Bali thru OUR eyes.
We arrived late at night in Denpasar and found our pre-booked driver waiting to transfer us to the hotel that we booked for a one night stay.
Driving into the city at night didn't give us a great feel. It made it worse when we arrived at our so-called "hotel." In the dark, it looked like a private residence rather than a hotel. We were too tired, so we went straight to bed telling ourselves that it's only one night and soon we will be heading to the magical famous Bali beaches that we often heard of.
But next morning we woke up to a different reality. Our guest house was linked to several others, separated by beautiful gardens full of trees and colorful Balinese flowers. The entire place is built as a "Balinese home" with beautifully decorated simple rooms. The owner has created a typical Balinese haven in the middle of city of "Denpasar" where there is nothing for travelers except the airport.
Over the morning breakfast, in the beautiful gardens, we learned from other travelers that the person responsible for this guest house is also “ Jack of all trades!”
He can sell you anything you need, from SIM cards to tours, or even rent you bikes, and if you buy any of his services, he will extend your stay in this beautiful Balinese guest house. Once you exhaust the services, i.e., stop buying from him, and want to stay few nights to relax in this complex, he would immediately block the rooms reservation.
Above experiance was our first lesson in Bali.
Nevertheless, we have extended our stay from one night to three nights because we joined the offered tours.
The Balinese go straight into business.While having breakfast the manager of the guest house came to our table and offered us several tours to choose from. The first day he told us, there is a group of young travelers who would like to go on an excursion to the volcanos and swim in the waterfalls. But to do so, they would need two more travelers to join for a minibus to be hired. " He added that they don't provide these tours all the time so if we join it will be an excellent opportunity for us.
We consciously bought into this, but our only obstacle was that we didn't have a place to stay that night if we join the tour as this guest house was fully booked online.
But suddenly the manager offered us another guest room in his complex, bigger and more beautiful since we were going to buy tours from him.
So over breakfast, our journey in Bali has begun. Day one tour extended to two days and the nights at this guest house extended to 3 nights. Things were unfolding well.
Back to the tours, our guide could hardly speak English, and a driver who doesn't speak a word of English. The first surprise was our first stop. We realized that what we paid for was "transportation" not "tours."
But we all wanted to have a good time, so we adjusted to the situation.
Our first stop was the coffee plantation. We were welcomed and escorted by a Balinese guide who took us thru the estate explaining the process from planting all the way to the hot cup of coffee.
This was a great experience! We had the opportunity to see, for the first time, the coffee trees, the process of cultivation and the grinding, the packaging all the way to the cup of coffee.
We learned about the "Luwak coffee " and about the poor caged animal who is forced to eat Sherry to flavor the beverage. Read more about Luwak coffee in the link.
After the tour, we were treated to a "coffee and tea tasting" in a beautiful Balinese shed surrounded by Bali's lush green.
The funny part was that, all of us in the group was to taste the different coffees and teas from the same cup. Yes, you read it right six different flavored cups of coffee and tea for the whole group. Strange way of enticing people to buy.But again we adjusted to the situation.
Immediately after the tasting, we were escorted to the in house shop to buy the products which was too expensive compared to the normal shops.
The coffee plantation experience was terrific; we enjoyed walking thru the lush green plantation, saw some beautiful nature as colorful butterflies and fantastic spider webs.
Our next stop was the waterfalls that were so special.
These falls had three-tier drops, the heights of 15, 20, and 30 meters high that people can slide thru and swim . The local keepers urges tourists to try it and we did This was so much fun to slide thru 15 meters fall. We couldn’t do the rest as it was too scary.
The following day we visited the spectacular temple …. This temple was build to …….
then we visited another temple and then a very touristic lunch buffet but with a spectacular view of the volcano.
We then visited ……. for relaxation and some reflection on our journey.
We went back to our lovely but straight forward Balenize room to pack and leave the next morning to UBUD.