For translation, “Om Swastiastu” loosely translates to “Oh God, I hope all goodness (safety, happiness and prosperity) comes from all directions.” This was one of the first phrases my friends and I learned on our spring break trip to Bali. This trip is at the very top of my list of the highlights of my study abroad experience, given the people we met, experiences we had, and the beauty of the country itself.
The flight from Sydney to Bali was about 6 hours and we landed in the main airport of Denpasar. We spent the first half of our Bali trip in Ubud, which was about an hour from the airport. Ubud is less of a tourist destination, and known more for it’s cultural sites, it’s close proximity to untouched jungle, and it’s downtown filled with street vendors, quaint shops, and restaurants.
We loved the shopping in the streets with the unique purses, patterned clothing, and woven macrame hangings, but at times it was overwhelming with vendors approaching you and immediately trying to haggle a price with you. We got pretty good at bargaining for the items we wanted, while at the same time realizing that this is how these vendors are feeding their families and making a living. It was both an eye opening and humbling experience as many of us had never been to a third world country like this before.
The water isn’t safe for consumption wither, and those that drink it fall ill with the less than pleasant “Bali Belly”. Myself and most of our group were lucky to avoid this ailment, but one of our friends was not. ):
We ate some of the best food our lives, while rarely spending more than the equivalent of $7 on a meal out at a restaurant. Our accommodation was in a small neighborhood of homes, where most of the residents spent their days outside where we chatted with them and got recommendations for daily activities. We visited the rice terraces of Tegalalang, had the best yoga class of our lives, and hiked to a waterfall in the middle of the jungle.
Halfway through the week, we made our way to the touristy hotspot of Canguu, where we were 400m from the beach! We ate at more fantastic cafés, met travelers from all over the world, took surfing lessons with really cool Balinese people, and overall had one of the best weeks of our lives. The common thing we noticed is a lot of the foreign people living there weren’t working, but instead had saved up enough money to live there for a period of time. It is extremely inexpensive to live there, but not realistic to work, so it’s possible for these Australians, Europeans, and even Americans we met to save up and come spend a few months in Bali.
By the end of the trip, we were exhausted and missed our Sydney home. I loved every second of our Bali trip and highly recommend it to any travelers looking to experience a new culture, see beautiful nature, and live in a simpler way than what we’re used to.
Til next time,