After getting to the new location called Singapore, first thing that came to my mind was:”This is a beautiful beginning of a wonderful journey!” And it was. After getting to know Singapore, came my first trip and it was honeymoon trip to Bali and then to Tioman.
The notion we have of Bali is that it is a beautiful island with endless pristine white beaches all around; everything is easygoing and relaxed. That is the idea that I had when I was day dreaming that, maybe one day I will have enough money to travel from my home country to this beautiful place. First I could not believe that we are actually going there, but I did not forget to pack my initial idea with me and accept the challenge that one of my dreams came through. So we got into the plane and took off. After 3 or 4 hours we were in Bali. I could not believe. I was anxious to get to the hotel and run to the beach. We got there and left the things in our room and went to the beach. When I saw it it was really beautiful not completely white but still one of the best I saw ever in my life. And that was only beach in a hotel, I could only imagine how the others looked like. The first thing that bothered me a little was the isolation of a hotel. The resort was situated in a south of Bali, but you had to pass a car control check every time you entered there. I personally like to mingle with locals and explore, so that was a downside, but I decided that we will have a lot of excursions so I did not mind that much. For the first day we used a beach in a hotel, but when we came back again, there was no water or it was too shallow to swim in. Soon I discovered the reason. There were periods of high and low tide and they were meticulously marked on a wooden board near the beach entrance every morning. That was the first time I saw something like this. It was strange but I got used to this.
So came the second day and our excursions begun. I loved every second of it. I saw different face of this island, that is rarely marketed. I saw temples, waterfalls, coffee plantations, local markets. This was the thing I fell in love later, but at this time I wanted, as promised, beach with pristine white sand. So when we are talking with our driver/tour guide I said to him:”I want you to take me to the beach with white sand and bluest sea!”He laughed and than said that he will take me to the beach where Eat, Pray, Love was filmed. The name was Padang Padang beach. I smiled and said: “Yes, take me there.” So after visit to one temple, we went to that beach. The road was in the cliff itself and only one person at the time could pass. When I got there, I was slightly disappointed. You will probably wonder why. I was expecting the exact picture as I carved in my mind to appear before me, but it did not. It was a very beautiful beach, and then and there I decided to end my pursuit of white beach. I realized that I will never find a complete match to my imaginary beach so I stopped searching and started enjoying. I enjoyed the food, the temples, the monkeys running around stealing some girl slipper, the monks, the easiness of Bali people, the waterfall and I soaked all in. The Bali for me was all that and so much more. I discovered that there are so many things to enjoy here, when you stop looking for white beaches. The most beautiful thing I ever witnessed is Kecak dance in Uluwatu temple. This particular temple is on the South of Bali island. It is on a steep cliff and you can see waives crashing and one of the most beautiful sunsets I ever seen in my life. The best part is this dance. You buy the ticket and go to the small forum. From there you can see the sea and on the center stage the dance is performed. I cannot easily describe the feeling of hearing 70 semi naked man singing and performing a show which culminates with lighting a fire in the center of the stage. First time I saw this it was amazing, seeing sunset and hearing their voices and the fire. The whole experience is warm and full of spiritual softness and love.
That is why I leave you with this picture.
Immediately after that we went to Tioman.
Most of the people that I spoke to have not heard about this island. This is a small Malaysian island. I did not know anything ether before I came here. I was pleasantly surprised when I came here. First thing, the beautiful beach was almost deserted. The water was excellent.
We had the same low and high tide, but by this time I got used to that. Next to the beach there was a large jungle. Like that one from TV show Lost. It was green and wild. I immediately fell in love with it. It was the same thing with the beach also. I think I told myself secretly that I liked this island a little more than Bali. At least that was the case that time, now I know better after discovering Gili islands near Bali. But that is another story. On Tioman you can go to the beach, and to the woods so we did that. We went to the jungle to the waterfalls. It was really quite an adventure. I liked it so much. To be honest there is not much you can do there, but after all this running on Bali, it was nice to relax on a beach and have an adventure here and there. Still, Tioman will always have a special place in my journey. This was a rare occasion that I said that I want to came back again. I liked the peace and the jungle, especially the jungle. I loved it. Her majesty the jungle.
So this marked and excellent year for my travel journey and I will tell you more in the next story.
So, my advice, do not chase the perfect beach, immerse yourself in night markets, temples, local food and people. Live and breath the culture that you are experiencing and occasionally find some jungle or forest to explore!