Written by Coralie
24/05/2009 - 30/05/2009 30 °C
It was definitely with sad hearts that we left Sydney, disappointed that our plans to get work there had not materialised, however, to cheer ourselves up on the way home, we decided we would have a little pit stop via Bali! We felt we were really entitled to another holiday before coming home! Mike kindly dropped us off at the airport, huge rucksacks in tow and off we went, landing 7 hours later in Singapore where a friend from London (Danny), very kindly put us up for the night. Of course, Tom was thrilled upon arriving to see that Newcastle were playing and that pretty much took prededance! I crashed out early, with Tom promising that he'd be just a few minutes after me.....there was no way he was going to miss that match though so it was at about 1.30am that he finally crept into bed only to be woken up by a very unwelcome alarm about 4 hours later!
However, the thought of blue seas, white sand beaches, cocktails etc was enough to get us up pretty quickly and off to the airport for our last 10 days of travelling. We landed in Bali in the mid afternoon - the heat and humidity was a stark contrast to the Australian winter we had been experiencing, but it was amazing!! After a quick bite to eat, we picked up a taxi who took us the 1.5 hours to the east of Bali to a town called Padangbai. Before leaving Sydney, we had met a friend of Emily's who had just spent a considerable amount of time in Bali and recommended this place to us along with what to do and where to go - it proved to be a life saver! So we arrived in Padangbai after a slightly hair raising cab ride - we had forgotten how insane the road traffic was in Asia - there is no such thing as 'right of way', it's all a game of chicken!
Back to the good old days of Asia and we spent our first hour walking around the small town trying to find somewhere to sleep for the night and found a gorgeous set of bungalows, just off the beach with a lovely infinity pool, bar and our own outside bathroom! (Padangbai Beach Bungalows) It was perfect!
We then got ready to go out and have some dinner at a lovely restaurant called Topi Inn where I had some fish kebabs and Tom got stuck into some Barramundi, washed down by some cocktails and my first taste of the local palm wine, called Arak - it was evil! It literally tasted like petrol and made us both gag, we were staying well clear of that! After dinner, on Julia's recommendation, we went out to find Sunshine Bar and the guy who runs it, called Nyoman - he was a legend! When I say it was a bar, it was tiny and very cosy, probably only about 4 meters wide so very relaxed atmosphere. From the minute we arrived, Nyoman welcomed us in with open arms and we basically spent most of the night just chatting to him and some of the other locals, as well as two Canadians who were staying in the same bungalows as us.
Nyoman had me try the Arak again (managed to convince me his was a lot nicer as made from coconuts, as opposed to palm leaves) - he wasn't wrong, and that was the end of it for me! A lot of those later (plus plenty of Bintangs (local Indo beers) for Tom) and we stumbled back to our bungalows, absolutely thrilled to find ourselves back in Asia - it made us realise how much we had missed it!
Having said that we would only spend a night in Padangbai, we completely fell in love with the town and the locals so thought we'd spend another day there. We headed up to the Blue Lagoon which is renowned for it's snorkelling. The weather was amazing but the sea was a bit choppy so we spent the day sitting out on the sun loungers, reading.
In the evening we went to a place called Kurti's for dinner (which was so cheap!) and then back to Sunshine bar where we spent the evening singing along with the locals to a guy playing the guitar.
On our third day, Tom went diving in the morning (2 dives) and saw fantastic corals, stingrays, and amazing fish whilst I chilled out and read my book by the pool. We went to a restaurant called Joe's Place for dinner - we were the only ones in the restaurant and got chatting to the young guy who was running it called Wyan. We spent a good few hours finding out about his life and the life of the people out there which was really interesting. Having had two pretty big nights previously, we hit the sack early.
Our fourth day was spent searching for White Sand Beach, which was interesting to get to, up a dirt track and through some trees, but well worth it when we got there. It was just stunning and there was only one other person there. We swam, snorkelled, ate delicious 'nasi goreng' (fried rice) and enjoyed massages on the beach - it was tough!
Then in the evening, we went to try out the local 'Kinky Reggae Bar' (compulsary to have one in every town in Asia!). There was a local band playing who were actually really good - they were playing some good old classics and the atmosphere from everyone, including the bar staff who were really getting into it, was amazing! We had such a great night singing along, dancing with the locals and generally really soaking up the atmosphere. Then back to Sunshine bar for a few 'nightcaps' which of course, turned into more than just one or two....there were vague recollections of walking home whilst singing 'I will survive' at the top of our voices!
Oh dear, very sore heads today so a day of chilling out by the pool was in order - we just about made it to the Blue Lagoon for a bit of snorkelling, but even that was a struggle! Tom then managed to get roped into going on a night dive (his first) with one of the Canadian guys we had met and his instructor, Putu. He was so hungover though, it was hilarious watching him get ready to go! Whilst he was out doing that, I was chatting to some really nice Australians that we had met earlier in the day and was most impressed when he arrived back all in one piece - totally elated by what he had done and seen. Pretty scary dive by the sounds of it with big sharks just keeping out of the end of the torch light.
That was then our last night in Padangbai - having said that we would only stay for one night, we ended up staying for five due to the awesome people that we met, both locals and travellers. The evening was spent pretty quietly as we had an early start the next day to get a boat across to the Gili Islands.