Thursday, 27 August 2015

Why Bali is such a popular travel destination?

Come summer and I am always itched to search my next travel destination.  This time I had Philippines on my mind but some how Bali struck me.  The more I searched about it, the more I wanted to visit this beautiful island south of Indonesia.  Malindo Air offers great prices from Mumbai and Delhi to Denpasar, Bali if booked well in advance.  It is a low cost airlines but offers more than many other airlines flying to Bali from India.  Perks like 15-40 kg check-in baggage, spacious leg room, comfortable seats, in-flight entertainment and complimentary light refreshments.  My flight from Mumbai to Bali via Kuala Lumpur and return all flew and landed on right time.  So here are my 2 cents on why Bali for me is one of the highly recommendable holiday/travel destination.

Best time of the year to visit : 

The dry season is between April to September and from November to March it rains.  I traveled in the month of August but I found July to September really a good time, though August becomes one of the most crowded month, but still you can find cheap and good accommodations.

Accommodation :

Bali will give you tons of options for all types of travelers.  Right from the budget to the luxurious ones, everyone can find a decent accommodation at budget prices even though you don't book it in advance.  The most touristic lane is the Jalan Poppies 2 which is filled with hostels and hotels which is where most of the people arrive.  It is actually the backpacker's lane like Khao San in Bangkok.  It's the central place in Kuta with lots of good and small restaurants and convenient stores.  Along the beach in Kuta till Seminyak there are many luxurious resorts.

Down south in Uluwatu and Nusa Dua you can find mid-range hotels as well as luxurious resorts with private villas. In places like Ubud and Denpasar you can even find more traditional and cheaper places for those who want to escape the crowded and party places of Kuta & Seminyak.

Generally most of the hostels and budget hotels do have breakfast included in the prices, so make sure you ask for it.  It's very basic but still helps in the morning.

Food :

There is no shortage of good restaurants that'll serve you traditional Indonesian cuisine which is normally with rice. You can find budget to expensive restaurants serving all different cuisines. Indonesian, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian all types of restaurants are there.  Though there is limited options for vegetarians, but still you will not complain.  Me being a vegetarian and a very picky person and still I didn't had a problem having a proper vegetarian meal.  Most of the dishes are served with steamed rice or on request you can get fried rice.  For vegetarians it can be served along with tofu, soy, beans, peanut sauce, red tomato & chili sauce and stir fried veggies.

If you have rented a scooter during your stay in Bali (which I highly recommend) try roaming in the streets of Kuta, Seminyak and Denpasar just to have a nice vibe of the surroundings.  You will surely find places to have some street food for your breakfast or lunch.  You will also find some not so expensive local restaurants with a nice variety of Indonesian cuisine in the Poppies 2 lane.  So dig in and you shall surely find the place of your taste, suitable to your pocket ;)

Tip : 1) Try the local ARAK vodka
        2) Some of the typical Indonesian dishes are Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur, Nasi Lemak which                    can be made into a vegetarian dish.

Moving around in Bali :

Moving around in Bali is quiet easy if you know how to ride a scooter / motorbike.  You have a wide range of scooters and motorbikes available on rent with rent starting from as cheap as 3 USD per day and go upwards depending upon what kind of two wheeler you rent and from where.  You have a helmet that's always comes with the scooter.  If you are two people ask for 2 at no extra cost.  Make sure you carry your international license.  If you are found driving without one or not wearing a helmet you'll be fined for sure or might have to bribe the police.

I was caught by the police for not wearing the helmet though I had it.  I was lucky enough that the policemen were nice enough and just asked me to wear it, checked my license, asked from where I was and on saying I was from India, they just let me go with a warning :p  I should just thank my luck for it I guess. ;)

For me it was great fun to move around to Uluwatu, Denpasar, Ubud and Seminyak on my scooter.  It was so much ease and saved a lot on hiring taxis every time.  I got my scooter right at the airport and dropped it back there.  Just this two rides saved me 15 USD.  Petrol in Bali is not at all expensive as it's around 0.5 USD per litre and so driving around makes it more fun ;)

What to do in Bali / Activities :

Bali as a travel destination has a lot to offer for all types of travelers.  It's a great destination to have some laid back and relaxing weeks next to the beautiful sea shores of the Indian ocean.  With lots of water sport activities like surfing, diving, snorkeling, dolphin watching and white water rafting Bali gives a lot of options for the adventurous types.  Besides that the beautiful volcanic countryside also offers some beautiful treks with rice terraces and sunrise treks for the trekking types.  It has lots of sunset points on the beaches, from the cliffs and also just sitting around the rice terraces. 

1)  Beaches

The beaches most of them are clean with perfect waves and tides for surfing.  Most visited beaches are Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Double Six Beach and Sanur.  Though beaches of Uluwatu, Nusa Dua, Lovina and Canggu are also quite popular.  One can find many proper surfing schools and also guys renting out surf boards on the beaches while charging less than the surf schools for a surf lesson.  For a newbie like me, my experience says to definitely go with the surf schools as they have a proper instructor with you for all the time and offer you proper guidance, gear and a proper surf board.  Also places like the Gili Islands are perfect and well known for diving with PADI certified diving schools. You can also find some in Seminyak.  

2)  Places to Party

For the party loving people, Bali doesn't fall short of  their expectations.  You can find some of the best party clubs in Bali in Kuta & Seminyak areas where you can just let yourself loose on the dance floor with some great music. Places like Sky Garden  & Bounty Club in Kuta, Ku De Ta and Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak and many small local party places will keep you awake till the wee hours.  My personal favorite though is Sky Garden with unlimited food & drinks during happy hours (19:00 to 21:00 hours) for 99K Indonesian Rupaih.

3)  Ubud, Tanah Lot, Kintamani Volcano, Mt. Batur Trek, Uluwatu

Bali is not just about beautiful beaches and party places.  It offers many many day trips to the country side such as,

Day trekking trips in Ubud and 
in the East of the Island.
Beautiful sunset evenings in Uluwatu and Tanah Lot

Half day white water rafting trips on the 
Ayung river or the Telaga Waja river

Spending the day in a Sanctuary or a Zoo 
  • Overnight trip to the Gili islands 
  • Very early morning trek to Mount Batur to see the sunrise and many others.  
Generally all this days trips are offered with hotel pick up & drop facilities which I found to be of much convenience. Depending upon your interest you can pick any such full day or half day trips and see the other side of what Bali has to offer.

I would surely recommend the Uluwatu sunset half day trip, Ubud rice terrace plantations with Monkey forest day trip, Mt. Batur sunrise trekking trip and if you like some adventure the white water rafting with a short coffee plantation visit.

For those who like to indulge in some more sporting activities Gili islands are the best place in Bali to do some diving course.  You can choose from the many PADI certified diving schools.  Also there are many places in Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Uluwatu where one can hire surf board and do some surfing or can have a lesson in surfing or a surfing course.

Surfing is very popular in Bali as the costs are quite cheap.  You can get a surf lesson for 2 hours with the guys on the beach for as low as 20 USD. But of course it's not of the best quality.  The best months for surfing in Bali for beginners are from April to August.

4) Yoga in Bali

I'm not much into Yoga but for yoga lovers again Bali is a paradise.  There are many yoga schools where you can take up yoga courses.  Even you'll find yoga retreats where you can stay and learn yoga for as many days you are there in Bali.  Ubud in Bali is quiet famous for it.  The beautiful natural landscapes, traditional art scene, tranquil surroundings around the many eco yoga resorts just make Bali a paradise for yoga lovers to spend some days or weeks here.

Even if you have some few days or a week of holidays and can manage to grab a cheap flight to Bali, I highly recommend it to just go there and relax on the beaches or in the lap of nature's lush green surroundings.  My 10 days in Bali just went off in a flash.  I still felt I wanted more of Bali.  It's just so inviting with wonderful balinese people welcoming you and the variety of things that Bali has to offer to you as a tourist or even as a traveler.





1 comment:

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