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  • Cherrie Ann

THE BALI DIARIES | Day 1: Touch Down

HEY LOVELY! I love the exhilarating thrill of take off and landing, often imagining I'm the one piloting the plane but other than that, our flight was pretty uneventful, perfect for guilt-free movie watching or in his case, sleeping. {How do men do it?}

Descending from the plane into the tropical heat of Bali was very reminiscent of arriving in Port Hedland.

The heat was like a wall that physically hit me, becoming instantly aware of how overdressed I was in my winter clothes but delighted that I was going to be warm for a few days. What we were completely unprepared for was the ridiculously long customs line! I think 6 planes landed at the same time, creating a flood of tourists coming in from all directions only to be treated like cattle. It even smells as funky as cows! We had no choice but to suffer the line which may have been bearable if I'd had my own wi-fi.

DAY 1: SELAMAT DETANG DI BALI | WELCOME TO BALI An hour or more later, we finally made it through to find our Buffalo driver who had been waiting for us just as long. Paul and I must have been walking around looking a little dazed with 'newbie tourist' signs above our heads because within seconds of stepping through the barricades, another guy who we thought was part of Buffalo tours, came along offering to walk our suitcase to the car for literally 2 minutes, but when he asked for a tip {which cost the equivalent of $10 because we didn't have any smaller notes on us at the time} we knew different.

Paul and I gave each other one of those 'We'll remember that' quick looks. Bali Travel Lesson 1: Bring / Find smaller notes

Bali, Kuta : Ngurah Rai International Airport

We shook off the customs line cloud and were on our way to our hotel. Driving through the roads of Bali for the first time was pretty awesome. The amount of jungle green everywhere, right from the airport, is a pure delight, especially compared to Perth's dry urban scrub.

Ngurah Rai Airport Carpark: Cascading greenery

It quickly became rather comical to see the abundance of tropical fruit trees such as papaya and bananas flourishing along the side of the roads, growing as prevalent as Perth weeds.

With no idea where we were going but having complete faith in our driver, we beeped our way through traffic, crossed a toll bridge, twisted and turned through the streets of Legian, rounded the Ground Zero Memorial monument, narrowed into a dingy little alleyway, had the underneath of our car checked for bombs {that was new} and then ooed and ahhed as our secret tropical oasis unfolded before us like the beautiful flower it is named after.

The first thing I noticed as we stepped out of the van was the smell in the air. It's a sweet, musky perfume of damp, mixed with frangipani's and incense. The scent of Bali.

We were greeted with genuine welcoming smiles and an unusual but refreshing glass of sweet ginger tea as we checked-in, then guided to a golf cart to be driven to our room.

I had some photos to show you of these lush green grounds {and one of a frog smaller than my pinky nail} but most were accidentally deleted when I was transferring my files. Fortunately Paul saved a few.

We offloaded our baggage, happily took in what was to be our room for the next few days, had a quick view of the balcony and then made our way towards Kuta Beach to watch the sunset whilst drinking our first piña colada.

Our way through Legian for the first time was pretty full on and deliciously foreign.

Walking through the heavy traffic of scooters and taxi's is a quest unto itself, coupled with the black and white tiled sidewalks which seem to be made more for single file and every shop attendant either invites you inside to buy something or for a "massage", all of which was available at the previous shop or the one before that.

It felt like we fumbled our way to Kuta Beach and my first impression by the time we arrived was the party was over and everyone was packing up.

We veered back onto the streets, continuing our Pina Colada search, eventually finding a comfortable umbrella and cushion setting facing Kuta Beach at The Beach Lounge.

Kuta Beach: The Beach Lounge

Our drinks weren't quite what we had in mind {no coconut in sight} but they would do for the night. We happily sat and enjoyed the warmth & humidity, loving every minute of our first night in Bali.

After dinner we made our way home by taxi which was a novel experience. We learnt that taxi's that are waiting on the side of the road are double the price of the taxi's that are going past, calling out, offering a ride. And the taxi drivers are sober. We had a few really helpful, trustworthy drivers, which you'll find out about later on.

Bali Travel Lesson 2: Grab a taxi that is going past, they are half the price (at least)

There was no way I wasn't going to enjoy our pool on the first night. We arrived back at White Rose to change, order a drink from the pool side bar and slipped into the water which was heavenly. {I'm such a water baby}

Ahh the luxury of a poolside restaurant and bar. My favourite cocktail was made with fresh watermelon, mint leaves and some type of sugar. I couldn't tell you what alcohol was in it. 🤭

With a fabulous first night in Kuta we decided to go enjoy our HUGE bed. {It was the best nights sleep in a long time} ready for The Bali Diaries, Day 2: Time Share & Other Adventures.

QUESTION: Where is your favourite place to stay in Bali?