My First Weeks in Bali

by Katja Kaven

29th August – So It Begins:

I’ve been dreaming about this for the past five years (if not longer) and planned it for the past few months. Finally, THE day has arrived. The day I’m going to board a plane bringing me to the other end of the world to start without knowing when exactly I’ll be back. My plan is to travel for about nine months and then work in Germany for a few months before (hopefully!) starting my Master’s degree in Italy. But who knows where life will lead me?

On my way into nine months of adventure!

The Dreaded Good-Bye

Even though I’ve been looking forward to this day for God knows how long, saying goodbye to friends and family is weird. Sure, in today’s world I guess you’re never really gone because you can constantly keep in contact but still… so much can happen in nine months. A human being can be made in that time after all haha. The last challenge is saying goodbye to my mum and my brother at the airport in Düsseldorf. I can’t help but shed a few tears. But after having passed security (I got tested for drugs, probably because my eyes were reddish and swollen from crying), the anticipation outweighs my emotions.

At the airport with (part of) my family.

The Flight

My first stop (even if just for a layover) is Singapore. With 12 ½ hours flight time, this is the longest flight I’ve ever been on. Thankfully, everything runs smooth. I get my vegan meal, listen to music, and even get in a little bit of sleep. I’ll be arriving in Singapore early in the morning after all, even though in German time that’s just about my time to go to bed. The approach to Singapore is incredible, I get an amazing view on the boats in front of the illuminated city. The layover in Singapore is a little bit under two hours – perfect in my opinion; you don’t get stressed but also don’t get bored waiting.

Arriving in Bali

The 2 ½ hour flight from Singapore to Bali goes by in an instant. The airport in Bali is very cute; every gate has a little roof. After finally getting my backpack, I’m presented with the very first challenge of my time abroad. Not only do I get pulled aside at customs (luckily, just a routine check) but when I’m exiting into the main hall of the airport, there’s an overwhelming amount of drivers waiting with signs with peoples’ names on, screaming, and shouting.

The airport in Bali

I’m supposed to be picked up by a driver as well (at least that’s what I’ve been told). But even after passing the masses of drivers a few times, I can’t find anyone with a sign with my name on it. Calling out for someone from the place I’m staying at at the information desk doesn’t help either. To make matters worse, my phone contract has been put on hold and I keep getting kicked out of the airport wifi.

Arriving in Canggu

Luckily, I have the number of my place on my phone and the ladies at the information desk are kind enough to call it for me. There has been a misunderstanding but a driver is being sent to pick me up now. Shortly after, he arrives and I finally make my way to my accommodation.

The traffic on the way is insane. At the first look, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of traffic rules. Everyone is just driving where there is space, scooters pass my car on both sides, and there is constant honking. We see one little accident with a scooter driver (thankfully, nothing serious) and after about an hour of driving, we arrive at a much less crowded space in Canggu.

Arriving at Cosmos Oasis

From the moment, I set foot on Cosmos Oasis’ property in the afternoon, I calm down. It’s a beautiful little space and has a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. I’m greeted very nicely by the staff and am shown to my room. The room is big, clean, beautiful, and is located right next to the pool. For the first two nights, I will have it to myself.

The view from my room

As I get to relax, fatigue kicks in. After all, I’ve only had about two hours of sleep. So I decide to take a nap. I wake up in the early evening and go to have some dinner just down the road in the beautiful Samadi Kitchen. I’m amazed at the cheap but amazing food. (Within the next few days, I will realize that it’s actually not even that cheap for Balinese restaurants – check out my guide to vegan places in Canggu!). Full and happy, I return to Cosmos Oasis and go to sleep almost immediately after arriving.

31st August – 2nd September – Cosmos Oasis:

Maybe it’s time I tell you about my original plan for my time in Bali. As a first time backpacker and someone who feels way more comfortable having everything planned out, I decided to kick off my nine months of traveling with a yoga teacher training. That way, I would already be away but still have some kind of structure, be in a group, and become a yoga teacher.

In other words, I wouldn’t be thrown in at the deep end but slowly wade in instead. Bali seemed like the perfect place for it because Bali and yoga just go together duhh. (That’s my inexperienced self talking – knowing what I know now, I would probably go to India instead, it’s more traditional and waaayyy cheaper). In addition, the travel time to my next location (New Zealand) would be conveniently split up. That’s how I ended up at Cosmos Oasis where the teacher training would take place.

Meeting People

On my first full day in Bali, I decide to head back to Samadi Kitchen out of laziness to not look for another place. I make my first friend there, an Australian guy. I spend his last hours in Bali with him as he is about to go back to Australia. While I’m waiting to say goodbye to him at the pool, a girl approaches me asking if I am alone. That’s how I meet Zuska (you can check out her blog here), the first REAL friend I’ve made and am still in contact with even though she’s back in Prague.

It turns out that she has planned to go surfing in Kuta that day so the both of us have our first surf lesson ever with 27surflessons. It’s so much fun and I even manage to stand up quite quick. For two hours of surfing, board rental, as well as transport we paid 350k IDR which is less than 18€. The spontaneous surf trip affirmed me in my plan to learn surfing at the end of my time in Bali.

My first surf lesson!

“Everyday Life” at Cosmos Oasis

The next days, Zuska and I spend our time checking out the amazing nature and awesome variety of vegan restaurants and cafes in Canggu. (Again, stay tuned for an in-depth guide to Canggu). We go to the beach (and get surprised by a huge wave) and meet a German couple who we also spend some time with. The girl, Daniela, also wants to do the Yoga Teacher Training.

Saturday, the day before the yoga teacher training is supposed to begin, we suddenly receive an email that the training is canceled. This is (obviously) a shock but I try my best to keep calm and not completely freak out. I do a surprisingly good job which makes me happy because one of my goals for traveling is learning to be more flexible.

Since 2nd September – Serenity Eco Guesthouse:

We spend the morning of the 2nd of September figuring out what we are going to do next. My roommate has arrived in the night and she, Daniela and I are talking about the different options we have. The two of them decide to head to Ubud to do a different yoga teacher training that is starting the next day (and that Zuska has actually done and loved).

I, on the other hand, decide against doing a yoga teacher training just now. The days leading up to the supposed start date I kept having doubts if this was the right time for me anyway. So I take the cancelled training as a sign. Instead, I book four weeks at Serenity Eco Guesthouse (stay tuned for an in-depth review; spoiler alert: I loved my time there), where I will also be able to get an unlimited yoga pass to the many classes they offer. This also means that I can get some much-needed relaxation after the last stressful weeks in Germany during which I’ve also been sick.

Going to Serenity

That means I have to say goodbye to all my new found friends. It is a weird feeling having to start from scratch somewhere else again after meeting some awesome people. Guess, I’ll have to get used to that while traveling, though. Luckily, I discover that making friends in Canggu is actually easier than not meeting anyone. On my first day at Serenity, I am lucky enough to meet an awesome woman who is nice enough to let me stay in her room right next to pool and yoga shalas for free for the time of her stay. (My first room was a little bit outside of the main area, but read more about that in my Serenity Review that will be published within the next few weeks).

Serenity Eco Guesthouse

Feeling at Home at Serenity

The next weeks consist of daily yoga classes, also trying lots of new styles of yoga, watching sunsets at the beach close by, and amazing vegan food. I met Marie, another German girl who I’m sharing a room with at the moment and who I’m going to travel with to the south of Bali and the Nusa islands soon. In addition, I’ve made a few day trips; to Tanah Lot (read about that experience here), Ubud and even sunrise trekking at Mount Batur (stay tuned for those blog posts).

Trying new yoga styles

Sunsets at the beach

Sunrise at Mount Batur

After having already spent more than three weeks at Serenity, I really feel like home. The incredibly nice staff and amazing yoga teachers know me by name and I enjoy every second of my stay. I have my go-to warungs (traditional – or not so traditional – Indonesian restaurants) and Canggu really is like a small village. After some time here, you will see familiar faces on the street.

That’s it for the first half of my time in Bali. Please stay around to hear more about my time and all the adventures I’m about to go on.

Talk to you soon!

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1 comment

Nadja Flechner September 29, 2018 - 15:56

Schön dass sich doch noch alles so gut gewendet hat!! (:


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