We woke up extra early on our third full day in Bali and geared up for the two-hour trip to East coast. It was a beautiful journey through the hills, up and down winding roads that were lined with locals who were dressed in ceremonial clothes.
First, we went to Tulamben, a popular snorkeling and diving spot. Tulamben boasts the sunken USAT Liberty, which was shot down by the Japanese in World War II. When I researched places for us to snorkel, I originally thought it might be too far for us to travel, but the other beaches that are known for snorkeling have recently been trashed by tourists. I decided it would be a great experience for us, and a chance to see a piece of WWII history.
When we arrived, there were many other tourists who were there to snorkel or scuba dive, and many had hired tours in advance. A man approached us and offered to take us to the shipwreck site for a fee. He also gave us life jackets. I took him up on it because Junkyu isn’t a strong swimmer, and we wanted to have a fun, relaxing time. It ended up being worth it, because he took us straight to the site of the wreck, allowed us to explore, and he even brought fish food that attracted tons of fish for us to film.
Snorkeling for an hour was exciting but we were exhausted afterwards. Thankfully, there were bathrooms and showers there, so we didn’t have to get back into the car smelling like the ocean. The next stop wasn’t far away, and it was one of the most awe-inspiring parts of our trip.
Way up in the mountains on the top of a hill is Pura Lempuyang, an old and beloved temple that looks out over the clouds. It is quite a steep walk to the foot of the stairs, and apparently there are 1,700 of them. There are three doors at the top, but the middle one is forbidden. Travelers must go through either the left or right door, and I tried to climb up the stairs on the right, but I’m deathly afraid of heights, so I got about 2/3 of the way before giving up. It was a scary walk back down, too. My husband is even more afraid of heights than I am (or maybe my mom’s love for roller coasters has just gotten me to widen my comfort zone) so he stayed below and took my picture.
As it was a Balinese holiday, there were a few young girls there, paying their respects. They giggled when they saw me and our driver translated for us, telling me they wanted a picture together. I was excited to take a picture with them, too, because their ceremonial clothes were just gorgeous. We took pictures together, and then they had fun laughing at me as I had Junkyu take a jump shot of me in the clouds.
We trekked back down, got some refreshments, and climbed back into the car for another long car ride. Near our hotel in Ubud was a waterfall called Tegenungan that I was dying to go to. I love waterfalls, so even though I was tired after our morning workout(s), I knew I wanted to go see it. However, this waterfall was at the bottom of a ton of steps, so my husband took a pass as I made my way down.
Tegenungan waterfall isn’t extremely tall, but it is extremely noisy. The rush of the falls was exhilarating, and I sped down the steps, eager to see it. There were a lot of people there that day, and I didn’t want to get wet again, so I decided not to swim in the pond. But I had fun taking selfies and people watching. Then, not wanting to leave my husband alone for too long, I bounded back up the steps and the look on his face when I reached him was hilarious. He was amazed that I had gone down and back in such a short amount of time. He had asked someone coming back up if it was a hard journey back up the stairs, and they told him, “Yes, very hard!” which solidified his decision not to go.
We went back to the hotel, hopped in the pool for a quick swim, took showers, and got dressed for a romantic dinner. I had booked a private dinner online, and they provided a driver for us, who picked us up from the lobby with a huge umbrella. Right after I finished climbing the stairs at the waterfall, it started to sprinkle. Then, once it was time for dinner, it poured.
Our driver was extremely kind and fun to talk to, and he explained that the holiday everyone had been celebrating that day was the birthday of metal objects (cars, electronics, etc.). He told us, “You might not think that those things have birthdays, but we do!” but we told him that we thought it was a cool idea. It was so fun to learn about the culture, and he even taught us how to say thank you (which our driver hadn’t been very enthused to teach us) in Balinese. He drove us through downtown Ubud, which is alive at night with tourists. We had mostly seen the Balinese countryside until then, so we loved looking out the window at all of our fellow travelers.
We arrived at the hotel and sat in the bar for a minute while the staff prepared our dinner. Then, we were shown to our private hut, which was surrounded by rice fields and lighted pathways. There was even a heart made of flowers at the entrance. It was very romantic and we had a blast sitting on the couches, looking around at the hotel rooms, and listening to the music that came from the hotel lobby. Our waiter brought us course after course of delicious food. I’m a picky eater most of the time, but since the room was so dark, I ate whatever was in front of me. I probably would have pushed some of it away, had the lighting been better, but I’m glad I was adventurous and tried it all. Maybe we should go to one of those dining in the dark restaurants where you are blindfolded.
Although we had already been in Bali for a few days, that night was the first night that we truly felt relaxed and in a ‘honeymoon’ mood. At the beginning of the trip, the newness of the island, the awkwardness of a stranger driving us around, and the new foods and customs were all nerve-wracking. We also did a lot of traveling and sight-seeing, which took a toll on us at the end of each day. It was kind of saddening that we only felt excited and relaxed at the end of our trip, but that’s the nature of traveling for only a few days.
The rain stopped after a while, and after dessert, our waiter led us back into the hotel lobby. While we waited for our driver, Junkyu asked the staff if he could play the guitar. There were two ladies singing and playing the guitar for the hotel guests, and when my husband sees an instrument, he can’t stay away from it. The staff asked the musicians, who were kind enough to let him play a song for me. He spoke into the mic and told everyone there that we were on our honeymoon, which prompted an applause and some cheers. Then he sang a song in Korean while I filmed him. It was a really sweet gesture and it reminded me of our wedding, where he surprised me with a saxophone and singing performance.
We went back to our rooms, sad that we already had to pack our things to check out in the morning. However, our plane the next day was not until 9pm, so we had another full day ahead of us to explore and relax.