We left Ubud early in the morning. My friend was driving on the left side of the road for the first time, and we thought it best to avoid traffic. We loaded up the car and I had a detailed map of Bali, ready to play navigator for the day. After thirty minutes, we literally ended up one block over from where we started. So, we went another way. And we felt like we were getting somewhere. Our map had mileages on it, and the streets were labeled fairly well. But then we couldn’t find a street, ended up in a small village, and started weaving in and out on little streets to find a major road. Suddenly, we were thrown in chaotic Denpasar (the capital) traffic- not where we wanted to be!! We stopped a local to ensure that we were on the main road to head north, and at the same time a couple on a motorcycle stopped and told us to follow them. While we could have found our way now that we were on the right road, it kept splitting and merging with other roads and was really helpful to have someone to follow. They even pulled over if we got too many cars behind them to wait for us. Typical Balinese hospitality!
Once out of Denpasar, there really wasn’t much traffic at all. We caught a glimpse of Gunung Agung, the largest volcano in Bali and made note of all the temples we passed along the way. Once we made it to the north end of the island, it was a nice drive along the coast to get to Pemuteran.
Once we arrived at our guesthouse, there was no time to waste, as we were heading out to snorkel with Adam and another girl named Anna. We had to hire a boat and a ‘guide’ in order to snorkel around Menjangan Island. As luck would have a French family showed up and Anna (who is also French) started speaking to them about sharing our boat with us. I had my own snorkel gear so the trip cost me about $6 I think. Score! I should mention here that the “guide” was totally worthless, but a requirement. He told us he had to go along to make sure we didn’t touch the coral and to save us if we drowned. He went up to the temple while we snorkeled the first spot, and I think he snoozed on the boat in the second location. We gave him a hard time about it, but he took it well :)
The snorkeling around Menjangan Island was phenomenal. It was the most amazing place I snorkeled in Bali and anywhere in the world, in fact. The first spot we went had a large dropoff that was covered in so many different types of coral and hundreds of species of fish. After about thirty minutes, we went just around the corner to snorkel another spot and there were even more varieties of coral and fish. I would LOVE to go snorkeling here again.
Day 1 of our 9-day road trip on Bali was action packed and a good way to start (unfortunately it didn’t end quite as well, but you’ll just have to stay tuned for that).