My first impression of Bali was not good, I can’t lie. The Denpasar airport was full of tourists, and the taxi drivers had a very different attitude than we had experienced. Some of the experiences of the next days would show me the beautiful part of Bali, but that feeling of a ‘tourist trap’ and ‘spoiled paradise’ accompanied me for the rest of the trip.
We stayed in Ubud, hosted by Olesya, Elena’s childhood friend from Uzbekistan – the world is so small! She had a traditional house with a gorgeous garden north of the town. She owns a raw vegan restaurant and store in Ubud (Alchemy), where we ate most of our meals these days. Interesting experience, but I was craving meat all the time (as proven by the fact that In ‘N Out was the first stop upon landing in LAX hehe).
On the first day, we walked around town, some temples, and into the Monkey Forrest, a collection of Hindu temples crowded with funny/aggressive monkeys. It was raining strongly, so we decided to take shelter and try some more vegan food, hoping for better weather the next (and last) day.
Since it was raining again, we hired a local driver to see a few sites we didn’t want to miss. First, the Tegalalang rice terraces, with their intense green and impossible turns. Then, the enigmatic Gunung Kawi shrines, where we were completely alone, wandering under the storm.
And finally, a coffee plantation, which despite being touristy, was more entertaining than I anticipated. We saw the curious kopi luwak (a coffee that brewed after a civet eats and poops the berries) and got a free tasting.
There is definitely something spiritual about Bali. Unfortunately, the hordes of tourist and the non-stop rain spoiled it for me a bit. Might be a reason to go back one day 😉