Review of "General: Bali"
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I couldn’t imagine anyone not falling in love with Bali the moment they stepped on to it and so did we. To go with this review, I have written one on a great villa accommodation – “Lumbini Luxury Villas and Spa” located in Jimbaran where we stayed at during our time in Bali and which you can check out for inspiration on where to stay!I’m hoping my review will be useful when you need a brief overview about deciding on holiday options and hope it is helpful to determine whether this island is for you and whether it tempts you to go visit!
Our stay in Bali
This was our first time in Bali where we stayed for 7 nights in November and although this time of year is considered monsoon season, we had a few days of rain but otherwise it was very hot and sunny the remaining days of our stay.Bali is one of Indonesia’s many islands, the country has over 10 thousand islands, around 900 are populated and Bali is one of them. Hinduism plays a huge part in the lifestyle of the Balinese. You will see the Balinese practice elements of Hinduism wherever you go like the offerings of sweet food placed (for the Gods), along with incense sticks in front of shops/businesses, houses, restaurants and temples, as you walk along streets when out and about – it’s a gesture of welcoming the gods for blessings in return. We saw these beautiful temples with intricate carving-work almost everywhere we went.
The Balinese culture, the food, weather and climate, the lush natural features and landscape of relaxation are a few things that make Bali unique and made our stay so memorable.
Flight to BaliBali is a 16 and a quarter hour flight from the UK with a stopover. There is only one airport in Bali in the capital Denpasar, Nguarah Rai airport, and no direct flights so a stopover will need to be made. A flight from UK to Denpasar airport may cost somewhere between £400-£500 during monsoon season, which would be the cheapest, otherwise the price could go up to £600-700.
Where to stay
It might be the location of the hotel that determines where you end up choosing to stay or you might pick a region of Bali because of what it offers. Here are some of the main areas in Bali that came up when we were making our booking of accommodation:Jimbaran Bay (Southern region) is one of locations that offers quiet spots along with busy local areas – it has beach restaurants selling seafood but there isn’t much else to do in Jimabaran so you will need great accommodation to liven things up, but on the positive side Jimbaran does have some really nice accommodations if you choose to stay there and that will make all the difference as excursions will definitely go out from this region.
Ubud (Mid Bali region) away from the beaches but surrounded by lush valleys and rice terraces. For us it was between the Luxury Villas in Jimbaran or an accommodation set high up on a valley in Ubud overlooking the fields. This area is away from tourists and is probably one of the most peaceful and beautiful places without a beach to stay in Bali.Kuta and Legion areas (South region nearby Jimbaran Bay) are very touristy. You will probably be able to pick up lots of souvenirs and some really nice restaurants can be found here. The beaches here are stunning which is what attracts the tourists.
Seminayak (above Kuta) similar to Kuta, nice beaches, lots of tourists shops and beautiful beaches at a reasonable price.
Getting from A to BSome of easiest and quickest ways to get around Bali are by taxi or private car which costs around £10 for an hour’s drive. We used a private car with a driver on our full day tour, but we did also use Uber more often than taxis for shorter trips by requesting it over our accommodation WiFi where it can arrive in minutes. They are quite reliable and get to you quite quickly when you have mobile internet on hand and short distances of around 20 minutes can cost around £2.00-£3.00, whereas a taxi ride would cost around £5.00.
Our top 5 recommendations:Although Bali is quite a small island, it is a big place when it comes to things to see and do, as the options seem endless. We definitely did not see all the places Bali has to offer within our 7 days, but we’ve come up with 5 of our top things we experienced and those that we recommend:
(The Indonesian currency is used in Bali, so you will be exchanging to the Indonesian Rupiah to pay for these things to do)
1. Ubud Monkey Forest / Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary: This takes first place on our list as it has to be must–visit! We booked a private car with a driver within a day tour to the sancutuary. You will need around 2 hours here. The monkey forest is a large nature reserve forest area which contains temples and it is where monkeys roam around freely. Tourists walk through this forest and can interact with the monkeys to some level. As you walk in you can buy bananas to feed the monkeys. We bought some but we hardly made it to the end of the pathway as one cheeky monkey snatched the entire bunch right off us, so we bought another bunch and this time distributed to more than one monkey with more caution! As you go further in, there is a little area where a worker has a monkey on his shoulder ready, so that tourists can sit down with the monkey and interact – the worker will hand you a few nuts and the monkey will jump up to you and will sit on your head or shoulder for the snacks in your hand! The idea of the Ubud Monkey forest is to just walk around and watch the monkeys whilst they wander about.
Price per person (booking through tour desk): 40,000 Indonesia Rupiah / £2.00-£2.50
Price per person: Doesn’t cost anything to see the rice terraces.
3. Uluwata Sea Temple: Although this temple is not as popular as Tanah Lot Temple (number 4 on my list), we liked this one better because it just had a nice atmosphere about it. You will need around an hour and a half here. It is a sea temple which is built on the edge of a cliff 70 metres high, and once you walk all the way up, you will have some of the most stunning views. The temple is surrounded or as they say inhabited by monkeys, but they are very frowned upon by the locals as they grab things, steal and harass people. As you arrive at the temple, you will be given a scarf to wrap around your waist if you are wearing shorts, so although you should dress appropriately when arriving to the temple, you will probably get away with arriving wearing shorts (considering the extremely hot temperatures) as they will probably not turn you away.
Price per person: 30,000 Indonesia Rupiah / £1.50 - £2.00
Price per person: 60,000 Indonesia Rupiah / £3.70 - £4.00, and then your transportation to and back from the site.
5. Balinese Dancing ‘Kecak’ show: Last on my list is the Balinese dance show for an education in Balinese culture and tradition. This is last not because it isn’t as important as the others, but without practically experiencing any of the above, the traditional dance won’t be as effective as watching it after experiencing Balinese values - the farmers, their way of life, the monkey’s way of life in the forests, interaction with the Balinese people whilst out and about and the general natural beauty of Bali as all of this, visually and through story, intertwines into the dance. The performance tells part of the mythological story of the Ramayana. It’s about Prince Rama and his wife Sita who are being banished to the forest of Dandaka by the King Dasarata and the evil Demon Rahwana makes life harder for them by tormenting them in the forest. The story goes on with lots of deception, monkey business (monkey costumes) and clash between good and evil. The star of performance and the most recognisable character of Kecak dance, the Barong, the lion like creature features in these performances. We had tickets for this show which lasted around one hour. It was really a striking and interesting performance and story and is iconic of Bali so it must be seen when there.
Price per person: 75 to 80,000 Indonesia Rupiah / £4.80 - £5.50 to watch a show like this.
What to eatSeafood, seafood, seafood!
Once all your activities are done for the day, it’s time to eat! And wherever it is you stay in Bali, Seafood will always be on the menu. Depending on where you are located, it might be a good idea to get onto WiFi and scan your Trip Advisor app for the best rated nearby restaurants – this will give you an idea of what’s around and the most popular, as its difficult to know what is nearby and what is worth visiting. And as recommended to us from our villa tour desk, something we spotted on Trip Advisor aswell, was a fine dining restaurant called CUCA. We used Uber to get us there and back. The place has a romantic atmosphere which does tapa dishes and we enjoyed every dish we ordered like the prawns, soft shell crab and a mushroom dish – the food was beautiful although it was a little on the expensive side.Another night we had dinner on Jimbaran beach at a beach restaurant called New Moon Café. Again this was suggested from our accommodation Lumbini Villas (they must be in some sort of business connection) as they provide a free car to the restaurant and back if you decide to go. The food was exciting as you pick what fish you’d like grilling from those in the tanks or ice boxes like mussels, crabs and lobsters. We had prawns and a grilled whole sea bream which comes with sticky rice and samphire seaweed. The tables are placed on the sand all facing the sea at night and there is also some Balinese dancing taking place here too as part of the dinner entertainment. We loved every last bit of our experience here.
Street food is also good in Bali and street vendors sell a lot of grilled items on skewers or meats wrapped in banana leaves with sticky rice. But the nicest thing is the spicy Sambal which is a hot chilli sauce that goes over the food.Bali have some beautiful exotic fruit too – dragonfruit, guavas, crispy apples (I think these were ‘Chinese Apples’), papaya, and the small-sized bananas that are deep yellow in colour and have an intense banana flavour, fresh coconuts and so many more different kinds of fruit and nuts.
Bali is a 16 hour direct flight from the UK so travelling so far to visit does sound exhausting but Bali is a far away gem with so many things to offer, a beautiful landscape, interesting tradition and culture, the dancing, the beaches, the lush environment but not only that, things are so inexpensive all over Bali once you reach there, you will be dining like kings and going on all kinds of excursions and experience the best time there without worrying about the expense. All you will need is the time to fit it all in – we certainly can’t wait to return back to Bali and experience more things we didn’t get to see the first time around!
Product Information : General: Bali
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Listed on Ciao since: 22/06/2000