Living in Singapore gives me the fortune of being one arm’s length away from a lot of beach destination. For the weekend that just passed, it was a good long break for most Singaporeans as Muslim friends of the country were celebrating Hari Raya and for all Singaporeans, it was our National Day (Happy 48th Birthday!)
I personally made used of the weekend and flew to Bali with my girlfriends for a short vacation. I’ve been in Singapore for most of my lifetime but even though it’s only a 2 and a half hours flight away, the weekend was my first ever visit to Bali (I know, I’m ashamed). I’ve heard a lot about Bali and they were mostly about how nice the beaches were, how great the partying is but when I got there, contrary to what others told me, I realised that Bali had so much more to offer and 3 and a half days was just too short!
We booked an absolutely gorgeous villa for this trip with the intention of largely lazing by the pool.
The lounging area was decorated with unique pieces enhancing the villa’s character.
There are plenty of villas in Bali that cater to your different needs. Some isolated away from everything, ideal for travellers seeking some privacy and a quiet stay while others prefer it nearer to the beach or even Kuta where the night time comes to life in Bali. The villa I stayed in was in the Seminyak area filled with chic boutique stores, each with their own identity.
I will highly recommend all you shopaholics to head down to the streets of Seminyak and I guarantee you will find something you like.
The streets of Bali was filled with colours and vigor and at most corners, you’ll be able to spot Balinese art or view the culture through their architecture.
A short walk away from the main streets of Seminyak lies one of Bali’s many beaches, Seminyak Beach, known for it’s iconic red umbrellas that stretches along the coastal line. With the bars and cafes along the beaches you can sip your cocktail under one of the red umbrellas and enjoy the view of the surfers riding the waves. Do note that the rental for a beach chair will cost you RP100,000. For a cheaper alternative, just pack a beach towel and pick any spot you like on the beach! Though I must comment, like all other commercialised beaches, the beaches in Bali are a hot spot for many sellers who will walk around promoting their services and products to you.
At the end of the day, whether you’re a tourist, local or seller, everyone will stop their tracks and marvel at the beautiful sunset Bali has to offer. If you are a seafood lover, head down to Jimbaran Beach for a spread of fresh seafood with a sunset view.
The rest of my Bali adventure included a Seawalker experience in Nusa Dua. Seawalking is basically the closest way to get to the fish if you can’t swim or haven’t got a dive certificate. You basically wear a helmet that looks apt on an astronaut and walk on the seabed around the coral reefs. The environmentally friendly side of me tells me that the activity seems adverse for the ecosystem, but I suppose the government has concentrated an area for the activities to take place to minimalise destruction. If you’re looking to do some water activities such as banana boat, snorkelling, parasailing, Nusa Dua is the place to go. For a less crowded option head to Sanur instead which offers an equally good experience.
Apart from that I had a chance to visit Uluwatu. The Merlion to Singapore, is Uluwatu to Bali. It is a temple situated at the edge of the cliff. Most Balinese are Hindus, and there are 9 main Hindu Temples around the island that protects Bali in all 9 directions, including one in the middle. Uluwatu is one of the 9. A bonus when you visit Uluwatu: the view of the Indian Ocean from the top is simply magnificent.
As I mentioned right from the start, Bali has so much to offer and I didn’t have the time to see them all. Bali is divided into several regions.
The North – You find a traditional quiet part of Bali with their Black sand beaches. It is also home to Mount Batur, a popular volcano for trekking enthusiasts.
The Central – This is where you find the iconic rice padi fields, particularly in Ubud, along with other natural beauties such as the mountain ranges. The Central is also known as the cultural heart of Bali.
The West – Being close to the East of Java, tourist can take ferries rides across to explore the other parts of Indonesia. The West of Bali also offers the untouched work of Mother Nature in the National Park such as Menjangan island. This is also a popular site for wreck diving.
The East – Quite similar to the North, you’ll also find black sand beaches here in the East and laid back fishing villages. You’ll also get a view of the majestic Mount Agung, another active volcano in Bali.
The South – This is the most visited part of Bali which is why I placed this last. In the South you find all the hustle and bustle like your sea sports activity in Nusa Dua, your partying in Kuta and shops in Seminyak. The South also allows accessibility to islands not far away. Do visit the South but definitely don’t overlook the rest of Bali!
So I’ve decided that Bali is not too far off so I’m going back for a closer look at its vibrant culture and landscape. If you’re flying from somewhere far, consider extending your stay such that it’s more than just a beach holiday and get a fruitful and wholesome visit of this island.
Below are some of the miscellaneous information from my trip:
Where I stayed – Le Chloe Villa
Where I dined – Wali Beach Cafe at Jimbaran Beach. Order the grilled chilli king prawns, it’s really really REALLY good. The entire stretch of Jimbaran Beach is filled with seafood restaurants all priced quite similarly with a spectacular Sunset view so I’m certain it’s quite safe to pop into any if you starved. (For other restaurants in Bali, check out this guide from ladyironchef)
How I got around – The best way to get around Bali is to either hire a driver (to prevent taxis from trying to rip you off) or to rent a motorbike if you are confident of steering through the crazy Bali traffic. We had an awesome driver, Ditya and I’m more than happy to provide you with his contact. He charges a very reasonable rate of USD40 a day (without tip and lunch which we gave as extra).
How much I spent – In Bali the main currency is Indonesian Rupiah. Though people say that US dollar is acceptable, I would advise you to bring more Rupiah rather than to rely on US dollar. Food and drinks are rather cheap. A bottle of beer ranges from RP15k to RP40k depending on where you are at and even so that is USD4 for a bottle of beer. Food wise, you can get cheap indonesian meals at around RP30k or under even, but if you’re looking at more expensive restaurants or a extravagant seafood dinner expect to pay at least RP250k (USD25) per person, depending on what you order, and that again is cheap as compared to many other places. Entry into the most popular 5 storey club Skygarden is RP100k, and again, other expensive options like Ku De Ta is 7 times that price. And on the other hand, there are also plenty of places that offer free entry. So budget your trip according to your preferences!
Well I hope you guys find the beauty in Bali like I did and see that it is more than just a beach destination. I don’t know about you, but I’m going back for round 2 and more.