Bali. A place of which I had heard and longed to visit. When the opportunity came, I was on the wagon headed to Indonesia before giving it any second thought.
I was to join a group of people for this trip, none of whom I had met or spoken with before. I was sceptical at first of travelling alone – was it a wise decision? Will I get bored? Will I gel with a bunch of strangers? Will I fit it in? Will I manage to not make a complete fool of myself? The fears crept in and so did excitement. It was my ‘me’ time after all and just to be sure I packed two books with me (and never ever read them, not even on the flight).
Imagine, sitting at the airport, casually waiting to board your flight and suddenly you hear a girl calling out your name and go ‘oh! There you are! I knew it was you!’ and that is where it all began and escalated to us hugging goodbyes a week later not willing to let go. This is one journey I took that gave me all the goals I required for a life time; Couple goals, relationship goals, family goals, craziness goals, career goals, and my favourite – travel goals. One solo traveller was now part of a pack.
Day 1: The most relaxed day of the trip. We arrived in Bali, checked into our hotel and headed for an introductory lunch session by the pool side. Whilst planning to go the ‘Tamasha’ way of giving out a fictional identity, we ended up discussing our original ones. This was followed by some Baywatch style, slow running during sunset at Double Six Beach. Finally we had dinner at Warung (restaurant) already feeling like family.
Day 2: Do you know how to swim? No. It’s okay you can still surf! Can you?! Can you! Really?! Panicked as I was, yes, you can go surfing even if you cannot swim. Though I had received videos of surf lessons, being true to the person that I am, I completely ignored them. Thank god for our instructor! They were patient with me as I struggled to even carry a surf board twice my size. I took many falls before finally catching my first wave, and that feeling right there was awesome at its best. Those five to 10 seconds of waves that I caught few times made me feel like the trip was a success already. Grabbing some exceptionally healthy juice mixes (found across all Café’s in Bali, I guess) we gathered up for lunch and got decked up for visiting Tanah Lot; a 16th Century Temple. The sunset view here was simply magnificent. It filled our heart with warmth.
Day 3: With having managed to surf on day 2, I skipped surfing and enjoyed my morning walks on beach whilst getting to click everyone at their best surfing as well as best falls (I have a great collection of images now). I had been waiting to wear a Sarong in Bali since forever and hence Uluwatu Temple was worth the wait. Beauty comes to this temple naturally. After another picturesque, sunset seen, we headed towards watching certain scenes from Ramayana portrayed through traditional Balinese Kecak dance. This is also known as Ramayana Monkey Chant. With no instruments used, the performers chant ‘cak’ with synchronised arms and hands movements. This was followed by Fire Dance by Monkey God, Hanuman. The dinner was special as we were joined by two locals who answered each and every stupid, wise, mysterious, and funny question that we had about Bali.
Day 4: The morning drive from Seminyak to Ubud was a sleepy one. We headed for lunch the moment we reached Ubud. Post filling up our tummies we got ready to leave for Rice Terraces. This was just a minor warm up session for the trek to be followed late at night. The scenic beauty of the Rice Terraces showing the layers of green reaching up above to reach the contrast blue sky was just worth standing and staring. We turned in early that evening as we had to be up for a trek. (P.S. it helps to just take a shower, dose off, wake up startled when you get a wakeup call and just grab the bag & walk out)
Day 5: Waking up at 01:30 AM, in sleepy stance, was I prepared to climb the mighty Mount Batur, Volcano? Hell Yeah! How long did the feeling last? Till about 02:45 AM when we actually started the trek. The guides were amazing and motivational. It was due to them and the songs playing throughout the trek on speakers that kept me going. Imagine lying down on a concrete road at 03:30 AM and looking up to see so many shining stars. A big & bright glowing moon instantly made me feel at peace. Well that was just the start. Four hours later the view of sun rising, the smoky volcano, and floating clouds was just mesmerizing. Views like this got us creative and we spontaneously took up the mannequin challenge and aced it. After three more hours of walking (more like running) down the mountain, we applauded each other for completing the one thing on our Bali bucket list. Post this a Balinese massage was truly a blessing. One hour of bliss as all the tensed up muscles were released. The night called for a deep, relaxing sleep indeed.
Day 6: River rafting was on cards for this day – 10 kms of twist & turns, stopping at waterfalls, racing against other boats, posing for photos and much more. The yoga session was a welcome break on this day; especially post the outdoor activities we were experiencing. The Yoga Studio provided a calm ambience and we were there for 1 and ½ hour of Yin Yoga. This night was essentially the unplanned highlight when we practically took over a club and grooved to as many Bollywood songs as we could, and got other tourists to dance as well. The club was generous enough to give us access to their laptop and wi-fi. The rest, as they say, is history.
Day 7: We enjoyed our way back to Seminiyak and made a stop by for snorkelling. The clear blue water, marine life in natural habitat, and us amongst them was an experience of a lifetime. Yet again, no swimming required and instructors took immense care. This night was ideally our last night in Bali and we made the most of it at dinner and by the time we got back to the hotel room it was almost unbelievable that we had to pack our bags for good.
Day 8: The itinerary read ‘have breakfast, exchange social media details, and depart with lovely memories’. Social media details were all over the place way before we reached the last day. And breakfast was a quickie as we all rushed to the pool to relax and get some amazing water shots. Our ride to the airport was lazy. But we were probably the last ones to board and not being seated together was the worst thing. We survived though, survived to part our ways as we returned to our routines with some great memories.
We experienced Bali at its local best. The food, the culture, the people, the streets, the nightlife, and the comforts of nature. We got to see the scenic beauty across Bali only due to well-timed visits by When in City. I would especially like to thank them for encouraging me to complete all the adventure sports! From learning words in local languages to being amused by sculptures placed even in tiniest corner of a road, from outdoor activities to relaxing massages, from shopping to cafes, Bali had it all and I wouldn’t have asked for a better place for this solo group tour. Words don’t do justice to our experiences and many of our memories cannot be coined in words. All in all a must visit place!