What it’s like traveling to Bali during a pandemic?. Is paradise on earth felt boring?
Traveling to Bali during a pandemic doesn’t sound-wise. Yeah, that’s right. There’s always a high chance I will get contracted the coronavirus. But I was badly needing a break from stress caused by work and last week was a long weekend, so I packed my bag and leave for Bali.
Unlike mainland Java, the island of Bali has heavily relied on its tourism industry. Indonesian government’s decision to close the country since April 2020 has very much been affecting the industry in Bali. There are no more tourists coming, foreign nor local. I’ve often seen people posted about losing jobs, promoting their hotels with a super cheap rate, etc on social media. At trying times like this, Bali needs support, mainly from local tourists. As most of us can’t travel overseas, it’s the best time to contribute to the Bali tourism industry, even just by visiting for a few days.
But, has a vacation in Bali turned to be boring as its many businesses and entertainment centers still closed?. On the contrary, traveling to Bali during a pandemic felt fresh, relaxing, and peaceful. There’s far less traffic jam compared with normal time. I was pretty surprised seeing the street around Seminyak and Legian was pretty empty. No need to rent scooters just to get around faster. The other benefit of traveling to Bali during a pandemic is you will get a very good deal on hotels and resorts. A night in a 5-stars resort in Uluwatu costs only $22!
I was traveling to Bali during the pandemic for 4 days 3 nights. Since my goal was only to release stress, I wasn’t too ambitious in visiting as many places as I could, but rather enjoying the scenery, be close to nature, and be present. Here are some places I’ve visited in Bali :
- Rangreng Waterfall
A nice cascade waterfall set in the middle of the jungle, located outside Ubud in Gianyar regency. It took around 1,5 hours by car from Seminyak to get here. Once I arrived at the parking lot, I had to pay Rp.10.000,- ($0,70) entrance fee. It was a very nice trip seeing the waterfall and nature around as it’s clean, scenic and very quiet. Nobody here except me and some locals. The waterfall trip reminds me a bit of my trip to a turquoise waterfall in Kulonprogo, Yogyakarta.
2. Tegalalang Rice Terrace
The last time I went to this place was in 2012. Tegalalang rice terrace is a scenic, terraced hillside offering rice paddies amid lush greenery in Ubud. We went to a small cafe overlooking the Tegalalang rice terrace in the afternoon. It was a truly serene moment. The breathtaking view itself reminds me of rice terraces in Sapa, Vietnam. Ubud isn’t certainly as cold as Sapa, but the view is very gorgeous.
3. Dreamland Beach
A pretty white-sand beach, warm, and not crowded. The beach can be accessed from stairs adjacent to Klapa resorts in Uluwatu. Sunset here was magical!
LIVING IN BALI : A POSSIBILITY
Let’s go back to 2012 for a bit. That year, I went to Bali for a short vacation and had immediately fallen in love with the island. The island is indeed very beautiful, charming, and has a very unique culture. Shortly before leaving the tropical island, I made a wish to be able to live and work here. It can’t be a coincidence a few months later I received a job offer from a company based in Bali in my Linkedin inbox. Without even the slightest hesitation, I packed my bags and leaving for Bali.
During the time I lived in Bali, I lived in a company house located in the middle of the forest (yes, it wasn’t even in the middle of the village but a forest!) in Gianyar, also in Sanur for a while. A year later I decided to return to Jakarta as I felt living & working in Bali wasn’t as lovely as I expected & imagined. My lifestyle was different (at that time), and I felt more comfortable with city life.
But even though I’d left, Bali still holds a place in my heart and I kept coming back as a tourist (as most people do). Living in Bali is still being a dream and I keep the possibility to move there open. The chance had finally come in 2019 when I picked a small house in the Canggu area. But for some reason, I had to cancel the plan and moved to Yogyakarta and then Jakarta instead. I avoided Bali ever since and was reluctant to visit there, especially by myself. Time flies and I become busy with work and daily routine. With the pandemic going on, I had to postpone all planned vacation except for last week when we had a long weekend and I was seeking a way to release work stress. I came to Bali for 4 days and finally able to see it from a fresh perspective. I think living in Bali isn’t a bad idea at all, I’ve figured out some ways how to have a balanced life between support my life and living a peaceful life in Bali.
Here are some things I am considering about living in Bali :
Canggu or Ubud ?
If this question was asked to me last year, I would definitely say Canggu. The hipster area has plenty of options for healthy food, nice restaurants, and cool bars. It close to the beach and not too far from other cool places in Bali such as Seminyak and Uluwatu. That house I had picked also located in Canggu. I imagined living in Canggu would be so fun…until recently. Since I visited Ubud last week, I felt that little town is more fit for me than Canggu. It has a similar relaxing vibe as Hanoi. I could imagine myself strolling around those little streets in Ubud, then pick a tiny cute cafe and ordering a mango juice, sitting there reading and/ writing for hours, then return to home when I feel sleepy. What a perfect life isn’t it?. After all, that’s what I’d done in Hanoi for a year.
A strong feeling of nostalgia hit me in Ubud that day. I could see glimpses of my happy and peaceful days in Hanoi when I wandered that town. Indeed, I was also feeling a bit of sadness too but I think I could manage to balance my feelings. The thing that draws me the most to Ubud is the possibility to have a completely peaceful life, away from the hustle-bustle of big cities. It sad that the tourism industry in Bali hasn’t recovered yet, but for me, it’s one thing that is so alluring about Ubud. I should go there soon to experience the benefit of living in an almost empty town.
Ubud is well-known as the spiritual destination in Bali, Indonesia. But I am not sure I am gonna fill my time there by joining a spiritual retreat or learning yoga. Nah, I am not into that stuff, although I spent a good portion of my time listening to Buddhism learning last year and read some books about it. Things I imagine I would be doing in Ubud is stuff like riding the bike through ricefields, hiking, strolling around every afternoon, hiding from the sun in a nice cafe, and occasionally traveling around some places in Bali I haven’t been to.
What Will I do in Ubud ?
A day without being productive is a day wasted. I’ve got some plans in my mind about how I could maintain a comfortable life in Bali ranging from working and/ starting a business. The other idea that came to my mind is taking some classes to learn new skills I’ve been wanting to polish but so far haven’t got chances or time to do such as painting, cooking, or maybe diving. Who knows?. I also tempted to join the Nas Daily course or Alyne’s retreat. I find the courses they offer are more practical and I have already gotten some experiences with video making & editing during my life as a digital nomad for +/- 3 years.
Until the time comes traveling to Bali is a certainty, while living in Bali still just a possibility.
Curious about my adventures in Europe and America ?. You can click the following links to see my traveling videos that have aired on Net TV :
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- The Bean, Seni Kontemporer yang Ada di Film – film Hollywood
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