Friday, 7 March 2008

Bali

The stop in Bali was not originally planned as part of this trip and we decided to change our plans at the last minute, so we arrived very unprepared and without any expectations of Bali having not done any research. We were lucky to have as a host my old friend from high school, Mario, whom I haven’t seen for about 10 years. He organized our accommodation picked us from the airport and was able to show us some interesting places that we would never be able to discover on our own. We were staying at the lovely Sukun cottages in Sanur, which was a great option and certainly not as busy as Kuta.

Mario owns an excellent Dive Center in Bali and has lived here for the last 4 years, which I guess makes him a “local”, given that he’s also managed to master the local language.

On our first night we all went to dinner to Jimbaran, which is an area famous for the concentration of excellent seafood restaurants. It is also the place where the terrorist attacks have taken place. The food was indeed exceptional and the whole seafood dinner with beers served at beachside candlelight tables cost us about £5 per person. Probably one of the best meals we’ve had in the last five months and one of the cheapest. Unbelievable!

The next day Mario took us for a scuba diving trip to Tulamben, which is a location of a ship wreck from 1942. Mario is a great instructor and he took good care of all the first time divers making them at ease with the equipment and the diving conditions. I was impressed with Alex and the fact that she had the courage to do a dive, despite not being able to swim.
On the way back Mario took everyone for a scenic drive around the east part of the island stopping at some very interesting locations, such as the water garden

… and the bat temple amongst others

On the second day we went with Mario for a drive along the Southern part of the island, which is the location of some of the most upmarket hotels and apartments, particularly around the Nusa Dua area

As well as a more traditional Balinese way of life – algae collection

On the way back we stopped at the monkey temple located on a steep cliff. As the name might suggest the temple is inhabited by a colony of monkeys. Some of them are trained to steal anything they can, e.g sunglasses, from the tourists so that the locals can then proceed to retrieve it from the monkeys for a small fee. Annoying little bastards.

The following day we went for a snorkeling trip to Nusa Lembongan on a luxury cruse boat owned by some of Mario’s Russian diving clients.

After celebrating Mario’s birthday with plenty of drinks we took a couple of easy days to relax on the Sanur beach reading books, swimming and walking along the pretty seafront.

After all the relaxing we were ready for some action and Mario took us to the Kuta beach for some surfing lessons. The surf was great, but it takes a while to learn to balance on the board and it’s certainly not as easy as it looks like.

As our time on Bali was coming to an end the day before last we took a local guide, Woody to show us the central part of the island, including:

The spectacular rice fields near Ubud

The Gunung Kawi temple

The Gunung Batur volcano

And a traditional Balinese house near Ubud

Nine days was definitely too short to see all that Bali has to offer, not to mention the rest of Indonesia, but we’ve had a good taste of the island. As I’ve mentioned at the beginning we arrived at Bali without any expectations and we had a fabulous time. Bali may not be as popular as some other locations in Asia, but this makes it more exotic and combined with great weather excellent food and reasonable prices gets my vote as one of the great destinations. We definitely would like to be back at some point, hopefully for a bit longer next time.

1 comment:

engrape finance said...

Bali is the best place to have your vacation and bonding with your friends and relatives especially if you visit the place and feel the good bali accommodation there.