MAR 1 // DAY 31

We pulled ourselves out of bed at 5:30 am to pack for our flight to Bali and returned the rental car with no problems. If everything starts to go wrong on this trip, the positive resolution of the wallaby incident will make up for it. Such a relief.

I was trepidatious about our journey through Bali customs. First off, customs in general is a confusing process regardless of the country. Second, in my boarder-line obsessive research, I found several bloggers who had difficulty getting through Denpasar. Thankfully, beyond a long wait for our checked backpacks and a minor Tiffanie hunger malfunction, the experience was a breeze.

Earlier in the week, I had arranged our stay at Ubud’s Dewangga Bunglaows based on our friend Peter’s glowing recommendation over drinks in Christchurch. Bali can be hard to get around and I didn’t want our first hours to be a shitshow, so I arranged transport through the hotel for a bit more than the typical taxi fare. You guys, it was totally worth it. Our driver greeted us with my name on paper in giant, bold type and swooped us up to Ubud through the craziest rush-hour traffic we’ve encountered yet. Okay, when I say rush hour you’re thinking grid lock, but these vehicles were still rushing in extremely close proximity to each other. Scooters, trucks, vans and occasional humans were all participating in this strangely intuitive dance–I can’t wait for Bangkok!

Dewangga provides suburb accommodation. If you’re ever in Bali and happen to visit Ubud, you absolutely must stay there. I heard that Bali was cheap, but was absolutely floored by the amenities and service we received for half the price of most hostels in New Zealand and Australia. Beautiful jungle gardens, private bathroom, breakfast included, free wifi, idyllic swimming pool, all situated right in the middle of town with super attentive staff who adorably referred to us as Milan and Stephanie.

After getting settled, we went across the street for dinner and had our first bout with Balinese cooking. Holy cow, so good. So many vegetables and flavors! Our bartender Chok made a series of tasty mojitos while also playing YouTube DJ and making small talk. I felt like such a jerk for having only a few choice phrases memorized when nearly everyone we encountered knew enough english to carry on a solid conversation.

I think we’re going to enjoy Bali–and specifically Ubud–to the max.