By the time I arrived back at DXB I was feeling like a new person. I was refreshed and excited for the next leg of my journey, despite the difficulty I had saying goodbye to the Burj! It would have been fantastic to have more time in Dubai but Bali was calling my name.
I arrived at DXB with plenty of time and just a bit more luggage in tow. Security was a breeze, and I arrived at my gate with enough time to grab a beer at the Heineken beer garden. I sat next to an aussie guy who was traveling back to Singapore. I told him how much I loved my stay in Singapore and he looked at me like I was crazy.
It was about a 9 hour flight from Dubai to Bali, I flew Emirates, back in economy. Fortunately, I was not on an A380, so I did not have the thought of the business class lounge taunting me from upstairs. There was a dinner service and a light breakfast service, as we arrived in DPS around 10am. It was a really nice, relaxing flight, that was similar to Qantas flights I have been on…minus the bubbly aussie flight attendants. ❤
I landed in Bali and was happy to see all of my luggage quickly arrive on the baggage carousel. I was almost immediately greeted by smiling faces, kindly offering me “transport,” and this made me very, very happy. Initially I had planned on storing my luggage at the airport and taking only a small bag along with me, but I got a little lazy, and piled all of my crap into a van. The storage facility wasn’t at the airport and I didn’t want to deal with finding it – I was ready to get down to the beach.
Last time I was in Bali I spent the entire trip (despite
months of planning) at Rapture Surf Camp. I have been dying to get back since the day I left, especially after hearing that they opened their new Bali Cliff camp.
I held off on booking any type of accommodation until I was leaving Dubai. I sort of wanted to roll the dice on this one – I knew I wanted to surf with Rapture, but wasn’t sure how I would be feeling or what would be available when I got there. I was still a little sick, emotionally drained, and had been feeling a bit…weird…in the days leading up to this trip, so I decided to book a hotel down the road from Rapture. I wanted to have a room to myself and I wanted to be in walking distance of Padang Padang and some restaurants. Although I had an incredible experience at surf camp last time, I wanted to be (somewhat) alone this time. I was coming back to Bali for several reasons, but mostly because it holds a special place in my heart, and is a place that ignited a fire in me. I definitely planned on surfing, but most of me just wanted to “be” there.
I booked the Pink Coco hotel while I was at the Dubai airport. I chose a sea view deluxe room, and initially booked just one night. I figured that I would decide if I wanted to move to Rapture after that, depending on their availability. When I arrived at Pink Coco, I was greeted by a sweet young woman and was offered a welcome drink. They were somewhat horrified by the amount of luggage that I had in tow, and although I tried to explain that I was moving to Guam after, the language barrier prevented me from getting my point across. I just looked like a high maintenance american girl who needed 8,000 bikinis for 4 days in Bali.
I wasn’t impressed with my first room. It was in the back of the property and although I had a great view of the ocean and a large lanai, the aircon barely worked and the smell in the bathroom was unpleasant, to say the least. At the time i didn’t really care – I threw on a bikini and headed for one of my favorite places in the world – Padang Padang beach. I rented a surfboard and got out on the water as fast as I possibly could. I didn’t catch any waves that day but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be out on the water. After that, I bought some cheap beach towels and sarongs from the ladies on the beach and headed back to the Pink Coco.
That evening I met up with my friend Kadek, who is a surf instructor at Rapture. We went down to Uluwatu and watched the sunset at The Edge. The Bintang was cold and the company was great. We went to a little warung for some local food (although he was afraid it would make me sick, given my weak american stomach). When I returned to Pink Coco I could hear a beach party raging at Padang Padang, and although I desperately wanted to check it out, I was just too tired. My room was hot and the smell was a bit noxious but I passed out anyways.
The next day I ventured down to one of my favorite cafes in Bali, Buddha Soul. I had a coffee and searched for alternate accommodations. As I wrote in an earlier post, when I woke up that morning I had no idea where I was, and I was experiencing homesickness and anxiety. After Buddha Soul I had breakfast, then went out for an incredible SUP session at Padang Padang. By the time I got out to the break I felt a million times better.
I asked reception if I could be moved to another room at the hotel. The staff at Pink Coco, the grounds of the hotel, and its location made me very hesitant to leave – and I’m glad I didn’t. Tip: when staying at small hotels, especially in places like Bali, try to get a room near the front of the property. I have seen this many times – the back of the property almost always houses dogs, sometimes other animals, trash, and other random stuff. The closer you are to the front, the nicer your place will smell, and will likely be less noisy. I moved into another sea view deluxe room and this one was significantly better. I had a view of the ocean and the front pool (property has two) and the room had a lot more character. I absolutely LOVED it and was sad that I only had a few days there.
Sundays on Bali (especially on the Bukit Peninsula) are meant for Single Fin. Single Fin is, hands down, my favorite bar in the world. I truly mean this. Single Fin is awesome every day of the week, as it is a massive surf bar overlooking Uluwatu. The food, drinks, and attached surf shops are almost as good as the view! On Sunday nights they have a huge party and the place gets packed out. It also gets very, very hot.
I went down to Single Fin for a little while around sunset, and honestly, I missed my friends from my last trip to Bali. Going into this trip I knew that it would be impossible to recreate what I experienced before, and I wasn’t even going to try. I drank a Bintang and reminisced for a bit, watching the beautiful sunset over Ulu’s. I ended up heading back to Pink Coco quite early and grabbed dinner at the hotel. Pizza and wine for this girl…yes, even in Bali. I crashed early, but was happy about it…I was surfing in the morning!
Kadek picked me up on Monday morning and took me to Rapture. I had breakfast at the camp and was delighted when the staff remembered me. Before we went out surfing I got an awesome new bikini from Magini’s Bikinis. I loved it so much I got another one the next day. The tops are particularly good for surfing (stays on!) but I’ve been using them for yoga, light runs, and just hanging out. Maggie’s bikinis and surf gear are designed and made right there at rapture- so cool!
Balangan is my favorite spot for several reasons. Its beautiful. There are cows everywhere. There are little warungs (restaurants) built up along the beach. The one that Rapture hangs out at plays awesome music and has one of my favorite dishes i’ve ever eaten ($3 chicken/rice) and is run by some really cool, sweet people. Oh, and the surfing is good. Scary at times…but so, so good.
It was awesome to be back at Balangan. It wasn’t quite as scary as last time I was there, and Kadek helped me get up on waves almost immediately. I had a blast, and was quickly reminded of how much I love surfing.
After a FULL day on the water I went back to Rapture and hung out with some new friends, and then went down to Dreamland to watch the sunset. That evening I went to OmBurger for dinner and enjoyed a delicious burger, mojito, and live music.
Tuesday morning I was back at Rapture. We spent a lot of time looking for waves that morning, and ended up surfing Black Stone in Nusa Dua. I didn’t mind at all- I actually love cruising around the island in the vans with everyone- listening to music, looking for waves, and seeing so much life on bali.
It ended up being pretty tame at black stone but we had a great time with it. None of us were catching anything crazy, but it was super easy to catch a lot of waves, and even more laughs.
The sun was extra hot this trip – the backside of my body was burning every time I hit the water. I should have worn tights with my rashguard, but instead I covered my legs in zinc. I got an awesome leash line, but by the time I left Bali I was burned!
We stopped at Rapture’s new camp on the way back to Padang Padang…wow! The place was still slightly under construction, yet absolutely beautiful. I’d love to go back and stay there sometime.
That evening I packed up my room and headed to Single Fin for sunset with some new friends from rapture. I stuck around and had dinner and a few Bintangs before I headed back to Pink Coco, and then down to the airport. My flight was at 1am Wednesday, and I wanted to get there early.
Oh man. I arrived at DPS around 10:30 and searched for Philippine Airlines. No love. They don’t have their own counter and so theyshare with other airlines. I had to wait for an Emirates flight to close before they opened up. I was probably the 4th person in line. I got up to the counter and was told that I would have to wait on the side to be able to pay for my excess luggage. Ok. So I sat, and sat, and sat. I checked back in a few times only to be told to sit back down. The man was extremely rude and eventually told me to have my “cash money” ready to pay $200 for my bag. I was also advised that my luggage would only be checked through to Manila, because I was changing terminals – they said that if I tried to check it all the way to Guam, no one would move my luggage to the other terminal and my things would be lost. Awesome. Two hours later I finally pay my “cash money” to have my bags checked. After arguing with the man and seeing him tag my bags incorrectly, twice, he finally put priority tags on my bags. I had enough time to literally run through the airport and down to the gate.
The flight to Manila was horrible. I was seated next to a woman and her two children. Her husband was a few rows ahead of her. She was upset with her small child ( 1yr old) and literally threw the kid into the aisle towards her husband. Eventually she moved up to sit with her husband and left her other kid with me. He fell asleep on me and I didn’t care. Eventually I passed out too.
The airport in Manila was crazy, and it took me an hour to catch a shuttle to the other terminal, but luckily I had all of my luggage. People were nice enough to help me move my crap on and off the shuttle and I finally made it to the United counter.
The United attendants informed me that all of my bags were overweight and could not get on the plane. Philippine Airlines never weighed them. I told them the craziness that went on in Bali, and after I threw out about 10lbs of my belongings, they checked my bags in without charging me again. Once they saw how ridiculous my carry on luggage had become, they checked that in for free as well. They were extremely sweet and after the Philippine Airlines debauchery I really appreciated their help.
I stopped at Starbucks and had some breakfast before boarding my flight to Guam. The flight was pretty basic – about 4 hours, new plane, and a hot sandwich. I arrived on Guam exhausted and sunburned, yet I was still excited to see my new home.
I’d like to say that I will never fly Philippine Airlines again, but because I now live on Guam, I can’t say that with any certainty. I probably won’t be checking any bags with them in the near future, though.
So that was my journey getting here. I can’t believe that I have been here over a month already! The last few weeks have been crazy busy, but awesome – I’ll be writing about them soon.
Thank you all for all of the support & for continuing to read about my adventures!
Oh, one more, rather unbelievable note: last time I was in bali, I took a picture with the adorable kids pictured below. When I was driving from the airport to pink coco, my car got held up in a bit of “traffic” near the hotel (and their school). I looked out and who did I see??? These kids. My heart nearly stopped. ❤️