Bali is known as the “Ring of Fire” because of all of the volcanoes, for all of you who may not know…
So it all started a few weeks ago with a very mild alert for Mt. Agung in Bali, Indonesia because it was spitting ash, but was later downgraded… Then, three weeks later the volcano was upgraded to the highest alert after an eruption caused ash to be sent 5+ miles into the air (the volcano still has not exploded)! The ash was then pushed by the wind towards the airport around 35-40 miles away. This caused the airport to close and left thousands stranded on the island waiting for it to reopen. I wasn’t going to wait for the volcano to explode and release magma and shut down the airport for weeks, so I found a different way out.
I went to the front desk of the hotel and tried to find a charter bus to take me to Surabaya 15 hours away, but they were all booked. We finally found a solution by hiring a private driver at the airport to take us to Surabaya for Rp3mil or around $225. I had also already missed my flight from Bali to Kuala Lumpur, which also had a connecting flight to South Korea the next day that I would need to catch, so I then had to book a rushed flight from Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I ended up taking a private driver 15 hours to Surabaya, which ended up being okay considering it was a 3 row vehicle and we were able to lay the middle row down and stretch our legs all the way out or even lay down if we chose to do so. After getting to Surabaya at 5am I waited until 1pm to find out my flight was delayed 2 hours to 3pm. I finally got on the flight from Surabaya to Jakarta, Indonesia, and then had to run to catch the connecting flight from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur. After getting to Kuala Lumpur, where I was supposed to be spending a couple of days, I ended up waiting 6 hours in the airport and caught my next flight to Busan, South Korea. In South Korea I spent one day before heading back to the United States on a 17-hour flight to Los Angeles, including waiting time in the airport.
In the end, it was not the way I would’ve imagined I would be leaving Bali, running from a threatening volcano, but when you are traveling you never know what you may encounter. I ended up traveling for 42 hours straight before a one-day break in South Korea, and then traveled another 17 hours back to the United States. So over a 4-day period I was on the move or sitting in an airport for 59 out of 96 hours. I would not have traveled this route if I would’ve known that the airport was going to be closed, but I already had flights booked in advanced, and when my flight was canceled in Bali it messed everything up and caused an extra 26 hours of traveling.
All in all, Bali was an amazing experience and I do not regret a single thing. I built some great relationships with the Balinese people, learned important life lessons, and was able to see places that most people only dream of. Also, who can say they have had a flight canceled due to a volcanic eruption, and then make national news on Snapchat, getting over 600,000 views. This adventure may have caused headaches, but I know it will be a story I remember for years to come.
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If you are in Bali and need a route off of the island, tips, or advice I would be more than happy to help with the same route or possibly a quicker route that I know a couple people have taken. Feel free to contact me on Instagram, Facebook, or email me at Soulrover@yahoo.com!