Kuta (Canggu Area), Bali Indonesia
Bali Airport: Ngurah rai Airport
Accommodation: FRII Bali Echo Beach Hotel ($68 per night for a family ocean/mountain view room and free buffet breakfast)
What not to miss:
1) Surf Kuta / Echo Beach ($10-20 Surf board rental, $40 for a 2hr surf lesson)
2) Visit the Tanah Lot temple
3) Rent a motorbike and explore! ($15 a day, license not required)
Bali airport reminds me so much of a conference centre. Why you may ask? Right when you get off the plane you are directed into a large building, which is bare, hardly any furniture and you must walk across large empty halls to get to immigration and customs which are a couple of pop up booths with custom officers who have friendly smiles. It was super easy to get our visa for Indonesia right at the airport however the greater challenge came after when our debit cards didn’t work in the ATM machines at the airport. Instead of exchanging currency at the airport which had a not so great exchange rate we decided to risk it and just request an Uber to pick us up at the airport. The benefit of using UBER is that they give you an estimated rate and we were less likely to be scammed by taxis (as we were warned by travel guides) and it would charge the ride right to our credit card. I am so glad we ordered an Uber because there were so many taxi hawkers at the airport it was very uncomfortably, overwhelming and felt intimidating.
The only downside to UBER was that it took forever to come and that it requires a strong wifi connection which it took us a bit of time connecting to at the airport. What I didn’t know as I called the UBER was that there is currently a huge propaganda against UBER in Kuta, Bali. I had my UBER app open on my phone as I was looking for our UBER driver and I got yelled at by the taxi guys- which was not nice. With UBER we felt safe and comfortable for our long ride to the hotel. The roads were not well lit and I was surprised and felt a bit ignorant when I discovered that Kuta, Bali was very commercialized.
We finally arrived at our hotel, Frii Bali Echo beach which was as clean and nice as expected. By the time we checked we were told the restaurants were closed so we ended up eating a cup of noodles, which is a common/easy food option when backpacking South East Asia. I always try to keep a pack on me so when I get hungry or if there are no halal options, all I need is a some hot water and I am good! However later on after some exploring we found out the restaurants along the beach are opened till midnight.
The next day we wanted a chilled day so we took a short walk to the ATM’s which are located right next to the beach, boutiques, spas and coffee shops. We had no trouble withdrawing money at the ATM’s thankfully. I really loved taking in the the strong ocean smell as we approached the beach. This beach has some cool unique black sand that I have not seen anywhere else. We chilled at the beach and came back to the hotel to have lunch, it was delicious and convenient because we could put everything on our credit card. The hotel vibe was sophisticated and quiet and the restaurant was super addicting because of not only the good food but the restaurant offers amazing views of the beach and the volcano.
The hotel also offers exceptional and relaxing massages for $25 CAD an hour. We decided to try it out and it was amazing! After the massages we decided to go for a late night stroll on the beach. The walk there to the beach was easy but because I am directionally challenged, on our way back we got lost. The roads were dark and there were no street lights. I don’t know how, but we ended up getting lost in a cemetery which is right on the beach and there is no sign saying you are entering a cemetery- so how was I supposed to know!? We finally made our way out of the cemetery but kept getting surprised by the cows just roaming and mooing on the grass on the side of the road. However with the help of a few locals we found our way back!
The next day we rented surf boards and went surfing. The waves were a little too much for me here and since I am still learning to surf. It was very difficult for me to stay on and catch a wave. After a couple of hours I gave up and relaxed on the beach.
We also rented motorbikes without anyone asking for our license for around $15 CAD each which were easy to operate and very fun to ride. We rode our motorbikes to the nearby shops and because we were not super confident on our bikes yet we decided not to ride our bikes along the rice terraces and to the Tanah Lot temple.
Tanah Lot is a beautiful temple built on top of rock formation, a popular tourist destination. We booked an afternoon excursion to Tanah Lot with the hotel driver. The most beautiful part of Tanah Lot is not only the temple itself but the wild traditional Balinese flowers that are found floating in the random clear water puddles. These water puddles are super cool as we were able to see the small fish swimming below, we just stood there staring at them in awe!
After visiting the temple we chilled at the hotel and had dinner at a restaurant near the ocean. They have delicious and budget friendly meals and is right between the echo beach restaurant and sand bar (I am sorry I was too hangry at the time to catch the name). They have delicious fish and prawns.
The next day we took an UBER right outside of the Canggu area to take us to our next destination Ubud, Bali for our very first DIY budget Yoga Retreat!
*Side note* I would recommend riding a motorbike to the Tanah Lot temple instead of driving because that is the best way to experience it. Now that I am more confident with riding a motorbike, I really regret not doing it. The rice terraces are stunning and you will want to get off along the way and take pictures which is only possible if you rent your own car or ride your motorbike.