luwaks ate them, their droppings were collected and washed off. They used these beans to make coffee and it ended up tasting amazing. Apparently, the luwaks have a special enzyme in them that ferments the coffee beans and ends up making delicious coffee. After sampling their standard Bali coffee and other flavored coffees and teas, we HAD to try the poop coffee and it was actually some of the best coffee I've ever had! Who would've thought. He told us to taste the Bali coffee after trying the luwak coffee and it tasted awful in comparison. I've already said multiple times how cheap everything in this country is but this coffee was going for $140 a bag! Ridiculous. It's not yet being exported because they just don't have the resources to do it so Indonesia is the only place you can get it.
I definitely want to come back to this country. (Minus the mosquitos that literally ate me alive) The people are super nice and friendly. It's not too touristy to where it's obnoxious. Kuta beach was really nice - we'll probably stay there next time. It's a really fun beach town with a lot of markets and pubs, although the vendors are absolutely relentless. We got swarmed on the beach for a solid 15 minutes and were surrounded by people trying to sell us bracelets, henna tattoos, hats, shirts and a million other things.
Overall, a great start to our trip:)