We decided to divide our time in Bali and stay in two different areas: Ubud and Semiyak. Ubud is further north in the jungle area. Semiyak is known for their beaches and fancy resorts. I’m glad we stayed at both locations because it provided us with two totally different experiences.
Instagram makes Bali look like paradise, so I was a little shell shocked when I arrived. Bali is still very much a third world country. The drive from the airport to our hotel in Ubud took almost 3 hours. The two places looked close on the map, but because there are one lane roads and no traffic lights, the traffic was insane. The plus side of Bali is that people are very hospitable. As soon as we arrived at our hotel we were greeted with welcome drinks and mini cakes. Another plus was the infinity pool and view of rice paddy fields from our room.
Another reason we chose to stay in Ubud was because it’s centrally located to all the activies we wanted to do.
Mt Batur Sunrise Hike
We sacrificed sleep to be picked up at 2am for our volcano sunrise hike. The drive took about 2 hours. We met up with our guides, were given flashlights and immediately began our hike. I was surprised by how many other tourist were doing the same hike. From the bottom, you could see a line of lights of other people who started the hike earlier.
The first 30 minutes of the hike was relatively easy as the path was paved and flat. The rest of the hike was all uphill. The narrow path was covered in tiny rocks which made it easy to slip. There were so many other people hiking the same path that there was traffic going up. We were able to take it nice and slow. The hike up took around 2 hours and by the time I got to the top I was dripping in sweat.
Our guide found a bench and a less congested area to sit while we waiting for the sun to rise. Our guide hardboiled some eggs in the volcanoes steam. After the sun finally rose, we had an incrediable view of surrounding volcanoes and mountains.
Now that it was daylight, it was kind of crazy to see how steep the trail was. Then, we were told that the way back down was the same way we came up. I thought coming up was scary, but it didn’t compare to coming back down. I slipped a few times on the way down. There were a few people who were in our group that thought it was a smart idea to hike in flip flops. I was so happy that I survived the hike in one piece. The views were definitely worth the trip.
Post hike we got to relax at a natural hot spring at Toya Bungkah Village. It was a much deserved treat for us.
Biking through Ubud
I wanted to maximize my time in Ubud, so after the hike, I had planned a bike tour. Note to self, never do that again. We biked for 2 hours through small villages, temples, a bamboo forest, rice paddies and a trditional Penglipuran village.
I enjoyed the experience as we got to see less touristy areas of Bali. However, biking through Bali is not for the faint of heart. Some of the paths we biked were along extremely narrow ledges, and if you fell, there was no coming back. There were times stray dogs would chase after us. This was terrifying for me. Crossing roads was also dangerous since there are no traffic lights and there seemed to be no rules on the road. This was another adventure that we are lucky to have survived.Canyoning
This was definitely not my idea. For those of you who know me, I like to play it safe. When I first read about canyoning, I was hesitant to tell Wes because I knew he’d be interested in it. He’s the more adventurous one and it’s no secret that I’m the nervous Nellie. I’m not a strong swimmer, afraid of heights and not very coordinated. Canyoning is probably not the best idea for someone like me, but I wanted to try something that Wes has never done.
When we arrived, we went through a brief training. The guides could see the fear writted on my face, but it took over 2 hours to get to the location and there was no going back for me. Plus, FOMO got the best of me.
I have to admit that this was the best thing I did in Bali. We went down natural water slides, repelled down 75 feet waterfalls, and cliff dived into the canyon. Even though I crashed into the sides of the waterfalls multiple times, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. The scariest part was jumping off the cliffs. You had to leap far enough to prevent crashing into the rocks in the bottom. It was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done, but I’m so glad that I did it.
This was our highest jump at around 30 feet. I guess from up top, the drop looks higher and much scarier. Here’s Wes’s jump.
And now here’s me…very afarid…