Our Bali Beach Tour: South Kuta, Padang Padang and Uluwatu

Our first night in Bali was spent at the lovely Eco Lodge on Balangan beach where we stayed in a two story bungalow nested on the grounds of their large eco resort. The next morning we awoke and started our morning with a light breakfast, overlooking the ocean water shimmering down below.

Our bellies full and our bodies relaxed after our complimentary 15 minute back and shoulders massage, we headed off in search of the secret beach.

After playing around on the beach for a bit we headed back up to soak in one of the infinity pools while sipping on a very delicious dragonfruit smoothie.

Even though we could have spent all day relaxing poolside we knew there was more to see, so we packed up our stuff and headed out.

We checked out of the Eco Lodge and had our first haggling experience with the transportation service. Littered all over the city are run down open huts with a band of brothers hanging out shooting the shit and randomly yelling “taxi” at anyone who walks by. This is who we chose to catch a ride with. The car looks like something straight out of a fast and the furious movie. We started driving to our next hotel located in Padang Padang. There was a ton of tiny backroads that we took filled with livestock and locals backyards.

We finally reached the PinkCoco hotel where we were dropped off and greeted by the staff. We received our welcome drink and instructions on the hotel. Our room was ready prior to the normal check in time. The room was very nice with a large bed and an outdoor shower area. There was a large, multi level pool which we would definatly come back to later. After getting settled into our room we decided to walk to some of the nearby beaches.

Big mistake.

We walked alongside the narrow 2-way road jumping into the bushes multiple times trying to dodge scooters and cars. The roads curve while going uphill and downhill and we walked for quite a ways before reaching the first beach area.

We entered Labuan Sait Beach after paying, which we thought was strange, a fee of 10,000 IDR ($.75) each. Upon descending the concrete stairs we became face to face with my biggest fear: a multitude of creepy monkeys staring back at me.

Yes, it’s true, I am afraid of monkeys.

After a moment of panic, we continued down another set of steep, narrow stairs leading to an overly crowded, boulder-filled beach. We were unimpressed by the hoards of tourists, vendors lining the staircase trying to sell us crap we didn’t want and the litter washing up on shore. There was nothing authentic about this beach so we quickly decided to carry on towards the next potential beach.

We made our way back to the main road and continued to walk single-file along the edge of the road. Following my google map directions we made an abrupt right hand turn down an off the beaten path dirt road. At the end of the road we non-chelantly strolled right into a homestay and without making eye contact made our way towards the stairs that lead us down to the beach. Perched at the top of the stairs we feasted our eyes on a stunning panoramic view of Padang Padang before descending the multiple flights that led to the sandy shores.

We found the perfect shady spot to lay out our turkish towels directly under a set of low lying branches. The surf was much rougher than we anticipated so we stuck to laying on our towels in the sand.

After a decent amount of time we packed up our stuff and began making the steep, stair climb back up to the main road to continue our walk towards Uluwatu where we were on a mission to find Nalu Bowls to indulge in a little afternoon snack. Following our map, we eventually reached Uluwatu and bee-lined it right to Nalu Bowls.

After ordering our bowls, the Mavericks and Pipeline to share, we impatiently waited for them to arrive. Once they did it was literally like heaven in our mouths. Seriously the most delicious smoothie bowl I have ever had.

After finishing our smoothie bowls we walked down a set of stairs located directly in front of Nalu Bowls hoping that it would lead us to the sea. It didn’t and we still have no clue how to get down to the ocean, although we didn’t try that hard to look. The set of stairs we did take led us through some parallel street lined with tourist shops eventually converging at a very cool cave area where the waves from the sea crashed over rocks and pouring into the pools in the cave.

Leaving Uluwatu we were on a mission to catch the sunset at the Uluwatu Temple. We left the area right by Single Fin and Nalu Bowls and headed over to the transportation services “stand” to give our best offer. Our wheeling and dealing skills didn’t go over too well as all our offers were refused so with our heads held high and our pride still in tact we started our one mile walk to the temple. Our walk was cut short when just a few minutes up the road we came across another transportation services station and when we offered them our best price they took it and our journey to the Uluwatu Temple went from a one hour walk to a 10 minute drive.

We arrived at the Uluwatu Temple and paid the small fee to enter the temple and expansive surrounding garden area.

We had been wandering around the area for a while when we started noticing that a ton of people had a white piece of paper in their hands. Curiously, we walked over to the area where they were handing out the papers to see what all the fuss was about. It was for a traditional dance ceremony that is held at the temple everyday at 6pm.

For the fee of 100,000 IDR ($7.40)  we thought “why not” and we purchased or tickets without knowing what to expect. Just before 6pm we shuffled our way into the designated area only to see stadium-seating bleachers filled with selfie-stick armed tourists. We knew immediately that this was not going to be our thing. We were hoping for an authentic experience and while it was interesting to see, it was far too touristy for our taste.

And it lasted an hour during the sunset. Bummer.

With 10 minutes left in the performance we shimmied our way out of the bleachers and headed to the exit. We quickly found another taxi willing to succumb to our perfected haggling skills and had him drive us back to the Single Fin at Uluwatu Beach so we could eat a quick, healthy dinner at Coco & Poke. Leaving Single Fin we had to get another driver to drive us back to the Pink Coco Resort since it was too far and too dark to walk back.

Already in our bathing suits, we dropped our stuff in our room, grabbed a couple of Bintang’s and sat with our toes in the pool.

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