NataBali

I’m back from Bali with major post-vacation blues. It felt really bad having to come back home to mundanity again this time. Read this article about how to overcome post-vacation blues and it seems to be more common than I thought, and I do feel like wanting to do some major change with my life of some sort. It is most likely a fleeting feeling, though. I pay attention to some signs, but would not take it seriously until rationality and normality finally kick in. Never been the kind that acts on sudden feelings or the edge of impulse anyway 🙂 

Trying my best to forget about holiday blues and channeling some positive energy by writing and documenting great memories from my trip instead. Why dwell on the negative feeling, right? 

The title of this blog post was inspired by, a WIFI password of spa we went! I seriously have no clue what “Nata” means and would really love to know the meaning. It feels appropriate for this post though, “Natta’s Bali” not anyone else’s.

*Warning* I don’t plan to write a travel guide or review as there are many great ones out there. The purpose of this blog post is to share my thoughts and experiences along the trip. All personal. No photos, either. Only boring text 🙂

Overall

To be honest I didn’t expect much for this trip, but it turned out I am totally, absolutely, completely in love with Bali. The island really has everything – volcano, lake, waterfall, hot spring, temple, forest, rice field, beach, and more! It’s got both nature and city in one island which is pretty amazing. 

We were pretty lucky as the weather was quite cool and dry the whole time we were there. The beach area could be hot during the day but it had wind. Quite a nice change from humidity and rain in Bangkok. 

Cafes/Bars/Restaurants

This is what I’m really impressed with Bali – the design and decoration! The bars, cafes, and restaurants are so nicely done and decorated with some nice touch and lighting. I personally dislike the word “Exotic” perhaps it’s because I get bored of how Westerners like to refer to Southeast Asia or “Far East” in general. But Bali feels exotic to me! It has some modern vibes mixed with local decor in a perfect combo. I appreciate nice atmosphere and design, so this was a huge pleasant surprise to me. Not only cafes and restaurants, clothing designs here look very fashionable, especially in Seminyak area. 

I also think Bali really got the beach bars right, especially for the music and, once again, atmosphere. Perfect beach vibes. I am totally in love with the beach bar called La Plancha in Seminyak beach; with brightly colored bean bags and umbrella and great house and deep house mix. Combined that with the waves and some drinks, what more could you want in life, seriously!? 

Food

Balinese food is yum! The rice has a rich taste of some spices and herbs. I love the most boring dish in the world AKA. fried rice called Nasi Goreng. Also the famous “Bebek” crispy duck was really delicious too. 

Admittedly, we were eating at touristy spots in Seminyak and Ubud, so it wasn’t entirely local experience. I was reading blogs and reviews of some famous restaurants in Bali and it looks like it has some really great Western cuisine. 

I did try local Balinese cocktail with a mix of “Arak” in it. Still unsure the kind of alcohol Arak is. But we all agreed that it tasted a bit too weird. What a waste of happy hour that night! 

Balinese massage

Balinese massage is not as hard as Thai massage. They apply some oil with a lot of rolling, pressing gently, kneading, and sliding kind of technique, which can be a nice and relaxing experience. 

One thing I dislike though, somehow they tend to massage your head with some oil which makes it too greasy. Also they did not wash their hands before they massage. It could be because we went to normal, local places, not a high-end spa. But in general I do notice Balinese are not as hygienic. 

Services 

Here comes the bad part – the service here can be extremely slow, no matter where you go or how much you pay. You need to be tolerant for it. Also Balinese staff are great at saying yes and pretending they understand you perfectly with big smiles on their faces, but they never fix your problems! Nothing is done, which can be frustrating. I once told a guy in th cafe that the WIFI password was not working. He said he would check, but disappeared and never returned. 

I tweeted about this and people said Thailand is also the same. But in my case Thailand was not that bad, perhaps because I am local and there is not much miscommunication. So I was never really bothered by it. But in Bali I was. I generally get pissed off when I pay for the service, in this case 300THB a dish at restaurants is considered expensive by local standard, but they give us a bad service! I would not complain at all if I eat cheap food on the street. But in a nice restaurant and cafe? I feel like they can do much better. Training their staff and improving service standard are what Balinese could work on. They’ve got all pretty shops and designs, now gotta work on their people! 

Traffic

Yes, Indonesia is infamous for this. The traffic is congested, but what bothered me was drivers honking each other anytime, anywhere! It’s almost like they use their horn to say hi to each other! They would honk you on the street while you walk just to say the car is approaching (My assumption). The streets are quite nosy and at times can be unpleasant. 

Summary

In general, it’s a perfect place for holiday for me. What I complained is probably common experience for people traveling in Southeast Asia – when things are cheaper but also unpredictable. Also the taxis being tricky and trying to push or persuade you to do things with them are not that pleasant. But I have never really traveled in this region, even though this is where I am from. So, this kind of unreliable and frustrating experience during travel feel a bit new to me. 

Whew, long post. Will try my best to overcome this holiday blues and hopefully it goes away soon! 

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