Thursday, March 29, 2012

Indie Guide Indonesia: 3 Things to do in Bali

Besides Getting Wasted in Kuta, Here's Some Tourist Stuff to Do

1. Have an epic Mortal Combat battle at the Monkey Temple, Ubud


Yo, these monkeys were whack. They were trying to chow down on Drew's hat and when he kicked it off the monkey bared its teeth and started clapping at him. Bu'n that. I did not touch them.

Like, Hindu design and architecture in Bali is um totally awesome, right? 

But seriously. Couldn't get over the green moss on the temple walls. It sucked in the noise and gave the place some mad chill vibes. 

She's actually in pain

I hate monkeys after being attacked by them, robbed, screeched at etc. They're not scared of me, so my fav' part of monkey jungle was definitely this wicked beautiful temple that we totally abused for epic ninja moves and lame yoga. 

2. Drink coffee made from animal shit at Luwak Coffee Farm

 This apparently is some of the most expensive coffee in the world. The luwak, a small cat looking thing that eats some red berries, poos it out, and then people separate the poo from the seeds. Inside the seed is where you get the coffee bean, all fermented and savoury. Or so the story goes. Or so my stomach lurches.


 The finished product! Not personally a huge coffee fan, but it was cool to see how it was made. In my humble opinion I've had mud that tastes better than this, but what do I know.

However, they grow all their own cocoa plants and other stuff to make chocolate coffee and the like. Definitely bought some of that, it was so good!! 50k IDR for a bag.

Wedang Sari
+62 81 2395 5152
Talk to Made Setiawan, he's the coolest!

3. Try to be cooler than the surfers at Uluwatu

We rented motorbikes and it was about an hour ride out of Kuta Bali. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Beautiful water, surfers bobbing in the waves, high cliffs. *Sigh, after suffocating in Kuta traffic and polluted beach, Uluwatu was a necessary reprieve.

Next time, I'm jumping off some of these cliffs, I swear.

Useful Information: 

We hired a driver to take us to the Monkey Jungle and Coffee place. It cost 400k IDR for the day and he was awesome. I would skip the volcano, because the food is expensive (100k IDR for buffet of meh choices). The view is beautiful, but yea not that great. The rest was awesome.

I definitely recommend the driver we used though. His name is Made Dompol and he speaks wicked English, knows everything and is young and funny. Like hanging out with a bud. Here's his contact info if you're in Bali and want some culture and adventure outside of Paddy's !

Made Dompol
+62 8 133 772 3732

More on Kuta Bali

3 Hostels to Stay at in Kuta

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Indie Guide Indonesia: Hostels in Kuta Bali

Best Hostels in Kuta Bali for Price and Party Times

There are few times when travelling that you meet a group of people who inspire you night after night to abuse your body to its physical limit, wake up the next day (or not sleep at all) with a smile on your face and a Bintang in your hand and all without hard feelings of hangover or sleeplessness, because you somehow cannot get enough of each other's company. In one giant run on sentence, that's what it was like staying in Kayun Hostel. 

It started with the crazy Germans. There was not a moment in the main area, whether it be 11 am or 7 pm that the centre table was not already packed with beer bottles, resembling the carnival ring toss game. More than their ridiculous alcoholism (which is common with backpackers), they were funny, silly and despite having most nights starting with cheesy dance moves (erm, Alex) or ending in slurred speech, they were smart. This last factor is what paid the main contribution to the body abuse in Bali, as I'll explain. 

Next major party puzzle piece was an American fellow named Joe aka Captain America. A film maker with a loud voice and louder spirit, our friendship exploded upon personality impact. Boom. Goodbye sanity. Hello debauchery, debates, sexism, cigarettes and nights going till 8 am. Joe, the German named Fiedler (which sounds like Hitler when said in German), and I were bastions of unintended booming voices and somehow fuelled each other every night. These guys, along with the baby of the group, Nicoloose, were up for anything. Hell do I value that in people. 

Whether it be partying in Kuta at the sweaty bathhouse of sausage that is Sky Lounge, hopping in a taxi to swim along the ocean in Potato Head or throwing back shots of nasty local alcochol in our hostel pool after everyone had gone to bed, they did it all and I love them for it! Most people sleep after a night out,  sheer fatique providing the outside force to stop the partying inertia, yet we would.not.stop. Why? Drinking can only take you so far, but I guess it was the LoLocausts and compelling conversations that really explains the infinite fun of it all. Chemistry baby, we had it. 

Last but not least it was the colourful personalities and beautiful faces of everyone there that made Kayun Hostel feel like we had all been friends forever. There was the off-the-wall Canadian, Ross, who had a ladyboy drop her pants publicly and desperately try to prove she was a female by fondling her lady goods (when you meet him, this wouldn't surprise you). There was Steve and Helen, the nicest and cutest couple ever, Nikki and Andrew funny cats from Toronto, Daisy and Drew the adorable and gorgeous gap year travelling Brits, Emma the adventurous Kiwi who, thanks to her we saw monkeys and beaches and more, handsome Matt whose knowledge of hunting, meat and everything Western Canada blew my mind on one magical day and James and Simon the nicest Australians eva. People came and left, but when we were all together it was like we were addicted to chillin'. We went out together, stayed in drinking together playing raunchy games of Never Have I Ever and even kicked it back watching movies tout ensemble

I can't say I've ever had such strong bonding with this large a group of people while travelling, especially because of a Kuta Bali hostel. Normally you get wasted, have a laugh or two then go your separate ways. However, here when the first chunk of people had to peace out it felt like the end of an era! It had been only 5 days of madness. Throw some whoah sauce on that awesome!!! 

Party in our rooms on the night of silence

Big question is, will we ever see each other again? Was this just a vacation romance? I'm not sure. Have you ever made such deep bonds while travelling and managed to reunite? Where did you go? Was it the same? 

I'd like to propose a reunion in Ocktoberfest! Yea mann! That's the most reasonable place I can think of since Europe is easy to get to between Asia and North America and the perfect venue to continue the Bali madness. Sigh, maybe I'm just an idealistic fool! I hope not, and I'm willing to do everything to organize it. 

Anyways, enough blah blahing here's my mini guide of where to stay in Kuta Bali. Please share with your friends! And if you have suggestions of cheap and good hostels in Kuta, do not hesitate to pass along to us, your world amigos!

Where to Stay in Kuta

 Kayun Hostel
Not the cheapest place, but it is damn clean, the service is good, the beds are so comfortable, the wifi is decent and as I just took a billion hours to explain, it's an amazing place to meet people. When I was a poor intern, I couldn't afford to stay somewhere like this, but with a slightly higher budget you get a crazy amount of comfort. If you are a backpacker looking to party not in poverty styles, this place is great for you. It's 10 minute walk from Sky Garden, away from Poppies Lane II, which can be good or bad. The rooms are air conditioned. The dorms are solid and lots of fun.

  • Dorms (single bed): 190k IDR/night
  • Simple rooms double bed: 460k IDR/night
  • Fancy rooms: 500k IDR/night

Beneyasa  Beach Inn: 
  • Double bed with A/C = 250k IDR/night,
  • No A/C= 150 K/night
  • Directions: If you are facing the beach and on Poppies Lane turn right on Bene Sari and it should be on your left hand side. It's a 5 minute walk from the beach.
  • Poppies Lane II Legian Street (0361) 754180- 755469

Bounty Hotel
This place is expensive but go there if you're looking for  Spring Break ambiance. Beefed up dudes and ladies are perennially with a beer as early as noon in the pool, music never stops and there is a ping pong table! It might as well be called Hotel Australia though, no locals stay there.  Also, don't try to dive off the statues into the pool. They are sacred.
  • Poppies Lane II, up the road towards the beach from Dua Dara Inn.

More on Kuta Bali

Hey, what's cooler than drinking an ice-cold Bintang in a swimming pool while your body taunts the sun? Um, not much except LIKING this blog on Facebook, hello. Get Bali pictures, awesome partying updates, cheap places to stay and lather yourself in general badassitude here, duh. 

German Tunes
I have developed some weird new appreciation for the language. It's hilarious and charming at the same time, no?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moving to Indonesia

On the Road Adulthood

You know something is fundamentally wrong with a person when you walk into their room and are affronted by the eagerness of their stationary suitcases, like a bunch of sparkly-eyed  children anxious to go to the zoo based on empty 'maybe later' parental promises. Their suitcases squat impatient and restless in the corner, untouched after six months of piling dust yet somehow, always ready to go. The Germans have a word for this sickness (they always have a word), it's called fernweh. It essentially means the opposite of home sickness -- a yearning to go far away. I got back from Paris eight months ago, yet I refused to put the suitcases in storage, decorate my room, effectively never truly settle in Toronto. I knew with a certainty merited only by raw ambition, that I would leave soon. So goddamn what if didn't know when and I didn't know why. Well guess what, World? It's finally happened! I have a sweet job offer.