We moved to the chilled seaside town of Sanur on the 4th of March, where we spent 6 awesome nights at Little Pond homestay. We had barely put our luggage in the room when we went to try out the pool, oh happiness! With the hot humid weather, and all the sweating it was such a relief to be able to swim. The Little pond homestay is a small group of rooms each with their own bathroom, that overlook a little communal garden with a pool. Thank you Sabrina for showing us this awesome place! A flushing toilet and private bathroom never sounded so good 🙂
While in Sanur we decided to check out the Bajra Sandhi monument, a short drive away from where we were staying. We spent a good few hours walking around admiring the grounds, statues and architecture of the monument.
We went to visit the beach for the first time, and were amazed at how clear and warm the water was! Indian ocean is awesome 🙂 Lots of colourful fish, and crabs etc in the rockpools to see with the goggles. Once we realised how close we were to staying to the beach, we went there every day. One word to describe Bali so far is “moist“. We were either wet from sweat, the pool, a warm shower, or the sea at any time of the day or night! The heat and humidity is crazy.
There is a huge amount of frangipani trees all over the place in Bali, and you cant go far without smelling their awesome scent. They were growing all around the pool at Little pond, and the pool was littered with blossoms floating on the surface water, it almost looked like they had been put there on purpose.
In the evening we went to our first night market in Sanur to eat authentic Balinese cuisine with the locals. The food was so very tasty and cheap! A plate of awesome vegetarian food was 18k IDR, which is about R20. We also tried some of the fresh juices, a dragon fruit and banana mix, as well as an avocado and chocolate mix were both 10k each. Our night out at the market was the equivalent of about R65 in total for everything, and we were so full! The food was so good that we went back a few nights to eat there again.
The markets are busy, and almost every store you go past has the same sarongs or clothing for sale. If you dare glance over, or make eye contact, you will have to try really hard to get away as the store seller will try relentlessly to sell you something, even if you don’t want it. They could probably sell you your own shoes if you were not careful. You are able to get good prices, because you can barter with every seller, but it is draining, and we got tired of trying to walk past without being hassled, and started staying away. We learned that the word “NO!” in Balinese is “Tidak”, which we tried to use….
Another common irritation when you walk down the streets in Bali, is that there is a massage parlor or taxi driver literally on almost every corner, and you cannot walk down the street without one of them trying to get you to use their services. We started off being polite and saying “no thanks” but they will not leave you alone, so now we just completely ignore them. Any interaction with a seller, even to say “no”, does not work, they still believe there is some chance that you might possibly use them or buy from them, so they will continue asking. Ignoring is the best way to move swiftly through the streets if they are crowded.
One of the days we were in Sanur, we decided to do a ‘Sea Walker’ tour in Nusa Dua. This is a tour where you go down about 5 meters under the sea, and walk through a circuit that has corals and fish all around it. You wear some ‘vintage’ looking dive gear that they pump air into, allowing you to walk and see everything, without having to wear scuba gear. Your head stays completely dry while you walk the circuit, and feed the fish all around you.
Another night we were in Sanur we decided to eat a meal at a restaurant purely because you got to see the ‘masked dance’ + ‘Barong Bangkung’ dance while you eat. We enjoyed the show, and Natacha was invited by the Balinese dancers to join them on stage, which she did!
On the 9th of March is a major Hindu festival in Bali called Nyepi (Day of silence). It is the start of the new year, and for an entire day you must stay indoors, and stay quiet. The reason for this is to convice the evil spirits that Bali is uninhabited, so that they will leave the island alone for another year.
The night before (Nyepi eve) is a big celebration, where the “ogoh-ogoh” (the evil gods / monsters) models that are made by locals are exercised, and the priest does an exorcism bali style in a huge festival. The “ogoh-ogoh” monsters from different parts of Bali are all paraded through the streets by the people who made them, before getting exercised at the festival.
We decided to go to the festival to see all the “ogoh-ogoh” monsters that had been made by the different groups. They were amazing to look at, and it was hard to believe they are made from mostly papier mache.
We spent “Nyepi day” indoors at our accommodation, relaxing by the pool with our friends who had come to spend the holiday with us. The streets were empty, with nobody allowed to go outside. We had a peek to see, and the street was like a ghost town, not a soul around. Luckily we were not spotted by the Pecalang (police) who patrol the streets, looking for people who are not indoors.
Walking around Sanur, you see a huge amount of offerings to the gods outside almost every home and shop. The sidewalks are littered daily with a little offering and some insence for the gods. A lot of places also have a mini ‘temple’ outside their home or place of business, where they leave their offerings. This is awesome for the ants, birds and other creatures who we saw snacking on some of the offerings, not to mention the confused cat or dog, who left an offering of their own to the gods on one of them.
Every night in Sanur we relaxed on our balcony, taking dips in the pool, and listening to the geckos that are everywhere in Bali.
They gather around the light fittings, which becomes a death trap for moths and flying insects. The geckos become territorial and make noises and flap their tails around to warn other geckos to stay away from “their” light. At night you really feel like you are in the jungle, with the sounds of all the insects and geckos.
Due to the lack of public transport in Bali, everyone from around the age of 12 years old and upwards rides a scooter to get around! We have been too nervous to ride one, due to the hectic traffic, so we have been walking everywhere we need to go. If the distance is too far, we have been using Uber, which is normally half the price of a local taxi! We have tried getting quotes a few times for a taxi from one place to another, and the Uber price has always been at least half the price, sometimes more.
We again used Uber when we left Sanur to go to Ubud, and were quoted from 150k to 300k by local taxis, while Uber charged only 95k, and they are normally only about a minute or two away from you when you place the order. We had a big fright one day when Francois forgot one bag in the back of the Uber car. The bag had his wallet, passport, camera, gopro etc. in it. We only discovered this when we tried to check in at our accommodation in Ubud, and the owner of the homestay wanted both our passport numbers.
Luckily using Uber, we were able to quickly call the driver who had just given us the ride by using the Uber app, and he returned a few minutes later with the bag and all its contents! That is something that would have been a lot harder to do with a normal taxi, maybe even impossible.