Sorry it's taken so long to get to a secure internet connection! Here's our long overdue update.
Here is what we did during the second half of our time in Bali. While we stayed in Ubud and enjoyed the cultural side of the island. We were able to spend some time walking around a monkey forrest, ate some good food and watched traditional Balinese dance. We also got a tour of a nearby village from a guide with our hotel (the Alam Sari). On the third day we were there we got a ride up Mt. Batur, a volcano in the area, and biked down. It was a very foggy day so we couldn't see down the volcano but the ride through the villages and rice paddies made up for the fog. We thought about our cousins Michael & Michelle, who honeymooned there and Randy & Diane since they will hopefully be visiting Ubud in March!
Bali was interesting because it is much different than the rest of Indonesia. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, so we experienced the daily prayers (5 times a day on loudspeakers) and the Muslim garb while in Jakarta. Bali, however, is a Hindu island with some Buddhism in its history. So, needless to say, it is quite different. Unforunately, Bali has had 2 bombings within the last 5 years from Muslim extremists. The tourism has sadly gone way down, and there is a noticable resentment with a lot of the Balinese.
We flew out of Bali and headed back to Jakarta and spend the night there on a bench. In the morning we flew to Kuala Lumpur and had some much needed McDonald's (we're not ashamed)! We flew out a few hours later to Phuket Island in Thailand. Once we arrived there we spent the night at The Rome Place and pretty much got out of Phuket as soon as possible in the morning. We took a three hour bus to Krabi, then took a long tail boat to Railay Beach (click here for some photos). We arrived at our amazing accomadations, the Sunrise Tropical Resort, around 3pm. We spurgled here and got a $60 per night room...well worth it. Railay Beach can only be reached by boat, so it was quiet (no loud and annoying motorbikes) and relaxing. We read, soaked up the sun, and did some snorkeling.
We are now in Bangkok after a long night of traveling from Krabi. The thing about Thailand that is annoying is that no one in the tourism industry really knows what they are talking about. For instance, I have been to Thailand before and travelled with a bus company where they drive you for 3 hours, drop you off on the side of the road for 2 hours where another bus picks you up and this happens throughout the night. Well, last night was similar, even though we asked about 5 people if this 14 hour "V.I.P." bus ride was non-stop. They probably didn't understand us but instead said "yea, yea...VIP bus, very nice. No stop."
Anyways, we are heading back to Nepal in 2 days and we are both extremely excited. For those of you that don't know, Nepal is where we met (on a missions trip with Royal Servants). Kelly has been there twice and David once. We will be hanging out in Kathmandu for a week and then we are going to attempt a 2 week trek to Everest Base Camp. We'll update you soon. Thanks for tuning in!