Thursday, June 22, 2017
Bali. A place of which I only had heard of and longed to visit. So when the opportunity came, I was on the wagon headed to Indonesia before giving it any second thought. I was to join a bunch of other people for this trip who I have never ever met nor spoken with. Skeptical at first, traveling alone, was it a wise decision? Will I get bored? Will I gel up with bunch of strangers? Will I fit it? Will I manage not to make a complete fool of myself? The fears crept in and so did excitement. It was my ‘me’ time after all and just to be sure I packed two books with me (and never ever read them, not even on the plane journeys)
Imagine sitting at the Airport, casually waiting to board your flight and suddenly you hear a girl calling out for your name and go ‘oh! There you are! I knew it was you!’ and that is where it all begun and escalated to us hugging goodbyes a week later not willing to let go. This one journey I took gave me all the goals I required, enough for one life time. Couple goals, relationship goals, family goals, craziness goals, career goals, and my most favorite travel goals. One solo traveler was now a part of a pack of dozen.
Day 1: The most relaxed day of the trip. We arrived in Bali, checked into our hotel and headed for an introductory lunch session by pool side. Whilst planning to go ‘Tamasha’ way of giving out an identity, name, profession, and whole story which will not be known to anyone else was on the cards. We ended up with discussing our original ones. Followed by some Baywatch slow running during sunset at Double Six Beach. After hearing micro-organisms turn into micro-orgasms over lunch, we had to double and triple check Double ‘Six’ Beach as well. Finally dinner at Warung(restaurant) with people who I realized would be spending the next week together and are already feeling like family.
Day 2: Do you know how to swim? No. It’s okay you can still surf! Can you?! Can you! Really?! Panicked as I was, yes, you can go surfing even if you cannot swim. Although had received videos of Surf lesson, being true to the person that I am, I completely ignored them. Thank god for our instructor! They were patient with me as I struggled to even carry a Surf board twice my size. It took many falls, hits, and useless feelings before finally catching my first wave, and that feeling right there was awesome at its best. Those 5 to 10 seconds of waves I caught for 3 times made me feel like the this trip was success here itself. Others did much better though, with one person going as far as doing the dab while surfing. Grabbing some exceptionally healthy juice mixes (found across all Café’s in Bali, I guess) we gathered up for lunch and got decked up for visiting Tanah Lot; a 16th Century Temple. The sunset view here was simply magnificent. It fills your heart with warmth.
Day 3: With having managed to surf 3 times, I skipped surfing and enjoyed my morning walks on beach whilst getting to click everyone at their best surfing as well as best falls (Damn good collection). I had been waiting to wear a Sarong in Bali since forever and hence Uluwatu Temple was worth the wait. Beauty comes to this temple naturally. After another picturesque, sunset seen, we headed towards watching certain scenes exerts from Ramayana portrayed thru traditional Balinese dance of Kecak or also known as Ramayana Monkey Chant. With no instruments used, the performers chant ‘cak’ with synchronized arms and hands movements followed by Fire Dance by Monkey God, Hanuman, certainly a captivating music which will be difficult not to hear the Cak chants even after you have been out of the show for a number of days. Dinner was special, we had two locals who joined us in and we were allowed to trouble them with each and every stupid, wise, mysterious, and funny questions that we had regarding Bali as a place or locals.
Day 4: The morning drive from Seminiyak to Ubud was a sleepy one. We headed straight for lunch after reaching and post filling up our tummies we got ready to leave for Rice Terraces. This was just a minor warm up session for the trek to be followed late night. The scenic beauty of Rice Terraces showing the layers of green reaching up above to reach the contrast blue sky was just worth the stand and stare. It was an early to bed evening for us as we had to be up for trek. (P.S. it helps if you just take a shower, dose off, wake up startled when you get a wakeup call and just grab the bag and walk out)
Day 5: Waking up at 01:30 AM, in sleepy stance, was I prepared to climb the mighty Mount Batur, Volcano? Hell Yeah! How long did the feeling last? Till about 02:45 AM when we actually started with the trek. The guides were amazing and motivational. It was due to them and the songs playing throughout the trek on speaker that made me not give up in between. Imagine lying down on concrete road at 03:30 AM and looking up to see so many shining stars, big glowing moon (we were just a day or two away from a full moon day) instantly made you feel at peace. Well that was just the start. 4 hours of climb later the view of sun rising, smoky volcano, and floating clouds was just mesmerizing. View like this guarantees to get the creativity out of you for we recorded the spontaneous mannequin challenge and aced it. More 3 hours of walking (more like running) down the mountain and we all applauded for completing the one thing on our Bali bucket list. Post this a Balinese Massage was truly a blessing. One hour of bliss as all the tensed up muscles were released. The night called for a deep, relaxing sleep indeed.
Day 6: River rafting was on cards for this day. 10Kms of twist-turns, stopping for waterfalls here and there, spotting a baby crocodile, racing against other boats, posing for photos and obviously too much splashing of water everywhere was how river rafting shaped up. After having such a work out since almost 5 days Yoga session was a welcome break. The Yoga Barn provided a very calm ambience and we were there for 1 and ½ hour of Yin Yoga without realizing it has been that long. This night was essentially the unplanned highlight when we practically took over a club and grooved along with all the foreigners on as many Bollywood Songs as we could. (They were generous enough to give us access to Laptop and Wifi, and the rest as they say is history)
Day 7: We enjoyed our way back to Seminiyak and made a stop by for Snorkeling. The clear blue water, marine life in natural habitat, and you amongst them is clearly an experience of lifetime. Yet again, no swimming required and instructors took immense care. This night was ideally our last night in Bali and we made the most of it at dinner and by the time we got back to hotel room it was almost unbelievable that we has to pack our bags for good.
Day 8: The itinerary read ‘have breakfast, exchange social media details, and depart with lovely memories’ Social media details were all over the place way before we reached the last day, breakfast was a quickie as we all rushed to pull post it to relax and get some amazing water shots. Ride to airport was lazy however getting on the plane wasn’t. With running thru huge lines at check-in counters, security checks, and then reaching the Boarding gates and still managing to stop and buy munching snacks for the Flight, we were probably the last ones to board. Not being seated together is the worst thing that can happen to you on the flight. It can be the reason why you end up losing your Kit-Kat! Seriously! I politely offered the guy next to me the Kit-Kat bar I was eating (I just had the first little line of it!) and he said, ‘Oh! Sure!’ and took the entire bar out of my hand! It was Dark Chocolate Kit-Kat for God sake! Pro Tip: Never offer food to strangers on flight unless you don’t like what you are eating and you want to do away it. We were in a train, I think; the flying was just an illusion. With children playing video games to the volume on max, a group of people on the last most seats going yelling crazy just for sake of it when plane tips the slightest, with air temperatures set to freeze us, and people passing snacks all around noisily. We survived though. Survived to part our ways as we returned to our routine with some of the craziest life memories.
We experienced Bali at its local best. The food, the culture, the people, the streets, the nightlife, and the comforts of nature. We got to see all the scenic beauties across Bali only due to well-timed visits by When in City. Specially would like to thank them for encouraging me to complete all the adventure sports! From learning words in local languages to being amused by sculptures placed even in tiniest corner of road, from adventure sports to relaxing massage, from shopping to cafes, Bali had it all and I wouldn’t have asked for a better place for this solo group tour. The words don’t do justice to our experiences and many of our memories cannot be coined in words. All in all a must visit place!
Tour Coordinator: When in City is the place you are searching for to experience Bali in a new light; just as fresh as Avocado. You can visit them at https://www.facebook.com/whenincity/ or visit www.whenincity.com they are what they promise.