When we first arrived in Bali it was pouring with rain. All of the backpackers were lined up outside the official taxi stand. We joined them pushing away all of the persistent hawkers trying to sell you their taxi rate. After waiting in line for 30 minutes we only managed to save $2. We came to Bali at the time of the Balinese New Year which meant a lot of festivals and ceremonies. Several of the main streets were blocked off so we were taken along the back roads to our hotel in Kuta. Kuta is flat with a few landmarks and signs, and the streets and alleys are crooked and are often walled on both sides so it feels like a maze. There are cars, trucks, scooters and bikes all over the road. Horns honking and the rain pouring down hard against the car roof. Our first thoughts were - this is not paradise! Whenever the rain would stop we tried to get out of the hotel and explore! We were told the cheapest and easiest way of seeing Bali was to hire a car with a driver. We Paid $40 for 10 hours and drove to several sites. The first we saw was a temple on a cliff called Tanah lot which was surrounded by water and at low tide you could walk right out to see the other side. We drove to Ubud which is leading up towards the central mountains. Ubud is home to many restaurants and cafes as well as a well-known street market. We had lunch at the famous Bebek Tepi Sawah which is well known for its crispy duck. Next to see was the monkey forest sanctuary which houses three holy temples. The sanctuary is full of grey long haired greedy monkeys which are nothing like you see on the brochures. You can purchase bananas to feed them but if you're not quick enough they will steal the bananas straight out of your hands. The monkeys were also eating fruit and what looked like sweet potato. We headed to Jimbaran's fishing village for dinner where we ate seafood on the beach. This was nice but the beach here was very polluted. Nusa Dua was beautiful. It is a very flash tourist area where the locals were not allowed. It is full of 5 or 6 star resorts with white sand beaches and clean clear water. We didn't stay here for long but enjoyed every moment of it. For the Balinese New Year, the locals celebrate this by having a day of silence. No cars or scooters where aloud on the roads and tourists were to stay inside their hotels for 24hours. Lucky we had a swimming pool and a pile of DVDs to keep us occupied. During our time in Bali we visited several markets and local hawker centres to try out the traditional food and the well-known beer Bintang. Meals ranged from $2-$8.00 each and for $2.70 you can buy a large bottle of beer or a cocktail for around $3.50. We ate plenty of good food and had plenty of good experiences throughout our stay in Bali.