Traveling from Siquijor, Philippines all the way to Denpensar, Bali was the longest trek we’ve done and will do on our trip. Yes, traveling through Southeast Asia is very cheap, but the cheaper you go, the longer the trip usually takes. To go from Siquijor (an island south/central Philippines) all the way to Bali could have been just two plane flights away. However, “ballin’ on a budget” means that we had to find the cheapest route possible.
We started our day bright and early at The Bruce in Siquijor Island. By 9AM we took a tricycle (that we previously arranged to pick us up the night before) to the port. Anticipating sea-sickness, we bought a ticket to Dumaguete which cost 130 pesos. Lucky for us, we were on a large cargo ship instead of a small boat, so we had a comfortable ride there. The ride was less than two hours, and by 11:30PAM we were already there.
Next, we had to catch a plane back to Manila. We had a lot of time to kill before our 4:40PM flight, so we asked a local where the best spot to grab lunch was. He took us to Lantaw, which had authentic Filipino food at a reasonable price. We had delicious bangus (fried fish), BBQ chicken, lumpia, baked scallops, lechon kawali, and fruit smoothies. I definitely recommend coming here if you’re ever in Dumaguete! After lunch, we still had lots of time to kill. We played cards, wrote for my blog, read, and killed time until our (expectedly) delayed flight.
We finally got to Manila by 7PM that day. Josh and Alvin got dropped off at their hostel and I went back to the city to stay with my nephew who lives in Makati. I didn’t get there until after 10PM since we got lost dropping the boys off, but I was still so happy to see my nephew and catch up with him. We talked about how school was going, his rapid-growing talent with Photoshop, his brother, and life in Manila.
The next morning, we FINALLY set off for Bali. I remember being at the airport that morning unable to control my excitement that we were going to another country, especially one that I haven’t experienced yet. We took a four and a half hour flight to Malaysia, where we had another four hour layover. We got really full off of beer in the airport, and Alvin had some good Malaysian curry while Josh and I enjoyed some Cajun potato wedges (I have no shame!).
Our flight from Malaysia to Denpensar, Bali was about three hours long. It was late, already passed 10PM, and I was ready to sleep for the entire plane ride. To our dismay, we ended up sitting right in front of a snobby French family who insisted they were too tall for us to lean our chairs back. Hands down, I had the most uncomfortable plane ride (or ride in general) that I’ve ever had. Even in my attempt to sleep, I could still hear them talking loudly in French over my music. At the time, I was ridiculously bitchy and crabby, but I knew the ride and rude people would all be worth enduring once we got to Bali. We finally got to our Airbnb in Kuta at 3AM and went to bed by 4AM exhausted but so thankful for our safe trip.
We started off our first day in Bali sleeping in. We woke up that morning and finally got to take a look at our accommodation for the next two nights. The villa was adorable, with a simplistic yet Balinese vibe. Tired from our travel so, we didn’t get out of the house until 11AM to get some authentic Indonesian brunch.My first meal in Bali was some yummy vegetarian noodles, while Alvin got beef rendang, and Josh ordered chicken skewers with peanut sauce.
After getting adapters for our chargers so we could charge our phones, we went straight to Kuta Beach in our motor-scooters to see what this famous beach was about. Immediately we saw that the beach was full of restaurants and massage stands lined up one after another. On the shoreline were hundreds and hundreds of tourists in the water, sitting on rented chairs under umbrellas in the sand, and eating at the restaurants or getting a massage. A little put off by how many people there were, I sat in the beach chair we rented and watched while Josh and Alvin tried surfing. Josh came back eventually and nudged me to go boogie-boarding. He quickly taught me how to catch the perfect wave, and eventually I sifted up enough courage to try surfing. I fell off the surfboard almost immediately just trying to lay myself on the board. We tried again, and I actually caught my best wave on my first try! All the other times I either fell off or hit a child (not purposefully). After a while, I really fell in love with the beach for what it had to offer. The waves on this beach were so abundant, consistent, and beautiful that it was hard not to have fun while there. They were challenging to swim through but so rewarding when you caught that perfect, epic wave.
We ended our first day having dinner with Josh and Alvin’s friend, Helen. After our BBQ dinner, we all showered and headed to find the best massage spa that was open late at night. Josh and I got fully body massages with aroma therapy while Alvin and Helen both got hot stone massages, which sounded really hot but is something I’ve always wanted to try. We went to bed exhausted but the most relaxed we’ve been during our trip.
Bali is beautiful. Althoug our first day there was doing the “tourist” thing in the most tourist-heavy area, we were still overjoyed with how much culture thrives in this island. Left and right are statues, everywhere is adorned with Balinese art, and prayers are left outside every door on every street.