I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST!!! None of my amazing Bali trip would have been at all possible with the absolutely amazing Nyoman Suastika from Bali Bliss Tours! I don’t even know where to begin to touch on my gratitude and appreciation for this new friend. And it brings a smile to my face now just thinking about him, he came on one of our Jungle Trek tours with us and even the other tour guide from the Trekking company was smiling and mentioned to me, “Nyoman, he is very friendly, he’s a good guy, I like him” – this is a stranger who had met him for 30 minutes before already feeling the effect of his positive aura! People like this are a rare find and I’m so glad I have – and now you can too!
So Nyoman “Crocodile” was my point of contact for Bali Bliss Tours and he organized for Nyoman Suastika to be our Tour Guide and driver for the duration of our trip in Bali. (“Nyoman” is the title for third born in the family, something Nyoman Suastika shared with us amongst many other cultural know-hows!) Nyoman Suastika is there to greet us at the airport with sign and all, it’s the first time I had had a sign for me, other than my mum and friends who have picked me up from the airport before and made signs to be funny and cute! So I definitely felt fancy spotting out my name!
We got our luggage into the Bali Bliss Tours Van and off we went to our first Accommodation point in Seminyak. Nyoman introduced himself and Bali Bliss Tours, apologizing for his English which was actually superb, I said no need at all, and told him he spoke very well! He then goes on to comment on my somewhat of an itinerary for my trip and noting it was a little on the “touristy” side of things, filled with what Google and other Travel Blogs had suggested as “must-see’s” and he said some things for sure we should see, but tonight there was a once in every 50 years ceremonial ritual at a Village temple where they meditate for an hour to bring the new “Barong” – positive energy from the Dragon to come over the village and offer the protection and new positive aura to the people who would meditate and still their minds long enough to accept it. We had plans to see Tanah Lot that evening, and I’m sure it was a beautiful sunset, but on the drive to the Village Temple, eye-ing out the long line of cars and tourists in a queue just to get IN to the carpark of Tanah Lot, I definitely wasn’t regretting my decision. Nyoman took us to his own house, which is where I first got a glimpse of the Balinese family community, the closeness, the culture and the love they all shared living so close together with their family temple in the centre of all the houses. He gave RJ n I some traditional Balinese clothes to wear to the ceremony – like, this is our FIRST night in Bali, we hadn’t even been here for more then 5 hours and already I knew I am going to see Bali, the real Bali. The ceremony was amazing, I got blessed with flowers and water splashed on my forehead from plant leaves, lit an incense candle and waved the smoke up towards my third eye for cleansing, and meditated in the dark at midnight for an hour in a Village Temple situated in the countryside of Bali. Nyoman’s wife and daughter offered us fruit afterwards during the drive back to our Hotel at Maca Villas and Spa and we said our goodbyes and would see him again tomorrow afternoon. What a first evening in Bali!
The next day Nyoman took us to Uluwatu Temple, a tourist destination but also with a traditional dance so still catching the Bali culture. The monkeys weren’t bad at all like I had read on TripAdvisor, I suppose it’s just the energy you put out though because I did see one lady’s guide trying to get a monkey down from the tree who had taken her glasses, but we had no monkey trouble 😉
Nyoman was amazing at explaining different cultures in Bali, he truly cared that we saw and understood the real cultures of Bali “that is most important thing” he would say. He explained why we would have to wear the coloured sashes to enter into Temples, why it was too sacred for us to enter IN to the actual temple where the Balinese culture priests would pray, he told us the best spot to watch the dance show and see the sunset and also bought our tickets for us – for the real prices not tourist prices!
The next day we went to Air Panas Banjar and GitGit Waterfall. He gave us tips on bargaining with the market stallholders along the sides of the entrances to each, told us about the history of Air Panas, about another hot springs where the locals go that like the springs much hotter called Angseri Hot Springs – it’s more remote and more central as well, we didn’t get the chance to go but will definitely make the trip on our next Bali Visit!
The next few days we were in Ubud and choc-full of activities so didn’t see Nyoman for a few days and we missed him!!!! He missed us too and said he was talking with his wife saying, “why do I miss them, this is weird, it’s like they’re family, they feel like family to me” it was soooo sweet and reciprocated. Such an instant bond. So easy to make friends with like-minded positive people and really have that connection instantly where you laugh, joke, trust each other straight away and just open up no matter the culture or language or age or race it’s just there because it’s pure and real. (Sidenote: arriving in Thailand we felt a little out of sorts and were like, what is this, why do we feel a little nervous, and it clicked, we don’t have a Nyoman here! Making us feel safe and taking care of us, he truly made our Bali trip enjoyable and easy-going)
After Ubud, Nyoman was there to help us run a few errands with different meetings and lunch dates with Hanging Gardens Ubud and then back to Seminyak! After that we had another few days off away in Lembongan before coming back to La Belle Villa for the last few days of our trip. Nyoman, RJ and I had discussed it would be awesome to shoot a little commercial style video a bit different then our usual walkthrough’s and travel doco’s so I used my acting skills to write up a little pseudo script for Nyoman to say. On our way up to GitGit we had passed Tamblingan Lake, he pointed it out and I mentioned we were doing a Jungle Trek and canoeing across it at the end of our trip, he said he had never done that and would love to experience so I asked our tour company Bali Jungle Trekking if he could join as well, they were lovely enough to say yes and we were all set to go! RJ n I thought, “hey, what a perfect place to film at the top of the mountains there with view of the Twin Lakes!” we arrived early and grabbed some breakfast with Nyoman before filming, oh my gosh, we had all never laughed so hard in our lives, all three of us were in stitches take after take. Nyoman exclaiming, “Acting is very hard!! I’m very nervous!!” it was just hilarious, when we would get a perfect take it would be when a loud truck was coming passed making us die from laughter all over again, we got to the point we were crying from laughter and decided we had “Got it!” we walked down the few metres to the starting point of our trekking still huge grins plastered on our faces, we just couldn’t take anything serious. We had started the giggles and even brought our tour guide Ketut in on it, all four of us trekking through the jungle giggling and cracking jokes.
At one point Ketut had pointed out some ginger plants and RJ n I knew from the Kopi Plantation that you could pluck them and smell the scent. Ketut kind’ve walked ahead and RJ plucked a leaf and smelled it “Mmm yeah, what is this? Ginger right?” he asked the tour guide, the tour guide looked over and started laughing and told Nyoman in Balinese, Nyoman then starts laughing at RJ too and all four of us again are kicked back into giggle mode. We were sneaking up on each other from the bushes, teasing and laughing through the Jungle and having both Nyoman and Ketut explaining the meanings of the different temples. It was so cool to have Nyoman come along and just hang out and also see the other guides just immediately like him the way we did.
Nyoman always took care of us, made sure we had everything we needed, taught us about the culture, explained things we didn’t understand, asked us questions and answered ours, he would also always translate what he was saying if he had to speak in Balinese so we never felt like we weren’t included or didn’t know what was going on. I mean, I know I’ve already said it, but Nyoman really did ‘make’ our trip!
Bali Bliss Tours are so much more than just drivers, they are helpful tour guides who make it fun to see things and be on holiday with. There’s no pressure and no disappointments. They’re always early, reliable and respectful, and are friendly and full of life, with a good understanding of Bali knowledge and culture. There are a range of different car types to cater to large or small groups, elite passengers or budget travellers looking for the best prices. They are completely affordable and Nyoman Crocodile will work out the best driver for you to give you the trip you WANT and take you to the places you NEED to go! Trust. Bali Bliss Tours are truly Blissful in Paradise 😛
They are the ones to book with for your Bali Trip and when you do give both Nyomans’ two giant hugs from RJ and meeee, so much love!! – www.BaliBlissTour.com