The currency in Bali is the Indonesian rupiah. The exchange rate is approximately 10,000 to 1. So the 50,000 bill is only worth $5 and the 1,000 bill is only 10 cents. All of the bills are large and you usually have a stack of 50,000 and 100,000 bills. This made it difficult to withdraw money at the ATM because the ATM limit was either 500,000 or 1,000,000 (which is only $100!) Getting charged $3 every time we made a withdrawal, we were of course trying to minimize these and finally found a currency converter (guy on the street with a little booth) who took our travelers cheques and gave us a good rate so we didn’t have to bother with the ATM fees anymore. Imagine withdrawing 1,000,000 from the ATM at home and still having millions more left in your account. It felt kind of neat.
The roads in Bali are very narrow, there is just enough room for two cars to pass each other and that’s it. There were no sidewalks or curbs or even much space between the road and the buildings. Everything there was built so close to the road – stores and houses. This made passing slow moving trucks difficult and traffic pretty crazy at times having to dodge pedestrians, chickens, dogs, oncoming traffic and passing motorbikes.
Other than that though, the drive from Kuta to Amed was absolutely beautiful. We were blown away at the beauty of the rice paddies, especially the tiered ones. The different shades of green and the patterns they made were unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Everywhere you look in Bali, you also see this amazing stone work. It’s everywhere and I never tired of it’s beauty. This picture was taken while we were driving so it’s not the best but this was the type of thing we kept passing. I guess we got used to it because I don’t have many photos to show of it from our drive.
We arrived in Amed and checked into the Amed Café which was by far and away our favorite accommodations so far. Our room was beautiful and the staff were beyond nice. We had a great pool, a ping pong table (where we spent many competitive hours and became quite good), a beach front restaurant and a little store next door. The cleaning staff were amazing too – they even folded our clothes for us! Breakfast each morning was included and we got all of this for only $15 a night!
Amed has a very calm beach with excellent snorkeling and diving. Curtis did two dives while we there that he really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I got really sick while we were there (I’m guessing the culprit was a salad I ate in Kuta) and I was bed ridden for a few days and had to take anti-biotics to clear up a very nasty stomach ailment that lasted 6 days. Eating gave me terrible stomach cramps and I couldn’t keep anything in me…it was definitely the dysentery diet….I lost a lot of weight.
When I finally got better, we took a short drive along the Eastern coast.
Coming up: Our epic climb of Bali’s highest volcano.