I was recently asked for Bali suggestions and as this was a place I visited a couple of years before vegeTARAian came about, I hadn’t thought to write about it. So I’ve had a dig through my old photos to share with you the up close and personal animal encounters I had in Bali.
This post is a little treat for you as I’m usually the hiding one behind the camera!
When I booked a seven night stay in Bali, I had never taken a trip on my own before. Other than flights and accommodation, I had no plans and no one to meet up with.
My mind was spinning: How would I fill the time? Would it be boring? Would I get lonely?
The travel agent was great and as she had spent a lot of time in Indonesia, she assured me I’d have no problem exploring by myself. She kindly gave me a copy of her travel notes with locations for massage and spa treatments, supermarkets, restaurants, shopping, tailors and fabric stores. I was all set for my first solo trip.
With my only criteria for accommodation being a bar in the pool (I had always wanted to swim up to a bar!), I was booked into The Breezes Resort and Spa in Seminyak. The location suited me perfectly as I wanted to be away from the busy touristy areas while still being central enough to easily get around on foot or by taxi.
After reading brochures in the hotel lobby and chatting with the staff at reception, I booked a few day trips to hang out with animals, one of my favourite things to do.
My first trip was to head south and go snorkelling at Nusa Dua Beach. The staff at Benoa Tirta Harum were incredibly friendly and as I’d booked a boat to myself, my guide spent the day taking photos so I’d have lots of memories to take home.
We hopped into a glass-bottomed boat and drove out past the break. The water was warm and clear and it was wonderful to see so many bright and beautiful fish up close. The guide gave me a small bag with fish food and once I was in the water, loads of tropical fish swam up for a nibble on the food floating out from my hand.
After a glorious hour in the water, we got back on the boat and headed to Turtle Island in Tanjung Benoa. This is a small interactive island zoo with eagles, bats, toucans, snakes and of course, giant turtles.
My guide handed me a big bunch of seaweed and ushered me into the water to feed the turtles. They were so big! There were quite a few in the pool and they seemed to enjoy feeding time…I’m just glad they didn’t go for my toes.
On another day trip I went to Bali Safari in Gianyar. It’s about an hour drive from where I was staying so I found a taxi driver I was comfortable with, haggled and agreed on a return price and he drove me there and waited until I was ready to leave. How’s that for service!
Before I went to the park I figured I was just going to see local animals in big enclosures, wander around for a while and that would be it. What I didn’t realise was that for additional fees, you can have up close encounters with some of the animals. Feed a mama elephant and her bubba? Where do I sign?!
As I had arrived shortly after the park opened, I was scheduled as the first feeding of the day. A park attendant led me into a large fenced area where the elephants were waiting. He then asked for my camera and gave me a big bunch of carrots.
The hungry pair sniffed and snuffed their way to the carrots, letting me pat their long, spiky trunks while I chatted to them. It felt very special being so close as I’ve always loved elephants. It’s my dream to spend some time volunteering in an elephant rehabilitation sanctuary, perhaps in the north of Thailand. One day.
Another encounter I opted for was to meet a baby orangutan. The cheeky little guy sat on my lap, pulled my hat off and munched on pieces of fruit. I was fascinated by his hands and the way he used his foot to grip my leg and stay upright. Such a beautiful creature.
My third day trip was to visit huge troops of macaques at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. When you enter the forest you can buy a bunch of small bananas but you have to hold on tight – as soon as one of the macaques saw that I had some, he ran straight up my leg and grabbed one right out of my hand!
This journey taught me an important lesson – that I CAN travel alone, enjoy my own company AND get a big kick out of it. It also opened my eyes to how much I enjoy travelling solo – you can do whatever you want, whenever you want!
Have you ever travelled alone? Do you enjoy it or prefer to travel with company?
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