Posted on December 15, 2015
Our first week of travel in South East Asia
We have finally started our trip. After we hitchhiked home from Portugal, we took a bit more time home planning stuff than we expected. Our first stop: Bali, Indonesia.
After a long flight, we finally landed in Jakarta. It was quite a relief to leave the European winter weather behind and to land in warm Indonesia. We just had one more flight to Bali, just 2 hours away.
Before we even left the airport, we were constantly surrounded by taxi drivers, shouting “Taxi, yes?” or “Transport?” Some kept following us. We didn’t feel like taking a taxi but we couldn’t find a bus and walking seemed a bit too far so we asked for the price. “One hundred pipty tousand”, every one of them said – “is normal price”. Almost € 10 for a ride no more than a few minutes would not fit our budget at all. We decided even € 5 should be more than enough and we offered 70.000 rupiah. One driver who kept following us, waited for the other drivers to be out of hearing reach and finally said: “Okay, 70.000”. We had already found someone who was willing to host us but all we had was a street name – no full address. Coincidentally, the driver dropped us off at exactly the right place. But, we would only find that out after we went and bought an Indonesian SIM card first to contact our host.
Our host, Dino, picked us up. His place was just some meters away. He’s not originally from Bali but he’s renting a room here so he could offer us a place. It was not that big but we had our mats to sleep on. He was very flexible and we could come and go when we wanted to. He also arranged a decent price for a scooter rental through a friend of him. Finding a fair price as a foreigner isn’t always easy. We decided to rent it for a month as this was cheaper. Around the touristic areas on Bali (such as Kuta), salespeople will offer scooter rentals for no less than double the usual price, and that only after haggling.
Dino introduced us to some of his friends and we went to Ubud to have a look around there. The nature there is different: more hills, nicer trees and monkeys walking around stealing stuff. One monkey ripped a pack of cookies from a Chinese tourist who was eating in front of them, despite all the warnings not to.
It was great to get a scooter – to walk is not easy on these streets. We can get around the island and leave the touristic Kuta area. Kuta has a nice beach, but the whole area is too overcrowded with tourists, people selling stuff and traffic. The first week we drove around a lot around Bali, looking around and often getting lost on the roads without signposts.
It is the rainy season so some rain was to be expected. There was no rain in the first days, but when it started, it would start sudden and it would rain hard. Luckily we had some protection against the rain but the streets almost turn into rivers. Today, there is a lot of lightning outside so we are having a quiet day, sitting at the airport where we can use free wifi to make some plans for the remaining time.