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Published: March 27th 2018
South Bali, baby! This is definitely one of my favorite places on Earth! I don’t need to write much about the beauty of the Bukit Peninsula, just take a look at the photos and enjoy! Breathtaking = picturesque = splendid = gorgeous + amazing = stunning! + peaceful = serene… If some of my IELTS students ever read this blog entry, they will smile because I constantly remind them to use these words when describing beautiful places they’ve been to. South Bali is all about the ocean. From Ulu Watu to Sanur, the coastline is amazing and untouched. These last few years, roads have literally been carved into the rock to give people access to newly found pristine beaches. Beaches such as Nyang Nyang, Karma, and Pandawa were out of reach in the past. Massive cliffs overlook the whole southern stretch, and the view you get when you get there is absolutely mesmerizing! A coral reef fringes the shore, giving the shallow waters the most beautiful shades of blue and green. There are not many hotels built down there yet. Although roads are now paved, they’re still narrow and a bit confusing. You do need your own transport to get there.
March 2017 - one of the best beaches of Bali!
Walking down to the beach isn’t easy either: a long and steep gravel path leads to Nyang Nyang, and it can be tricky when wearing flip-flops... So, you get my point: few people get to enjoy the southern beaches east of Ulu Watu. Plus, the beaches are so long, once you hit the sand, you can walk 5 minutes and be away from everyone else: truly magical!
We found lovely accommodation just behind Padang Padang Beach. Becky would get up early and do yoga in the flowery garden. We would then have a hearty breakfast and off we were, driving through the countryside south of Pecatu. Chinese people don’t sunbathe nor swim… but, they like eating and relaxing! Becky’s mom would sit in the shade with a fruit juice, put on sunscreen (in the shade), take a sip of her mango juice (no ice!), take a picture of the view and share it on WeChat, apply more sun screen, look at the silly “lobster-foreigners” on the beach, take another sip, stretch (the Chinese are flexible!), breathe and repeat! Becky’s stepdad, Shuchu, is more of a walker and he happily followed us far up and down the cliffs to take
This is life!
at Uluwatu Beach
pictures of the lovely shoreline. A man of few words, he would simply nod and repeat the same word: “mei美!” = beautiful! And it really was.
Having a car was fantastic to hop from one beach to another, to buy fruit at the market or stop at a small local warung (restaurant) at an intersection to enjoy homemade food: nasi campur (fried tuna, spinach, beef cubes, vegetable curry, fried tofu on a bed of rice), sate lilit (spiced minced meat on a stick), Betutu (roasted poultry dish)… and a cold Bintang beer, juice and shakes!
We also visited the Ulu Watu Temple, which was built in the 11th
century on top of spectacular cliffs to honor the spirits of the sea. It’s a wonderful walk on the edge of the cliffs, flanked by Balinese statues, and the views over the endless swells of the Indian Ocean are almost spiritual. We attended the Kecak Fire Dance, a colorful and exciting cultural show at Ulu Watu’s cliff-top amphitheater. A local prince is sent to exile following an evil trick by his stepmother. But with the help of Monkey King Hanoman and his monkey troops, the prince eventually comes
La vraie vie!
At Karma, South Bali
back and is reunited with his lover. Performers danced and sang the whole story for us. The costumes were beautiful! The songs were enthralling. And the Monkey King threw in a bit of Balinese humor on top of it all. We got to enjoy a taste of Balinese culture as well as a dramatic sunset at the same time: memorable!
After a few days in the south, we planned to catch a ferry to Lembongan Island from Padangbai. But the weather changed and ferries were delayed. So, we ended up spending a night in Padangbai. That’s when I found out I had lost my credit card… I quickly realized that I must have left it in the ATM machine in Kuta. So, we drove back to Kuta and I called the emergency number at the ATM. They told me they would call me back after one of their staff would get to the ATM and open it up. I was afraid someone might have picked it up after me, so I asked Becky to call my bank in China to cancel the card. They cancelled it for 4 days giving us a chance to get it back from the
Cultural Show at Uluwatu
Fantastic Balinese culture!
Indonesian ATM. We walked to a warung and had a bite to eat… and as we went back to the car, I spotted a technician at the ATM! He opened up the machine and got more than 10 bankcards out! Mine was right there. I showed him my passport. He made a call to his boss, took pictures of my ID, and handed back the precious card! What a relief! And how quick did the bank react! For-mi-dable!! We decided it was a sign to change our plans. Time had come to head to the green center of Bali: rice terraces, ancient temples and volcanoes. Apparently there is no word in Balinese language for ‘artist’ or ‘art.’ Around Ubud everyone is an artist.
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