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Candidasa, Bali, Indonesia


Our flight from Bangkok to Bali via Thai Airways was rather pleasant. This airline has to be one of the prettiest I’ve been in with its red and lilac upholstered seats. The food and the service was also very good! I highly recommend flying by this airline, if possible.

We touched down to Bali, got through immigration really quickly, and emerged from the airport. I needed to get some Indonesian rupiah, so I used my debit card at the ATM. The exchange rate was a little mind-blogging at 12,000 rupiah for a US dollar. The maximum amount offered in the ATM was something like a million rupiahs. The ATM spit out a wad of 100,000 rupiahs. For the next day or so I went through the disorientation that I go through in every country, trying to mentally convert the local currency to dollars and gauging how much a certain thing should cost.

We asked around a few of the taxi agencies (and haggling is a necessity here) to find a taxi that would take us to Candidasa, the little town that was an hour northeast of the airport. We found one that would take us there for 450,000 rupiah which we would split between us.

Our driver was a friendly guy with a very charming Balinese accent. I love hearing new accents! He filled us in a little about the area. Bali is a Hindu island, while the rest of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. We could see evidence of this as we drove alone and saw huge religious statues erected in the town squares and on the sides of the road. By the end of my time in Indonesia, I saw more Hindu statues than I have seen in all my life living in India, where we simply don’t erect too many religious statues in public. The ones in Bali were all gorgeous and I wished I could get out and take pictures.

When I had researched the route earlier, it had looked like a single road that wound close to the water. I had assumed that would be a pretty little coastal road with sweeping views of the water. Instead, we drove along a small road with shops and houses along both sides pretty much during the entire route. I guess this part of Bali is pretty well developed. I have heard that the northern part of the island is a little less developed and I hoped I would get to go up there.

It was really neat to see all the tropical flora, complete with banana plants and rice paddy fields. :) Everything was lush green and soothing to the senses. Nary a tall building in sight! I knew I was going to like Bali.

We found the little community where we were supposed to stay that night. We had found this listing on Air BnB and I’d been excited to see it ever since I had booked it. We had got a small house close to the sea. It had two levels with the living room and bathroom on the lower level, and the bedroom on the upper level. The best part about this place was that it was built in a typical Indonesian style but all the walls were glass!  You could see the Bali sea from bed or from the little balcony. All around us were beautiful trees, and right below us was a little fish pond with gorgeous fish swimming around it.

By the time we had arrived, it was dark, so we decided to walk out to the main road and get some food and so some light shopping. We had spied a couple of shops on the way which had really gorgeous cotton dresses on display, which would be perfect for the hot, humid weather. Oh yeah, did I mention that it was extremely muggy? You just get drenched in sweat if you’re out in the open. The last time I experienced such humidity was on the United States east coast one summer. It was so bad that after a while I gave up on even trying dresses on and needed to flee to a place with a fan or air conditioning.

We found a restaurant a few paces away and ordered some food. I got some grilled fish which turned out to be okay. I also ordered a banana daiquiri which I didn’t care for very much. It turns out that the daiquiri was made with a local liquor called arak, which I guess I didn’t like.

The one annoying thing that I feel like I should call out is that we kept getting harassed by people all over the street who kept calling out “taxi?”. It got a little too much after a while, especially after a guy who seemed like the owner of the restaurant came over and started chatting with us and within a few minutes it was obvious that he wanted to find out where we were going next and whether we wanted to get a taxi for there. We politely said no and left. I expected that this would happen everywhere in Indonesia but it turns out that it only happened in Candidasa, so I hesitate to recommend this place to anyone unless they are particularly thick skinned. It’s a shame because the place itself is beautiful.

We walked a few doors down to a local grocery store where I bought some picture postcards and stamps. The people who worked there were really lovely and friendly. It looked like the sort of place where the local shopped and everything was priced very reasonably.

When we returned to our house, we found that the downside of sleeping on the upper floor was that it was very hot and we had to keep the windows closed to keep the mosquitoes out. There was a ceiling fan but it didn’t do much to cool things down. It was quite a bit uncomfortable falling asleep. Also, I woke up the next morning covered in bug bites. :( So much for keeping them out!

The next morning, I got some breakfast when I woke up. Then S. and I walked down the main road to find a shop that sold fresh fruit. We found a tiny shop owned by an ancient woman who sold us mangoes and apples. Score! On the way back, we found a taxi rental place where we arranged for a taxi for 350,000 to take us to Amed, a town further north and about 1.5 hours away.