Florida to Atlanta, Atlanta to Seoul, Seoul to Singapore, Singapore to Bali. 24 hours later and you arrive to the other side of the world. I left at 8am and arrive at 10:30pm the next day. While I am going to bed, people back home are working on their second cup of coffee. My fear throughout this journey was the language barrier would lead to me being lost in Seoul and forever becoming a resident of the airport. Navigating each airport was easier than I thought and people were more than happy to help me with whatever question I threw at them including: “Where is Starbucks?” “What is that in Korean Dollars?” “Is there cheese in this?” If you are traveling to Bali, it is worth it to pay for the expedited immigration process; 10 minutes waiting vs an hour… easy choice.
The hotel entrance to the Intercontinental is filled with accents of Balinese culture. The soft music playing, the figures painted on the ceiling and the carved wooden accents all pay homage to the islands history and beliefs. The next morning I am able to see what the hotel looks like in the daylight. Thanks to the being able to sleep on the long leg of my flight my jet lag is not bad and I’m able to get up at dawn and wander around the property.
The main path leads you over a pond covered in lily pads to several intimate pools fed by fountains carved as turtles and fish. Tropical paradise starts here and continues. The first pool you get to has chais lounge chairs with large white cushions shaded by large oriental umbrellas. The next pool you get to is the large infinity pool that leads out to Jimbaran Bay. The pool has a bar on one side you can swim up to and covered seating along the other side. It’s the kind of place you could imagine spending your vacation if your goal was to never leave hotel property. But who goes to Bali to just stay at the hotel?
Don’t stay at the hotel, if you travel 24 hours to get somewhere then go somewhere! Me, I opt for diving. So let me share my first dive with you and tell you how mindblowingly amazing it is. First off, when looking for a dive shop, especially in a foreign country, I’d recommend narrowing your search to a 5 star PADI shop. What does this mean? It means there’s a higher chance these people won’t kill and/or lose you. But seriously what does it really mean?
- You don’t know how to dive? You can take a class here.
- You know how to dive and want to get a more advanced certification? You can do that here.
- You want to know that your instructors have been through extensive training and educational programs? Yea, that’s these guys.
PADI is the most recognized scuba certification in the world, although the training is similar to SSI or NAUI, it is not accepted in as many places as PADI. So which 5 star PADI dive shop did I choose? Bali Scuba.
The first stop on the dive journey is Manta Point. If you were thinking warm tropical water you were right! For everywhere but Manta Point which is freezing (demonstrated by myself at the end of a video). The water was about 22º C which is about 70ºF. Sidenote: everything is metric so prepare for it. I wore a bathing suit, shorty and wetsuit. You’d think I’d be warm but hell no. After 40 minutes in the water a mermaid riding a sunfish could have shown up and I’d still be headed for the boat. But what I saw in that 40 minutes was beyond incredible. Manta’s can reach from 18′ to 23′. Think of how big of a wing spread that is when you watch the videos! I’m only 5’6″ so being next to one of these giants gliding in slow motion was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s crazy that something so grand in size could be so graceful in the water.
A quick reminder for when you’re down there. Look but don’t touch, and that applies to more than just the animals. For example; where we were diving had a very strong current and at one point a diver had to grab ahold of hard coral. Even though he was wearing gloves he still ended up with urchin needles in his fingers. Also we don’t always quickly identify what is around us and grabbing on to fire coral is never a fun experience.
From giant Mantas to Angles, stay tuned for Crystal Bay next.