It has been nine months since we left Bali after 14 months of living in Ubud as ex-pats. We have scheduled this trip back to reminisce, to catch up with old friends and to visit some of our favourite places. We may even get to have some new experiences, though after more than a year here we had covered pretty much all the ‘must do’ things on our list.
Our bags were much lighter than the last time we travelled to Bali. For a short holiday to this tropical island, all you need are a few light tops and shorts, and even then they are so cheap to buy you could just come empty-handed and buy everything you need. When we came over to live here, we had over 100kg of checked luggage, plus all the carry on we could carry. This time we had only 30 kg for our family of five, which included a cache of books took donate to a school.
We have arrived in the midst of the wet season, though they tell us it had not rained much at all lately. When it does rain here, it is usually just a short tropical storm so it does not disrupt your holidays much at all. However, without rain, there is no relief from the stifling heat. We were struck by the heat as we arrived, having lost all the heat acclimation from staying in this climate previously.
We have decided not to rent a car and drive ourselves this time. It probably works out cheaper to just hail a taxi whenever we want to go somewhere, and a little more relaxing not to have to navigate along the narrow roads in busy traffic, as well as the hassle of finding somewhere to park. However, it probably means doing a bit more walking in the heat, and standing around waiting a bit more.
We have checked in to stay at the Abangan Bungalows for our week in Ubud. The hotel has probably seen better days, but it suits us well. It is pretty budget lodgings, but that is our style. The location is close to the action while still being set back from the road. The bungalows are set out along a ridge, with views into the lush forest, with very nice landscaped gardens. Even though we are only a short walk to the main road, we are surrounded by the sound of nature.
There are no fridge and cooking facilities, not even a kettle. We knew this beforehand and decided that this time we would be eating out every meal. Walk out to the street and there are a multitude of options. And if we don’t want to walk, as we step out the door there are many locals offering to drive us anywhere we want.
Right from the start, this is all very familiar to us, there is no culture shock this time. We are going to enjoy this trip. Stay tuned for more updates.