Day 1 - Introduction to Bali

I arrived in Bali fairly late, but luckily I had a transfer from the airport to the hotel already organised.
Once we got off the plane we caught a (very packed) bus from the tarmac to the terminal and made our way through customs.
Once outside, the first thing you notice is the humidity and lots of people - except the majority of the people there are taxi drivers!
I eventually found the guy holding the sign with my name on it, but even while I was following him I was still being offered taxi rides from all the other drivers!
I arrived at the hotel, checked in and the staff carried my bags to my room and gave me the keys.

Honeymoon Guesthouses

After arriving at the Honeymoon Guesthouses in Bali at close to midnight the night before, I did sleep in a little the next day.
Despite it's name, the hotel is not focused around honeymoons and is quite family friendly.
I was up just in time to catch breakfast (which closed at 9:00am), but this did mean I missed the morning yoga session, which started at 7:00am!
This seems really early for me, but the sun is up at around 6:00am so it's not too bad.

The hotel is absolutely stunning! It looks like a temple in the middle of a jungle with lots of greenery and wildlife around.
Everything in the room looks handmade, even the door to get in!
These doors are really common around Bali and are made of two very intricately carved wooden panels with with a handle on each one and a large padlock that fits over both of them. I've never stayed in a place where I had to look my room with a padlock! Pretty cool!
Inside was a large four-posted bed with a mosquito net over it and another very fancy looking door to get to the bathroom.
The bathroom had some greenery growing by the bath tub and wasn't completely sealed off from outside.
All the doors and windows were made of wood and could be locked from inside with either wooden pegs or big wooden sliding bolts which all added to the amazing atmosphere of this place.


At breakfast I recognised Karen and got introduced to the group.
Breakfast was great, although surprisingly there weren't too many gluten-free options, but the fruit was nice and fresh!
I had fried banana, fruit salad and a juice for breakfast.

Exchanging Money

Erin and Karen offered to take me down the main street of Ubud so I could get some money changed and get acquainted with the area.
The hotel is in a pretty central location, with just a short walk to the markets along with restaurants and cafes everywhere.
I changed about $260 of Aussie cash into 2,740,400 Indonesian Rupiah which was so many notes I ended up leaving about half of it with my passport locked in my room.
After that we continued through the market that sold of all sorts of things, from souvenirs to food and spices.
The weather is pretty hot and humid here so it doesn't take long before you're drenched in sweat from just walking around so after that we headed back to hotel for a swim.
By this stage we were pretty hungry so we went for lunch. Karen had read about a restaurant called "Murni's Warung" that was meant to be good, so we headed there.

Murni's Warung

Murni's Warung was awesome! It looks like a shop front from the outside, but when you go in you are greeted with a view of one of the many valleys around Bali.
We got lead down four levels of stairs to an outdoor area where you could see and hear the river running below and had a great view of the cliff face that makes up the valley.
This seems like a popular valley due to being right in the heart of Ubud, there were a few other restaurants that shared the same view as well as a construction site for a new one that looked pretty big!
My meal was a chicken and mushroom soup, which was pretty good, but Karen ordered the famous duck dish which looked amazing! I'm definitely coming back for that!




Hiking

After lunch we followed a path that lead us up across one of the ridges and had a great view of the more natural side of Ubud.
The signs took us up hill until we felt like we were completely away from civilization, other than looking down into the valley and seeing rice fields and farmers.
The view was awesome and so close to the main street it makes you remember how different it is from the major cities in Australia.
At the end of the trail were more rice fields, so we decided to grab a taxi (from a nearby taxi stand, they are everywhere!) and head back to the hotel.




Yoga

When we arrived back at the hotel, we had a little time before the afternoon yoga session, so I walked around with camera admiring the scenery.
The plant life is really colorful, there are fish in all the ponds around the place and even the insects are interesting.






I grabbed my mat and headed up to the yoga area, which was on the second level. There was a roof and a solid floor, but instead of walls, there were blinds that could be pulled down - the view from here was quite nice too.
By the time the yoga class started it was starting to get dark and soon after it started raining - this was amazing!
We were all lying on our back in shavasana at the time and just listing to the sound of the rain in this incredible environment.
As soon as the rain started, the sound of toads and crickets became really prominent - it was really soothing!
Soon after that we had a couple of small bats fly into the room and circling around - they were harmless little fruit bats, but they made their way in and out a couple of times throughout our practice.
This was definitely very different to my usual yoga practice in an office building or gym!

Casa Luna

After yoga we headed to Casa Luna for dinner, this was owned by the same people as the hotel, so we got a discount here.
It was also a really nice place. Because Ubud is full of valleys and ridges with waterways spread across the whole island, a lot of the restaurants have an amazing view out the back!
It was still lightly raining and I was feeling very relaxed.
Today has been a great introduction to Bali!

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