Going to Bali!Whee… I booked my airline ticket to Bali today. It’s all very exciting although I did have a pang of regret for not booking to Thailand (with the possibility of exploring other countries such as Cambodia, Burma, Laos).
It’s funny, I’ve lived in Canada for many years and travelled on my own as well to many places but I've never really worried about arrangements on the other end (because it’d be for work or school – thus, already arranged - or I’d be meeting up/staying with friends). So I think this is my first solo travel adventure. After I booked my ticket on-line, it occurred to me that two weeks can be a very long time. What the heck am I going to do in Bali for two weeks?
I have a few musts:
1. I’m treating myself to a Balinese traditional spa treatment. The most famous traditional treatment is the Javanese exfoliation rub called the mandi lulur. You’re massaged with a tumeric-based paste that also contains ginger, jasmine, rice, ground nuts and aromatic spices. Javanese brides are said to have a lulur treatment every day for forty days before their wedding ceremonies because of its apparent power to beautify. There is also the Balinese boreh which is a body wrap blend consisting of cloves, pepper, cardamom and other spices. I’ll probably end up trying a few along the way… Heee…
2. Climbing a volcano. I love scenic hikes and after working in hilly terrain for a year, I’ve grown rather fond of hills. I’d like to challenge myself further and go hiking on more adventurous terrain. I’ve been reading up on various volcano climbs in Bali but I haven’t decided which one to climb yet. The most popular one with visitors is Gunung Batur because it’s relatively easy but apparently, there are a lot of aggressive touts (would-be guides) as well. I’m trying my best to avoid any tours whatsoever if possible – and that includes any other activity I plan to do in Bali.
3. Dance lessons? Painting or cooking lessons? I’m planning to set my base in Ubud and there are a variety of cultural classes in the area. I think dance lessons would be a lovely way to learn more about the Balinese culture. I’d probably take one class and see how flexible (read: not embarrassing) I am before I decide to continue on from there.
I’m also interested in visiting some temples and checking out the beaches. Initially I thought about taking surfing lessons in Kuta but lately, Kuta’s been turning me off. I’d like to avoid anything that’s too touristy. And I’m not sure whether late October would be good for surfing anyway. I’ve also thought about white-water rafting but the prices are making me hesitate. Anyway, I think I rather spend my money on cultural experiences than on activities that I can do anywhere else in the world.
I’m also toying with the idea of renting a jeep and driving around Bali. The good thing is that I’m comfortable with driving with a jeep, and if Indonesian drivers are as whacked as Malaysian drivers, I think I’d fit right in. However, I’m also rather concerned about my safety of travelling alone in a vehicle around the island. Sigh, it’s a toss-up this one. I don’t mind road trips: I travel on the road often for my work – long road trips that take at least up to four hours. But this is home, and a foreign place is always more suspect for personal concern.
I think the main thing is to trust my judgment and gut instinct. And to be very aware of my surroundings at all times. Gee, that’d be rather exhausting.
I don’t have much of a travel itinerary yet but right now, the plan is to stay in Ubud and go with the flow. I’m thinking of booking at least a night’s stay in Ubud to help ease with the transition of arriving in a foreign country on my own. I don’t want to jump into the backpacking fray just yet. I can afford to at least stay for a couple of nights in a nice yet inexpensive place with my own room. I think that would be key to my sanity for the first couple of days. After that, I can decide whether I want to move into cheaper backpacking digs or not.
Two weeks in Bali – wow.