Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bali Beautiful

When you're in Indonesia, do not miss an opportunity to visit to Bali.  The world-famous island known for its beaches, spectacular sunsets and amazing Balinese culture. Admittedly, I knew very little of Bali. All I know about Bali, that it's an island in the South Pacific, frequented by Americans & Europeans.

When I was in grade school, we had a play called South Pacific, and one of the dances/ program was Bali Hai, where we performed island dances wearing grass skirts, and floral outfits. After that, my next association with Bali, comes from wedding magazines. It's a dream honeymoon destination. More recently, we associate Bali with the spate of bombings. Bali was bombed by terrorists seeking international attention in the year 2004.

I was assigned to Nu Skin Jakarta for 3 months.  My husband and I took the chance to visit Bali for a 3day holiday. The experience was more than what we expected. Cliche, as this may sound, it was truly unforgettable.

We left Jakarta on a Thursday evening, so we can have a full-three day (fri/sat/sun) in Bali. We took Air Asia costs only 2M Rupiah (220 USD) for round trip / 2 pax.  It was a great deal!  Bali has an international airport.  Even Singapore airlines, Virgin Blue have flights direct to Bali.  Garuda airlines is also cheap.

the courtyard outside our room
The left side is our room.

We stayed at a hotel called Adhi Jaya. We got a good deal also.  The cost was only 220 USD for 4nights! Considering that it's right across Discovery Mall, and in the heart of Kuta.

outside discovery mall in kuta, bali

The capital of Bali is Depansar. But most tourists, especially the backpacker kind, flock to Kuta. Kuta is a seaside town but with all the establishments, its a miniature city in itself. It's your usually touristy town with the franchised establishments like starbucks, krispy Kreme, pizza hut. The bars and discos.

But Bali is more than that. It's an amazing island, where you can find the kind of adventure that your heart desires. They not only have seaside adventures, they have mountains, volcanoes, animals, river rafting, trekking, great shopping, quaint restaurants, luxurious hotels and villas, and of course the unique Balinese culture to be experienced.

Lest, I sound like an tourist guidebook. Let me just share what we did, and encourage you to make the same journey.

My husband wants a paced-vacation. He wants to see the sights but he doesn't want to be hurried. On the other hand, I want to take-in and experience everything! This being the case, we always compromise.  One day of unhurried, vegetative - bliss, and the next 2days, zooming from one place to the next.

Our first day was spent in Nusa Dua, a nearby town where the beaches are more calm and appropriate for swimming.  This is a swimming spot.  In Kuta, the waves are a bit strong.  Kuta is surfing beach while Nusa Sua are more laid-back.  It's about 20mins from Kuta to Nusa Dua.  We took a cab. 

From a couple who honeymooned in Boracay Island, Philippines. We consider Boracay, to have the best beach. Baoracay sands are more fine-grained and super white.  Cool on the feet even at 12noon.  Nothing beats Boracay. 

In Nusa Dua, the sands are bit bigger and there are seaweeds on the shores. But my standard's too high, i know. Don't mind me, the beaches in Nusa Dua is truly wonderful!  It is not congested like Boracay, and the beachfront are long and huge.

When you get off Nusa Dua beachside, you may be approached by well-meaning operators of seaside adventures like banana boat, para-sailing, diving, jet ski, snorkeling. They will ask you to sit and listen a bit. But they are not pushy. Just tell them that you want to look around first and come back if you change your mind.

The thing i notice about Balinese people, from bellboys, cab drivers and waiters. They're very suave in handling tourists. They're not pushy at all. They usually ask you, where you come from, they will thank you first for coming to Bali, ask how long you're planning to stay, and is it for honeymoon?

Then, they segue to ask if you have already arranged a guide to take you around. They will say all of this, without volonteering themselves or their services. When you have already paid the cab fare, that's when they give you their business card. Finesse, I must say!

Back to Nusa Dua, there were very, very few people while we were there. We had the beach to ourselves! When we encounter tourists, they're mostly Caucasians, tanning themselves to brown perfection.

We had some light foods at a small resto called Kendi Kuning.  Unlike parts of  Jakarta, Bali serves pork.  They even have lechon (roasted sucking pig)! 

We played around the beachfront of Club Med. They have beautiful facilities. We just wish next time we can be booked there! But i heard it's so darn expensive.

After awhile, we checked out a the small market in Nusa Dua. But we did not buy anything, since we planned a shopping expedition already on a much cheaper place called Sukawati.

Afternoon snacks was at a small patisserie called Bali Unique.  Nothing fancy.  They serve usual western and european snacks.

For dinner, we set-off to Jimbaran, a town known for its beachfront restaurants,  glorious seafoods and amazing sunset views.   By the way,  nice to know,  Nusa Dua is a Sunrise beach, while Jimbaran is a Sunset beach!  Those little infos, will help you maximize your visits accordingly.

restaurants by the shore

Jimbaran has a series of similarly-built restaurants facing the sea. The cab driver took as to a restaurant called Seaside view. The view didn't disappoint.  Fantastic location. We also noticed that Seaside View,  is the establishment with guests coming in the most.  It was a relaxing moment, waiting for the sunset, deciding what to order, and taking time with our beer bottles. 

When the sun slowly sets, all the guests took out their cameras and started zapping away. It's one of the most beautiful sunset that I've ever seen in my entire life!

 Sunsets in my hometown,  Aroroy, Masbate is also great.  But here in Bali, you can see the full ball figure casting its yellow orange glow on the horizon.  Sooo beautiful.  Words are cheap.  You have to be there and really experience it! The pictures cannot capture the experience.

 After the sunset thrill, we attacked our food.   The food costs is a bit pricey though.  But we're on vacation!  So, we had lobsters, squid, snapper.  Fresh and Yummy! 

During dinner,   a roving acoustic band,  goes from table to table.   They're really experts in entertaining everyone.   They ask  where you're from, say a few words in your language, and ask for the song you want. 

When I requested for a Filipino song, they sang, the classic song by Freddie Aguilar, Anak.  This is the second time I encountered that song here in Indonesia. The first one was a remix version in Taman Ancol while the false killer whales were performing.

You have to give a tip.  I think we've tainted our race forever, with the amount of tip we gave. Hahaha. We were the only Asians there, most are Caucasians, specifically Aussies.

Hey, that's just our 1st day!! There's 2nd & 3rd days to come!

 'till next adventure!


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