Bali

After we had to leave Australia our next destination was Bali.

We’ve been to Bali before in 2007 and here’s a quick summary of our experiences then:

  • Sanur: 2 times a day insecticide was sprayed in the hotel – please stay in your room
  • Candidasa: laying batteries with tiny single cages, even the locals with very few chickens had some – collecting the eggs is easier then. Monkeys on short chains with no possibility to sit down properly, so that they have to climb on the shoulders of the tourists to rest.
  • White Sand Beach: wonderful beach
  • Lovina: the beach and the sea littered to the maximum. Cockfights on the beach. Pig sacrifices on the beach
  • Ubud: lots of traffic
  • Denpasar: expansive, noisy. Visited a vegetarian, religious celebration with the locals, who also offered us vegan food.
  • General: Trucks with pigs stacked in several rows, rolled up in lattices. Multiple chickens tied together at the feet, transported over the luggage rack of a motorcycle hanging upside down.
  • Invited by a local family to eat wih them delicious vegan food.
  • A few small warungs that offered vegan food
  • Tempeh was hard to find as it was considered the “food of the old” that was no longer “in”

So our expectancies for this visit were quite forked. A lot has changed, some not.

Canggu

Our journey began in Canggu. Bali has no garbage disposal (yet) and is full of trash. This is burned privately in the gardens (it stinks of burnt plastic), sewage flows past the roadside and then directly across the beach into the sea.

While we were swimming in Berawa once, the sea suddenly turned red-brown, and we quickly left. On the beach, the stray dogs leave their “poops” indiscriminately and a lot of rubbish lies around, which wasn’t very exciting.

The sea is a pleasure for surfers there, and if you can swim well, then you can go in for fun. In any case, it once pulled my feet away and swirled me around, and that was really a bit shocking. Our daughter did not dare to go into the sea, which was certainly good for her. So she stayed on the edge and played with the waves coming in.

There were some nice places to go out to eat. Either in the more expensive restaurants/cafés, which offer really delicious vegan food, but also in super-cheap local restaurants, which can prepare their food vegan according to the guests’ wishes. The kids even were allowed to help to prepare our food in one of the food stalls.

Tempeh, especially through vegan people, had become hip again and could also be found easily.

We had a small pool in our guesthouse and also had 2 kitchens.

We got a visit from Kathi’s mum, spent a few more days together in our accommodation in Canggu and then we went on to…

Ubud

The traffic on Bali is really overwhelming (in a negative sense), Arriving at the resort where we stayed together with Kathi’s mum, there was an extensive breakfast buffet every morning, which we also used as lunch over time. The resort had a really beautiful jungle view, especially from the large pool.

Outside the resort, however, the area was quite run-down. The streets had big holes. On those we reached the “real” Ubud in a few hundred meters. We were quite close to the “Monkey Forest”. There are many monkeys racing around the streets surrounding the forest and like to eat discarded or pinched pieces of food.

Ubud really has a lot to offer when it comes to vegan food. Especially the great raw vegan restaurants (with their delicious raw cakes) were incredible.

After Ubud we returned once again to

Canggu

In the meantime, the “Tamora Gallery” had opened there – an area with shops, restaurants, a co-working space, gym and playground. A lot is happening in this area, from flea markets, lectures and concerts etc. to weekly children’s days with face painting, dance performances of all ages, crafts and almost daily film screenings for children. And all this for free

Pros:

  • We met an activist from the USA who wants to actively address the waste problem. It’s looking good and we hope he’ll be successful.
  • Vegan activists often hold “Cubes of Truth” to promote veganism and to both improve the relationship of locals towards animals as well as to bring awareness to tourists about animal rights issues.
  • There are many all-vegan restaurants, vegan options at other places and wonderful raw food restaurants with a great selection of dishes. In this area we can only speak for Canggu and Ubud though, as we left out the rest of the island this time.
  • There is Durian, our very favorite fruit, and many other wonderful tropical fruits
  • The “Tamora Gallery” in Canggu
  • beautiful architecture with intricate details
  • Great community of expats and travelers in comparison to other touristy areas

Cons:

  • how animals are treated There are for example still cockfights, ritual slaughters of pigs on the beaches, animal sacrifices at festivals (this time, in celebration of the Day of Silence Nyepi, we have seen a living baby chicken’s head being ripped off),…
  • the traffic is really bad
  • Walking on foot can be a hassle as there are many areas with hardly any sidewalks
  • the garbage problem
  • it’s become very touristy
  • poor air quality due to high traffic and trash being burned

As you can see our experiences again were very ambivalent. From an animal rights point of view, Bali is very tough for us, especially because of the terrible things we’ve seen personally. From an environmental standpoint the amount of garbage on the island and the ocean and all the traffic are problematic. We love the warm sunny weather, the culinary variety and the lovely friends we found.

We would certainly like to see our dear friends who live there again and help them to make Bali more animal friendly and cleaner. Who knows how often we’ll visit Bali again, and perhaps one day it will surprise us.