After a very smooth flight with Turkish airlines, one sleepless night at Jakarta’s airport, where the aircon is so strong that I was cold all night, I took and early flight with Lion Air to Denpasar (which has proven to be ok, regardless all the negative reviews I’d read online beforehand) and arrived to the Balinese hot and humid morning.
A million taxi drivers get hold of any tourists looking confused and try to persuade you to take their cab/motorbike for a horrendous price. I had surrendered to one motorbike driver to take me up to Ubud for 150 000 Rupiah, which I later learnt was too much – as expected. Originally, I had been looking for a minibus, so called ‘bemo’ that I knew were much cheaper and would take me to Ubud for half of that price. I think, bemos do exist and have a secret parking spot at the Denpasar airport, which only locals know, because I could not find them anywhere.
Fighting my jet lag and keep waking up at 3 am first days, I decided I might as well start my days early and go explore the surroundings of Ubud and at sunrise, I thus went off towards the North of the town, where I knew the rice paddies are. I met Made Sugiasa, a local farmer, who took me to his rice field and showed me around. He said, I am going the right direction when I explore Bali beyond the places where the majority of tourists go.
Every time I eat, I am amazed by how good the food is and how cheaply I can eat. Sure, there are high-end places in Ubud, but I prefer warungs (restaurant) on little side streets, because I can find bigger portions for cheaper price, run by local people. My first ever food in Indonesia was Gado Gado – a plate with vegetable, rice and some crackers. To my surprise, the Indonesian food has a spicy touch to it, which I enjoy so much!
I arrived just in time for the two big festivals in Bali: Galungan (9th – 11th of February) and Kuningan (20th of February), so all the streets are decorated with penjor bamboo poles and people make offering to the ghosts who come to Earth during this time.