Day 5
Landed late in Bali the night before and got some watermelon juice then some rest.  
Another early morning start with our tour guide Sugi. Our hotel was in Seminyak which is super touristy, full of shops and resorts and of course tourists. So we were excited to get out and explore more of Bali when we learned we were in the middle of a holiday season, Galungan, commemorating the triumph of good over evil. All the streets were lined with beautiful ceremonial decorations and tributes. This also meant everyone was off and traveling so we ran into tons of traffic. Traffic in Bali is legitimate. 
Stop 1: Pura Taman Ayun, a 17th century temple in Mengwi. There were rows of shrines, colorful flowers and ornate statues. We were surrounded by beautiful scenery and saw an mason doing some intricate detailing. 
Stop 2: Coffee Break! (aka Subak Bali Agro). We got to try some Kopi Luwak, “the most expensive coffee in the world!” Well not all of us because this coffee is made after being eaten and uh.. expelled from a cute civet and some of us couldn’t stomach that. I thought it tasted pretty good. We also taste tested some amazing ginger, lemongrass, mangosteen teas and coconut, vanilla coffees. We bought tons and tons of teas and coffees and I don’t even drink coffee. Caffeinated and hyped up for stop 3! 
Stop 3: The village of Bedugul to do some market shopping.
Stop 4:  Ulun Danu temple built on small islands in Lake Bratan which was breathtaking. Also, crowded… very, very crowded. Like I said everyone was off for the holidays. We dodged many selfie sticks and umbrellas to get ourselves in to take some photos. Worth it, of course.
Stop 5: Lunch in and around the rice terraces of Jatiluwih. As described in our tour pamphlet, an “area of green stepped rice fields and the Subak irrigation system that has been preserved by the Balinese farmers for centuries.”
Then had some drinks and dinner at PotatoHead, an amazing place to hang out surrounded by the sound of waves crashing and great new friends. Conversion to Rupiahs make you feel rich, 1 USD= 13,000 Rupiah. Ended the night with a nice surprise for me 🙂 

Day 6
This was a quick day for me. I had to finish my open water dives so I could get certified to dive. I went to Sanur with Blue Season Bali and met my awesome instructors Ada and Sean. We practiced some skills in some rocky waters with low visibility but now I was ready for some real diving!!!
Everyone else did some actual site seeing and visited a Batik factory, the Monkey Forest and Tanah Lot which is more than postcard beautiful. We were able to make reservations at Bambu for the night. Lots of fried rice and fried noodles eaten this week. 

Day 7
Today I got PADI Scuba Certified!!! Finally! I finished all my skills training and got to go on an actual fun dive and I’m not sure I could have picked a better place to do it, Tulamben. I will be spoiled forever. The day started super early at 6am. We got stuck in some more terrible traffic on the way due to holiday celebrations but I did get to sneak in a nap. Our 2 dives were at the USAT Liberty, a shipwreck from WWII pretty close to the shore. I packed on my gear, stumbled across the rocky shore and descended into amazingness. Ooh. We were surrounded by gorgeous coral covering the wreck, colorful fish and even saw some creepy garden eels. Who knew those things were real? 😉 We swam in and out of the wreck and I felt pretty comfortable by the 2nd dive. Then, it finally happened. We happened to come across a green turtle!!! FINALLY! I’ve been trying for years to spot a sea turtle … anywhere really. Had such a good time. Afterwards, my instructor said that there are maybe 10 days out of the year when conditions are that good. In love. 
Again, the rest of the group did some more site seeing, visiting a wood carving factory, watching traditional Balinese dance and seeing the volcano, waterfall and Gunung Kawi, an amazing complex with statues carved into the landscape. After this, they were officially “templed-out”. Had dinner at Chandi and shopped around Seminyak Square

Day 8
Fun in the Sun!
We had all just been so busy touring around that we actually scheduled ourselves a beach day today. We booked a day cruise to Lembongan Island through Bali Hai. Yet another early start. We started by jamming 11 people into one van to get to the dock. Making it work! Got onto the boat when we realized there was a day full of activities offered… including diving! Well the day of rest in the sun went out the window as I signed up to dive and everyone else went to snorkel and ride the banana boat.  Got some delicious satay for lunch then finally some rest and relaxation on the beach. A row of happy, napping friends.
Ended the day with a bucket of Bintangs and shared some fun stories at Mano while watching the sunset on the beach. Afterwards, we grabbed dinner at Char Char with stadium seating and an awesome open roof. More noodles and cocktails but this time it was SUPER cheap. We headed in for the night and missed some fun partying 😉 

Day 9 
We finally slept in! It was our last day in Bali. Had to make the most of it. We fit in some market shopping to pick up some trinkets. Took a dip in the pool then had some burgers and watermelon juice before heading to the Spa for some ridiculously cheap massages and facials. 2 hours for $20? I’ll take it. We then met up at the W for happy hour and one last sunset. This place is gorgeous! It was nice to see the long stretching, sandy beaches and enjoy some cucumber/jalapeno margaritas. Relaxed for awhile then sadly headed back to pack and head to the airport. 
I miss you Bali!

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