Second Bali Trip of The Year (and a Short Narrative of What’s Underneath)

When I said that I looked forward to another Bali trip earlier in January, I was thinking about another one in another year. I thought, the sooner would probably be threeor two if I was lucky.

Like so many other amazing things in life, surprises come in the most unexpected whatsit. To my sister I joked that we should do a short Bali getaway last month. Stress drove me to thoughtlessly blabber, and her response was unusually enthusiastic. We looked for the flight ticket online, and the next thing I knew, we booked the hotel too already.

Bali is beautiful. It always has been. If only I had my way, I would bolt for this city every time I had the chance. In the meantime though, I’ll settle for a short escapism now and then.


I thought I was going to break the tradition this time. I felt a tad bit disappointed but also excited. After always starting my journey very early these past years, we booked a 9 a.m. flight to Bali since it was only the three of us this timemy mom, my sister, and I.

It turned out that the knot tying me to the custom was tighter than I had prematurely assumed. A day before our trip, we were informed by the airline that our flight was moved forward two hours. I was not surprised. If early morning trips had a claw, I was at its mercy. I happily woke at two and was already on my way at three like it was every day.

“Welcome to Bali, Mother,” I said word for word upon our arrival. And then we were starved. Tempted to try the widely-raved pork rib, we decided to give Naughty Nuri’s in Seminyak a try. Excitement roared through me when our main order and our choice of side dish“The Slider”, consisting of three small pork-filled burgersarrived. Both tasted quite great.

Following our satisfying lunch, we wandered around a little to get to know our hotel’s surroundings. Even if I had always ended up in a different inn during all of my previous visits, one thing never changed: Bali always had this distinctive, unique vibe that got intensified during a long walk. Strolling around the city felt surreal, every escapade was differently characterized.

Me relaxing in our hotel located in Kuta.

Resting for half an hour was enough after that. Our next stop was Jimbaran. Under Bali’s hot sun, gentle zephyr blew sporadically. It goes without saying that our journey to Jimbaran was a mix of sweat and anticipation. We were flustered but still eager. Located on the southern beach, Menega Cafe was one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Bali. I wanted to introduce my favorite dish, the barbecued clam, to my two companions.

Please remember this: the sambal matah was the best, best, best.

Dinner was exquisite, of course, but playing in the sand while waiting for the sunset felt multiple times better. We took a bunch of pictures to crystallize the moment, traced some random leftover footprints from some unknown strangers along the shore, and threw a stone to the ocean, competing for the farthestI won the first two rounds, just so you know; the third was a tie between me and my sister.

Our first day in Bali was basically over after our short beach trek. Exhaustion due to the lack of sleep started to eventually catch up, and we did nothing to resist the urge to rest.

Sleep claimed us too easily, no surprise there. I woke up the next morning feeling drowsy still. Planning to remedy that, we went to the famous Baked to have breakfast. From top left to right: Best Scramble Egg, Benny, and Meat Pie. The first one woke me up quickly. How I loved it.

Breakfast went too well, it turned out. We were so full that the thought of skipping lunch seemed rather appealing. While letting our food digest, we settled in taking a gentle walk along the Petitenget Beach, and boy were we pampered by the exhibition of the bluest blue and the softest sand.

But there was apparently more to it that the eyes saw. When I looked more closely, the ocean appeared to be separated by an invisible line somewhere in the middle, like there was this illusory competition between the lighter left side and the darker right side. The more I tried to decipher whether it was an illusion, the more I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. I was totally in awe.

Feeling like our feet had had enough of sand and vitamin sea, we went to Canggu’s Sunday Market, which, it turned out, was smaller than I had thought it would be. We were not so long there. After quite a long walk, we arrived at Penny Lane and treated ourselves to something cold and delicious: acai bowls and a glass of juice. I randomly ordered a plate of buffalo chicken wings too.

It was clear that Penny Lane was the perfect place to laze away the afternoon, but we needed something a little more challenging. Off we went to Shooters then, a small sports bar with charming retro vibes. Since the shooting game we had registered for was only available after two, we played the other free games there. My mom and sister were good at ping-pong. While they stood opposite each other playing, I leisurely ate my popcorn and watched them, imitating a supporter in a tribune.

We then played jenga with big wood blocks which was super fun, though I must also state that I lost, all the blocks tumbling down in a second as easily as a house of cards. And geez, I kept losing after thatat foosball, old arcade games, and Mario Kart too! Don’t even let me start on the shooting game. I sucked at it so bad the officer expressed a resigned sigh with no attempt of a disguise whatsoever.

After a few hours spent at Shooters, we then went to have dinner at Bebek Tepi Sawah. It was my first time there, and I could confidently claim that the price was honestly not expensive for a portion that big while the duck was incredibly cooked that I had no choice but to devour it oh-so-quickly.

And there went our second day in Bali. The night was closed with us watching Masterchef Australia from our hotel room. Seeing talented people cook was oddly comforting. I didn’t think I could ask for a more perfect, snuggly way to wind down after quite a long day.


After two days spent under Bali’s sizzling sun, we woke up early on Monday to drizzling rain. Like a cat-and-mouse game orchestrated to tease us, the rain got bigger the more we got ready to go out. But the game was over as soon as we arrived at Matahari Terbit Beachwhich means “Sunrise Beach” in English. We arrived just in time to catch the beautiful sunrise.

Dreading Mondays had been a habit for me on a weekly basis save for this week. I mean, I was in Bali, and we planned to explore Nusa Penida for the day. What’s not to celebrate?

It turned out that my intuition didn’t miss the mark. We were genuinely tired but equally happy. Nusa Penida was even hotter than Bali, but it offered everything you could hope for in nature: travelable and breathtaking (to read more about it in a separate post, just click the link). I would love to go back to this island one day.

You should see how we all looked right after our short trip to Nusa Penida though. My hair was a mess, a guest seated in front of us fell asleep without closing his window thus allowing waves to splash in and drench my mom’s arm, while my sister got a little seasick. On top of it all, it was safe to say that we were all starving. Taking a brief walk on the rough sand of Matahari Terbit Beach, it took us no longer than ten minutes to reach our next dinner spot: Warung Mak Beng. The small restaurant was famous for only serving fried fish and fish head soup. I preferred the latter one more but it tasted more spicy. My stomach was not strong enough to handle it.

Long walking under the hot sun was even more tiring than we had first anticipated. The next morning, right after our breakfast at Sate Babi Bawah Pohon, we went to fulfill our spa reservation at Taman Air Spa. My sister and I decided to treat ourselves to a 60-minute Bali Massage. My mom, in a different room, got her own Vegan Healing Facial treatment for 75 minutes.

One thing I liked the most about the spa: smelling so good afterward. I chose the lavender scent to go with the massage, and the scent glued to me for so many hours. What a comforting nice smell! We were then served a cup of hot sweet ginger. It got me all warm and fuzzy inside.

If the spa went great, what even greater was the fact that we were amongst the earliest person who got in line for the Kecak Dance ticket in Uluwatu Temple. We got an insider tip that we should start queuing as early as possible, say 3 p.m., so after lunching at a favorite of mine, Warung Cahaya, we headed off to Uluwatu.

In front of us, there were about 15 people standing in line already. I couldn’t count how many were there behind meas far as I knew, the arena was built to accommodate 1.500 watchers. We waited for the counter to open at 4 and got inside to watch the 6 p.m. Kecak Dance show. The seats were fully seated in no time.

I must say, it was worth the IDR 150.000 that each of us had spent. Just a few seconds into the show and I was almost in tears already. Exceeding my expectation, the performance was spectacular and so much fun. Everything about the show, with the sun behind the temple disappearing slowly, felt surreal.

With that said, Uluwatu became memorable to all of us. It was the temple, the clear blue water, even the waiting, the expectancy, the Kecak dance, and the sunset. Everything about that night screamed Bali more than anything else.

After celebrating how good dinner was at one of my favorite Bali restaurants called B Couple located in Kuta (y’all need to try the food there!), we called it a good, good night and woke up to a beautiful day we were spending in Bali Safari and Marine Park.

Bali Safari offers animal presentations and a safari journey by bus. The cool thing about the latter one is going through the puddle to get closer to the animals.

Lunching at Tsavo Lion with this lion sleeping as the ultimate scenery.

Picture taken by my sister. Her pov: two meerkats leaning on the window glass.

Birds' grips felt quite itchy!


Nothing beats the sensation of a morning walk: fresher air to take a breath of, lesser vehicles to worry about, and the tranquility that lets my mind wander. Back in my hometown, I rarely do so. Mornings are usually dreaded: the thought of what might come over 9, in the office, is a fear I haven’t quite been able to get rid of. In Bali, I found peace and quiet.

We started our sixth day on Dewata Island by walking alongside Kuta Beach early in the morning. It was beautiful. I wondered how could one resist the urge to travel here at least once a year.

Well, the rest of the day went quite ordinary after that. We went shopping for souvenirs, ate ice cream at a small shop called Mad Pops, and visited Sea Circusa vibrant restaurant that served the most unique fish and chips I had ever tasted.

The fish in the fish and chips tasted like a sweet cakwe filled with fish and we loved it so much!

Still, there is beauty in ordinary things, like when we took another morning walk the next day to look for more local cuisine to bring home, when we raved about how good the Nasi Campur was in Karya Rebo on our last day there, or when we waited too long for our flight home as we arrived far too early. Small memories like these will mean more over the course of a few years, nudged by some passing conversations probably before bed when one of us wonders, “Remember that time we waited in the airport for five whole hours?”

It was small things like these, believe it or not, that made this trip special. As our plane to Jakarta took off, I silently prayed for many more awesome trips in the future with the same companions, for more special trips with the special ones.


Now, if you think that this post has been too picture-perfect, will you be interested to dig deeper than the surface? Aren’t you a little curious to see the narrative that actually happens behind the closed doors? I want to be honest regarding what I write here, so let me get this straight: this trip was far from perfectplease don’t let my long jibber-jabbering make you think otherwise.

Please don’t get me wrong eitherthe trip itself was fantasticI’m not lying about what I have written. But in between the jokes we shared, there were also some rocky patches. I was struggling with insecurities, self-doubts, and uneasiness. While I had kicked off the trip as a confident character promising fun, I returned with half the head hanging in shame.

I hated myself during the episodes. I hated how I failed to become someone I swore to be at the beginning of the trip. I hated how my insecurities affected how the others painted the color of the town. I obviously hated how it made them perceive me as a burden. And I hated how I couldn’t control the actions from the outside but also the reactions from the inside.

Perhaps my mom and sister did hate me a little too because of that, but they were obviously bigger person than I was. “We’re family. That’s what families do. We make up,” they said even after I acted annoying as hell. If only I were half as understanding as my mom, or if only I were half the good person that my sister was, I would be a much better person for sure.

So yeah, moments like these slapped me. If Bali has taught me something, it is about how I should behave with more magnanimity. Bali teaches me to enjoy the present time as it is too, like how waves surge without stressing about what might occur when they hit the crags.

“There is no point in being upset about the things you can’t control. This is supposed to be a fun week, you know.”

It still was a fun week regardless of my wrongdoing. I just hope that both of them are generous enough to remember this trip by how beautiful Bali was without the bad, bad dreams, just like how I picture my second Bali trip of the year with the bluest waves, the slow walks, and the kindness they exposed me to.