At the halfway point of the semester in Sydney, we are given a week off for spring break. Because it is autumn at home, the New England girl in me feels a bit strange to call this week ‘spring.’
I was lucky to have the opportunity to go to Bali for my week away. It always seemed like Bali was a place I would never get to. It was not on the top of my list, and being so far from the States, I figured there were many closer places to visit.
Despite my lack of courage to go to a place so different, I decided to go on the trip when many of my friends said they would be interested in renting a villa together for the week. I went to Bali in a group of eleven, and boy was it hectic!
We had our flight out on Saturday October 5, and we were all so excited. We made it through and just as I was about to buy some snacks for the flight, I received this text in the group chat: “Hey guys, the flight was cancelled.” That was something I did not expect to see. I hustled over to the gate to learn that this was true. Our flight, which we were prepared to board in 20 minutes, had just been cancelled. We had no idea, because this was a “silent terminal” and there was no loud announcement telling everyone to go home.
After hours at the airport, we finally got our flights figured out for the next day, but since we were travelling in such a big group, we were not able to fly together. That night, the airline put us up in a five-star hotel. My roommate and I decided to order room service and watch Wizards of Waverly Place while we ate dinner in our fluffy robes. Although we were sad to be missing a day in Bali, we definitely made the night one to remember.
Fast forward a day and we finally made it to Bali! On Monday morning, we began our first day. I loved being there, but we spent the first day at extreme tourist attractions. Although I had fun, it was not what I came to Bali to do. We started the morning at a resort in Ubud, where we had a floating breakfast in the pool.
Next, we drove to the Monkey Forest and Bali Swings. Although both were amazing, I felt surrounded by tourist culture the entire time and I really wanted to be experiencing the genuine culture of Bali.
Day two was by far my favorite day. We started at a beautiful rice terrace. Our driver told us about the culture of growing rice in Bali and talked us through the process of how rice is grown and harvested. I loved seeing the natural beauty of what was really just a giant farm.
Following the rice terraces, we went to a coffee sampling. It was here that I was able to learn about how coffee is made, see many of the plants that are used for coffee, tea and sugar, and taste some of the finest coffee I have ever experienced. I was also able to try Luwak Coffee. For those of you that don’t know what this is (because I certainly did not before researching Bali), it is a coffee made from coffee beans that have gone through the digestive system of a cat (a.k.a. Cat Poop Coffee.)
By the end of the day, we had also gone to both a temple and a giant waterfall. I was blown away by the pure beauty of both. I wish I had more time to spend at both of these locations, but unfortunately, there is only so much time in a day!
On the third day of my trip, I went with five friends to a nearby island, Nusa Penida. This was the most breathtaking experience of my life and truly a day I will never forget. We started the day on a snorkeling trip, and saw a manta ray swimming near the boat. A few minutes later, we went to a new spot with the brightest coral I have ever seen. There were hundreds of fish swimming around me, and there is no better way to describe it than feeling like you’re swimming in an aquarium. I wish I could have taken photos, but sadly without an underwater camera, I will have to treasure these memories for myself. We did make it up to Kelingking to see the beach and famous cliff. The rocks in front look like a t-rex, which is honestly pretty cool.
On the last day in Bali, we started the day at a cute cafe named Kynd. The food was great and they had a really beautiful aesthetic in the restaurant. Soon after, we went to the beach for a bit before spending the rest of the day at Gold Dust Spa. The spa was incredible and the prices were amazing, so we ended up getting spa packages and staying for almost five hours. After the spa, we were understandably really hungry, so we went to a bar to get something to eat. There was great live music and we loved the atmosphere. It was a great way to end a perfect day!
On our way back to Sydney, I had a 12-hour layover in Singapore. Honestly, it was nowhere close to as much time as I would like to have in Singapore, so I hope to go back in the future. We spent most of the day exploring the Gardens by the Bay and visiting the Marina Bay Sands Skypark for sunset. I loved this part of Singapore and I can’t wait to go back and see more.
Overall, I had an amazing time on this trip and am looking forward to more experiences like this in the future!
Sammi O’Neill, Study Abroad Correspondent
Samantha (Sammi) O’Neill is a junior studying public relations in the College of Communication. She is currently studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. This semester, she plans to finally go skydiving– sorry, mom!