(Written by Her)
Spa Treatments in Bali
Bali is synonymous with award winning beauty rituals. I booked a Javanese Lulur and Mani-Pedi. 3 hours in total, costing 280k rupiah (it actually cost me more because I felt sorry for my pregnant manicurist who has to work right up until her due date in order to afford hospital treatment for the birth, so I tipped her the equivalent of a days wages...but for everyone else it cost around $22). The Lulur was traditionally a ritual performed on Javanese royalty in the 9th century. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and I am a bit of a spa junkie, so its worth describing (without trying to make you jealous of course). My treatment started with a 1 hour full body Balinese massage using the oil of your choice. This was followed by a full body scrub using papaya and brown sugar to rejuvenate the skin. Afterwards, natural yogurt is spread over the skin to make it silky smooth. Finally, to clean away the yogurt and get the full benefit of the treatment, I was popped into a freshly drawn flower bath.
After my relaxing afternoon, we still needed to hit the post office, this time with a heavier box than last time (must be that stone sculpture...oops). The staff were amazing and very well used to tourists shipping Balinese arts and crafts all over the world. We rocked up with a box and a tube of paintings both of which were carefully packaged in front of us. Firstly, the boxes were sealed and taped, then wrapped in white tarpaulin that was stitched around the box and labelled in large bold print. If these don’t arrive in Ireland I will eat my hat (crosses fingers).
Pod Chocolate Factory
Next we had a long drive to lake Bratan, 1200m above sea level Lake Bratan, in the mountains near Bedugul, is an iconic Balinese image with its over-water temple complex appearing on the 50k rupiah note. Built in 1663 the temple is still used for ceremonies celebrating the water, lake and river goddess. When we arrived we were lucky enough to witness a ceremony just finishing and got some photos before heading down to the water's edge. The temple itself was closed to the public (as usual) and again the area was filled with tourists and local touts.
Lake Bratan, Northern Bali
GitGit Waterfall, Northern Bali
Hoping back in the car, we drove even further North. The roads in Bali scale volcanoes and as such are the windiest and hilliest we have ever seen (and that’s saying something because we’ve driven the Conor Pass on more than one occasion). Going over the slopes and through villages, we drove along cliff edges and down steep valleys. Our driver was excellent but I still got very nauseous. We arrived at GitGit waterfall near Lovina at 3pm. Telling our driver we wouldn't be long as we didn't want to swim. He must have been laughing hard to himself as we headed off on what we thought would be a quick pit stop. GitGit is the most famous waterfall in Bali, located just 70km from Denpasar, but given the road quality, about 3 1/2 hours drive. The waterfall itself is 60 meters high and is surrounded by tropical rain forest.
Looking at this pic, I still can't believe I crossed that footbridge...Fear of Heights being Conquered?!?
Although the scenery was amazing, on the way home I again was feeling nauseous from the windy roads, Wayan offered me some local medicine. He said he too feels sick when driving up North so he always brings a bottle of this stuff. You rub it on the back of your neck, behind your ears, on your chest and on your stomach. I gingerly rubbed some on myself, wondering what the stuff actual was. Clearly not having put on enough by myself he decided to douse me in the ‘medicine’ saying "you must put more, more". After a few minutes sitting back in the car, my neck started to burn (or freeze, I wasn't sure). The ‘medicine’ was some form of Vicks. Strong fumes filled the car, my eyes began to water until I actually couldn't open them. I was looking at Cian, laughing but not able to tell him what was going on. It certainly distracted from the nausea until I made it home!
A word about the Gili Islands
Kuta & Legian
Having spent 8 days in Ubud, we decided it was time to move out of our very expensive Honeymoon Guesthouse and opt for cheaper digs. The cheapest hotels on the island are located in the not so classy Kuta and Legian regions of South Bali, where night life and beach life are never ending. We made our way from Ubud to Legian and checked into the Akmani Legian Hotel (highly recommended).
On the way back from Kuta beach we were the subject of a very popular scam in Kuta. Walking along the footpath we were stopped by a guy who had scratch cards. We kept walking but he followed us. Eventually he scratched them for us. Of course, as if by a miracle (not) I won a t-shirt which apparently included a free meal. Amazingly himself won as well, what a shocker! This time, he won an iPad, $1000 in cash, $500 off Bali activities and 1 week’s holiday in Bali. We laughed and kept walking. He was disgusted, he followed us asking us to go with him to claim our prizes. He said he had to accompany us to the hotel. Obviously we declined but insisted on keeping the scratch cards. He argued but eventually gave up and let us go. It turns out that this was a timeshare scam. If we had accompanied him to the hotel (like so many Australians had before us), we would have been subjected to a 3 hour hard sell to buy a time share apartment (which presumably doesn’t even exist). One couple said they even had to spend $77 to sign up for membership before they were allowed to leave. And what’s more, they never received their prizes! A bit of cop on, and the internet are wonderful things.
Later in the evening we headed to the rooftop bar for a cocktail and an amazing view. The hotel looms up over the red tiled rooftops of surrounding houses, shops and restaurants. Luckily we found a quiet secluded spot with just 2 stools at the edge of the building looking directly towards the sea. The sunsets in Bali are among the most beautiful in the world. Photos don’t do them justice. We returned to our spot every evening to catch the last glimpse of the sun and appreciate everything that we have.