When he brought up the idea of spending this New Year’s Eve in Bali, I was like “What? Why? Neither of us can even swim! WTH are we gonna do there?” But then after a few weeks/months of working his magic (i.e. giving me his puppy eyes look and saying “đi maaaaaà”), he succeeded.
Just a week after we bought the tickets, Agung volcano erupted. Too excited to see me, my dear Agung?
The flight took about 6 hours in total. 3 from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur, then another 3 hours from KL to Bali. But thanks to the courtesy of Airfreakingasia, I got stuck in KL Airport for 6 hours.
The toilets in this terminal are confusing. They are located right across the praying rooms for Muslims, and the signs are vague and not very visible. I laughed at a white guy who mistakenly went into the praying room, only to find myself wandering right into the men’s restroom a few hours later. My BF said it’s embarrassing for them, not for me… 🤭🤭 A few practical notes here:
1. Always bring small dollar notes when you’re travelling We bought a bottle of water and a cup of coffee in the aircraft. The crew didn’t have enough change in dollars (we only had $100 notes) so we were forced to use the Malaysian ringgits that we converted in the KL airport. The crew gave us the change back in IDR, and due to their funny exchange rates we somehow lost nearly $5, even more than the cost of the drinks themselves T_T
2. Bring a pen with you I’ve made this mistake 1 trillion times, and yet I made it again and had to borrow one from the Chinese girl sitting next to me. Luckily there is only one Customs Declaration Form to fill. Almost no one needs a VISA for Indonesia, so we don’t really have to worry about that.3. Exchange some cash at the counter just outside the airport, but not too much. The rate I got here is quite low. At this counter we get IDR 13100 for 1 USD, while the rate I got at Ubud the next day was 13300.
The Chinese girl sitting next to me barely spoke any English. She is chubby and wore contact lenses, which kind of exaggerates her clueless look. Apparently she’s a 25-year-old nurse travelling to Bali on her own, but was baffled by the unusual fact that there was almost no other Chinese around (due to the volcano eruption a few weeks earlier). Her phone has this magical Chinese app that automatically translates all printed words into Chinese in real time! All she needed to do was to turn the camera on and all the English words turn into Chinese characters!!! 😲😲😲 I was amazed AF but tried to keep my cool.
At immigration she was the only one who innocently queued up in the “disabled” line and even invited us to join her since we were standing in a much longer line. 🤣🤣😂😂 And so naturally we decided to temporarily become her foster parents/ caretakers and made sure she got into a taxi safely. It took us one hour to wait for her luggage (we had none) and accompany her to the gate, but I guess it was worth it anyway.
We were picked up from the airport by a driver named Lanus (I know, we joked about his name too). I found his contact on Tripadvisor and sent him an email a few days in advance. He has lots of great reviews and offered a good rate (IDR 250,000 from the airport to Ubud), so I just thought why not.
As expected, Lanus was extremely jolly and talkative. I mean about 15 minutes into the conversation, we already knew he divorced once and his ex-wife is now in Turkey and they are still in touch and all he wishes is for her to be happy LOL. Don’t take me wrong, Lanus was extremely nice and accommodating, but he’s just not the kind of guy that I wanted to be around after 12 goddamn hours in transit 😵😴. I mean at that time I don’t think I wanted to be around any kind of guy for that matter.
We arrived at our guesthouse at around 1AM. I was really eager because the place boasts a 9.7 review score on Booking.com. By the time we got there it was dark and everyone was already asleep. I was a little sad to be welcomed by a board that reads “WELCOME MS. HA TRUONG. ROOM 3 PLEASE”. But the next day Putu (the owner) apologized profusely for it, so it’s OK. The place only has 4 rooms so it was very easy to find ours.
Clean toilet. Check!
Comfy bed. Check!
Nice little balcony. Check!
Looking at the dreamcatcher above the headboard, I thought to myself “Oh, we really are in Bali.”
– to be continued